China recognized 16 of its young PhD students currently studying in Canada at their own expense with much-needed scholarships in a ceremony here Friday. Coming from such disciplines as law, engineering, medicine and the sciences, the students each received either 6,000 or 10,000 U.S. dollars under the Chinese Government Scholarship for Outstanding Self-financed Students Studying Abroad program. The award has helped more than 2,900 Chinese PhD students worldwide since it was introduced in 2003. At the ceremony, Consul General Liu Fei said: \"As we encourage students coming here to study, we like to see them perform well at university. So this (scholarship) program is mainly to encourage them to perform in a good way.\" Liu said about 40 students had applied for the scholarship this year and she encouraged more to apply in the future. The graduate students being honored, all attending top universities in British Columbia and the neighboring province of Alberta, were China\'s future leaders, she said, adding the Chinese government welcomed young people from overseas \"to bring new ideas back home for economic development.\" If the scholarship recipients were willing to return to China after receiving their doctorate, the embassy in the country in which they studied would provide recommendations to help them find jobs, she said. Law student Qian Jing is among those planning to go home after he gains his doctorate in a couple of years\' time. The 26-year-old from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou said that after nine years of university studies at his own expense, the scholarship was greatly needed. He said it was also important the award was made to a law student this year as it was representative of the changes now happening in China. \"Rule of law, the whole legal system, especially for those transitional societies, it\'s not only an enhancer, but also a stabilizer,\" the University of Victoria student said. Scientist Wang Ying was honored for her work in studying an enzyme that may be involved in the pathologic development of diabetic heart disease. The Wuhan native hopes her research can help others find a therapeutic cure for a delay or prevention of diabetic heart disease. \"First of all, I think it\'s not too much about money,\" she said. \"It\'s a really great appreciation of the work I\'ve done so far and I really appreciate that.\" \"The second thing is, because we are self-financing students here, we kind of feel like we\'re different from people who are supported by the Chinese government when they came here. This award is kind of a good message, showing that it\'s pretty warm here; we are also covered by the huge protecting umbrella of this great country,\" she said.