the Great Hall of the People. Photo: VCG

The Medal of the Republic, the Friendship Medal and other national honorary titles have been awarded to 42 outstanding individuals for their contributions to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, adopted a decision to confer national medals and honorary titles at its closing session on Tuesday, according to a report by Xinhua.

The 42 people who received the medals come from various backgrounds, including scientists, educators, artists, grass-roots Party officials, model workers and six foreigners.

Pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou is one of eight who were awarded the Medal of the Republic. She was the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for extracting artemisinin from a plant that has been used in Chinese medicine and discovered it could be used to treat malaria.

Yuan Longping, a Chinese agronomist and educator, was also included. Yuan is well-known for developing the first hybrid rice varieties during the 1970s. His breakthrough led to hybrid rice being grown in Africa, South America and Asia, providing a reliable food supply for high-risk famine regions.

Tung Chee-hwa, the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, was awarded the national honor title “Outstanding Contributor to ‘one country, two systems.'” Tung is also vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Four people were awarded the honor title “Hero of the People,” including the former deputy director of the public security bureau of Pishan County, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who died in the line of duty after being attacked by a suicide bomber while searching for wanted criminals, according to a report by, a news website about police.

Shen Liangliang, a soldier of the Chinese peacekeeping force in Mali, was also in the list of people’s heroes. He was killed in 2016 during a terrorist attack when he was only 29 years old, Xinhua reported in June 2016.

The six foreigners presented with the Friendship Medal included Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

Another of the foreigners was Canadian Isabel Crook who was born in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. 104-year-old Crook has been a witness of China’s development. 

After the founding of the PRC, she decided to stay in China and work at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). As a teacher at BFSU she laid the foundations for foreign-language education in China, Xinhua reported in August.