Yunnan dispatches sci-tech experts to South Asia, and Southeast Asia builds a bridge of int’l technological cooperation

By Zhang Fan, Li Maoying, People’s Daily

Moth orchids and lilies bred in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan province, are hot sellers in Vietnam. A China-Laos joint lab of renewable energy is now offering hot water heated by solar energy for Lao schools and hospitals.

Such progress was made possible by a mechanism of sending Chinese sci-tech experts to foreign countries, started by Yunnan province in 2013.

This year, the province once again dispatched a group of sci-tech experts to South Asian and Southeast Asian countries for scientific research, technological advisory, and training programs.

Lu Hai, a researcher at an institution of the Yunnan branch of the China Southern Power Grid, was recently designated as a sci-tech expert by the Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Department and joined the preparation work for the construction of a joint lab of power technologies among the Lancang-Mekong countries.

“As a sci-tech expert dispatched overseas, I can fully leverage cooperation platforms to share experiences in power technologies, operation, and management,” Lu said.

Relying on its geological and industrial advantages, Yunnan province employs this mechanism to meet the demand for technologies of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries during their economic and social development, said He Wei, an official with the Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Department.

So far, the department has dispatched 92 experts to 16 countries, including Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, in five batches, according to He.

Hu Faguang from the Institute of Tropical and Subtropical Cash Crops at the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences is dispatched to Laos to offer guidance and training on coffee technologies for Chinese companies. So far, he has worked in the Southeast Asian country for a total of over 300 days.

To improve the capability of coffee planting in local Lao communities, Hu instructed local technicians from the very basics. He proposed to grow coffee trees on contiguous fields along roads, so as to make the local coffee business stronger and more centralized. Today, Chinese experts have been dispatched to six counties to plant coffee in the country.

Like Hu, many other Chinese sci-tech experts have also established platforms of academic and technological exchanges to nurture professionals for local communities.

For instance, professor Chen Yubao from Yunnan Normal University (YNU), one of the earliest Chinese sci-tech experts dispatched overseas, has helped construct some 20 demonstration zones of renewable energy in Laos.

“These demonstration projects promoted the application of Chinese renewable energy technologies in Laos, tangibly improved local people’s living standards, and set a good example in talent cultivation and lab construction for local communities,” Chen told People’s Daily, hailing these projects as a role model for international sci-tech cooperation.

According to him, the Solar Energy Research Institute at YNU recruits doctoral and postgraduate students from Laos, who would return to their country after graduation and contribute to local new energy studies.

Chinese sci-tech experts dispatched overseas promote China’s exchanges and cooperation with neighboring countries, build a bridge of international cooperation, and enhance people-to-people bonds through technological and personnel exchanges, said Wang Xueqin, head of the Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Department.

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