Cashed-Up Chinese Emigrate for Security, Education

July 16, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Beijing highrise office building
A highrise office building in Beijing, 2004. The trend to emigrate has slowly spread from the rich to the middle-class. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

Liu Qingmei, the head of an education services business in China, saw yet another friend emigrate from China to the United States recently. Writing on his Sina microblog, he recounted the conversation. The friend’s response was clear. “First, lack of a sense of security. Second, better education for children. Third, the moral confusion, not being able to tell right from wrong in China.”

Liu reflected: “Right now the trend that started with the wealthy is spreading to the middle class. For those who have a certain economic base, whether they persevere here or get out has become a big question.”

U.S. immigration data shows that in the fiscal year 2011 there were 2,969 EB-5 visa applications from China, which allowed processing of multiple family members at the same time. The EB-5 program is for individuals who are usually required to invest $1 million and create 10 jobs. There were only 787 applications two years ago.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the total number of visa applications from China, in a similar investor category, stood at 2,567 in 2011, up from 383 in 2009. The Canadian government then limited the number of such application to 700 beginning on July 1, 2011, because of the demand. Within less than a week all 700 applications had been filed, with 697 of them coming from China.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Su Bin, who runs an aerospace technology company, about why he wishes to leave China. “The government has too much power. … Regulations here mean that businessmen have to do a lot of illegal things. That gives people a real sense of insecurity,” he said in the interview.

He also referred to his son’s education, and the wish for him to escape the Communist Party’s “Young Pioneers,” a mass organization that indoctrinates the very young with Party dogma.

“The problem is that government power is too great,” Su said in the interview. “When the economy is going up, they think that everything they are doing is right.” Without change to the political system, Su said, “another revolution will come soon.”

Read the original Chinese article.

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