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A legendary life in photographs
By Louise Ho (HK Edition)
Updated: 2008-06-24 07:30


A group of celebrated figures including Deputy Director of the Central Government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong Li Gang (4th right), Deputy Director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Chen Zuoer (5th right) and business tycoon Li Ka-shing (3rd right) officiate at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition commemorating Chuang Shih-ping at the City Hall yesterday. Edmond Tang

An exhibition commemorating late entrepreneur and community leader Chuang Shih-ping opened yesterday at the City Hall.

More than 100 guests participated in the exhibition's opening ceremony.

Officiating guests included Li Gang, Deputy Director of the Central Government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong; Lu Xinhua, the Commissioner of China's Foreign Ministry in the SAR; Stephen Lam, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs; and long-time friend to Chuang, tycoon Li Ka-shing.

In the opening speech, Li Gang said although Chuang has left for a year, people's respect to Chuang never eroded as reflected in the large turnout for the ceremony.

"Chuang was an outstanding man who had significant contributions to sustaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong," he said.

He pointed out that Chuang was "not only an outstanding example of Hong Kong people, but also a fine son of the Chinese nation."

"In his life that spanned almost a century, every step he made was intimately tied to the fate of the country and the nation," Li observed.

He said Chuang won the respect from various sectors of society because of his ability to maintain his honest and upright character in spite of his wealth.

Lam recalled that Chuang was a very kind and decent man who worked hard for the future of Hong Kong and the country.

He said the exhibition is a meaningful one that can educate the young about Chuang's spirit and his contributions to the country.

After the exhibition ends Friday, it will be on tour on the mainland from July 3 onward.

The exhibition is jointly organized by various groups such as the Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Hong Kong Culture Association.

Chuang was born in Puning, Guangdong province in 1911. He came to Hong Kong in 1947 and retired in 1986.

His death on June 2, 2007 drew condolences from state leaders like Jia Qinglin and Zeng Qinghong.

Chuang dedicated himself to supporting his country during the Second World War and contributed to the development of the country afterward.

He was greatly respected as a man of integrity and morals who valued the interests of the country more than his own.

Chuang was a deputy of the National People's Congress and a standing committee member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

In recognition of his contribution to the war effort against Japan, he was awarded a medal by the Central People's Government in August 2005.

He was among the first to receive the Grand Bauhinia Medal (GBM) in Hong Kong in July 1997.

After first funding China's national movement in South East Asia in 1930s, he continued to finance revolutionary activities in Hong Kong through his banking business.

The profit earned by the Nanyang Commercial Bank, which he founded in December 1949, was instrumental to the construction of the New China.

Apart from financial support to the country, he was actively involved in making policy proposals to the central government in the process of the country's modernization.

For example, in 1980, despite people's skepticism, he insisted on developing market economy in the Guangdong economic zone.

Before Hong Kong's handover, he acted as a liaison between Hong Kong tycoons and mainland authorities.

He accompanied tycoons like Li Ka-shing and Gordon Wu Ying-sheung to visit the mainland and helped them invest there.

In the latter part of his life, he vigorously supported "one country, two systems" and ensured its enforcement after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.

(HK Edition 06/24/2008 page1)