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  • Home > News > Details
    Foreigners awarded for contribution

    Foreigners have been contributing to China's economic and social development for two decades, but this is just the start.

    More overseas experts will be introduced to keep the momentum up, said Wan Xueyuan, general director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

    "An increasing number of high-level foreign professionals is very active in looking to work in China as the strategy of seeking development through the introduction of professionals becomes deep rooted in the country," Wan said.

    China started inviting "foreign experts" in 1983 as the State Council established headquarters to encourage professional exchanges.

    Tens of thousands now work in agriculture, manufacturing, environmental protection, biomedicine, human resources and business management nationwide.

    At the same time, more Chinese professionals, company managers and experts in certain fields have been sent abroad to receive training.

    China has brought in more than 440,000 overseas experts and sent 40,000 professionals abroad for training each year over the past several years, official statistics show.

    China's western provinces and northeastern industrial base will be the next focus for foreign experts, Wan said.

    Encouragement by Premier Wen Jiabao to improve the strategy means there should soon be an abundance of foreign professionals. Premier Wen made these remarks in his report to the National People's Congress earlier this year.

    Every year, China grants a Friendship Award to foreign professionals in China in recognition of their contributions.

    Fifty foreign experts win the top official honour this year.

    One of them this year was Robert Isaman, president of Otis Elevator China, from the United States.

    "I appreciate the Chinese Government and its people very much for this recognition, as it is the most prestigious award given to a foreign executive working in China. It is particularly special when it falls on the 55th anniversary of the founding of the country," Isaman told China Daily yesterday.

    As the market leader in China, Otis China will continue to invest in the country to produce safe, top-quality elevators and escalators, Isaman said.

    "Our family is very proud of this award as well, and we enjoy life and study in Beijing," said Isaman, who lives in Beijing with his wife and three daughters.

    Under Isaman's leadership, Otis China leads the country's market share. With exports doubling in 2003, Otis China's products are exported to 18 countries in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Africa.

    The company has also hailed the role as a corporate citizen in China, dedicating itself to charity projects and safety education programmes in local schools and communities.

    Some of the 84 Friendship Award recipients are being encouraged to work in the vast western region and improve technological renovation and upgrade management know-how and working skills.

    David Strawbridge, an educator from the United Kingdom, has worked in local schools in Tibet Autonomous Region for five years.

    A member of Save the Children, a UK non-profit organization, Strawbridge has dedicated his time and energy to children in Tibet and helped to ease their hardship in life. He believes education is a life-long process that begins at birth and takes place in the family and community as much as in school.

    When he first came to Tibet in 1999, Strawbridge was dumbstruck by the severe lifestyles and poor education conditions there.

    Strawbridge said: "Our job is to help make the school more attractive through introducing new education methodology."

    Strawbridge has trained dozens of local teachers and helped them understand how children learn and develop.

    Through years of hard work, Strawbridge's group has tried to make all children in Lhasa and Shigatse get access to good quality education by tackling poverty, helping communities run schools, training teachers, developing education policies and curricula supporting flexible learning schemes and developing educational opportunities for very young children.

    All these efforts are paying off as they are given more respect by local people and win recognition from the government.

    The country's top leaders have promised that China will open up, and experts from all countries and overseas Chinese are welcome to look at the changes and achievements in the country since the reform and opening-up began in the late 1970s.

    To encourage more foreign experts and professional exchanges, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs organized a conference in late March on the international exchange of professionals in Nanjing, the capital of East China's Jiangsu Province.

    The conference, which started in 2001, is an exchange platform for organizations, institutions and universities in China and for foreign professional organizations.

    Some 240 foreign professional exchange groups from more than 30 countries and regions attended this year's conference.

    The conference opened a special section this year for Chinese professionals who are returning from abroad after years of study to find jobs at home.

    Almost 250 large and medium-sized enterprises and universities have so far provided 4,000 jobs for returnees.

    Private enterprises participated in the conference for the first time.

    (China Daily 09/30/2004 page5)

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