BEIJING: Pakistan ranks third in the number of international students currently studying in China with 28,023 students, according to a statement issued by China's Ministry of Education.
South Korea ranked first with 50,600 students, followed by Thailand with 28,608, India with 23,198, and the United States with 20,996.
A total of 492,185 international students from 196 countries studied in China, last year, up 0.62 per cent from the previous year. The number of students pursuing academic education increased by 6.86 per cent year-on-year to 258,122, accounting for 52.44 per cent of the total.
Students studying for master's and doctoral degrees increased by 12.28 per cent to 85,062. Most international students in China have been self-funded, accounting for 87.19 per cent of the total.
Pakistanis stand at 3rd position among total number of foreign students in China
The official data shows that China has become the top education destination for Pakistani students as out of all of them enrolled in Chinese universities, around 7,034 are studying on scholarships.
The number of Pakistani students has risen in China mainly because of a series of preferential policies offered by the Chinese government after the launch of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of Belt and Road Initiative.
Currently, 6,156 Pakistani students are studying in Phd, 3,600 in Masters, 11,100 in Bachelors and 3,000 in Short Term Exchange Programs across China. Pakistani students are also studying Chinese language, engineering, medical, computer science and various other fields.
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Various scholarships are provided by the Chinese government to lure international students over - most notably, students from the Belt and Road Initiative participating countries and regions have been facilitated to obtain scholarships under the Chinese Government Scholarship - Silk Road Program. Pakistani students also enthusiastically participate in cultural activities organised different universities across China.
They set up booths decorated with traditional Pakistani items and posters depicting different social and cultural activities and historical places in Pakistan.
Pakistani students also represent the country in the music, essay writing, and photography competitions to be organised under the Belt and Road Initiative in China.