Nation thanks foreign talent for contributions
Just days before the People's Republic of China celebrates its 65 birthday, the central government took time on Sunday night to show its gratitude to the many foreigners who have put their skills at the service of the country to help it achieve its goals.
At a gathering of 1,800 expat professionals and their families at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, extended "heartfelt thanks and cordial greetings to you and your families, and to all foreign experts and international friends who have cared for, supported and contributed to China's reform and development".
The banquet menu included kung pao turkey made with toned-down spices in an effort to appeal more to Westerners.
The reception was the first time many of the gathered foreigners had visited the Great Hall of the People, let alone be treated to a banquet there.
The occasion, held every five years, is a warm gesture, said Colin Patrick Mackerras, who specializes in international relations.
The 75-year-old Australian professor is one of the winners of the 2014 Friendship Award. The accolade is the highest honor awarded by the Chinese government to foreign experts who have made prominent contributions.
"China has set goals in attracting global talent to fuel domestic growth, especially in some particular fields, and the encouraging policies have worked so far," said Mackerras, who has lectured in top Chinese universities.
In the past 65 years, China has seen continuous expansion in its programs to attract foreign talent, with the rising number of foreign experts invited to work in the country hitting 610,000 last year.
It is also better for China to ease the current "green card" threshold to allow more foreign professionals to stay in the country longer and contribute more, Mackerras suggested.
Many others agreed that China stands to benefit further through closer cooperation with the rest of the world.
"China is very open in terms of cooperation with the world and offers a very friendly environment to drive innovation," said Markus Borchert, president of the Greater China region for Nokia Siemens Networks. Borchert was also given the Friendship Award.
Borchert and his company have helped to promote 4G mobile technology, in which China is now leading the world.
What we do
SAFEA is responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in the Chinese mainland and organizing overseas training for Chinese technical and managerial professionals.