The Chinese Educational Mission (CEM) to the United States in the 1870s was a transnational undertaking and was the first and the most ambitious of the four study abroad programs that the Qing government launched in the late nineteenth century. However, it is often considered a failed venture because the program was cut short in midstream. Even if CEM had not been shortened, the returned students would not have revolutionized Chinese society because self-strengthening was never intended to transform China. Its aims were to borrow the superior technology of the West in order to protect the cultural essence of the Confucian order. The students were very unhappy because their talents were not better utilized. Some of the students went back to the United States, finished their studies, settled there, and were among the founding members of the emergent Chinese American community.
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