China Complains SAT May Impose American Values on Its Best Students

Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2014

Chinese students have shown an insatiable appetite for attending U.S. colleges–last year alone, more than 235,000 were enrolled at American institutions of higher education. But now, some in China are grousing that the SAT may impose American values on its best and brightest, who in preparation for the exam might be studying the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights instead of “The Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung.”

“Including content from America’s founding documents in a revised U.S. college entry exam has drawn attention in China, with worries the materials may impose the American values system on students,” China’s official New China News Agency said last week.

The U.S. College Board in March announced plans to redesign the SAT to include key U.S. historical documents in one portion of the test, known as the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, by spring 2016.

“The vital issues central to these documents–freedom, justice, and human dignity among them–have motivated numerous people in the United States and around the globe,” the College Board said in a statement.

But those are the exact values that the Chinese Communist Party has deemed as threatening to its rule; Chinese activists who have tried to promote such values have been silenced or jailed. Human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong, who initiated the New Citizens Movement to promote such values, was sentenced in January to four years in prison.


Inculcating China’s youth with Communist ideology has always been a key focus of the party, though the task has required greater mental gymnastics in recent years as the nation has adopted a capitalist economic system. Chinese students are required to take “thoughts and morals” lessons in Communist ideology as early as first grade. In China’s college entrance exams, questions regarding core Communist theories such as Marxism and Maoism are essential to a student’s success.


According to figures from the Institute of International Education, the number of Chinese students studying in U.S. universities has grown by 20% annually for more than six years, and in 2010 China overtook India as the country that sends the largest number of foreign students to the U.S. Though the majority are graduate students, more and more Chinese students are enrolled in undergraduate programs, and some mainland students are now even seeking out high school educations stateside.

To improve their chances of being admitted to undergraduate programs at prestigious American universities, many Chinese high school students take the SAT, even though government policy prohibits it from being administered to students in mainland China. Many travel to Hong Kong to take it.


Approved test centers based in Hong Kong became the top option for many Chinese students willing to take the test. Last year, the AsiaWorld-Expo center in Hong Kong hosted more than 50,000 students, more than 90% from the mainland, its chief executive, Allen Ha, told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po, it cost on average $516 for a student from mainland China to take the SAT, including travel expenses and accommodations. Test preparation services for the SAT have seen substantial growth in China, where students are being charged as much as $1,000 for the lessons.



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  • Puggg

    Then don’t come here, it’s easy as that.

  • IstvanIN

    Build your own universities. By the way how many of that 1/4 million actually go home at the end of four years?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      They get hired by schools to teach Engrish to Mexican invaders.


  • mobilebay

    Well, we sure don’t want to impose any American ideals on susceptible minds, so please keep the kiddies home. I’m sure there are universities there, and they’d be much happier. I know we would.

  • They should pay attention a little more. These values aren’t American values, they’re universalist tripe dressed up in a very thin veneer of red white and blue.

    That said, I would halfway be sympathetic with the Chinese on this, except their parasitism is fully on display here and is far more the motivation than trying to protect China from the global-universal-multicultural-multiracial-democracy-tolerance-capitalism-socialism worldwide reconstruction project.

  • One must wonder which Western values so distress a Marxist police state.

    • Michael Robert Ryan

      The U.S. is now far more a police state than mainland China.

      • If you are correct, then surely Beijing would not feel threatened by people thinking for themselves.

        • Michael Robert Ryan

          The Chinese government is not especially interested in what any of its people are thinking, so long as they present no threat to the power structure. It is merely authoritarian, as opposed to the U.S., which is totalitarian.

  • TruthBeTold

    The SAT was developed by White men. It is ours to do with as we please.

    • benvad

      It’s for us, it’s as simple as that.

    • Ultimate187

      Anything except making it harder though, because the only changes ever made include dumbing it down and making it less “culturally biased”.

  • willbest

    80% of them cheat on the exam anyway, what difference does it matter what the material is about

  • benvad

    Infiltrators who’ll steal secrets for the PRC. This is an ongoing problem in Canada, Chinese espionage that’s carried out by Chinese descended people who have Canadian citizenship.

    • Seminumerical

      Too true, too true. A Chinese Canadian salesman at a photonics company I worked for tried to sell fibre optic gyroscopes to China. Err I mean he tried to sell them to a mixed bunch of RCMP and FBI agents posing as buyers.

      Fibre optic gyroscopes are handy for guiding ballistic missiles. They threatened him with sixty years. He caved and did a couple.

      • benvad

        Why am I not surprised?

        • The Worlds Scapegoat

          Surprised that the FBI used entrapment? If he was really spying, he would have just taken everything to China and nobody would have known.


          • Seminumerical

            As a salesman with a degree in physics he knew where to buy them but not enough about how to make them to sell just the recipe. He knew perfectly well it was illegal to arrange for them to end up in China. The FBI got him admitting that in a recording.

            Because the U.S. Army uses some Canadian invented and manufactured photonics technology in an offensive weapon I had to write the damn letter to the DoD explaining that he’d done it in his own, with a company he’d incorporated, and that we fired him the day we had evidence that he was guilty.

  • benvad

    Soon they’ll demand that they can write it in Mandarin.

  • libertarian1234

    “Chinese students have shown an insatiable appetite for attending U.S. colleges”

    And the fact the males show an insatiable appetite for the nude pole dancing establishments near the schools has nothing to do with it at all.

  • Ultimate187

    In all likelihood, US students will still struggle more with those passages than they will. China may not like the content, but I doubt it’s going to actually change overall test performance.

  • none of your business

    Waiting for engleman to weigh in with his garbage that average asian IQ is 105. He carefully eliminates Thais, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Mongolians, Burmese, Hmong and numerous other asians whose average IQs are in the 90’s.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      His middle name is “Cherrypicker.”


  • LHathaway

    “last year alone, more than 235,000 were enrolled at American institutions of higher education”

    And remember, that’s from just one country. That’s a lot of visits to ‘strip clubs’.

  • Kit Ingoldby

    ”China are grousing that the SAT may impose American values on its best and brightest”

    Then all it has to do is build and run its own universities that people will want to attend…..

    • Perhaps China should think about exactly why its best and brightest want to attend US universities instead of Tsingtao Tech.

  • It takes a peculiar degree of arrogance to demand that a foreign country change its university tests in order to accommodate one’s own students.

    While we’re at it, I am going to demand that China scrap the metric system and adopt SAE. Scrap Kanji as well; I think the German “Alteschrift” script is better, except on even numbered years, when they should write in a Cyrillic alphabet. On Thursdays, they don’t get to write at all. Only Roman numerals from now on, unless they want to switch to base-41, in which case they would be required to use “Wing-ding” font as numerals. I could pretend to feel “offended” if they do not comply with these perfectly reasonable requirements.

    Or maybe they could just shut up. We are not enriched by the presence of thousands of industrial, technological and military spies from an avowedly hostile dictatorship.

  • Hummm. well the perhaps you should send your kids elsewhere. Perhaps maybe, think of what your people want, let them vote, and express there thoughts and opinions, you might find that there are some great ideas to make your country greater than it is.

  • Magician

    “China Complains SAT May Impose American Values on Its Best Students”

    And Engelman will for sure comment….

    “How dare they try to impose American values on those wonderful Chinese students! They must change the content of the SAT as soon as possible!”

  • How many of these exchange students are actually paying out-of-state tuition, and how many are paying reduced in-state tuition rates, which of course are subsidized by US taxpayers?

  • WR_the_realist

    This change in the SAT is a good thing. And if the Chinese don’t want their students absorbing the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution then why are they sending their kids here?

    OTOH, I’ve heard that the SAT is also being changed to reflect the new Common Core standards. Now that’s a looming disaster.

  • Paleoconn

    American universities shouldn’t be open to Chinese. Either they stay here and steal an American’s job, or they go back home to help China surpass the USA. Neither scenario benefits Americans.

  • freddy_hills

    Since when do foreign governments get to dictate our college entrance exams?