Filial Nationalism: How the Trump Administration Impacted Chinese International Students

  •  Fiona Lin    


Historically, Chinese international students have chosen the United States as their top destination to study abroad. Many of those ultimately return to their mother country, despite years of Western education, hoping to integrate China into the developed world. In 2011, Vanessa Fong depicted this strong moral attachment as “filial nationalism”. However, this idea took on a different form under the Trump administration – the desire to study in the United States diminished. During the pandemic era, Chinese descendants retain a strong sense of belonging to their mother country, but their interest in the United States has significantly declined. By examining the stringent visa restrictions, increased anti-Asian sentiments, and the United State’s immediate response to COVID-19 – factors that contribute to Chinese international students’ growing reluctance to study in the United States – this essay draws on Fong’s previous longitudinal study and analyzes filial nationalism in recent contexts.

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