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Foreign students to enjoy insurance coverage
( 2003-09-09 07:06) (China Daily)

The Ministry of Education and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China signed a co-operative agreement yesterday in Beijing, to provide life insurance for Chinese Government-funded foreign students studying in China.

For the next five years, the ministry will help these students apply for health, accident, hospitalization and medical insurance, with total coverage of more than 60,000 yuan (US$7,229), according to the agreement.

The move is aimed at providing foreign students studying in China a more secure environment. Self-supported foreign students can also apply for life insurance from Ping An Insurance Company.

Up to now, the number of life insurance applications from foreign students has been very small, sources from the company said.

Life insurance will now be made obligatory for foreign students studying in China, to safeguard their health while they are in the country, according to the ministry.

During the critical period from April to June this year when the country was in the midst of the SARS epidemic, the ministry and the company jointly listed SARS coverage as an important aspect of life insurance for foreign students in the country.

"This step helped foreign students feel more secure and won their plaudits,'' said Vice-Minister of Education Zhang Xinsheng.

Since it received its first group of 33 students from Eastern Europe in 1950, China has hoisted a total of 530,000 students from 170 countries and regions. In 2002 alone, the country received 85,000 foreign students, up 42 per cent from the figures for 2001.

Some 6,000 of them are on Chinese Government scholarships, according to the ministry's latest statistics.

Over the past few years, the number of overseas students in China has continued to rise, building on the two decades of the country's opening-up policy and accelerated by the accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001, according to the ministry's Department for International Co-operation and Exchanges.

Zhang said the Chinese Government places great importance of looking after foreign students studying in China. The country's political and economic stability and the rising internationally have provided an agreeable climate for foreign students.

"Services for foreign students, including life insurance, have all been greatly improved and will be further improved in the future,'' said Zhang.

Sun Jianyi, an official with Ping An Insurance Company, said the company is willing to offer efficient services for both government-funded and self-supporting foreign students.

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