Examining Neocolonialism in International Branch Campuses in China

A Case Study of Mimicry


  • Zhenyang Xu University of British Columbia




international branch campuses, mimicry, neocolonialism, world-class universities


The number of International Branch Campuses (IBCs) is increasing at a striking rate in Global South nations; however, structures that privilege colonizing countries arguably continue. On one hand, IBCs are considered by some scholars as a neocolonial expansion. On the other hand, IBCs are welcomed by many Global South shareholders since IBCs are considered a new model of world-class education that can contribute to local contexts. Nevertheless, Western knowledges and values can also be difficult to resonate with the receiving countries due to different social and political environments. In this paper, I first argue that a neocolonial attitude is embedded in the nature of Western IBCs in China through the framework of mimicry and resistance. Then, I raise questions concerning how shareholders in China legitimize IBCs as a supplementary form of Chinese higher education. Finally, I argue that IBCs risk the reproduction and reinforcement of coloniality and Western privilege in global contexts.


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How to Cite

Xu, Z. (2021). Examining Neocolonialism in International Branch Campuses in China: A Case Study of Mimicry. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(5), 72–85. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v13i5.2540



Winter 2021 Special Edition