In this article, we analyze the U.S. media discourse on Chinese international undergraduate students, the largest international student group since 2009. The discourse describes a market exchange, but reveals a struggle between: on the one hand, "a fair exchange"-between excellent Chinese students and world-class American liberal education; and, on the other hand, a "faltering exchange"-between ethically suspect and inassimilable Chinese students and a mercenary and possibly mediocre American university. We argue that this media reporting builds on long-standing seemingly contradictory images of an alluring China market and a threatening "Yellow Peril." We suggest that this media contest indexes the challenges of campus internationalization; just as the media questions real value on both sides of the exchange, so too is the campus encounter fragile and fraught.
- Chinese international students
- higher education
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