|Lisa Carducci, a Canadian profe-ssor, said receiving the card was a dream she has had since she first came to China 14 years ago.|
A Noble Prize winner was among a dozen expatriots handed new green cards allowing them permanent residency in Beijing
Canadian Robert Mundell, who won the converted award for Economics in 1999, has been granted green card status allowing him to live and work freely in Beijing and free movement from city to city.
"This is a very memorable moment for me. It is a honour, pleasure and great opportunity for me to become the green card holder of a resident in Beijing," said Mundell, who is an adviser and honorary professor of Tsinghua, Nankai universities and Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Mundell was one of 12 foreigners who received the card at a special ceremony in Beijing yesterday.
They are among the first group of foreigners in the capital whose applications for permanent residence have been approved after the country adopted the green card system last August.
Lisa Carducci, a Canadian profe-ssor, said receiving the card was a dream she has had since she first came to China 14 years ago.
Before the green card system was adopted, foreign nationals were awarded with resettlement or permanent residence certificates, which were introduced in the 1980s and limited in number.
More foreigners will be eligible to apply for a green card, which allows them free movement and non-visa entry in and out of the country.
Green card applications are vetted and approved by the Ministry of Public Security.
The move to an international system is in response to China's economic and social development and opening up to the global community.
Xu Jialu, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said the granting ceremony shows that Beijing will open its doors wider to the outside world and welcome more "foreign friends" to come.
Foreigners eligible for the green cards are leading business professionals and experts in a given field who have made "outstanding contributions, or are of special importance to China."
Those coming to China to stay their families and those who invest over US$500,000 in the country are also eligible.
A further 88 foreign people, who had been granted with resettlement or permanent residence certificates before, also changed their old permits to the new green cards.