The Corner

Chinese Emigration Spikes

An increasing number of high-skilled Chinese workers are emigrating, the New York Times reports. 

In 2010, the last year on record, 508,000 Chinese moved to developed countries — up 45 percent in a decade.

Reporter Ian Johnson explains why:

Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, [Chinese-born immigrant, Chen Kuo] was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services, and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedom.

“It’s very stressful in China—sometimes I was working 128 hours a week for my auditing company,” Ms. Chen said in her Beijing apartment a few hours before leaving. “And it will be easier raising my children as Christians abroad. It is more free in Australia.”

China’s high emigration belies its social contract. Post-Maoist China promised citizens economic prosperity if they yielded other freedoms.  Yet many have found this trade-off unfulfilling. China’s economic success has come at high cost:

Few emigrants from China cite politics, but it underlies many of their concerns. They talk about a development-at-all-costs strategy that has ruined the environment, as well as a deteriorating social and moral fabric that makes China feel like a chillier place than when they were growing up.

China’s lack of religious freedom, in particular, may cause more problems than it solves for Beijing. Chinese citizens are increasingly looking to faith to fill the moral vacuum left by Communism (or the decline thereof), but Beijing’s micromanagement of religion is limiting at best, prohibitive at worst. Ironically, many Chinese want nothing more than to serve both God and Caesar — it is the government that’s politicizing religion, not the majority of devout Chinese. 

If China truly wants to become globally competitive, it must treat its moral malaise. Until then, high emigration is only one symptom of a bigger problem.

Most Popular

Elections

Weirdo O’Rourke

Friends of the young Bill Clinton and Barack Obama spoke of the special glow of promise they had about them, even back in their early twenties. Angels sat on their shoulders. History gave them a wink and said, “Hey, good lookin’, I’ll be back to pick you up later.” Robert O’Rourke? Not so much. He ... Read More
Education

Our Bankrupt Elite

Every element of the college admissions scandal, a.k.a “Operation Varsity Blues,” is fascinating. There are the players: the Yale dad who, implicated in a securities-fraud case, tipped the feds off to the caper; a shady high-school counselor turned admissions consultant; the 36-year-old Harvard grad who ... Read More
U.S.

McCain at Annapolis

President Trump has been doing a lot of tweeting today -- against TV programs, companies, and other things that have incurred his displeasure. These tweets make for interesting reading. One of them is this: So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent ... Read More
Health Care

David Brooks Forgets to Oppose Some Suicides

The well-meaning David Brooks urges us to prevent suicide in his most recent New York Times column. The crisis is certainly real. From "How to Fight Suicide:": You’ve probably seen the recent statistics about the suicide epidemic — that suicide rates over all have risen by over 30 percent this century; ... Read More