When it comes to education, furthermore in China, can Indians trust it to not use politics against Indian students as a repercussion of the ongoing border and other issues between the two countries? Not to mention the ongoing pandemic a looming threat on life, the lives of all students around the world have been disrupted, their futures face peril if education is hampered now.
Although foreign students are not allowed to return to China yet, the Chinese Ministry of Education informed the Indian Embassy, it ‘attaches great importance to the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign students in China.’ Therefore, it encouraged Indian students to remain in touch with their respective or relevant Chinese Colleges and Universities, and continue their education according to the Colleges/Universities issued guidelines.
This is a message to thousands of Indian students who had returned during Chinese New Year Holidays, unable to head back due to the pandemic. ‘Over 23,000 Indian students studied different courses in Chinese universities and colleges of which over 21,000 were enrolled to study MBBS, according to last year’s data.’
The general Indian public distrusts China, and has good reason to do so with Beijing being inconsistent with its border dispute assurances now, and betrayal of trust in the past in 1962 resulting in a war. As for the general international perceptions of the Confucius Institutes (Chinese language institutes) are subjects of criticism, concern, and controversies of spreading Chinese propaganda through education. Hence it’s not surprising if people have careful considerations, but what is the stance of students who it concerns the most?
Students who have already been to China are aware of the tense situation, but have faith & strongly believe education will be left out of political issues and would like to go back to China if they get a chance.
While students who have not been to China but see China as a possible option to continue further studies in would like to go too, although with certain considerations weary of the situation now. Students studying Chinese Studies, or Chinese language and culture, are more informed about China and are therefore more comfortable in their considerations. However, to the general public, the chances of considering China as an option can only become possible when China improves its image in the world, and for Indians, any convincing will take a long time.
The author is presently pursuing post-graduation in East Asian Studies, from University of Delhi. Fascinated with new languages, cultures and societies, her long-standing interest lies in the understanding of East Asia in particular.