BEIJING - Chinese experts have risen to disprove reports claiming that 9.3 million people emigrated from China in 2013.
The reports have been circulating on the Internet, causing widespread anxiety.
However, an article carried by Thursday's People's Daily and quoting Gao Wenshu, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said these reports mislead by confusing two key figures.
Rumor VS real situation
According to Gao, the figure spread by some media actually refers to the total number of Chinese emigrants by the end of 2013, while the figure for 2013 was around 190,000.
Wu Jiang, vice chairman of the China Talent Research Society, told Xinhua that the confusion has been allowed to thrive because some people in the country, especially rich people who plan to emigrate, are making pessimistic judgement about Chinese economic prospects.
China's economy has been facing heavy downward pressure, with the economy growing 7.4 percent year on year in the first quarter, marking the weakest pace in 18 months.
In order to shore up the economy, China has introduced a series of micro-stimulus packages since April, including shanty-town reconstruction, and tax cuts for small businesses. However, recent indicators show that the economy is heading toward stabilization.
"People who circulated the rumor tried to play on people's fear about economic prospects, but their judgement was based on an incorrect calculation," Wu said.
He added that the reports of "naked officials," or officials whose spouse and children have emigrated, also lent wings to the rumor as people who were angered by those officials tried to make their voice heard.
But it should be admitted that the number of Chinese emigrants has been expanding. According to a Chinese report released by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in May, the number of Chinese overseas emigrants have been rising steadily in recent years.
The annual report on Chinese international migration said the amount of migration for the purposes of investment, education and blue-collar work has been increasing. It also noted China's pollution is a major driver for people to leave the country.
Talent inflow is also expanding
The other side of the coin is that while the number of Chinese emigrants is increasing, there is also a notable influx of talent.
One piece of evidence is that the number of returnees has been surging over the past few years. According to government data, about 12,000 overseas students returned to China for work in 2001. The number expanded to 108,000 in 2009. In 2013, about 353,500 overseas students chose to work in their home country.
Meanwhile, China has been striving to attract overseas talent. Since the recruitment program for global experts, also known as the "Thousand Talents" program, began in 2008, 4,180 such senior foreign workers have come to China.
Zhao Hanmin, a chief technology officer for tech firm Latticepower in Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi Province, is a member of the program. He said he quit his previous job in California's Silicon Valley to be close to the expanding market in China.
Statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs show that the Chinese government invited about 610,000 overseas experts to work in China last year, a big leap from around 10,000 people in the 1980s.
Wu said the outflow and influx are a symbol that China is becoming more and more open to the outside world.
"The phenomenon is also a natural result of the global interaction of technology and capital," he said.
The CCG report forecasts China will be a choice for more and more foreign high-caliber talent as its economy grows.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a more open policy to attract highly skilled talent from overseas while meeting with foreign experts in Shanghai last month.
In a related move, the country is also looking to relax its green card policy, by lowering the application and approval threshold.