The central government hosted a banquet for foreign nationals who have used their skills to help the country achieve its goals, ahead of the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China,
Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, spoke to the 1,800 expat professionals and their families at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sept 28, saying he 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 a less spicy version of kung pao chicken - with the aim of appealing to the taste buds of Westerners.
The reception was the first time many of the foreigners had visited the Great Hall of the People.
Colin Patrick Mackerras, who specializes in international relations, said that the event, held every five years, was a “warm gesture”.
The 75-year-old Australian professor was one of the winners of the 2014 Friendship Award, which is the highest honor awarded by the Chinese government to foreign experts who have made significant 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 at top Chinese universities.
Over the past 65 years, China has continuously expanded its programs to attract foreign talent, with the number of overseas experts invited to work in the country hitting 610,000 last year.
Mackerras said it would be good for China to ease the current regulations concerning its “green card,” so that more foreign professionals could stay in the country longer - and contribute more.
Others attending the banquet agreed that China would continue to benefit from closer cooperation with the rest of the world.
Markus Borchert, president of the Greater China region for Nokia Siemens Networks, also received the Friendship Award. He has worked with his company to promote 4G mobile technology - and China is now a world leader in this technology. Borchert said that “China is very open in terms of cooperation with the world and offers a very friendly environment to drive innovation.”