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Overseas Chinese help modernization
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-21 00:49

Overseas Chinese and their relatives are a major force to push China's modernization forward.

The Seventh National Congress of Returned Overseas Chinese and Their Relatives, which opened Tuesday in Beijing, sent a clear message: That returned Chinese can help build a well-off society.

Top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao, attended the opening session of the congress.

Wang Zhaoguo, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said that the meeting will further help unite returned overseas Chinese and their relatives as well as establish extensive links with Chinese nationals residing abroad.

The meeting would "make a new contribution to China's reform, opening up and modernization drive, boost the great cause of the peaceful reunification of the motherland and further the Chinese people's friendly communication with the people of various countries around the world," he added.

Lin Zhaoshu, president of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese reviewed the work of the sixth committee of the federation and set the guiding principles and main goals for the federation in the next five years.

The four-day meeting will also be used as a forum to discuss the Constitution of the federation and elect a new committee.

There are tens of millions of overseas Chinese around the world and more than 30 million overseas Chinese and their relatives have returned home.

They have played an important role in China's reform and opening process. Their investment accounts for more than 70 per cent of China's foreign investment.

"Their enthusiasm to come back and invest in the motherland will surely benefit economic development and the federation has shown earnest concern to help solve their practical difficulties and problems," said Lin.

He said he would like to see more overseas Chinese investment flocking to northeastern and western China.

He also encouraged Chinese students abroad to return to serve the country at a time of intense international competition.

He called on the federation and its local branches to attach importance to the legal rights of returned overseas Chinese and their relatives by popularizing regulations issued by the State Council which took effect July 1.

The meeting, attended by about 1,000 delegates from home and abroad, also honored ten returned overseas Chinese who have made outstanding contributions in various fields, including Dr Zhong Nanshan, a prestigious expert on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from South China's Guangdong Province.

The National Congress of Returned Overseas Chinese and Their Relatives was first held in 1956.

In 1984 a decision was made to hold the meeting every five years.

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