Two Chinese Educational Mission (CEM) branches were established in China — one in Shanghai (the Going Abroad Bureau) and the other, later on, in the United States. The first important task of the CEM was to identify prospective candidates to take part. The final guidelines specified that the boys meet the following criteria — they were between twelve and sixteen years of age, had studied Chinese books for several years, had their family's permission to go abroad for an extended period of time, were not the only son in their family, and ethnically could be either Manchu or Han. They were all boys and all Han. Most of them came from Guangdong. This geographical imbalance resulted from the great difficulty the CEM had in finding willing participants. Many were related to at least one other member of the CEM by kinship and/or native-place ties. The Chinese elites were not interested in studying abroad.
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