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Press Briefing in Beijing, China

Secretary Colin L. Powell
China World Hotel
Beijing, China
October 25, 2004

[ ... ]

QUESTION: It is reported that in 2004 the Chinese students going to the States to study decreased sharply. It is said that only half the students in 2003 have taken the GRE test that is requested by the American graduate schools so my question is, what is your comment on that? Is there any actions planned to deal with it?


SECRETARY POWELL: We encourage students from around the world to come and obtain an education in our universities. I think there are something like 64,000, if memory serves me correctly, Chinese students at our universities now. We would like to see that number go up. After 9/11, we had to put in place new visa procedures and other procedures to have a better understanding of who was coming to our country, for what purpose, and when they were leaving. That slowed down the issuance of visas, it made it more difficult. But over the last year, we have improved the process significantly, making it easier to get visas, reducing the time that you have to spend waiting for a visa.

And we are going to do everything we can, and the Ambassador is committed to doing everything he can, both here in Beijing and at all of our Consulates, to speed up visa processing. It is in our interest to have foreigners come to our institutions, come to our medical facilities, come to our entertainment facilities, visit the United States as tourists to get a better understanding of who we are, what we are as a nation and people, how we can reach out to other nations. And so, we are doing everything we can to make it easier to get a visa for those who should be coming to our country and mean us no harm. We want to be seen as an open country, with open doors welcoming people as we have in the past. So, I hope we will see these numbers reversed and get back up to the higher levels.

[ ... ]

[ End ]