Advancing Medical Education and Fostering Love for Society

18 November 1998

At a joint ceremony marking the completion of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College and the groundbreaking of the Shantou University/The Chinese University of Hong Kong International Eye Centre, Mr. Li delivered the following speech:

Today marks the completion of the Second Affiliated Hospital after a construction period of five years. Today we will also witness the groundbreaking of the International Eye Centre, a joint project between Shantou University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is highly regarded in the field of ophthalmology. I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all who have come from afar to attend this ceremony.

Shantou University made exceptional progress in 1988. We received permission to conduct doctoral programs, and the number of masters programs was also increased to 16. First Affiliated Hospital was ranked among the top 100 hospitals in the country. A team formed by Shantou University Hospital staff offered medical aid to the poor in rural regions. Our accomplishments are the result of years of concerted effort by our University staff, students, provincial government and the many friends of the University. I am grateful for all your efforts. I firmly believe that if we continue to nurture talented people to help develop the Shantou region and the rest of the nation, Shantou University’s success will one day be recognized.

Perhaps it is because my father died due to a lack of proper medical care, when I was young, I decided to do my best to promote the advancement of education and health care. The opening of each hospital means a great deal to me.

Technology is progressing by leaps and bounds. The decoding of the human genome, genetic engineering, animal cloning, and other advances may one day be applied to alleviate human suffering. The efforts of these scientists require government and monetary assistance, but they also need our support.

Not long ago, a complicated but safe operation that can restore eyesight was almost unheard of. Today, this can be easily accomplished. However, even with a $40 million eye hospital, the latest equipment, the highest standards, the most professional medical staff, doctors would not be able to perform such miracles without people like you and me to donate corneas. I can’t say that it cannot be done in the future, but certainly today it is not possible. I encourage you all to support cornea donation and give hope to those in need.

Our country’s leaders have extraordinary vision in advocating the revitalization of the nation through science and education as a foundation for our nation’s development. In our increasingly competitive world, it is difficult to sustain economic growth through injection of capital and manual labor alone. We must develop new technologies and broaden our scope of knowledge in order to raise productivity.

Revitalizing our nation through science and education is not a concept far removed from our daily lives. It is in fact closely related to our future. Everyone in his or her own way needs to consider carefully the important value of knowledge, science, moral conduct and education. We need to contribute to our nation’s progress by finding new ways to apply technology and by making the most of our resources.

Lastly, I want to express my highest respect to the hospital’s staff. It is your dedication and professionalism that allow the patients here to receive the dignity, comfort and hope that they deserve. Thank you.