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[China Daily] City told to improve services to foreigners

Last updated :2017-07-27

Source: China Daily 07/27/2017 page3
http://africa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-07/27/content_30263197.htm
By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzho

Guangzhou has been urged to develop a system to help improve the management of its growing number of foreign residents.

The city, capital of Guangdong province, is the southern gateway to the country and should also study and explore a new employment guarantee system for the city's foreigners, indicating those who invite and employ foreigners must take all responsibility for them, a senior legislator said.

"And Guangzhou should build special platforms for foreigners to seek translators and interpreters, medical treatment and related services, as well as the establishment of databanks for the overseas people," according to Cai Guoqiang, head of the committee of overseas Chinese, foreign, ethnic and religious affairs of the Guangzhou People's Congress.

Cai made the remarks on Tuesday in the wake of a survey on the situation of foreigners in Guangzhou, launched by Cai's committee.

According to the city's exit and entry department, Guangzhou now has a transient foreign population of about 80,000, more than 60 percent of them from Asian countries.

The figure usually reaches more than 120,000 when the city holds the semiannual China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, in Spring and Fall.

Guangzhou, which registered a record high of more than 5.41 million foreigners in and out of the city last year, has become the third-largest exit and entry port on the mainland, following Beijing and Shanghai.

South Koreans make up the majority of foreign residents in Guangzhou.

The number of foreigners from Africa comes to about 11,000, less than one-fifth of the total number of expats.

Most of the foreigners arrive in Guangzhou for employment, doing business, for study or sightseeing. Many foreigners think Guangdong, a major production base, has a wide range of good quality products at competitive prices and that the business environment of the city is getting better, authorities said.

Guangzhou will never limit the number of foreigners, as they have greatly contributed to the city's economic development, authorities have said.

Garments, silks, ceramics, handicrafts, electronics, toys, shoes and watches have become the main products many foreigners purchase in Guangzhou and ship home.

Yue Jinglun, a professor of public administration from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said the number of foreigners in the city will continue to grow due to the myriad employment opportunities and the improved working and living climate.

Authorities should learn from the experience of other countries, Yue said on Wednesday. "The legal interests and rights of foreigners in Guangzhou should be well protected while improving the management of the foreigners to build harmonious communities," he added.

Liang Fengxin contributed to this story.