Those disagreements have overshadowed everything. But when President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met last November, they agreed to encourage more student exchanges as a way to stabilize relations. So far, though, the number of Americans choosing to study in China is low. The U.S. government says about 800 American students were in the country this spring. That's up from about 200 during the depths of the pandemic, but it's a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. According to data compiled by the Institute of International Education, there were over 11,000 Americans studying in China in 2019. By comparison, there are nearly 300,000 Chinese students in the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met students at New York University's campus in Shanghai in April.
John Ruwitch, Why the number of American students choosing to study in China remains low, June 2024. (Emphasis added.)

I'd like to fact-check this. The claim also appears in The Economist (May 2024), China File (March 2024), The News Lens (June 2024), and Christian Science Monitor (April 2024; they instead say 700).

Question: Are there merely 800 American students in China?

  • I for one am surprised that there are so many. "That's up from about 200 during the depths of the pandemic, but it's a fraction of what it was just a few years ago." sounds about right though. How do you expect this to be cross checked though? Several Western MSM report similar figures because the source is ultimately the US gov't. Do you want official Chinese data? Commented Jun 29 at 14:34
  • 2
    Srsly, unless a student wanted to specifically study Chinese history or language, ... for example, in contrast to mathematics (my field) ... I'd think it'd make little sense for a U.S. student to go there. Tooooo many complications and inconveniences, AND, maybe not state-of-the-art... Commented Jun 29 at 21:49
  • Weak support the claim: statista.com/statistics/374169/…
    – pinegulf
    Commented Jul 1 at 10:34
  • 1
    @paulgarrett I would have imagined that the number of US-citizen students of Chinese history and language (and music, art, etc.) would be large enough that there would be more than 800 of them studying in China at any point. I wonder what proportion of the total 800 represents. Rebecca J. Stones: I would probably ask instead, or also, about the source of the 800 figure.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 3 at 8:32
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    @gottrolledtoomuchthisweek I mean I would ask more specifically about the source. The US government is a huge entity -- which part of it developed these statistics? What was the methodology? How does the US government know of these people in China? Did they get the information from the Chinese government or another source? How do they know that the source (Chinese government or otherwise) is counting all the US citizens studying in China? How is it handling dual citizens, for example?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 3 at 22:16


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