Eunice Moe Brock
According to the Ministry of Public Security, more than 50 million foreigners exit or enter the country on average every year, while another 5 million live here. Of these, about half-a-million call China home.
Many have enriched Chinese lives with their contributions in business, education, medical care and disaster relief.
China Right There, a recent bilingual documentary on Tianjin TV highlighted the lives of 100 expatriates who have been living here since the founding of New China in 1949. The crew traversed the length and breadth of the country recording their everyday lives.
Now, 13 of them have been picked to be honored with the "You Bring Charm to China" award, presented jointly by Tianjin TV and Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, and supported by China Daily.
The awards were presented on Saturday at Kerry Centre Shangri-La Hotel, witnessed by representatives from the United Nations, leaders of China's major diplomatic institutions and by distinguished overseas Chinese.
Domestic and overseas artists put up a gala show and the whole ceremony was broadcast live to audiences at home and abroad.
We profile one of them here:
Eunice Moe Brock, 92, who moved to live in a poor village in Shandong after selling all her belongings in the US at the age of 82
Every Christmas, an elderly American lady dresses up as Santa Claus and drives an old donkey cart loaded with books, stationery, fruit and snacks to the Yucai Elementary School in Liaocheng, Shandong province.
She is soon surrounded by a crowd of excited children, bathed in smiles after receiving their gifts from this foreign grandma.
Little do they know about the life of Eunice Moe Brock, whose China story begins with her parents, who worked here as missionaries.
She was born in Liaocheng, a poverty-stricken area in Shandong province in 1917 and lived there up to the age of 13.
At that time, China was riddled with wars and chaos and all this made a deep impression on the sensitive girl.
"I lived in a warm home and people froze in the temple next to where I lived. I felt very bad about this, so I decided that one day I would go back to China and offer some help," she says.
She kept this dream alive, even after her family moved back to the US in 1930, and she got married and became a mother herself.
One year after her husband died in 1999, she redeemed her promise to China.
She sold the family property, including a house, car, and 40 acres of farmland, and moved back to China alone. She finally settled down in a poor village called Liumiao in Liaocheng at the age of 82.
Noticing that the village school was short of money to buy computers, she forked out more than 20,000 yuan ($2,940) from her own pocket. Besides donating desks, chairs and books, she also volunteered to tutor the children in English.
Given her professional background in nursing, she was appointed honorary president of the Liaocheng International Peace Hospital in 2002.
She can often be seen riding an old trishaw around town. Occasionally, she visits a nearby church built by her father more than a century ago.
She is now trying to get a permanent residence card.
"I want to spend the rest of my life in China, for I am an American with a Chinese heart," she says.