Here is one more story (this one from NYTimes, under the headline "China Luring Scholars to Make Universities Great") for those who like to read about China's radical measures for making its sciencific manpower and infrastructure modern and world class. Clearly, China's policy seems to be "whatever it takes", and it appears to be succeeding.
In only a generation, China has sharply increased the proportion of its college-age population in higher education, to roughly 20 percent now from 1.4 percent in 1978. In engineering alone, China is producing 442,000 new undergraduates a year, along with 48,000 graduates with masters' degrees and 8,000 Ph.D's.
But only Beijing University and a few other institutions have been internationally recognized as superior. Since 1998, when Jiang Zemin, then China's leader, officially began the effort to transform Chinese universities, state financing for higher education has more than doubled, reaching $10.4 billion in 2003, the last year for which an official figure is available.
I really liked this quote:
"Maybe in 20 years M.I.T. will be studying Qinghua's example," says Rao Zihe, director of the Institute of Biophysics at Qinghua University, an institution renowned for its sciences and regarded by many as China's finest university. "How long it will take to catch up can't be predicted, but in some respects we are already better than the Harvards today."