Stories of the China Reform Friendship Medal recipients

China Plus Published: 2018-12-18 20:31:22
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Ten foreigners have received the China Reform Friendship Medal at a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up at an event in Beijing on Tuesday.

Here's a brief synopsis of each of the recipients.

1.Alain Merieux

Stories of the China Reform Friendship Medal recipients

President of Fondation Merieux, Alain Merieux, attending the 50th anniversary of the Fondation Merieux, which is dedicated to fighting infectious diseases, September 14, 2017, Veyrier du Lac, France. [Photo: AFP]

Alain Merieux is the chair of French holding company Institut Mérieux. The company was created by Marcel Mérieux in 1897, grandfather of Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux first came to China In 1978 to introduce human and veterinary vaccines developed by Institut Mérieux. Later his father, Charles Mérieux, also visited China in 1983.

BioMerieux VITEK was set up in Hong Kong in 1991. In 1997, they opened a mainland office in Beijing. The firm's headquarters are located in Shanghai.

For decades, Institut Mérieux has cooperated with Chinese health officials in tuberculosis control and new infectious disease prevention. Their collaboration has included the establishment of production and R&D bases in Shanghai, as well as high-level biosafety laboratory in Wuhan.

2.Werner Gerich

Stories of the China Reform Friendship Medal recipients

Undated picture of Werner Gerich working in China. [File photo: CGTN]

Wiener Grisch is best known as the first "foreign factory director" hired in China after reform and opening up.

From 1984 to 1986, Grisch was appointed director of the Wuhan Diesel Engine Plant. Despite being over 60 years old at the time, he worked around the clock to rectify the fundamental problems at the Plant. Gerich worked almost daily from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, believing that efficiency could be improved only by downsizing the number of staff. He implemented a structural wage system, paying workers according to their performance.

In his two years as director, the run-down factory regained vitality and vigor, with its diesel motors eventually being sold in seven different countries in Southeast Asia, earning millions of U.S. dollars.

In May 1986, Grish was granted permanent residence in China, becoming the first foreigner to gain the honor in Wuhan. There's a majestic bronze bust inscribed with the name of Werner Gerich in Wuhan. He is the third German, following Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, to be so honored in China.

On November 4, 1986, Gerich retired. He passed away in 2003 in Milhausen, Germany, aged 83.

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