(January 24, 2005 Hong Kong) Mr. Li Ka-shing, Chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Hutchison Whampoa Limited, has received the Commandeur de la Lmgion d’Honneur in recognition of his humanitarianism and generosity, and his contributions to building links between Hong Kong, Mainland China, and France. President Jacques Chirac personally conferred the insignia upon Mr. Li in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace on January 20.
President Chirac commended Li on his business success and his contributions to society. “You arrived in Hong Kong utterly destitute, after escaping the war that devastated China. Your story portrayed the journey of a man of goodwill and hard work, the journey of a man of heart and a great deal of courage, and the journey of a man with a formidable spirit of enterprise and conquest. You have overcome many trials and tribulations in your lifetime, which saw the passing away of your father as a result of illness, when you were still very young.
“Your fathers influence on you has been key to the build-up of your personality. You have been well known for your humanity, simplicity and generosity. All these are the essential qualities that you possess.
“Your profound generosity is unanimously recognized and it has not excluded France. You have given a gift, a few years ago, of an exceptional collection of antique bronzes to the Guimet Museum. I remember this very clearly, as I have seen the photos of these bronzes before they arrived at the museum.
“Today, even more admirable is a project that you support through a partnership between Shantou University and Institut Pasteur. Your support will be an important contribution to the development of this act of public interest, and I thank you for it.”
The Order of the Lmgion d’Honneur was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The Order of the Commander is the highest recognition bestowed on a foreigner for outstanding merits and contributions to France.
Mr. Li had previously received the Grand Officer of the Vasco Nunez de Balboa from Panama, Commander of the Order of the Crown and Commander in the Leopold Order from Belgium, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire from the United Kingdom and the Grand Bauhinia Medal from the Hong Kong SAR.