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What have overseas Chinese contributed to China in past 30 years?
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Overseas Chinese created the concept of "San Lai Yi Bu" trade

As foreign trade developed in China following the reform and opening-up policies, "San Lai Yi Bu" came to stand for four types of transnational trade, namely the processing of materials supplied by overseas clients, the assembly of equipment supplied by overseas clients, the production of goods based on samples provided by overseas clients, and the compensation transaction.

Jiang Ling, Vice-Mayor of Dongguan City in Guangdong Province, suggests that the idea of "San Lai Yi Bu" was proposed by overseas Chinese. "At a time when we lacked funds, technology, markets, and industries, overseas Chinese suggested that we make use of comparatively cheap and abundant land and labor resources to attract overseas industries and capital.

With the inspiration of and help from overseas Chinese, the first "San Lai Yi Bu" enterprise in China was set up in Dongguan City. From this base, the city has steadily developed into an international manufacturing base. Dongguan City also benefited from exchanges with overseas Chinese in developing the city's culture and improving the environment. The Dongguan mode is no longer exceptional - the approach has also been seen in Shanghai, Fujian Province, and other places where many overseas Chinese originate.

Lv Weixiong, Director of the Guangdong Foreign Affairs & Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee, who served as the Vice-Mayor of Zhongshan City for seven years, recalled this period and said that the advanced ideas brought by overseas Chinese played a significant role in the development of China's reform and opening-up. From city planning to the renovation of public toilets and rubbish bins, Zhongshan City's progress is closely connected with new concepts brought in by overseas Chinese.

Donations become a habit

On October 11, 2008, 88-year-old American Chinese Wu Zhongliang (middle) visits a middle school funded by his donation in Neijiang City of Sichuan Province.

In 1980s and 90s, if people visited towns inhabited by returned overseas Chinese and relatives of overseas Chinese, they would notice that the best buildings were mostly schools funded by donations from overseas Chinese.

Many older generations of overseas Chinese were firm in the belief that "we can't let the children suffer the pains we had", and "Provide the best possible education to children". As a result, the majority of donations from overseas Chinese went into education.

In Guangdong Province alone, there are nearly 18,000 middle and primary schools established by donations from overseas Chinese in the past 20 years. The three universities of Shantou, Wuyi, and Jiaying were also set up through donations from overseas Chinese.

At the very beginning, funds usually went to aging relatives and friends. Gradually, with the return of more and more overseas Chinese, donating to their hometown has become a habit for many overseas Chinese.

In 1981, Brazilian Chinese Qiao Songming, originally from Xingyang City of China's Henan Province, set up a primary school and a middle school for his village. He also set up scholarship award for diligent students. Later he invested 200,000 yuan (US$29,263) to start a chicken farm together with his fellow-villagers.

In addition to education, overseas Chinese have also helped to repair bridges, construct roads, set up hospitals, and provide welfare houses. According to the statistics, over the past 30 years overseas Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao have donated 70 billion yuan to public services on the Chinese mainland. More than 600 overseas Chinese have donated over 10 million yuan to the Chinese mainland.

(China.org.cn October 15, 2008)

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