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Why So Many Chinese Students Are Getting Axed From U.S. Schools

On the campus of Princeton University in New Jersey
On the campus of Princeton University in New Jersey

The case of Hanxiang Ni, a University of Iowa student who was expelled last month for posting a photo of himself holding a gun and threatening to kill his professors, has turned new attention to the growing number of Chinese students enrolled in — and kicked out of — U.S. academic institutions.

Attendance is up, but so too are cases of expulsion, mainly due to poor academic performance, but also because of cheating and other ethical issues, the Qianjiang Evening News reports.

Data from the Chinese Education Ministry shows China as the world's top country for exporting students, often to the United States. In 2013, as many as 420,000 Chinese students enrolled in U.S. schools, many in graduate and undergraduate programs.

While a large number of those students go on to successful careers, some run into serious problems in their respective schools. A study conducted by WholeRen, an education consultancy specializing in foreign studies, showed that, in 2014 alone, 8,000 Chinese students at all levels of education were dismissed from U.S. schools.

Based on a sample of 1,657 such cases (from between 2013-2015), WholeRen found that 57% of the expulsions were due to appalling academic performance. Nearly 23% of the students, on the other hand, were booted for cheating on exams, plagiarism, forging a teacher's signature or other kinds of dishonest behavior.

The numbers may have something to do with differences in how the U.S. and Chinese university systems operate. In China, gaining entrance into a university can be difficult. But once there, students have little difficulty graduating. The drop-out rate stands at just 3%. In the United States, in contrast, only 56% of university students finish their studies within six years, according to a Harvard University study cited in the Qianjiang article. For students used to the Chinese system, the U.S. reality can come as a nasty surprise.

Chen, WholeRen's development officer, says that in the past, Chinese students attending foreign schools hailed mostly from the social elite and tended to follow a strict work ethic. Now, though, more and more students come from nouveau riche families. They've never learned to work hard and struggle academically, he suggests.

Chen also argues that Chinese students, at all levels, lack basic knowledge of academic norms such as how to properly cite a reference. Chinese college students will often quote large segments of other people's work without acknowledging the source, not because they're trying to be dishonest, but because they haven't been taught to do things otherwise.

"To a large extent, the behavior of Chinese students is affected by cultural differences and the environment," Chen says.

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Geopolitics

How A Drone Strike Inside Iran Exposes The Regime's Vulnerability — On All Fronts

It is still not clear what was the exact target of an attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory in central Iran. But it comes as Tehran authorities appear increasingly vulnerable to both its foreign and domestic enemies, with more attacks increasingly likely.

Screenshot of one of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

One of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

Screenshot
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — It's the kind of incident that momentarily reveals the shadow wars that are part of the Middle East. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory complex north of Isfahan in central Iran.

But the explosion was so strong that it set off a small earthquake. Iranian authorities have played down the damage, as we might expect, and claim to have shot down the drones.

Nevertheless, three armed drones reaching the center of Iran, buzzing right up to weapons factories, is anything but ordinary in light of recent events. Iran is at the crossroads of several crises: from the war in Ukraine where it's been supplying drones to Russia to its nuclear development arriving at the moment of truth; from regional wars of influence to the anti-government uprising of Iranian youth.

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That leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to possible interpretations of this act of war against Iran, which likely is a precursor to plenty of others to follow.

Iranian authorities, in their comments, blame the United States and Israel for the aggression. These are the two usual suspects for Tehran, and it is not surprising that they are at the top of the list.

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