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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 05:30 GMT
China suffers severe brain drain
Students in Chinese library
Many overseas Chinese students choose to stay abroad
China suffers from the world's most severe brain drain, state media says.

About two-thirds of Chinese who have studied abroad since the 1980s have chosen not to go back home, the China Daily said.

This ratio, in a new report compiled by the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, is reportedly the highest in the world.

China is now "in dire need of people of expertise", Li Xiaoli, the co-author of the report, told the newspaper.

"It has been a great loss for China... to see well-educated professionals leave after the country has invested a lot in them," Li Xiaoli said.

Since 2002, more than 100,000 students have gone abroad to study each year, but the number of returnees has been only 20,000 to 30,000, the report estimates.

The newspaper noted that, to a certain extent, the trend was unavoidable as it reflected China's growing integration with the rest of the world.

But in an editorial, the paper said the government should do more to encourage these migrants to come home.

"Many talented Chinese emigrated overseas because they could not find opportunity at home," the China Daily said in an editorial. "It's time to nurture that reverse migration."

About 35m people of Chinese origin are living in more than 150 countries around the world, according to the report.

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