China confers friendship award on 100 foreign experts

20:11, September 29, 2009      

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The Chinese government on Tuesday conferred the Friendship Award, the country's highest award for foreign experts, to 100 foreigners for their contribution to its economic and social development.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang gave a medal and certificate to each of 100 experts from 28 different countries at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

China has conferred the award to 1,099 foreign experts since the Friendship Award began in 1991.

"The medal displays each foreign expert's painstaking effort and contribution to China's economic development and social progress, and bears deep friendship and expectations from the Chinese people to you," Zhang told the experts.

"We will continue to adhere to the opening-up policy and take the introduction of foreign intellectual resources as a long-term and strategic task," said Zhang.

Zhang said China would provide better work and living conditions for foreign experts and improve the work of introduction of foreign intellectual resources.

The foreign experts work in such fields as industry, agriculture, education, science and technology, sports, health care and engineering.

Kirby Jefferson from the United States, an award winner and general manager of Intel Semiconductor Ltd. based in northeastern China's Dalian city, said the award "represents the development of Sino-foreign communication and cooperation."

"It witnessed the opening-up of China to the world and new opportunities for closer cooperation between China and the world," said Jefferson.

"China is playing as the engine for the world economy during the economic downturn. We have strong confidence in the prosperity of the economy as well as the favorable investment environment in China," Jefferson said.

About 480,000 foreign experts came to work in China in 2008, compared with fewer than 10,000 at the end of the 1980s.

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