The number of students seeking to study abroad has fallen dramatically as a result of stringent visa restrictions introduced after the September 11 attacks on the United States. Recent Ministry of Public Security figures show the number of students applying to leave the country for foreign study was 138,000 last year, 8,000 less than in the previous 12 months, the China Youth Daily reported. The report said the decline was mostly due to the increase of visa rejections by the US, the most popular destination for mainland students. At a Sino-US education co-operation conference in Beijing last October, education officials said the US had issued 16,651 visas to Chinese students since August, a reduction of about 10.6 per cent from the 18,637 during the same period the previous year. More of China's students study abroad than any other country. The Beijing Youth Daily said there were a total of 380,000 students from the mainland pursuing education overseas in 2001. A total of 580,000 Chinese students have studied abroad since 1978.