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Luring overseas talent back gets boost
By Chen Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-25 07:42
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BEIJING - Authorities are introducing more measures to attract overseas talent to return to the country and a series of favorable policies will be included in a national program to be released soon.

"We plan to launch a series of cooperative multi-department initiatives this year to offer overseas talent favorable policies in household registration, residence permits, medical care and education of their children," said Wu Jianying, a senior official of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

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"The coming National Outline for Medium and Long Term Talent Development will specify the key fields to prioritize in order to attract overseas talent," Bai Chunli, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), told China Daily in a recent interview.
He said some sectors are crowded with talent, and even waste talent, while some other sectors are desperate for the professionals.

'The situation is unbalanced, so a systematic scheme to clarify the key fields is necessary," Bai said.

Song Yonghua, deputy director of the personnel work bureau under the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that the government has arranged seven groups to screen and examine overseas talent "as a way to ensure the fairness of the scheme".

Song was among the first batch of top talent lured back to China as part of its 1,000-Talents Scheme, which was launched to help the nation make the transition from a manufacturing hub to a world leader in innovation.

"A similar overseas background helps me share an understanding with them," he said.

Timing has also played a major part in facilitating the country's recruitment plan. Since reform and opening up in 1978, millions of Chinese students have flocked overseas for further education.

About 1.06 million Chinese studied overseas between 1978 and 2006, and more than 70 percent of them chose not to return home, a report on the Development of Chinese Talent published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2006 showed.

Many said the number of Chinese-born professionals living in Europe and the United States has grown to such a level that the government has a massive talent pool to draw from and reverse the country's brain drain.

"Most of the people who went abroad back then are now in their 40s or 50s and in the prime of their careers. We miss our parents in China after years of leaving and are also considering the Chinese education system for our children," said Li Xuelong, a senior researcher with the Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics of CAS who studied and worked in Britain before returning to China.

"The country's support and funding for research is also a very important factor in attracting us back," he said.

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