Investing in Education: China vs. the United States

September 19, 2013

China is making HUGE investments in education. In 1998, then-President Jiang Zemin called for a massive increase in enrollment in higher education. Since then, high school and college enrollments in China grew. Source: FP-Foreign Policy, April 14, 2010

For example: China’s enlarged enrollment to higher education started in 1999, which boasted China’s shift in higher education from elite higher education to mass higher education. The enrollment to colleges/universities increased by 42 percent, compared to the year of 1998. Source: All

Then in March 2013, Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China’s expenditures on education had reached 4% of GDP in 2012, a goal set almost twenty years earlier. “Government spending on education totaled 7.79 trillion yuan over the past five years, increasing at an average annual rate of 21.58 percent to reach 4 percent of the GDP in 2012,” Wen said in his annual work report delivered to deputies to the top legislature. (7.79 trillion yuan is equal to $1.25 trillion). Source: China Daily

For example, during the 1967-1985 period, total government expenditure on education averaged 2% of GNP, and 7.7% of the total national budget. Source:

One result: The overall literacy rate has gone from 20% in 1950 to 92.2% of the total population today.

Compared to China, in the United States, education spending peaked in 1976 at 5.9% of GDP before dropping to flat line at about 5.5% annually.

In China, more than thirty percent graduate with degrees in engineering or technology. But in the United States, only five percent of university students graduate in these fields, while U.S. universities produce more psychologists.

That is why President Obama has encouraged American students to study science. Source: White House

What’s going to happen if America’s students do not start working hard to become engineers and scientists?

In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the economic output of the entire globe in 2000.  It’s a fact that people with an education in engineering and science earn more and are more productive.  China and India combined are turning out more than 600,000 engineers a year—ten times that of the United States. Source: Rocketry Planet

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

China gains face through 2009 PISA

April 1, 2013

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as problem solving. PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

When I first visited China in 1999, my wife warned me that the Chinese men I might witness peeing or defecating in public parks (there weren’t many public toilets then—China started building public toilets to get ready for the 2008 Olympics) in Shanghai were peasants from rural China.

In fact, where my wife grew up in Shanghai (in the picturesque French sector), there was one toilet in a three-story house where several families lived and the stove was next to the toilet.

Since then, I learned that China is one country with many cultures and languages. Even rural and urban China is different as the US is to rural Mexico.

However, after the 1980s, hundreds of millions of rural Chinese migrated to the cities to find jobs that paid better than being a peasant still stuck in the Middle Ages.

Unfortunately, these people sometimes called Stick People brought their (uncivilized by Western standards) rural habits with them.

In 1999, I witnessed rural Chinese near Xian living in huts made of straw with dirt floors, no plumbing and no toilets.

This is what the CCP inherited when it came to power in 1949. The Party did not create this situation. After Mao died, the Communist Party had to rebuild an educational system that had been devastated by a Civil War, World War II and then the Cultural Revolution and before then there was little or no educational system in rural China.

Most of the schools in China up until 1950s were in the cities and focused on educating the elite.

It wasn’t until the 1980s, that the CCP started to rebuild and revise China’s public education system. Over time, the education system spread from urban to rural China where it is still being developed.

Imagine what the effort must have been for the CCP to educate a population that was about 80 percent illiterate in 1976 to 2009 when randomly selected 15-year old Chinese students in Shanghai earned the highest scores in the world on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test beating 65 other nations including the United States.

Shanghai’s fifteen-year-old students scored 556 in Reading (PISA average 493), 600 in Math (PISA avr. 496) and 575 in Science (PISA avr. 501).

Second place went to South Korea with 539 in Reading; Singapore with 562 Math, and Finland with 554 in Science. Source: Our

The results of the 2012 PISA will be released December 3, 2013. Will the United States improve its scores? Will China be number one again?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s schoolchildren learn how to buy and sell stock

February 16, 2011

On December 9, 2010, a CNN Go Asia headline said, “Shanghai has the world’s smartest teens”.

If you heard the news of Shanghai students beating out 65 countries in student scholastic performance tests in three key categories of ability, the Al Jazeera English video embedded with this post may provide part of the answer of how that happened.

While many American students are applying makeup, drinking sodas, eating candy and french fries in class while texting friends and ignoring teachers let alone reading or doing homework, Al Jazeera reports of twelve year olds in Shenyang, China learning how to be stock brokers.

These students buy and sell and learn how to get the latest information on global stocks.

One Student, Ding Chuan, was asked how his investment portfolio (a class assignment where the students don’t actually buy stocks) was doing, and he replied that last year his investments hit 10,000. Now, his portfolio is at 20,000. He wants to be a millionaire when he grows up.

This Al Jazeera English news segment aired June 23, 2007.

Xiu Shu Jun, the headmistress for the school, says, “We decided to do it because we wanted to give the children a more realistic and practical financial education.”

Tony Cheng, the Al Jazeera reporter, says, “It is ironic that the largest Communist nation in the world has become obsessed with this capitalist pastime.”

Cheng says, “Stock trading goes against about every principal Chairman Mao stood for, and he would be pretty horrified to learn that there are now more registered (stock) traders in China than there are members of the Communist Party.”

Mao’s statue in Shenyang is surrounded by banks. After all, Tony Cheng says, today to be rich in China is glorious.

I say, What Tony Cheng doesn’t tell us is when Deng Xiaoping came to power by arresting those that would have continued the Cultural Revolution, China’s central government repudiated revolutionary Maoism and launched a Chinese style of socialist-capitalism.

Meanwhile, outside school, China’s citizens are buying stocks hoping to get rich quick.

However, some Chinese are learning the hard way that what goes up also goes down.  Investing in a capitalist stock market is like riding a roller coaster and life savings may vanish in a day if the investor isn’t cautious.

Discover China’s PISA Pride


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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The Earth was Flat

May 14, 2010

In 1610, Galileo published Sidereus Nuncius, the Starry Messenger, about discoveries he made with his new telescope. He was attacked for his theory because it seemed to contradict Scripture.  Because of this, in 1633, Galileo was tried and convicted of heresy.

Fifteen hundred years prior to Galileo’s discovery that the earth was round and orbited the sun, there is evidence that Chinese mathematicians had calculated the size of the earth on the basis that it must have been spherical (round). However, similar to Galileo, the Chinese people would continue to believe the earth was flat for centuries.  It is possible that when Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), China’s first emperor, had the great book burning, he burned the evidence of earlier Chinese mathematical texts.

Chinese astronomer

In addition, older Chinese creation myths included details that accounted for the tilt of the earth and other astronomical facts.  Several existing, ancient Chinese applied mathematics texts prove the Chinese were the first to use some of the most basic and advanced mathematical principles and concepts utilized in modern times. Two of these texts are the Chou Pei and Chiu Chang.

Learn more about China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Haungdi by reading and watching this nine part series on his life.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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