Project Vision Charity Week Ceremony

23 November 2003

The Honorable Vice Minister Huang Jiefu, Honorable Provincial and Municipal Officials, Guest Specialists and Scholars, Professor Dennis Lam, University Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good afternoon. Although I cannot join you in person today, it is wonderful that the marvel of communications technology has brought us together nonetheless.

It is an honor to have so many ophthalmology specialists and scholars coming to the Shantou University/Chinese University of Hong Kong Joint Shantou International Eye Center to provide technical advice and help to eye patients in Shantou. We have also received an encouraging message from Vice Premier Wu Yi. Also please accept my gratitude for the strong support rendered by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Provincial and Municipal Governments. I take this opportunity to wish the Project Vision Charity Week every success.

The 21st century will see the renaissance of a new age in China. We all need a broad vision to be able to focus on this new age.

Our eyes are like a little camera. It is the window to our soul. The human retina contains about 130 million separate photoreceptor cells. It is indeed more delicate than any camera ever invented.

Those with normal vision may find it difficult to empathize with those who have sadly lost their sight. We have all, as children, played the game of hide-and-seek. Blindfolded for a few minutes, we experienced the helplessness of being in the dark, even for just a brief moment. Just imagine a person who has the misfortune of living in permanent darkness. We are lucky to be able to see, but we must not forget those who suffer from eye illnesses. Thanks to advanced technology, there is much more we can do now to help them. They need our care, and they need our contributions.

The Project Vision Charity Week is held in conjunction with the 7th National Telemedicine Education Symposium. Medical experts will be able to communicate live with other ophthalmologists located at major hospitals around the nation using “Internet 2” technology. This will usher in a new era in the history of medical education. This charity week is only a start. But it will bring new hope to many of our fellow countrymen who suffer from severe visual difficulties as well as raise greater awareness of their plight.

I wish to thank the Chinese University of Hong Kong and to express my highest regard to every specialist, medical professional and JSIEC staff member. You have devoted so much to serve those in need, helping them to regain confidence, dignity and hope.