Foreign Experts Advisory Committee
Guideline for Foreign Experts Recommendation Program

Guideline for Foreign Experts Recommendation Program


State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs

March, 2014



Foreign Experts Recommendation Program (FERP) is directed by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). FERP aims at collecting foreign experts’ recommendations and presenting them to the central leadership as reference for policy making.


This Guideline is intended to provide you with the background information of FERP and suggestions on how to prepare a recommendation proposal that is likely to have the greatest possible impact on policy discussions in China.



FERP Background


Under FERP, SAFEA collects foreign experts’ recommendation proposals concerning the problems and challenges of China’s economic and social development in the near future. Based on their work experience and research interest, foreign experts prepare recommendations to present to the central leadership of China for reference in making policies.


SAFEA is the administration in charge of China’s Overseas Expertise Introduction (OEI). SAFEA is currently headed by Mr. Zhang Jianguo, who is also the Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Security.


In 2012, SAFEA led the creation of the Foreign Experts Advisory Committee (FEAC), which is composed of SAFEA staff and the foreign experts who have participated in FERP. Any foreign expert who has engaged in FERP can apply for FEAC membership. SAFEA staff contact and communicate with foreign experts via the FEAC website and e-mail, etc. Also to provide support, a SAFEA team led by Mr. Liu Yanguo, SAFEA deputy administrator, has been established. Members of the SAFEA team also include director generals of departments concerned within SAFEA.


SAFEA has also invited some foreign experts who are members of the FEAC to be consultants to work for FERP plans and organization. Currently, four foreign experts are working with SAFEA as consultants. They are Jeffrey Lehman, Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai, Alistair Michie, Deputy Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Tokuchi Tatsuhito, Chairman of CITIC Securities International and Daniel Dudek, Chief Economist of the Environmental Defense Fund.



FERP Recommendation Process


FERP recommendation process is made up of the following four stages:


To identify policy areas


The SAFEA team works together with the consultants and related Chinese experts to identify policy areas in which recommendations are sought. The policy areas are chosen based on

  1. their importance for China’s economic and social development,
  2. the urgency of the need for policy action, and
  3. to what extent the area is one where China can learn from other countries’ successes and failures.


To identity foreign experts to approach for recommendations


For each policy area, the SAFEA team works together with the consultants to identify one or more foreign experts to prepare a recommendation on a specific topic that they are interested in. Foreign experts can either apply for FERP by themselves or through recommendation. After an expert has initiated a proposal, the SAFEA team will evaluate the proposal and decide the scope of the recommendation and in what way it will be completed.


If an FERP recommendation incorporates the efforts of a team, there will be a lead author. Foreign experts who are invited to submit recommendations shall be the authorities in their field with work experience in China and a profound understanding of a particular issue under China’s context.


To prepare a recommendation


After a recommendation topic is decided, a working group will be formed, which consists of the SAFEA team, the foreign expert(s) who has/ have agreed to prepare a recommendation and related Chinese experts. The working group will be led by a member of the SAFEA team, who is responsible for coordinating these three parties so as to complete the recommendation program in an organized way.


Once the first draft of the recommendation is completed, it will be circulated to the SAFEA team. Foreign experts who have been engaged in preparing the draft will be invited to China and discuss the draft with a panel of Chinese experts (usually, two symposiums will be held concerning the first and final draft). Feedback and suggestions on the draft can also be communicated to the author via e-mail. The author is encouraged to prepare a final recommendation that takes feedback and suggestions into account – either in the form of revisions to the recommendation or responses to the feedback and possible questions. The final recommendation shall be completed according to the agreed timetable and presented to the SAFEA team on time. The SAFEA team will facilitate the preparation of a recommendation in any possible ways that are in accordance with the regulations of the Chinese government.


To transmit the recommendation to the State Council


After receiving the final recommendation, the SAFEA team will make necessary modifications to the format and produce a recommendation proposal. Mr. Zhang Jianguo will determine the circumstances under which it should be presented to the State Council. Related organs of the State Council will transmit the recommendation proposal to the central leadership and the department heads concerned. The SAFEA team will keep the author informed concerning the recommendation’s status.



Suggestions for Preparing a Recommendation


In order to maximize the potential value of a recommendation to the policymaking process, we offer the following suggestions to authors of FERP recommendations:


  1. Authorship. A recommendation can be the work of a single author or it can incorporate the efforts of a team.


  1. Content. It can either address a range of policy issues or focus on a single issue of pressing concern. A recommendation should frame the problem crisply and directly, reflecting the author’s unique response to issues concerning China’s economic and social development.


  1. Length. A recommendation should generally be no more than 2500 words. If it is longer than that, it should include a 600-word “executive summary”.


  1. China Context. A recommendation shall make reference to special features of the China context that makes the problem unique.


  1. International Context. A recommendation should place a policy problem in China within an international context. It should describe the problem’s similarity to, and differences from, similar problems that have been faced in other countries.


  1. Learning from International Experience. A recommendation should explain how China might learn from both successes and failures with attempts to address the problem in other countries.


  1. Feasibility. A qualified recommendation is able to be feasibly implemented within a practical timeframe. A recommendation should be feasible within China’s legal, political, and economic context.


  1. Action agenda. A recommendation should include an agenda of specific actions that the expert(s) believe(s) the Chinese government should take.


  1. Citation. Data and examples cited in a recommendation should be accurate, reliable, authoritative and valid. References should be provided.


  1. Responses to Questions and Objection. A recommendation should include a section that anticipates possible questions about the recommendation and objections to it and offers compelling but respectful responses.


  1. Language. The author should write in Chinese or in English. If the author writes in English, a translation into Chinese will be prepared by SAFEA or a translator designated by the author.


  1. Publication and Rights. Foreign experts who submit recommendations are entitled to authorship. When preparing a recommendation, the author shall protect the IPR of a third party involved. SAFEA has the right of disposition of the collected recommendations. Foreign experts may share their recommendations with others privately, but they are not to publish them without prior permission from SAFEA.





We are very grateful for your willingness to prepare a recommendation under FERP. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to login the official website of FEAC ( or reach us via e-mail ( We look forward to your insightful recommendations.

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