The Chinese government conferred the annual "Friendship Award" on 41 foreign experts Friday, acknowledging their outstanding contributions to China's economic and social progress.
Vice-Premier Qian Qichen, along with several other senior leaders, presented the honor to the foreign experts from 22 countries.
Qian said at the awarding ceremony that China's tremendous achievements over the past two decades could not have been attained without the sincere cooperation, active participation and enthusiastic assistance of foreign experts. The Chinese government and people will never forget their help, he said.
He said that opening to the outside is a long-term policy of China and the introduction of overseas brainpower is an important part of China's opening up.
It is necessary for China to invite foreign experts to work in China in the course of development while sending Chinese professionals abroad for study and training, so as to promote exchanges with the rest of the world and learn from their advanced technology, he said.
Along with China's expected entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the implementation of the strategy for developing its western regions, China's exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the fields of economy and trade, science and technology, education, culture and talent will increase, thus providing more opportunities for foreign experts, said Qian.
"We welcome more foreign experts, overseas Chinese experts and international friends to take part in China's modernization drive and opening-up and reform drive," he said.
More than 80,000 foreign experts have come to work in China annually over the past several years, playing an important role in various fields.
Sisanan Senyanouvong, a Lao expert at the China Radio International, and Philip Murtaugh, a leading executive of the Shanghai GM Corporation, also spoke on the occasion, expressing their willingness to promote friendship with China.
(People's Daily 09/29/2000)