It is estimated that there are approximately 1.1 million overseas Chinese professionals (OCPs), including 0.6 million who left China before 1978, and 0.52 million who emigrated after that. Among them a total of 0.8 million have completed education and therefore form a “mature” pool of professionals. The OCPs have become a special constituency of the Chinese government. A wide range of government and semi-government agencies have put in place nearly 200 policies specifically for this group and initiated numerous programs to facilitate their return, and to enable them to establish contacts with the motherland. A particularly significant policy development has been the introduction of a “transnational” perspective, as evidenced by the slogan weiguo fuwu (serve the motherland) of the late 1990s, as compared to the earlier notion of huiguo fuwu (return and serve the motherland), which indicates that physical return is no longer regarded as a determinant. A so-called “dumb bell model”, meaning that a professional has affiliations in both China and overseas and moves back and forth, has been advocated as an effective means to serve the motherland.
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