China remembers individuals who helped it reach the heights; honours 10 foreigners
Beijing, Dec 25: Even though China is seen with suspicion for being a closed system often, the country doesn't hesitate to reward those who have helped it undergo reforms and opening up. Last week, the Chinese authorities held an event in the national capital to observe the 40th anniversary of "reform and opening up" which took the country from the clasp of the Cultural Revolution to becoming the world's second largest economy. And on the occasion, the Chinese honoured 10 foreign nationals (some living, some posthumous) with China Reform Friendship Medals for having aided the nation to progress on the path of economic reform over the past four decades.
The 10 individuals are:
- French medical entrepreneur Alain Mérieux who helped China to build its first top biological lab
- German engineer and technical consultant Werner Gerich who became the first foreign factory director in China
- Singapore's iconic prime minister Lee Kuan Yew who was often termed as an "old friend of the Chinese people". Lee had travelled to China over 30 times and met with the country's top leaders.
- Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab who promoted China's economic cooperation with the rest of the world
- Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita who former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping wanted to meet in 1978 in Japan and the former later set up cutting-edge factories in China
- Public intellectual Robert Kuhn who wrote several books and articles on China, including a biography of Jiang Zemin. Kuhn is often credited for telling China's stories to the world.
- Former International Olympic Committee head Juan Antonio Samaranch who saw China making a return to the Olympics in 1980 and also the country getting awarded the right to host the mega event in Beijing (2008 edition) in 2001.
- Former Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ōhira who promoted normalisation of relations between China and Japan and wanted his country to help China's opening up
- Stephen Perry who promoted China-British trade relations
- Former chairman of American International Group and chairman of CV Starr & Companies Maurice R Greenberg who was known for bolstering US-China friendship.