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Xi takes note of advice by foreign experts

Updated: 2014-05-24 08:01
By Wu Jiao and Zheng Jinran in Shanghai ( China Daily)

When 53-year-old former Dutch Cabinet minister Annette Nijs presented her well-prepared talent-hunting strategy on Thursday, she had a special listener in Shanghai.

Nijs, the ex-minister for education, science and culture who is pursuing a new career in China, delivered the advice to President Xi Jinping.

Now the executive director of the China Europe International Business School, Nijs was one of 50 foreign experts from 22 countries invited by Xi to a meeting on China's development and talent policy.

The meeting was high on Xi's agenda after a busy five-day schedule for a regional security summit and a series of bilateral meetings.

Officials in charge of foreign talent issues said all 50 foreign experts work at Shanghai educational institutions and enterprises, and play a significant role in promoting development and breakthroughs in key projects and scientific research.

During the meeting, the experts gave advice ranging from reforming the talent evaluation system to better helping innovation.

During the 90-minute meeting, Xi listened attentively to their proposals, taking notes form time to time. He said, "The advice was insightful and to the point, and we will consider it seriously."

It was the second time that Xi had met foreign talent working in China since he became the country's top leader more than a year ago. The number of foreign experts in China has risen from fewer than 10,000 at the end of the 1980s to about 530,000 by the end of 2011, according to the latest official figures.

Xi said foreign experts had not only brought advanced technology and managerial expertise, but also new concepts and understanding that had contributed to the country's reform and opening-up.

He said China had long valued talent and it was now more urgent than ever to expand this input and include more experts from throughout the world.

The country needed to implement a more open talent policy, to bring in talent no matter where it came from, make the most use of it and trust it fully, he said.

The president said China would always remain devoted to learning, would learn modestly from the world no matter how well it developed, and would openly enhance learning and exchanges with other countries.

Xi urged government agencies to improve the system for bringing in foreign experts, to protect their intellectual property rights, safeguard their legitimate rights and award outstanding cases.

"We should ensure that their expertise and the demands of China's development better match each other, and provide a bigger stage for their talent and career dreams," he said.

Describing foreign experts as "private ambassadors" and members of the Chinese family, Xi called on them to communicate a "comprehensive, true and dynamic China" to the world.

"Opinions, analysis and merciless criticism from you will be conducive for us to face up to our own problems and solve those difficult ones," Xi told his guests.

Anthony J. Leggett, a Nobel Prize winner in physics from Britain and now a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said he was greatly impressed by the earnestness Xi showed at the meeting. He was especially impressed to see the president taking notes. "President Xi knows the necessity of bringing in and fully using foreign expertise," Leggett said.

Gregory D. Gibb of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China said, "I am here because I believe China has a great opportunity to lead the world in financial innovation in the coming decade."

German virologist Ralf Altmeyer, director-general of the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said after the meeting that he had become more convinced that his decision to live and work in China was the right one.

Through the president's remarks, he said he could feel the determination to build a stronger China.

Contact the writers at wujiao@chinadaily.com.cn and zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn