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Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 11:31
Medals, titles go to 42 significant contributors
By Cao Desheng
Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 11:31 By Cao Desheng

This photo taken on Sept 25, 2017, shows decorating parterres on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, capital of China. (YIN GANG / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping signed a presidential decree on Tuesday to award 42 individuals the Medal of the Republic, the Friendship Medal and national honorary titles for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s development as the People’s Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary

The presidential decree came after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, adopted a decision on conferring national medals and honorary titles at a special session on Tuesday. 

Granting the highest state honors to role models is conducive to building a stronger sense of national identity among the people, promoting core socialist values and fostering a readiness to respond to the call of the times, the the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress noted

Granting the highest state honors to role models is conducive to building a stronger sense of national identity among the people, promoting core socialist values and fostering a readiness to respond to the call of the times, the legislature noted. 

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The selection of award winners began earlier this year and the nominations were open to the solicitation of public opinion from Aug 27 to Sept 2. 

The Medal of the Republic is conferred on prominent figures who have made great contributions and achievements to the building of socialism with Chinese characteristics and in defending the State, according to China’s national honor system. 

The Friendship Medal, the highest honor in China for foreigners, is conferred on non-Chinese who have made great contributions to China’s socialist modernization, promoted exchanges and cooperation between China and foreign countries and safeguarded world peace. 

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National honorary titles are given to prominent figures who have made great contributions and have recognized success in various fields including economics, national defense, diplomacy and education. 

Scientist Tu Youyou, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for the discovery of artemisinin, was awarded a Medal of the Republic together with seven other role models. These include Zhang Fuqing, a 94 year-old war hero who served as a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army during the War of Liberation (194649) and Yuan Longping, an agricultural expert who is also called the “father of hybrid rice”. 

Six foreigners were awarded the Friendship Medal: former Cuban president Raul Modesto Castro Ruz, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, former Tanzanian prime minister Salim Ahmed Salim, first Vice-President of the Russia-China Friendship Association Galina Kulikova, former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Canadian educator Isabel Crook. 

Another 28 figures were awarded national honorary titles. They include Tung Chee-hwa, the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Nan Rendong, chief engineer of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, was posthumously awarded. 

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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