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Signing ceremony for "Lui Che Woo Pharmaceutical Sciences Building" and "Lui Che Woo Medical Sciences Building" of the Tsinghua University Biomedical Sciences Building cum “Inclusivity in Diversity” Symposium

25 Oct 2018

Signing ceremony for "Lui Che Woo Pharmaceutical Sciences Building" and
"Lui Che Woo Medical Sciences Building" of the Tsinghua University
cum “Inclusivity in Diversity” Symposium

Date: Thursday, 25 October 2018

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Venue: Tsinghua University, Beijing

Professor Chen [Chancellor Chen Xu], Professor Yang [Vice President Yang Bin], dear guests, members of the faculty, students and friends from the media,

Good morning! It gives me great pleasure to meet you all in Beijing during this very refreshing autumn, and I am deeply honoured by your presence here at the signing ceremony for "Lui Che Woo Pharmaceutical Sciences Building" and "Lui Che Woo Medical Sciences Building", to witness the milestone in the cooperation between university and corporation.

Tsinghua University has been a major driving force behind the awakening, industrious effort and revival of the Chinese nation in the past century since its establishment 107 years ago, underpinned by its strong focus on science and technology and the study of innovative institutional reforms, as well as its vigorous promotion of inter-disciplinary studies, for which stellar results have been achieved.

In the World University Rankings 2019 announced by Times Higher Education last month, Tsinghua University was deservedly named the first-ranking university in Asia, and was also among the top tier in terms of global ranking and research achievements. May I extend my sincere congratulations to Tsinghua University, as I share the pride that Chinese universities have done us by further marking their presence in the competition and cooperation among global tertiary institutions.

Tsinghua University’s commitment to nurturing top-class talents with global vision, social consciousness and becoming a world-class university, as well as its motto of “nurturing virtues and personal growth” are in perfect tandem with my own convictions in education, hence the decision to support the development of the Biomedical Sciences Building.

Tsinghua University’s School of Life Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Pharmaceutical Sciences are the top frontier research academic institutions in China, so I hope this donation will encourage academic research in and applications of innovative scientific technologies, thereby bolstering our nation’s soft strengths.

I was born in 1929 during war-torn times. At a young age I suffered from the ordeal of war, as I saw with my own eyes how my countrymen were deprived of their dignity and lives at will by the war machine. I couldn’t help asking: Why are my fellow countrymen subjected to such atrocities? Why are we Chinese having such a horrendous fate?

That simple answer I got at the time is still ringing in my ears to this day: “Because Chinese people are illiterate and can do nothing other than working as coolies.” I felt deeply painful every time I recalled these words. From then on, I decided that I must do something, however modest, to help improve education in China.

Like most people from my time, I could only finish the middle school. After that, I had to earn a living on my own. From a street hawker for snacks to a distributor of food products and an apprentice in auto repair, I took on jobs in different businesses and came to appreciate even more the importance of education, as I attended evening schools to learn English and other subjects.

Thereafter, I founded K. Wah Group in 1955 after years of assiduous work. We started as a supplier of construction materials and, by now, have grown into a multinational conglomerate with major stakes in property development, hotel, and entertainment and leisure.

Over the years, we have always been mindful of our mission: to reward the nation and help in social development on top of running a good business, making as much contributions as we can whenever and wherever called for.

In the past decades, we have made donations to more than 20 domestic and overseas universities including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Jiaotong University, Nanjing University, Wuyi University, University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, University of Macau, Stanford University and others, where our donations have helped to facilitate high-end scientific researches, academic exchanges and upgrades in teaching facilities. Elsewhere, we have worked with our Ministry of Education to fund the construction and refurbishment of 122 primary / secondary schools in impoverished areas to support the nation’s initiative to provide fundamental education for all. We also hope that our donations to countless charitable groups can aid disaster relief and the growth and development of the younger generation.

I remember calling upon our young citizens to cultivate soft power, by which I mean personal integrity and commitment to serving the nation and the community, in addition to “hard knowledge”, by which I mean expertise in professional areas, in a speech delivered here at Tsinghua a few year back.

Today, my plea remains the same: we should emphasise moral development while enhancing education in knowledge; strengthen our efforts in humanity concerns on top of the pursuit of technological innovations; and do more to improve our civilisation and the well-being of mankind instead of just focusing on economic growth.

Economic disparity may be the product of intellectual disparity, but economic power alone cannot bring about social harmony or personal happiness or virtues, nor is it an indicator of superior national strength.

On the contrary, excessive pursuit of economic well-being has resulted in a number of drawbacks for the society, such as financial disparity, mental perversion, moral breakdown, social anxiety, ecological contamination and others.

While solutions to these problems are necessarily dependent on technological innovation and economic development, we must enhance our effort to investigate as to how such innovation and development should be arrived at. In other words, what should we do to do justice to moral values and the ecological environment while pursuing technological and economic advances?

With this idea in mind, I founded the international cross-sector award “LUI Che Woo Prize – Prize for World Civilisation” in 2015, which aims to recognise individuals or organisations who have selflessly contributed in one of these three categories: sustainable development, betterment of the welfare of mankind, and the promotion of positive life attitude and enhancement of positive energy, regardless of their race, nationality, or religion. Each year, potential candidates from around the world are nominated for the prize, so that their experiences, ideas and beliefs can have a positive influence on broader groups of people, and the heritage of their good deeds can be passed on for goodwill to be nourished among more people. The LUI Che Woo Prize has a special emphasis on the promotion of positive life attitudes and positive energy, as well as the co-existence of scientific innovation and charity. We seek to commend and recognise outstanding individuals or groups who have contributed to the advancement of world civilisation with their personal virtues and selfless compassion, bringing the world closer to the state of harmony and goodness.

As an old man in his nineties through all the ups and downs in life, I dare say I am still young at heart, aspiring to embrace, and innovate for the future. Today, I dedicate my contributions to the School of Medicine and School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Tsinghua. In doing so, I am counting on you to fulfill the expectations for a concerted effort to create a better future.

Dear friends of Tsinghua, you are all experts in different disciplines, elites of the society and privileged intellectuals, those honorable people described in terms of traditional Chinese wisdom as “incessant in self-improvement,” “making contributions through their virtues” and “superior in deeds than in words.” It is my genuine hope that you will continue to lead the way in undertaking responsibilities and seizing opportunities, while placing an equal emphasis on soft power, moral values and humanity concerns. This underlines what I would like to share with you today.

Let me reiterate my sincere wishes for Tsinghua: long may it continue to chart new heights and break new grounds in an ongoing effort to benefit humanity. In the spirit of “inclusivity in diversity”, let us roll up our sleeves and drive forward in united efforts, for a better life and a better world. Thank you again for being here and thanks to Tsinghua for its marvelous arrangements. Thank you.