World-renowned entrepreneur Mr Li Ka-shing officiated at the ceremony for the restoration of the Guangji Bridge in Chaozhou. Mr Li has donated RMB 7.2 million to restore the six towers of the bridge.
The 750-metre Guangji Bridge, also known as Xiangzi Bridge, was built in the Southern Song Dynasty. The bridge, together with Zhaozhou Bridge, Luoyang Bridge and Lugou Bridge, are the four most famous bridges of ancient China. As an important ancient relic and a historic landmark in Chaozhou, the State Council declared Guangji Bridge to be a protected cultural relic in 1988.
In view of the serious erosion on the bridge caused by extreme weather conditions over the years, the Chaozhou Government decided that a full restoration was required.
Speaking as the honorary advisor of the Restoration Committee for the Guangji Bridge, Mr Li remarked that bridges have played an essential role in human communications and exchanges, and that mutual understanding between people was made possible with bridges.
Mr Li said, “Today, globalization presents many challenges as well as opportunities. Our mother country is gradually bridging the gap with the rest of the world. Chaozhou, as a major cultural hub in Southern China, must also move in step with the times.
Urban renewal and infrastructure development are important components of modernization, but what purpose do progress and prosperity serve if not for the betterment of human beings? Let us not forget that the focus of our development should be the welfare of human beings. Without this goal, development will serve little purpose. I believe that through education, humanitarian principles and knowledge can be passed on and expanded. We must work in unison to cultivate ourselves with moral courage, responsibility, aspiration, knowledge, perseverance, and achievement. This will be Chaozhou’s everlasting contribution to our nation.
Mr Li added that the restoration of the Guangji Bridge will not only help to promote the tourism industry of Chaozhou, it is also a significant cultural contribution. With the globalization of the economy, the tourism industry in Chaozhou has to bring in innovative concepts in order to survive the competition. He hoped the classical design of the Guangji Bridge could be restored and become an attractive tourist spot in which the Chaozhou people can take pride.
Mr Li wished that Chinese culture and wisdom will be as well preserved as the ancient Guangji Bridge.
During his visit to the water supply facilities of Chaozhou, Mr Li congratulated the efforts of the provincial government officials for carrying out this improvement project to solve the fresh water supply and irrigation problems.
Out of his passion for China and his hometown, Mr Li has made substantial donations to Shantou, Chaozhou and other mainland cities towards medical, educational and cultural developments.
Mr Li’s major contributions in the Shantou-Chaozhou area include Shantou University, Shantou University Medical College, Chaozhou Hospital, Chaozhou Kaiyuan Temple, Hanjiang Bridge, public housing for Chaozhou residents and 70 rural primary schools in Chaozhou.
Also officiating at the ceremony are Mr Lu Ruihua, Deputy Director of the Overseas Chinese Committee of the National People’s Congress, Mr Lu Jimin, former Director of the State Cultural Relic Office, Mr Chen Bing, Secretary for the Municipal Party Committee of Chaozhou and Mr Luo Wenzhi, Mayor of Chaozhou.
20 Oct 2003
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