On December 17, 2018, Zhang Jianguo, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) met with Mr. Alain Merieux, recipient of the China Reform Friendship Medal and President of the Fondation Merieux, and his wife in Beijing.
Vice Minister Zhang Jianguo firstly congratulated Mr. Alain Merieux on receiving the China Reform Friendship Medal and thanked him for his contribution to the development of China‘s reform and opening-up over the past 40 years. He then briefed the French guests on the merging of MOST and SAFEA, which fully reflected the importance attached by the Chinese government to science, technology, innovation and talent development. Vice Minister Zhang Jianguo remarked that France has a lot of success stories and advanced technologies in the fields of biomedicine, engineering management and aviation technology. This year China-France cooperation in science, technology, innovation and talent exchange has been further strengthened. He noted that the Chinese government has increased investment in science and technology and built a sound research system, which provides a better platform of cooperation between China and France. Vice Minister Zhang Jianguo said that as a recipient of the 2014 Chinese Government Friendship Award, Mr. Alain Merieux is an old friend of SAFEA and hoped that Mr. Alain Merieux will lead his team to facilitate further cooperation with Chinese institutions in the fields of biomedicine and healthcare.
Mr. Alain Merieux thanked the Chinese government for giving him this great honor. He said that he started to learn about China in 1978 and had witnessed the great achievements of China’s reform and opening up in the decades of cooperation with China. He remarked that a very important part of his career is people-to-people exchange, especially between Chinese and French scientists. He took investment in talents as the biggest investment because they are the future of science. He said that all his life had been dedicated to fighting against infectious diseases, cancer and other diseases. It is a long journey that calls for the joint efforts of the international community instead of the efforts of a single country. Mr. Alain Merieux said that it is a wise decision to work with China and that he and his team will continue to promote cooperation and exchanges with China in the future as they have done in the past.
Deng Yonghui, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Overseas Intellectual Resources Cooperation and Lei Fengyun, member of the leading group of the Department of International Cooperation of MOST, and Ms. Liao Qizhi, Chief Representative of the Fondation Merieux in China, attended the meeting.