"Four years ago when I came to China for the first time, I was deeply impressed by how wonderful we were here and we had everything", said J. Niguna, a Russian expert who is now working as an article polisher for a media in Beijing.
"Now I'm still intrigued by the enthusiasm of the rank and file, I hope to work longer in China", she said.
Along with the deepening of the opening up and reforms, China sees a surging demand for talents of various kinds, including foreign experts. According to statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, China's introduction of foreign brains only stood at 500 to 600 persons each year in the lately 1970s; which increased to more than 60,000 by the 1990s. After the WTO accession, the number of introduced foreign talents soared to 220,000 persons annually, coming from 80-strong countries as compared to a dozen in earlier days; if we count in talents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the total scale is nearing 450,000 person times.
After China joined the WTO, the manufacturing industry became a key field in ushering in foreign brains, said Wan Xueyuan, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, and the imbalance of foreign talents between manufacturing and services sectors will be reversed when service professionals come in large quantities. Currently China's manufacturing industry is the biggest home to foreign experts, about 200,000 in number.
China is becoming a big country in introducing foreign brains, added Wan, and her real attraction lies in her long history, brilliant culture and her economic development that is changing with every passing day.
Originally worked at the Far East research institute of Russia's academy of sciences, Niguna is a fluent Chinese speaker and a lover of contemporary Chinese literature. "I like China's feminine literature. Chi Li and Zhang Jie are among my favorite writers. It is a pity that the impression on Chinese literature of most of the Russian still stays on works of the 1960s and 70s. So I tried to translate some excellent works of today to let more Russians understand Chinese literature in contemporary times". Her latest translation is Eve in the Last Days.
Niguna's colleague Wycherley came to work in Beijing from New Zealand on April 28, during the SARS scare. "It is by chance that I came to China when a friend introduced me a job here" he said, "for most New Zealanders, China is still a mysterious country. Now I have been in China for seven months, and I feel this is a country with the fastest changing paces in the world. I love traveling, I hope I can work longer here so I can finish my traveling plan in China, Asia and Russia".
Zha Tianmu, a Canadian expert has worked in China for eight years. Given himself a Chinese name, he is responsible for a poverty alleviation program between China and the Netherlands. Many years of work deep in China's rural areas has given him a keen understanding, "the major task for aiding the poor is to raise peasants' education and self-development capability". He married a girl from Qinghai and enjoys his life in China.
Though foreign experts are satisfied with their lives in China, problems exist in the nation's introduction of foreigners, Wan pointed out. For example, most of them were ushered in via government channels with the introduction of foreign organizations and only a few are through market channels. Most of them came for short-term service and few are long-term employed; their pay lags far behind the standards in international markets.
As international competitions become severer, both developed and developing countries take care of protecting their domestic talent markets when introducing foreign brains and try to combine the two closely together. It needs thorough study on how to merge with international markets, which sector needs foreigners and which needn't, as well as how to combine international and domestic markets together, Wan noted.
(People's Daily December 21, 2003)