Man's Rant Against Sending Daughter to Study in US Goes Viral

By Bridget O'Donnell, April 21, 2017

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A father who regrets sending his only daughter to the United States to study is generating a lot of buzz on Chinese social media.

Zhang Yong, a 61-year-old man, told the Guangzhou Daily on Tuesday that sending his daughter to study abroad in the US was the "the worst decision of [his] life.” 

He says his daughter Zhang Li left a decade ago to pursue her degree at an unnamed university and never came back. She married an American man and intends to stay in the US.

Zhang Yong, a retiree who once worked in a Shenzhen home appliance factory, says he sacrificied a lot to send his daughter overseas. He sold the family's 110-square-meter house, eventually moving into a smaller apartment to save up money. His daughter's tuition was over RMB300,000 (USD43,500) per year.

Though he was initially proud of Zhang Li's acceptance to the school, Zhang Yong now says he worries no one will be able to take care of him and his 60-year-old wife, Zhu Jing.

"I am proud of our daughter, but I'm really afraid she left me," he said.

Zhang Yong
Zhang Yong looks at photos of his daughter as a child.

Zhu, meanwhile, said that she established a few ground rules with their daughter when they initially parted ways at the airport in 2007: don't get a foreign boyfriend, become a single mother or get romantically involved with teachers. 

She also said that she rarely speaks with Zhang Li these days; phone calls that used to take place three times a day now happen sporadically. "We haven't been in contact with her for two weeks," Zhang Yong added.

Zhang Yong says he's tried to convince her to return, even threatening to cut off their relationship, though so far she's refused. The parents also insist they're not "old-fashioned."

The topic's hashtag has over 19 million views on Weibo, with commenters debating over the parents' concerns (translations via Sixth Tone):

“If you’re talented enough, you should first pay back the money your parents spent on you before you pursue your own dreams. Making your parents responsible for paying for you to be happy is just selfish.”

“Did the parents even consult the daughter about how she wanted it to be paid for? What’s the problem now that she has found her own happiness and doesn’t want to come back? If the parents just wanted some money-earning machine to take care of them in their old age, then that’s just too bloody disgusting.”

“No mother or father wants to stop their children from doing well.” 

Recent figures from the Chinese Ministry of Education show that 523,700 Chinese students went overseas for higher education in 2015.

China outbound returnees

[Images via Centives, Guangzhou Daily, ICEF]

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