Surging numbers of Chinese people going abroad should be welcomed

IN 1979 America’s then president, Jimmy Carter, met Deng Xiaoping in Washington for talks about how to restore normal diplomatic relations between their two countries, which had been frozen since the Communist takeover of China 30 years earlier. Dutifully, Carter raised a human-rights concern. He asked that China lift its virtual ban on people going abroad. “How many Chinese nationals do you want?” Deng is said to have quipped. “Ten million? Twenty million? Thirty million?”

Deng knew that he could play on American fears of a tidal wave of Chinese immigrants. He was ready to open China’s doors, but only gradually—the Communist Party was still afraid of letting its people see the West’s prosperity, and democracy’s success, for themselves. What a different world it is today, and what a different China. Last year the country recorded 130m exits by its citizens from the Chinese mainland. By the end of the decade the number is expected to exceed 200m. Around 600,000 Chinese are…Continue reading


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