Some local human resources experts have criticized the current standards for the assessment of skills and capabilities and say the criteria are outdated and must be revised to meet the changing situation.
Even Bill Gates would not be regarded as "talented" under the current standards adopted by the municipal government of Shanghai in its effort to introduce badly-needed professionals from outside the region, said Shen Ronghua, director of the Shanghai Public Administration and Human Resources.
Under the current regulations, a "talent" must, at least, have a university degree, but the Microsoft boss quit university when he started his own business which has turned into one of the largest IT empires in the world.
Lin Yuanpei, a local architect who designed the four bridges that span the Huangpu River in Shanghai, can not be regarded as a "talent", because he is but a graduate of a secondary school.
According to Shen, the existing criteria for "talented people" was issued by the government in 1982, when only a handful of people had a higher education background. At that time, a secondary school graduate was a "talent".
Meanwhile, some people have suggested that the government relax rules on the employment of foreign nationals.
Qin Dahe, director of the State Meteorological Bureau, said the leadership of the bureau had planned to recruit someone to replace the outgoing director of the Chinese Institute of Meteorology, regardless of the candidates' nationality.
Chen Deliang, who studied overseas a decade ago and is now a Swedish national, was seen as the most competitive candidate for the position. But finally, someone else took the position, because under the existing law, foreign nationals are not allowed to work as government officials at prefecture level or higher.
The employment of foreign nationals is not as simple as it seems, Qin confessed. It is an issue related to the laws on nationality and the protection of state secrets, as well as foreign affairs, judicial and public security departments.
Chen, who looked somewhat disappointed, said: "When I am in a foreign country, foreigners call me Chinese, but when I come to China, I am treated as a foreigner."
In western countries, nationality is never a problem for working as the director of a research body, Chen noted. He urged the government to deal with the issue, saying it has become an obstacle for overseas Chinese who want to work for the motherland.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2003)