The 2008 Friendship Award was held at the Great Hall of the People Saturday morning and 50 foreign experts were given the award by Chinese senior officials.
The Friendship Award, set up in 1991, is China's highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China's economic and social progress.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang and Bai Lichen, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference attended the ceremony.
Congratulating the award-winners, Zhang expressed the heartfelt gratitude to them, whose efforts were considered "indispensable" in China's modernization.
Zhang said, since China started reform and opening up 30 years ago, the talent-attracting proceedings had been well established. In this context, the talented foreign experts had "become an important force in China's modernization".
"China will adhere to the opening up policy, actively introduce talents from abroad, and promote international cooperation," Zhang stressed. "China sincerely welcomes foreign experts, overseas Chinese specialists and international friends to make contribution to China's development in any form."
He also pledged to create better working conditions for them and protect their legitimate rights.
"China sincerely hopes the talented people from abroad continue to work as bridges between China and other regions," he added.
Fifty award-winners of this year were from 19 countries, including Australia, Austria and Bulgaria. They mainly specialize in fields of industry, agriculture, resources, environmental protection, education, science and technology.