Friendship Award

The Friendship Award is the highest national honor that can be bestowed upon a foreigner by the Chinese government. It is conferred upon foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China's economic and social progress.

A total of 999 foreign experts from 56 countries worldwide have been awarded the honor from 1991 through 2008 (extrapolated from UCDavis, 2007 and Gov.cn, 2008).

Provincial governments do recognize the achievements of their local foreigners annually as well with what are referred to as commemorative or appreciation awards.

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Appendices

Permanent Residence Requirements for Foreigners

A great deal has been written and discussed on various forums about the so-called "Chinese Green Card." Essentially, what this amounts to is either a 5-year (for a minor child) or 10-year (for adults) residency permit, which is automatically renewable barring any reasons for it not to be.

Foreign teachers may apply for "permanent residency" if they have held the rank of associate professor or above at a key university for a minimum of four years and it can be demonstrated that they have made a "great and outstanding contribution" to and are "specially needed" by China (see articles 6 and 8 below). However, we are aware of at least two foreigners—who are not career academicians with advanced degrees at key universities—who have received the Chinese Green Card for otherwise having distinguished themselves in their communities (in both cases, they were recipients of China's national Friendship Award (see sidebar).

Technically speaking, foreign teachers who have been married to a Chinese national for a minimum of five years are also eligible for permanent residency but we are aware of only one foreigner who received a long-term residency permit on this basis alone. In the vast majority of cases, a perpetually renewable three-month tourist (L-) visa seems to be what is typically issued.

For your convenience and edification, the regulation has been attached below in its entirety.


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Measures for the Administration of Examination
and Approval of Foreigners' Permanent Residence in China

Order of the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
No.74
Measures for the Administration of Examination and Approval of Foreigners' Permanent Residence in China
adopted by the State Council on December 13, 2003, are hereby promulgated and carried out.

Minister of the Ministry of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang
Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Zhaoxing
August 15, 2004

Article 1

In order to standardize the examination and approval of foreigners' permanent residence in China, these Measures are formulated in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of Entry and Exit of Foreigners and the Detailed Rules for its implementation.

Article 2

Foreigners' permanent residence in China refers to that the period of foreigners' residence in China is not limited.

Article 3

The Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card is a valid ID certificate for a foreigner who has obtained permanent residence status in China and may be used independently.

Article 4

A foreigner with permanent residence status in China may enter and leave China with his valid passport and Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card.

Article 5

The authorities to accept the applications of foreigners for permanent residence in China are the public security organs of the people's governments of cities with subordinate districts and the public security branch bureaus and county-level bureaus of municipalities directly under the Central Government. The authorities to examine foreigners' applications for permanent residence in China are the departments and bureaus of public security of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. The authority to examine and approve foreigners' applications for permanent residence in China is the Ministry of Public Security.

Article 6

Foreigners applying for permanent residence in China must abide by Chinese laws, be in good health and without any criminal record, and must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. Having made direct investment in China with stable operation and a good tax paying record for three successive years;
  2. Having been holding the post of deputy general manager, deputy factory director or above or of associate professor, associate research fellow and other associate senior titles of professional post or above or enjoying an equal treatment, for at least four successive years, with a minimum period of residence in China for three cumulative years within four years and with a good tax paying record;
  3. Having made a great and outstanding contribution to and being specially needed by China;
  4. Being the spouse or unmarried child under 18 years old of a person with reference to the item (1), (2) or (3) of this paragraph;
  5. Being the spouse of a Chinese citizen or of a foreigner with permanent residence status in China, in a marriage relationship for at least five years, with at least five successive years of residence in China and at least nine months of residence in China each year, and having stable source of subsistence and a dwelling place;
  6. Being an unmarried person under 18 years old turning to his parent; or
  7. Being a person who is or above 60 years old, who has no direct relative abroad and is to turn to any directive relative in China, and has stayed in China for at least five successive years with at least nine- month residence in China each year, and has stable source of subsistence and a dwelling place.

The periods of time in this Article mean the successive ones till the date of application.

Article 7

In the case of a foreigner under item (1) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein, the registered capital paid by him as investment in China shall meet any of the following requirements:

  1. In the case of investment in any industry encouraged under the Catalogue for Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries, at least US$500,000 in total;
  2. In the case of investment in the western area of China or any key county under poverty reduction and development program, at least US$500,000 in total;
  3. In the case of investment in the central area of China, at least US$1 million in total; or
  4. In the case of investment in China, at least US$2 million in total.

Article 8

In the case of a foreigner under item (2) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein, the entity in which he holds a post must be any of the following:

  1. An institution subordinate to any department of the State Council or to the people's government at the provincial level;
  2. A key college or university;
  3. An enterprise or government-sponsored institution implementing a key engineering project or major scientific research project of the state; or
  4. A high-tech enterprise, foreign invested enterprise in encouraged fields, technologically advanced enterprise with foreign investment or export-oriented enterprise with foreign investment.

Article 9

The applicant shall faithfully fill in the Form of Application for Foreigner's Permanent Residence in China and submit the following materials:

  1. A copy of his valid passport or other certificate that may be used instead of the passport;
  2. A health certificate issued by a health quarantine agency designated by the Chinese government or by a foreign health quarantine agency recognized by the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate;
  3. A certificate of no criminal record in the country concerned as issued by the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate;
  4. Four recent full-face color photos (2 by 2 inches, bareheaded) of the applicant; and
  5. Other relevant materials provided herein.

Article 10

An applicant under Item (1) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall submit a certificate of approval for the foreign-invested enterprise, certificate of registration and a joint annual inspection certificate, report on the verification capital and personal tax payment receipt in addition.

In the case of a foreign-invested enterprise in encouraged fields, a letter of confirmation in respect of the foreign-invested project as encouraged by the state shall be submitted in addition.

Article 11

An applicant under Item (2) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall submit the following materials in addition:

  1. A certificate certifying his position or professional title as issued by his employer;
  2. The Foreign Expert Card or Foreigner Employment Card;
  3. A certificate of registration and certificate of annual inspection of his employer, certificate of personal tax payment issued to him; where the employer is a foreign-invested enterprise, a certificate of approval for the foreign-invested enterprise and a joint annual inspection certificate is required in addition; and
  4. In the case of an applicant who holds a post in an enterprise or institution that carries out a key engineering project or major scientific research project of the state, a certificate certifying the project as issued by the competent authority of the government at the provincial or ministry level; in the case of an applicant who holds a post in a high-tech enterprise, a high-tech enterprise certificate; in the case of a foreign-invested enterprise in encouraged fields, technologically advanced enterprise with foreign investment or export-oriented enterprise with foreign investment, a certificate certifying the foreign-invested enterprise in encouraged fields, advanced-tech enterprise with foreign investment or export-oriented enterprise with foreign investment.

Article 12

An applicant under Item (3) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall submit a letter of recommendation and the relevant certificates as issued by the competent authority of the Chinese government in addition.

Article 13

An applicant under Item (4) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall, in addition, submit a marriage certificate in the case of a spouse, his birth certificate or parentage certificate in the case of an unmarried child under 18 years old, and a adoption certificate in the case of an adopted child. The above-mentioned certificates as issued by a foreign agency shall be subject to the authentication of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned.

Article 14

An applicant under Item (5) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall, in addition, submit his (her) Chinese spouse's registered permanent residence certificate or foreign spouse's Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card, marriage certificate, and a notarized certificate of source of subsistence and house leasing certificate or muniments of title. The above-mentioned certificates as issued by a foreign agency shall be subject to the authentication of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned.

Article 15

An applicant under Item (6) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall, in addition, submit his Chinese parent's registered permanent residence certificate or foreign parent's Foreigner's Permanent Resident Card, his birth certificate or parentage certificate and, in the case of an adopted child, the adoption certificate in addition. The above-mentioned certificates as issued by a foreign agency shall be subject to the authentication of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned.

Article 16

An applicant under Item (7) of the first paragraph of Article 6 herein shall, in addition, submit the registered permanent residence certificate of the Chinese citizen, or the Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card of the foreigner, to whom he is to turn, a notarized certificate of kindred and a certificate certifying that the applicant has no direct relative abroad, a notarized certificate certifying the applicant's financial source or notarized certificate of financial guarantee by the person to whom the applicant is to turn, and notarized house leasing certificate or muniments of title of the applicant or the person to whom the applicant is to turn. The above-mentioned certificates as issued by a foreign agency shall be subject to the authentication of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned.

Article 17

An application for foreigner's permanent residence in China shall be submitted by the applicant himself or his parent if he is unmarried and under 18 years old or his attorney to the public security organ of the people's government of the city with subordinate districts, or the branch or county bureau of public security of the municipality directly under the Central Government, in the place where the principal investment was made or of long-term residence.

In the case of applying through an attorney, a power of attorney issued by the applicant shall be submitted. A power of attorney issued by the applicant abroad shall be subject to the authentication of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned.

Article 18

The public security organ shall make an approval or disapproval decision within six months from the date of the acceptance of the application.

Article 19

The Ministry of Public Security shall issue a Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card to the applicant whose permanent residence status in China has been approved. If the applicant is not in China, the Ministry of Public Security shall issue a Confirmation Form of Foreigner's Permanent Residence Status to the applicant, who shall apply for a "D" visa to the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country concerned by producing such Conformation Form and, within 30 days from his entry into China, get the Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card from the public security organ that accepted his application.

Article 20

A foreigner who has been approved to permanently reside in China must stay in China for at least three cumulative months a year. If the foreigner is unable to stay in China for such minimum period due to any reason, he shall apply for the approval of the department or bureau of public security of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government where he reside in, provided that the cumulative period of his residence in China shall not be less than one cumulative year in five years.

Article 21

A Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card shall be valid for five or ten years.

In the case of a foreigner under 18 years old approved to permanently reside in China shall have a Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card valid for five years; those being or above 18 years old shall have one valid for ten years.

Article 22

In the case of expiry of, any change of particulars in, damage to or loss of a Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card, the holder shall apply for renewal or reissue of the Card to the public security organ of the people's government of the city with subordinate districts, or the branch or county bureau of public security of the municipality directly under the Central Government in the place of his long-term residence. The public security organ shall make such renewal or reissue within one month if, upon examination, it holds that the holder still meets the requirements for a foreigner to be approved to permanently reside in China.

Article 23

The holder of a Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card shall apply for a renewal of the Card within a month before the expiry of the old one, for a renewal within a month after any change of particulars in the Card, or for a renewal or reissue promptly in the case of any damage to or loss of the Card.

Article 24

The Ministry of Public Security may cancel such status of him and withdraw or revoke his Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card in the case of a foreigner with permanent residence status in China under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Being likely to threaten the national security and interests;
  2. Being expelled from China by the people's court;
  3. Having obtained the permanent residence status in China by submitting false materials or by other illegal means; and
  4. Having stayed in China without approval for a period less than three cumulative months a year or less than a cumulative year in five years.

Article 25

Foreigners who have been approved to permanently reside in China before the implementation of these Measures shall, within six months from the implementation, renew his Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card with the public security organ of the people's government of the city with subordinate districts or the branch and county bureau of public security of the municipality directly under the Central Government that issued the original Card or in the place of his long-term residence.

Article 26

The items and rates of charge in respect of a foreigner's application for permanent residence status in China and the issue, renewal and reissue of a Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card shall conform to the relevant provisions of the departments of price control and finance of the State Council.

Article 27

In these Measures:

  1. "Direct relative" shall include parents (spouse's parents), grandparents, child being at least 18 years old and his (her) spouse, and grandchild being at least 18 years old and his (her) spouse; and
  2. Both "above" and "within" shall include the given figure.

Article 28

The power to interpret these Measures shall be vested in the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Article 29

These Measures shall go into effect as of the date of promulgation.




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