In the eventual Chronicles of Imperial Decline that will be written about our era, this may make a piquant subchapter. It's from our friends at NMA in Taiwan, and it dramatizes the ongoing squeeze on America's great public research universities. As the University of California and other proud, once-fully public systems are de facto privatizing themselves -- raising tuition, courting donors, and looking for full-freight students not eligible for in-state discounts -- one of the consequences is a dramatically larger role for paying customers from China.
For the record, I'm all in favor of more Chinese (and other international) students at U.S. universities. It's good for the students, and it's good for the schools. It helps America if they stay here after they graduate -- and it even helps America if they leave (with U.S. outlooks, connections, and so on). Still, you have to both* laugh and wince at this NMA clip. Tip: when the popup ad appears 10 seconds in, dismiss it if you want to see the English subtitles.
UPDATE: A piece today by Kevin Carey describes the no-laughing-matter reality behind the jokey video.
* Grammar zealots: don't bother to write. I'm putting it this way on purpose.
Also, as a reminder, NMA is based in Taiwan, so there's a natural edge to its criticism of the Confucius Institutes and other "soft power" initiatives from the PRC. Still, it's a good video.
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