Ideas and suggestions drawn from foreign experts, including some prominent figures, were heard before Premier Li Keqiang put his own touches to the final version of the annual Government Work Report, which will become a regular practice in the coming years.
Gao Xiang, spokesman for the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said a total of 13 foreign experts from seven countries drawn from fields including economics, management, energy and technology, shared their ideas at a session on Jan 12.
“They were provided with the English version of last year’s Government Work Report and a list of important issues we’d like them to give their suggestions on,” said Gao. “They talked about escaping from the middle income trap, ways to promote innovation, reduce financial risks and tackle energy and environmental protection challenges.”
Jeffrey Lehman, vice-chancellor of New York University’s Shanghai campus, said it was extraordinary for the Chinese government to seek input from foreign experts during the process of preparing the report.
“I know of no other country in the world that does this and I admire how China pays attention to how its annual report might have an effect beyond China’s borders,” said Lehman.
He gave his suggestions on the theme of “higher education for a 21st century innovation economy” and said, “If this year’s report shows how Chinese values support experimentation with the kind of higher education that nurtures creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, it will be of enormous help to the most innovative leaders of China’s best universities.”
Premier Li delivered the Government Work Report to the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, at its ongoing annual session in Beijing on March 5.
Huang Shouhong, vice director of the State Council Research Office and head of the report’s drafting team, said listening to suggestions and advice from foreign experts was a part of government transparency.
“We began doing this last year, and it was very fruitful and meaningful,” Huang said. “We continued to do it this year, and it was very positive. They gave us a range of good suggestions based on their knowledge, experience and comparison with other countries. Some suggestions have been absorbed into the government report.”