Mechanism set for foreign experts' suggestions

Updated: 2013-08-24 00:49

By HE DAN in Qingdao, Shandong (China Daily)

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The Chinese government will build a sustainable mechanism for senior foreign experts to give suggestions for China's development, said the country's top official in charge of foreign experts' affairs.

Zhang Jianguo, head of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said his administration aims to promote its foreign experts recommendation project, which was launched last year, into a new "think tank" for the central leadership.

Zhang made the remarks on Thursday to some 30 participants, including foreign experts and officials from his administration, at a working conference on the project held in Qingdao, Shandong province.

Liu Yanguo, deputy head of the administration, said that more than 50 foreign experts have participated in the discussion to draft 12 proposals that have been submitted to the State Council, China's cabinet. Three of the advisers are Nobel Prize winners, he said.

All the proposals address important topics on China's social and economic development and some have received positive feedback from the central leadership, he added.

For instance, Jeffrey Lehman, the founding deputy chancellor of New York University Shanghai, proposed a paper to reform China's public universities earlier this year, and later his proposal was presented to President Xi Jinping, Liu said.

Now his proposal has caught the attention of the Ministry of Education as the ministry is undertaking China's reform on public universities.

Francis Snyder, a law professor at Peking University's School of Transnational Law, has urged China to create a national and unified food safety authority to better deal with its food safety issues. He also suggested approaches to boost the enforcement of regulations and improve public education about food safety.

Snyder, who also attended the meeting on Thursday, said he found it very useful to cooperate with Chinese experts during the final stage of the process. The administration invited Chinese experts to evaluate the foreign experts' recommendations before they were submitted to the State Council.

Wei Jianing, deputy director of the department of macroeconomic research of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said that Chinese research institutions are enthusiastic about strengthening cooperation with foreign experts to contribute to the government's decision-making process.

"China needs to learn from overseas experiences as it is trying to solve its own problems in development," he said.

"Foreign experts can help Chinese research institutions have a more comprehensive and precise understanding of the overseas situation in a short time."

Zhang said, "This project helps establish a closer relationship between foreign experts and the Chinese government," adding that it also enables foreign experts to learn more about China, initiate comparative studies programs between China and the outside world, make suggestions on China's issues, and increase their friendship with the Chinese people.

Zhang said his administration will set up different working groups later this year to allow foreign experts from relevant fields of expertise to work together and produce more professional proposals.