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Video: David Zweig on the Role of the Communist Party's Organization Department in China’s Reverse Migration

David Zweig 崔大偉 discusses his research on the party-state's efforts to "reverse the brain drain" to bring expatriate talent back to China.

January 17, 2013

For many years, China's government organizations led the effort to bring about a "reverse brain drain." However, while 400,000

Li Yuanchao 李源潮

students have returned, the top 20% of its expatriate talent has remained abroad. To resolve this problem, in 2002-2003, the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party expanded its portfolio from "managing cadres" to managing "talent” (党管人才). Yet, these early efforts did not “bring back the best.” However, since 2008, largely under the leadership of Li Yuanchao (李源潮), director of the Organization Department, and through a new "1000 Talents Plan" (千人计划), the CCP has become far more active in mobilizing units in China and abroad to bring back China's best. China's aim, according to Li, is to make China an innovative nation (创新型国家). While these efforts have met with some success (reaching numerical targets), the program has met with some difficulties leading most of the very talented to opt for short-term stays rather than make a full commitment to moving back to China.


David Zweig, a member of the USC U.S.-China Institute board of scholars, has taught at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology since 1996. He is Chair Professor of the Division of Social Science as well as the Director of the Center on Environment, Energy and Resource Policy and Associate Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is an Adjunct Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan, and the former president of the Hong Kong Political Science Association.  His Ph.D. is from The University of Michigan (Political Science, 1983). He is the author of four books, including Internationalizing China: Domestic Interests and Global Linkages (Cornell Univ. Press, 2002), which will be out in a Chinese edition from Renmin University Press in April 2012. He has also edited five books in both English and Chinese and several special issues of academic journals. He is currently editing a book on US-China energy competition in third countries and writing books on Mainlanders who studied overseas and returned to China and on Hongkongers who lived in the Mainland.

This presentation was given on January 15, 2013 at USC. Click on the play button below to see the presentation.


This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

Professor Zweig spoke about Chinese attitudes on energy policies at the 2007 USCI conference on The Future of U.S.-China Relations.