Tianjin hosted three briefing sessions on the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China specifically for expats who wanted to learn more about the country.
The sessions held in the municipality in North China won applause from foreign attendees, including experts, students, businesspeople and members of NGOs.
Jay S. Siegel, dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology at Tianjin University, was pleased that foreign faculty members had equal access to the briefing.
"It is important to know about the Party congress because it laid out the policy where China wants to go in the next five years," he said, adding that more than half of the school"s faculty hails from overseas.
"We could encounter problems if we don"t know the policies concerning higher education."
One briefing session was held at Siegel"s school. Feng Cuiling, Party secretary of the school and a delegate at the congress, attended the session as a speaker to introduce reports and documents from the congress and share her impressions of it.
Robert P. Borris, the school"s vice-dean, said he appreciated Feng"s support, not just for the local faculty but also the international faculty.
Du Yunfei, professor of medicinal chemistry at the school, said foreign teachers and students were keen to learn about the event, so the school prepared 300 copies of the report delivered at the opening session by General Secretary Xi Jinping.
"They were all gone in an instant," he said.
Thepkanchana Thepkaew, a doctoral student from Thailand at Tianjin Normal University, was interested in the briefing because Thailand is on the route of the Belt and Road Initiative.
"I wanted to know how the initiative proposed by China will be pushed forward in the future, so I came to Feng"s briefing," she said.
To help inform the public, briefing sessions have been held nationwide on the spirit of the landmark congress, which outlined China"s road map for future development.
Feng needed an interpreter to translate her speech into English, but the two other speakers shared their understanding of the congress spirit with the foreign audience in English.
Zhang Yuzhuo, Party secretary of Tianjin Binhai New Area, delivered a speech to dozens of elite businesspeople from foreign enterprises and shared what he had learned as a delegate to the congress.
Zhang, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, worked as chairman of Shenhua Group, the country"s leading coal producer, before becoming Party chief of Tianjin Binhai New Area in March. At the lecture, he talked about the Party congress and offered his views on local development.
After listening to Zhang"s speech, Reinaldo Costa, vice-president of Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer, said the CPC"s goal of "improving people"s quality of life" resonates with his company"s mission.
He added that China has become more open in the past five years, with a host of new policies designed to make things more convenient for expats living in the country, such as new procedures for work permits that were introduced in April, and that he and his colleagues have benefited from the reform.
Although Yan Chunhua, vice-president of Nankai University, was not a delegate at the congress, the member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences shared his understanding of the policies it promoted to an audience of more than 200 people from 70 countries and regions.
Mohamed Jihad Mohamed Moustafa, a student from Egypt, said he learned about the development of science and technology in China through Yan"s elaboration of the policies. He hopes to study China"s mobile payment system and set up a similar program in his hometown.
Attendees said the briefings provided them with a deeper understanding of the direction of China"s development, and they were more confident about staying in the country.
"I know that China is continuing to comprehensively deepen reform and ensuring that every dimension of governance is law-based. All those things are reassuring the confidence of investors, not just in the US but in general," said Martin Winchell, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China in Tianjin.