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Foreigners sit in on political advisory body
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-14 06:11

SHANGHAI: Nine foreigners living in Changning District of Shanghai were invited to the district's annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) for the first time this year.

The expatriates, from Japan, Germany, France, Denmark, Turkey and India, who know China very well and speak good Chinese, attended the opening and closing ceremonies, held on January 8 and 11.

Yi Jingyuan, an official from the Changning District Committee of the CPPCC, said, "This was the first time any foreign individuals in the city took part in the CPPCC, a political advisory body.

"We are making an effort to allow expats to get to know Shanghai better, not only from cultural or economic aspects, but also politically, and blend themselves better with the city."

Changning District now has a third of all foreign consulates in Shanghai and a quarter of the city's 74,000 expatriates.

"One Danish businessman, who has lived in Shanghai for years, told one of our members that he wanted to attend the conference as a visitor so he could get to know more about government affairs. The member conveyed to us the suggestion at a regular meeting in December and it was approved by the district and then municipal government," said Yi.

Noyan Rona, chief representative of the Turkey Garanti Bank Shanghai Office, said: "It means a lot to us.

"It helped me understand more of the government's functions and will allow foreigners in the district to truly blend themselves into the city."

Rona said he would attend more conferences in the future and contribute his ideas as a resident, if possible, which was affirmed by Yi.

"Foreigners will be allowed to get themselves more involved with the conference in future, to propose suggestions and take part in discussions.

"In addition, we are planning more measures to make the district more comfortable for expatriates."

Yi refused to release more details of these measures.

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