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Expats asked to share their visions for a better China

Updated: 2014-08-22 08:36
By Su Zhou in Rizhao, Shandong province (China Daily)

Besides contributing to technological, economic and cultural exchanges, foreign experts in China are encouraged to participate in the central government's policy-making process by giving recommendations.

"China is now the second-largest economy in the world, but this cannot change the fact that we are still the largest developing country in the world with many challenges," said Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. "Learning from other countries' experience can help lower the risk of reform."

Taking advice from foreign experts is one of the most efficient ways, Zhang added.

Fifty-seven foreign experts have participated in the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs recommendation program and 19 written proposals have been sent to the country's top leaders. The proposals cover various aspects, including education, food security, environmental protection and banking management.

In 2012, they formed the Foreign Experts Advisory Committee and hired four expats as consultants. They not only submit their ideas but also recommend other foreign experts to do the same.

"I recall being very surprised by the invitation to draft a policy report in June 2012," said Alistair Michie, deputy chairman of the 48 Group Club, and one of the consultants. "My reaction was disbelief that a foreigner would be asked directly to give policy advice to the Chinese prime minister."

"It would be unthinkable for the British government and prime minister to establish this kind of mechanism for consulting foreign experts."

Liu Yanguo, deputy director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said the mechanism is a useful trial of a think tank of foreign experts.

Michie said foreign talent contributed a lot to the construction in China, not only technology but also their minds.


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