But as the Hoyas played the Bayi Rockets on Thursday evening, the game “deteriorated into a melee during which players exchanged blows, chairs were thrown and spectators tossed full water bottles as Hoyas players and coaches headed to the locker room at Olympic Sports Center Stadium,” Post sports reporter Gene Wang reported from Beijing.

The benches cleared twice during the game between Georgetown and the Bayi Rockets. (Reuters)

Forging strong partnerships in China has been a part of Georgetown President John J. DeGioia’s ongoing effort to make his campus globally connected. Since DeGioia took office in 2001, the university has opened a Middle East campus in Qatar, grown its study abroad programs and accepted more international students, with China being the most popular country of origin in 2010.

In April 2007, Georgetown signed an agreement with Fudan University to continue to cooperate on research, student exchange programs and initiatives that would "foster greater mutual understanding between our two countries," according to remarks DeGioia gave at a signing ceremony.

Global education is the new frontier in higher education, as college becomes an option for growing middle classes in countries such as China, South Korea and India. Each year, American colleges are enrolling more international students, who are typically high-caliber and able to pay full tuition. And many schools are also experimenting with building satellite campuses abroad.

With China being the world’s most populous nation, it’s quite often the target of these initiatives.

“The phenomenon of globalization presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges which require us to build relationships and networks around the world — not only for our institutions to continue to flourish — but also to make the greatest possible difference in the world," DeGioia said, according to remarks from the 2007 ceremony.

Georgetown now has a liaison office located in Shanghai, which facilitates programs and develops new initiatives with Fudan and other Chinese partners. The office also coordinates recruitment of Chinese students, faculty and researchers.

Sending the Hoyas basketball team to China was yet another part of the university’s outreach. Just before leaving, the team went to the U.S. State Department for a briefing with Kin Moy, deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

“From an institutional standpoint, we're getting a chance to represent Georgetown and increase our reputation in China,” said Hoya’s Head Coach John Thompson III in a statement after the briefing. “DeGioia has focused on reaching out to other countries as a global institution, and this trip is part of that work.”

For more coverage of the Thursday incident in China, visit Post Sports.