“They are also the group most vulnerable to the impact of the epidemic and the possible wave of anti-Chinese sentiment. They still need to have confidence in the country. “
The Chinese government rushed to present itself as a helping hand. In a series of public speeches over the past week, officials highlighted the role that Chinese embassies around the world have played in reaching students. They photos posted health kits that they sent to students which, as one official said, will allow them to “feel the warmth and love of the homeland”.
China has also released efforts to rescue 1,457 students stranded in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran and Italy. On Thursday, a flight arrived in London to evacuate 180 Chinese students from Great Britain.
The government “attaches great importance to and cares deeply about Chinese students abroad, and has taken important steps to protect their safety and health,” ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on March 31. Chinese Foreign Affairs. “They are children of the homeland and the future of our country. “
Bringing them home will be difficult, however.
A travel agency told Penny Pei, a 23-year-old graduate student in sensory science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, that she could drive her from Chicago to Shanghai for $ 10,000. Three days later, after the Chinese government cut international flights again, the price rose to $ 16,000.
“I don’t want to pay for this nonsense,” said Ms. Pei, who in a moment of frustration took a screenshot of an advertisement she saw offering a $ 30,000 seat in a private jet. Now her frantic parents are constantly harassing her to find out if she is eating enough and if she is alone. (Yes to both.)