|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao(L front) meets with 50 foreigners who received the annual government "Friendship Award" for their excellent work in China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2012. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao met on Saturday with 50 foreigners who received the annual government "Friendship Award" for their excellent work in China.
Talking to the recipients at downtown Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the Chinese premier thanked the award-winning foreign experts in the presence of their families for their outstanding contributions to China's economic development and social progress.
The foreign experts, skilled in such areas as industry, agriculture, energy and healthcare, come from 22 countries.
During the meeting, the premier briefed the foreigners on China's employing overseas talent during the past decade.
It is an important part of China's policy of reform and opening-up to employ foreign experts, Wen said. He highlighted the increasing number of foreign experts employed in the country, the improved service and working environment for them as well as the expanded fields of international cooperation.
China's introduction of foreign experts not only benefited Chinese people but also provided opportunities for intellectual cooperation and exchanges between Chinese professionals and those from all the other nations, said the premier.
"We sincerely welcome foreign experts and talent to join us in various means with China's modernization drive," Wen said. He pledged that the Chinese government would further improve working and living conditions for foreign intellectuals and protect their legitimate rights and interests.
"Peace, development and cooperation are the irresistable trend of the times in today's world," Wen said. He added that China, as the largest developing country in the world, would firmly stick to the path of peaceful development as well as the fundamental policy of opening-up.
China's development and progress would be a great contribution to all human beings, he said.
State Councilor Ma Kai was present at the meeting.
China launched the annual award in 1991 and, so far, the government has granted awards to 1,249 foreign professionals working in the country.