The number of foreign students studying in China has risen more than 20 percent annually over the past five years, a Chinese educational official said in Beijing Wednesday.
"The Chinese government values educational cooperation with foreign countries and welcomes more foreign students to come to China," said Liu Baoli, vice director of the international cooperation department of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Addressing a Spring Festival reception held for foreign graduates, he said there were 110,000 foreign students studying in China in 2004. The number in 2005, which has not come out yet, should be much higher.
"China wishes to know more about the world and let the world know more about China," said Liu.
He said the rapid development of China's higher education and high-quality universities is attracting more and more foreign students. China has become a popular destination for foreign students.
More than 500 Chinese universities have met conditions of admitting foreign students, he said.
Foreign graduates, Liu said, have contributed positively to friendly exchanges between China and other countries in the world in diplomatic, economic and cultural fields.
He said the ministry will adopt new measures to expand enrollment of foreign students.
"In 2006, about 10,000 foreign students will come to study in China on scholarships provided by the Chinese government," said Liu. "The standard of scholarships will also be lifted."
Since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, it has received students from more than 170 countries.
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2006)