Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (center) talks with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang during the centenary ceremony for the University of Hong Kong on Thursday. [Edmond Tang / China Daily]
HONG KONG – Vice-Premier Li Keqiang urged the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to nurture talent not just for Hong Kong but for the nation.
In a speech marking the centenary of the university on Thursday morning, the vice-premier indicated that the institution has played an increasingly important role in China’s development and its integration with the world.
Li praised the university as one of the top in the world, with the advantage of connecting East and West.
“It is not only Hong Kong’s glory, but also the nation’s pride,” he said in his speech.
Li indicated that cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong must be enhanced, as the prosperity of both sides requires thousands of talented people to master modern technologies and be familiar with the current condition of the country.
He brought a special birthday gift from the central government for the 100-year-old university to encourage cross-border exchanges and cooperation on education.
A dedicated fund will be set up to help 1,000 teachers and students of the university visit, study and conduct research on the mainland every year, starting from 2012, Li announced.
Meanwhile, other universities in Hong Kong are encouraged to cooperate with mainland universities, he added.
This is to help teachers and students in Hong Kong better understand the past, present and future of the mainland, and to help educational and technological sectors from both sides grow together, Li said.
The vice-premier arrived at the university on the third day of his visit to the special administrative region.
Upon arrival, Li immediately paid a visit to 94-year-old Jao Tsung-i, a renowned scholar who has attained remarkable achievements in Chinese and many field of humanities.
After the meeting, Li went to the Loke Yew Hall, located in the signature building of the university, to attend the centenary ceremony.
Vice-Chancellor and President of the university Tsui Lap-chee received Li at the door. Li noted in his speech that Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen was also nurtured in the university, and is one of its more than 130,000 alumni.
He also expressed confidence in the young people of Hong Kong, saying they are “aspiring, capable, responsible and very promising”.
Tsui, in the opening speech of the ceremony, summed up the future goal of the university to support and fulfill the nation’s economic and social needs as China moves forward.
“HKU must see and establish itself as a key institution in China,” he said.
The vice-premier also unveiled plaques for the establishment of two cross-border research organizations: the Hong Kong-Guangdong Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Centre, and the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infections Diseases’ Partner Laboratory at HKU-Shenzhen Branch.
Li gave a set of copies of more than 9,000 rare Chinese ancient books to the university as a gift.
Later, Li was briefed on the history of the university at the exhibition room by a group of students.