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Civil Servants Study Overseas

There is a growing trend across the country for local governments to send civil servants to study abroad to acquaint them with "international play rules," Xinhua news agency reported.

Local governments are calling the programs "a training of administrative officials for the 21st century."

Officials who qualify for training overseas, which usually last for one year, must be under the age of 45 with a bachelor's degree or higher educational background. They also must have served sufficient years in government, reported Xinhua.

Officials are selected for overseas study via examination. They can choose from training courses provided at universities in North America and Europe. Courses can range from macro-economy, public and business administration to administration of science, education and cultural sectors.

Some universities offer Chinese trainees internships in government departments or big enterprises after completing their studies.

"An accelerated pace of economic globalization and the anticipated accession into the World Trade Organization require that admini-strative officials have the ability to deal with frequent international exchanges and a broadened horizon, which are of key importance to improving the competitiveness of an economy," said Li Changchun, the provincial Party chief of Guangdong.

Guangdong initiated a training program last year by sending 60 officials to universities in the United States and Canada. In the next five years, another 300 officials from the provincial and municipal govern-ments in Guangdong will benefit from the program.

"The government needs modern administrative officials with a vision of the world," said Wen Guohui, director of the industrial policy department with the Guangdong Provincial Economic and Trade Commission.

Wen was among the first group of 60 officials who recently returned from overseas training funded by the Guangdong provincial government.

After getting all "A's" in his courses at the University of California, Wen visited many US states on an internship study to witness American presidential election campaigns.

Wen said his training in the US gave him an intensive view of the country's electoral system.

(Eastday.com.cn 04/04/2001)

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