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Premier Extends New Year's Greetings to Foreign Experts
Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji Wednesday conveyed his sincere New Year's greetings to all foreign experts working in China, especially the elderly experts who have worked in support of China's revolution and construction for decades.

Zhu conveyed met with 20 elderly foreign experts and their families in the Great Hall of the People, including Israel Epstein,an experienced Jewish writer known to almost every Chinese household for his decades of work in China.

The premier said China treasures the friendship and cooperation between foreign experts and the Chinese people, stressing that the Chinese people will "forever remember" their contribution to China's revolution and construction over the past decades.

China will persist in its policies of reform and of opening up to the outside world, and encourages more foreign experts and overseas Chinese to visit the country to learn more about it and to participate in its economic construction.

According to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, about 440,000 foreign experts came to work in China in 2001, and again in 2002.

Zhu also briefed the foreign experts on China's overall economic development. He said the Chinese economy grew by 8 percent last year despite the global economic slowdown.

The premier urged all departments concerned to continue their efforts to improve the living conditions of the elderly foreign experts.

He also encouraged foreign experts to make proposals and suggestions related to China's development.

The meeting between Zhu and the elderly foreign experts on the eve of the Spring Festival, China's lunar New Year which falls on Feb. 1 this year, has become a tradition, and Wednesday's meeting was the fourth of its kind.

(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2003)

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