News FocusChina

Help Wanted: 2000 Leading Lights To Inject a Spirit of Innovation

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Science  31 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5940, pp. 534-535
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_534

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A new program called Qianren Jihua, or Thousand-Person Plan, aims to recruit up to 2000 top-notch scientists, entrepreneurs, and financial experts to China from abroad over the next 5 to 10 years. The program was initiated by the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Zhongzubu), which appoints and evaluates high-level cadres. Zhongzubu's foray into headhunting underlines Beijing's belief that China must instill a more innovative spirit into its work force to sustain economic development. Some scientists applaud Qianren as a timely effort to muster a critical mass of Western-trained researchers who, through strength in numbers, will gradually reform a scientific system rife with corruption, vested interests, and influence-peddling. But the nascent program is under fire for not requiring recipients to work full-time in China and for being limited to expats. Money is another bone of contention.