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In the afternoon of September 22, 2020, the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Holiday Celebration for Foreign Experts [2020年度在皖高层次外国专家迎中秋庆国庆活动] of our province Anhui [安徽] took place at the Anhui Museum of Innovation [安徽创新馆]. The event was co-organized by the Department of Science and Technology of the Province Anhui [安徽省科学技术厅], the Hefei Municipal Bureau of Science and Technology [合肥市科学技术局], the Public Relations Department of the Provincial Party Committee [安徽省委宣传部], and the museum itself. More than 30 foreign experts from more than 10 different countries attended this event – a very high number given the current international COVID-19 pandemic. Together with Mr. Lei HONG [洪磊] of our International Office, I attended this event as representatives of our Hefei University [合肥学院].

The first part of this celebration was a very nice tour through the museum. Compared to the already very comprehensive and nice exhibition at my last visit, the presented collection of innovations has even further improved. On the first floor, the fundamental future techniques developed in Hefei are displayed, ranging from the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) [先进超导托卡马克实验装置], a superconducting magnetic fusion energy reactor constructed by the Hefei Institute of Plasma Physics [合肥等离子体物理研究所] of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) [中国科学院] and the Quantum Information and Quantum Technology Innovation Research Institute [量子信息与量子科技创新研究院] under construction in the Hefei High-Tech Zone [合肥高新区].

During the tour today, however, we spent more time upstairs in the second floor, which focuses on recent innovative products from our province. These include robotic arms that can perform exactly choreographed swords fights and move so precisely that they can balance a spinning top on the edge of a sword's blade, several flying drones, holographic displays that allow us to control a computer without touching any surface, COVID-19 test kits and medical suits, bendable and foldable displays, electric vehicles, pots for growing plants without soil (quite useful for cubic farming), very light and foam-like aluminum, and many more. This was my second visit to the exhibition and I again found it very interesting and learned some new interesting facts about the many innovations coming from the high-tech environment of our province.

After visiting the exhibition, the celebration began. It was chaired by Mr. Ji XIA, Vice-Director General of the Department of Science and Technology of the Province Anhui and Director-General of the Provincial Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs [省科技厅党组成员、副厅长、省外专局局长夏辑]. Festive speeches were also given by Mrs. Ping LUO, the Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology Department of the Province Anhui [省科技厅厅长罗平] and Mr. Yunfeng LUO, Executive Vice Mayor of the Hefei Municipal Government [合肥市委常委、市政府常务副市长罗云峰]. The speeches highlighted the fast technological development of Anhui as well as strong relationship between our province and the foreign experts working here, both of which I can confirm from my own experience. Because of the good environment in our province, its capital Hefei was voted the third most popular Chinese city by foreigners two times in a row. The speakers emphasized that, together, we have mastered the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working on a better future.

After these speeches, a group of foreign experts as well as three libraries were gifted the third edition of the book The Governance of China by General Secretary Jinping XI [《习近平谈治国理政》第三卷英文版]. Luckily, I was to be among the recipients of the book, because I think that reading it will help me to better understand the policies leading to the fast development of China. I am also thankful for the chance to give a short speech after the book gifting ceremony. In my talk, I emphasized on the amazing development of both scientific research and the high-tech industry in our province. I also acknowledged the high efforts invested in improving education and the great environment offered to us foreign experts in Anhui. After my talk, the ceremony concluded.

It was a special additional pleasure that we had the chance to have quick chats with Mrs. Ping LUO (who visited my home country Germany just a few years ago!) and Mr. Daqun LIANG [梁大群], Deputy Driector of the Hefei Human Resources and Social Security Bureau [合肥市人力资源和社会保障局] and Director of the Hefei Municipal Bureau of Foreign Experts [合肥市外国专家局], at the end of the meeting. All levels of administration in Anhui and Hefei are indeed very supportive towards international researchers and put much effort to further improve our working and living environments. With this support, I am sure that the internationalization of our province and city will keep improving in the future.

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