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About the Friendship Award

Updated: Nov 06, 2017 Print


The Friendship Award is China's highest honor granted to foreign experts to thank them and commend their outstanding achievements and dedication to China's development and construction in economic progress, technology, education and culture as well as personnel cultivation.

The national award shows that China attaches great importance to foreign experts working here, as they are the people who, in turn, can attract more colleagues to China to work and promote the country's development. 


This award grew out of the award established in 1950s in honor of experts from the former Soviet Union and East European countries. On the eve of National Day, the then Premier Zhou Enlai and Foreign Minister Chen Yi presented letters of thanks to the foreign experts who had made special contributions to China. 

On Sept 15, 1955, the Chinese government decreed that each departing Soviet expert be issued a medal. This medal featured the flags of China and the Soviet Union along with the inscription "Long Live the Sino-Soviet Friendship". This friendship award was abolished with the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s. 

After the reform and opening to the outside, with the renewal of introduction and commendation of foreign experts, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) resumed the Friendship Award in 1991. 


1) Friendship Award candidates should be foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China's economic construction and social development; foreign experts who have played an important role in promoting exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries and talents cultivation, especially scientists with remarkable innovation ability; leading talents in science and technology with significant technological innovation ability; entrepreneurs with a global perspective and strategic development ability; and various talents who meet urgent needs in China's economic and social development. Experts from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions and Chinese experts residing abroad are ruled out from the list.

2) Foreign experts who are friendly to China; who have made positive contributions to various social undertakings overcoming difficulties and devoting themselves to the development of impoverished areas; and those foreign experts who have good reputations and great social influence.

3) Foreign experts who have made significant contributions in the following fields will be preferred: China's economic transformation and upgrading, giving impetus to innovation and entrepreneurship, promoting the Five Major Development Concepts (namely, innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing), cooperating with the Belt and Road Initiative, “Made in China 2025”or disseminating China's voice.

4) In principle, the winners should be awarded at provincial and ministerial levels. Foreign experts may win the award only once.



The award winners are selected by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs under the State Council.


Selection Process

The award winners first should be recommended by their employing units and the local government and relevant ministries and commissions of the State Council. The panel of judges organized by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs then selects qualified candidates for the award through secret ballot; the list of candidates is subject to examination and approval of the State Council in accordance with relevant procedures. 

Ministries, provincial and some municipal-level administrations of foreign experts affairs can recommend two to three candidates for the award to SAFEA, which organizes a judging panel to select the winners. 

At present, more than 30 kinds of foreign expert awards have been established at the provincial, regional and municipal levels.


Number of Winners

Approximately 50 foreign experts receive the Friendship Award every year, with approximately 100 awarded on the 5th and 10th anniversaries of National Day. 

To date (2017) 1,549 foreigners have received the medal.



Winners of the year’s award are invited to Beijing to attend the awarding ceremony on National Day (October 1st). They meet with the Party and state leaders of China and participate in National Day festivities.



The award consists of a medal and an award certificate. The medal is decorated with a picture of the Great Wall on the obverse along with the inscription "Friendship Award" in Chinese (on the top) and in English (on the bottom).



The award has a positive and important influence on foreign experts working in China and many of them treasure it. It is a great honor for experts to be invited to the awards ceremony. The award is not only in recognition of the foreign expert’s contribution to the Chinese but also a symbol of friendship. 

The Friendship Award not only manifests the friendship between the peoples of China and other countries, but also bears the important responsibility of maintaining world peace and promoting common development.

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