Newsletter No. 192

2 No. 192 19th November 2001 CUHK Newsletter Five Distinguished Persons to Be Honoured at the 57th Congregation Dr. the Honourable Anson Chan Mr. Gao Xingjian TheU n i v e r s i ty w i l l c o n f e r h o n o r a r y d o c t o r a t es o n f i ve d i s t i n g u i s h ed p e r s o ns at its 5 7 t h Congregation to be held on 29th November 2001. They are Dr. the Honourable Anson Chan, f o r m e r c h i ef secretary f o r a dm i n i s t r a t i on o f t he H o n g K o n g Special Adm i n i s t r a t i ve Region Government; Mr. Gao Xingjian, renowned Chinese writer and Nobel laureate in literature 2000; Prof. Yuan Longping, an eminent agricultural scientist and director-general of the China National Hybr id Rice Research and Development Centre; Mr. Hung Hon-cheung, George, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chung Chi College and an alumnus of the University who has rendered long and outstanding service to both the University and the college; and Ms. Eleanor Wong, a well-known textile industrialist and philanthropist. D r . Ch an w i l l be c on f e r r ed the degree o f D o c t o r o f Laws, honoris causa. M r . Gao w i l l be c on f e r r ed t he degree o f D o c t o r o f L i t e r a t u r e, honoris causa. P r o f. Y u a n w i l l receive t he degree o f D o c t o r o f Science, honoris causa, a nd M r . H u n g a nd Ms . W o n g w i l l each be awa r ded t he degree o f D o c t o r o f Social Science, honoris causa. Dr. the Honourable Anson Chan The first chief secretary for administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Dr. the Honourable Anson Chan was a very distinguished senior civil servant. Dr. Chan studied English and English Literature at The University of Hong Kong and received the degree o f Bachelor of Arts in 1962. She then joined the Hong Kong government as an Administrative Officer, and was subsequently p r omo t ed to many senior positions, i nc l ud i ng director o f social welfare, secretary for economic services, and secretary for the c i v il service. In 1993, Dr. Chan was appointed chief secretary of the Hong Kong Government, becoming the first Chinese and the first woman to take up this prominent position. As the head of the civil service, Dr. Chan was instrumental in ensuring a stable and effective c i v il service as we ll as a smooth transition of the territory from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. She then assumed the position o f chief secretary for administration o f the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in July 1997. Dr. Chan advised the Chief Executive on matters of policy, deputized for h im during his absence, and was responsible for the effective implementation o f the f u ll range o f government policies. She retired from the civil service at the end of Ap r il 2001 after nearly four decades o f a very distinguished and illustrious career. Dr. Chan's outstanding service to Hong Kong has been highly regarded by Hong Kong citizens and has won her international acclaim. She has received honorary degrees from local and overseas universities, including The University of Hong Kong, the Open University of Hong Kong, the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Tufts University in the USA. She is also honorary professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and honorary fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Dr. Chan was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992 and was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal by the HKSAR government in 1999 in recognition of her remarkable contributions to Hong Kong. Mr. Gao Xingjian Mr. Gao Xingjian was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2000 and is, to date, the first and only Chinese writer to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy lauded his novel Lingshan (Soul Mountain) and other writings as 'an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama'. Born in China in 1940, Mr. Gao graduated from the French department o f Be i j i ng Foreign Languages Institute in 1962 and wo r ked as a translator after graduation. He made his debut in the literary scene with his novel Hanye zhong de xingchen (Stars on a Cold Ni gh t) and literary theory wr i t i ng Xiandai xiaoshuo jiqiao chutan ( A Preliminary Exp l o r a t i on into the Techniques of Modem Fiction). In 1981, Mr. Gao joined the Beijing People's Art Theatre as a resident playwright. The next year, his theatrical debut Juedui xinhao (Absolute Signal) was staged by 10 art troupes across the country. A prolific writer, 18 of his plays have been staged worldwide, including in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, the United States of America, and countries in Europe and Africa. His works, the great majority of which written in Chinese, have been translated into French, Swedish, English, Italian, German, Latin, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, and other languages. They have helped to bring Chinese literature into the world literary arena. A prominent playwright, director, novelist, painter, and literary theorist, Mr . Gao has made enormous contributions to contemporary Chinese literature and art, especially in the last two decades of the past century. His plays have been staged in Hong Kong's theatres as early as the mid-80s. In 1995, he came to Hong Kong to direct the Hong Kong premier o f Bi'an (The Other Shore). More recently, his important works including Meiyou zhuyi (Without Isms), Shanhaijing zhuan (The Classic of Mountains and Seas), and Zhoumo sichongzou (Weekend Quartet) were published in Hong Kong. He has also held several exhibitions o f his ink-brush paintings in the territory. Over the years, Mr. Gao has given valuable support to art and literature research at The Chinese University. In October 1993, he visited Hong Kong for the first time at the invitation of the Institute of Chinese Studies of the University to deliver the first Sin Wai K i n Lecture on Contemporary Chinese Culture. His writings have been carried by the Twenty-First Century bimonthly published by the institute. In December 1993, he visited Hong Ko ng again and attended the International Symposium on Contemporary P l ay -wr i t i ng in the Chinese Language, hosted by Sir Run Run Shaw Hall of the University. An anthology of five of his plays was translated into English, entitled The Other Shore, by Prof. Gilbert Fong o f the Department o f Translation and published by The Chinese University Press. Mr. Gao visited the University in January this year and presented a public lecture—his first in Hong Kong since receiving the Nobel Prize, sharing his insights into the 'Language of Literature' with his audience. Prof. Yuan Longping A n eminent scientist and agricultural researcher, Prof. Yuan Longping is currently Academician o f the Chinese Academy of Engineering, director-general of the Ch i na Na t i o n al H y b r i d R i ce Research and Development Centre, honorary president of the Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China, and vice- chairman o f the Hunan Provincial Committee o f the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Prof. Yuan graduated from Southwest Agriculture College in 1953 and has since devoted h imse lf to agricultural education and research. In the early 1970s, he succeeded in developing three strains of hybrid rice, namely male sterile, maintainer, and restorer, and obtained the world's first high-yielding hybrid rice strain. He is the first scientist to successfully alter the self- pollinating characteristic of rice and make large-scale farming of hybrid rice possible. This earns h im the title 'Father of Hybrid Rice'. His pioneering work in hybrid r i ce b r e e d i ng and p r o d u c t i on t e c hn i ques has revolutionized rice cultivation in China, established China's world leading position in hybrid rice research, and made possible the feeding of 22 per cent of the world population on only seven per cent of the world's total arable land. Prof. Yuan's remarkable achievement in hybrid rice research has won h im numerous awards and honours: Science Prize o f the Un i t ed Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Gold Medal Award for the Outstanding Inventor of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization, Medal of Honour for Food Security and Sustainable Development o f the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations, Rank Prize for Agronomy and Nutrition o f the United Kingdom, and Fukui International Koshihikari Rice Prize o f Japan. He was also awarded the first State Supreme Science and Techno l ogy Awa r d by the Chinese Government in February 2001 in recognition of his contributions to hybrid rice research. Prof. Yuan is wo r k i ng w i t h the Un i ve r s i t y 's Department of Biology on a project to improve hybrid rice. The project is subsumed under the University's Area-of-Excellence in Plant and Fungal Biotechnology which is funded by the University Grants Committee. In July 2001, he visited The Chinese University as Wei Lun Visiting Professor and delivered a public lecture on the recent developments of Chinese hybrid rice. Mr. Hung Hon-cheung, George Mr. Hung Hon-cheung is an outstanding engineer and a very senior and distinguished alumnus of The Chinese Un i ve r s i ty o f Hong Kong and Chung Chi College. Mr. Hung has made remarkable contributions to refrigerating engineering and energy engineering. His invention of a bicycle utilizing body weight was awarded the first prize at the International Inventors Expo 91 in New York. He is currently a life member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and of the Association of Energy Engineers in the USA.