Seminar: The Chinese government’s overseas academic talent policy and mainland Chinese scholars in the United States


Speaker: Li Mei

This seminar will interrogate the concepts of brain drain, gain, circulation and knowledge diaspora and the shifting patterns of academic mobility between a rising power and a leading power.

The research on which the seminar is based examined the patterns and reasons for Chinese academic mobility to the US by targeting those staying in US universities. Through semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, the research explores why some Chinese academics have chosen to return while the others prefer to stay in the US. It also asks how they view the academic profession in the home and host institutions, and examines the collaboration and interaction with China’s domestic peers and colleagues.

The findings have implications for China’s strategy to get its overseas academics back. The study also notes the changes in Chinese academic systems when significant numbers of academics return.

Li Mei is an associate professor in East China Normal University, Shanghai. She earned her PhD from HKU in 2006. She was a visiting scholar at the University of California Los Angeles in 2011.

Her research interests focus on globalisation and internationalisation of Chinese higher education, higher education policy, and the academic profession in China. Her latest book is: The international markets for higher education: The global flow of Chinese students.