Bridging the Worlds

20 October 2003

It is a great honour to be here today. I would like to extend my congratulations to the Guangdong and Chaozhou officials, Chaozhou citizens, and all our honoured guests. I would also like to thank the city of Chaozhou for your warm reception.

Guangji Bridge is one of the four famous bridges in China. I had visited Guangji Bridge when I was a child. This bridge was built during the Southern Song Dynasty and today stands as a major cultural and historical landmark in Chaozhou. For 900 years, the bridge has been Chaozhou’s gateway to the world. This bridge represents the memory of our ancestors and connects our diverse Chinese cultures. Our ancestors built this bridge with their blood and sweat as well as their architectural excellence. The bridge stands as a monument to the ingenuity of the Chinese people. Today, under the careful direction of Chaozhou officials and the China Culture Relics Bureau, this major renovation project will enable the Guangji Bridge to shine once again.

Bridges have long symbolized the connection between different people and cultures. Human beings are minute compared to the magnificent world. The geographical gaps created by rivers and canyons can be closed by a bridge, bringing people not only closer together, but closer to understanding each other. 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 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.

It has been over 60 years since I left Chaozhou. The beauty of my hometown, like the Guangji Bridge, will forever occupy a special place in my heart. I am very pleased to see Chaozhou officials doing their best to serve the interests of the Chaozhou people. I take this opportunity to wish the city and the people of Chaozhou continued success and happiness.


Thank you.