Li urges HK to build talent for China's prosperity

Updated: 2011-08-18 20:53

By Joseph Li (

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Vice-Premier Li Keqiang urged the University of Hong Kong to nurture talent, not just for Hong Kong, but also for the nation.

Li was delivering a speech at a celebration marking the centenary of the university on Thursday morning.

The Vice-Premier said that the world-famous university played an increasingly important role in China's development and its integration with the world at large.

Li praised the university as one of the best in the world, having the advantage of connecting East and West, "which is not only Hong Kong's glory, but also the nation's pride," he said in his speech.

Li spoke of the need for more and greater cross border cooperation, to ensure prosperity on both sides of the border. He made his remarks as he addressed a centenary gathering at the University of Hong Kong, saying prosperity requires the applications of thousands of talents familiar with conditions in the country and able to master modern technology.

To facilitate that cooperation, Li brought a special birthday gift from the central government to the 100-year-old University of Hong Kong. A dedicated fund will be set up to encourage cross-border exchanges and cooperation on education, he announced.

The fund is intended to help 1,000 teachers and students from the university to study and conduct research in the mainland every year. The program will start next year.

Other universities in Hong Kong are also to be 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 also to promote educational and technological sectors in both sides to grow together, Li said.

The Vice-Premier arrived at the University of Hong Kong under sunny skies and a warm temperature on the third and final day of his visit to the SAR (Special Administrative Region).

Upon arrival Li immediately stopped in to see 94-year-old Jao Tsung-i, a world-renowned scholar who has attained remarkable achievements in Chinese and many fields of the humanities.

After the meeting, Li went to Loke Yew Hall, in the signature building of the university, where the centenary ceremony took place.

Vice-Chancellor and President of the University Tsui Lap-chee, wearing a gown, received Li at the door.

In his address, Li noted that Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen was also a graduate of the university, and is one of over 130,000 alumni.

He also expressed his confidence in the young people of Hong Kong, saying they are "aspiring, capable, responsible and very promising".

Tsui, delivering 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 Infectious Diseases' Partner Laboratory at HKU-Shenzhen Branch.

Li gave copies of more than 9,000 ancient, rare Chinese books to the university as another gift.

Later, Li was briefed on the history of the university in the exhibition room by a group of students in fluent Putonghua.

Li also spoke to outstanding scholars from Hong Kong's universities and also several overseas universities, and learned about their academic achievements.

Later, Li moved on to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. There he met senior representatives from the offices set up by the central authorities in Hong Kong, Chinese enterprises and the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. He hosted a ceremony to mark the completion of new SAR Government Headquarters at Tamar during the afternoon.

Li ended his three-day visit after sharing his views about the city with the media, at an airport news conference.