China to help overseas Chinese better integrate with local society: official

Qiu Yuanping, head of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, answers netizens’ questions in an online interview on March 5, 2014. Photo: Xinhua

Recently, Qiu Yuanping, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, shared her views on the role overseas Chinese are playing in bridging China and Canada in an exclusive interview with the

Below are the excerpts of the interview: How do you evaluate the contributions of overseas Chinese in Canada to the relationship between China and Canada?

Qiu Yuanping: The immigration of Chinese people to Canada started in the 1850s. About 160 years ago, first Chinese laborers went to Canada where they helped build a cross-continental railway but were treated unfairly. With tenacity, diligence and wisdom, they have made great contributions to the economic development and cultural diversification of Canada since the modern times, winning the recognition from the Canadian society.

In the process of globalization, the international movement of people has become commonplace. China has been a major source of immigrants to Canada for several consecutive years. There are 1.5 million Chinese in Canada, accounting for 4 percent of the country's total population. With their enhanced levels of education, economic power, career potential, social influence and social integration, overseas Chinese have become an important part of the local society, helped by the Canadian government's policy against racial discrimination.

Overseas Chinese have always helped promote the China-Canada partnership and been the most reliable force in bridging the two countries. How will the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office push forward with the preferential policy for the Chinese in North America?

Qiu Yuanping: In order to help overseas Chinese better integrate into the local society, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council has implemented a series of preferential policies in areas of construction of overseas Chinese communities, Chinese language education, cultural exchange, mutual assistance, publicity of Chinese food and medicine and information sharing.

Currently, North America has more than 6 million overseas Chinese. We will roll out new initiatives to help overseas Chinese live and develop in the local society. What are the policies the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office has to attract overseas Chinese talents?

Qiu Yuanping: Overseas Chinese can serve as the bridge between China, the US and Canada and a driving force for China's technological and economic development.

In order to help overseas Chinese benefit from China's innovation policy, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council rolled out an initiative to work with municipalities and provinces including Beijing, Tianjin, Jilin province and Fujian province to establish 13 innovation centers.

So far, the innovation centers have attracted many overseas Chinese to do businesses in China. How can overseas Chinese benefit from China's "One Belt, One Road" blueprint?

Qiu Yuanping: As the world and China are seeing a profound economic restructuring, China has launched a series of policies such as the "Internet Plus" policy and the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, injecting new energy into the global economy and creating opportunities for overseas Chinese to gain benefits.

By virtue of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative and the policy encouraging Chinese companies to go out, overseas Chinese can play a unique role in infrastructure connectivity, trade liberalization, capital flows and improvement of life. They can also contribute to Chinese companies' exploration in the overseas market, international capacity cooperation and technological collaboration. During the visit to China by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, China and Canada signed 56 cooperation agreements. Canada also announced new business cooperation with Alibaba and decided to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). What impact will these have on Chinese businessmen in Canada?

Qiu Yuanping: Lately, the Canadian prime minister paid a visit to China, where the two countries' leaders reiterated the importance of forging a comprehensive partnership. The two sides also signed 56 cooperation agreements aimed at deepening cooperation in areas of energy, cleaning technology, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, financial services, innovation and technology. The two countries also reached a consensus on conducting a study on the feasibility of establishing a free trade zone, sending an explicit message of their endorsement of trade and investment liberalization.

Canada's inclusion into the AIIB and the launch of the Canada Pavilion on Tmall Global will facilitate Canadian enterprises and overseas Chinese in Canada to enter the Chinese and Asian markets. I hope that overseas Chinese would not miss the benefits brought by China's new round of reforms and the China-Canada partnership and that they could connect their personal success with the friendship between China and Canada.

(The article is translated and edited by Ding Yi)

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