“Through learning and temperance to virtue” ~ The Chinese University of Hong Kong Motto
By Catherine Austin Fitts
Some days are special – Sunday in Hong Kong was one of those days.
I went to visit the Chinese University of Hong Kong where I spent my third year abroad during college.
Even though I returned to Hong Kong in 1997, I have not had the opportunity to see the university since my student years. The three founding colleges of the Chinese University – Chung Chi College, New Asia College and United College – consolidated into an expanded New Territories campus after my time there. I spent my first month at Chung Chi in Shatin and then moved near the Yale-China Chinese Language Center then located in the prior New Asia campus in Kowloon.
One of my fondest memories was the entrance gate to Chung Chi – which now sports a new and improved version – and the beauty of the land, including a lake in the middle of the campus.
My trip to the University was arranged by a wonderful Solari Report subscriber who picked me up at my hotel in Central District in Hong Kong and drove us to the Chinese University, describing the extraordinary development that has occurred since I was last here, shortly before the Handover from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese University has grown significantly. There are now almost 30,000 students attending nine constituent colleges with eight faculties, the Faculties of Arts, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science, and Social Science. Numerous opportunities are available for students from abroad, including summer language classes for those of us who understand the importance of learning Mandarin!
Our tour began with lunch at Sha Tin 18 – an award winning restaurant that serves both Cantonese and Northern Chinese cuisine. It is located in the Hyatt Regency on land leased from the University and features an open kitchen. The restaurant offers opportunities for Chinese University students who are studying in the hospitality and real estate program.
We were hosted by an exceptionally knowledgeable and charming professor who had generously taken time from his celebration of Father’s Day to take us on a tour of the university.
One of our last stops on the tour was the Pavilion of Harmony at New Asia College that includes a beautiful reflecting pool that looks out over Hong Kong.
“The Theory of the Union of Man and Nature” composed by Dr. Ch’ien Mu, founder of New Asia College is inscribed in a wall near the reflecting pool. It “states that Chinese believe the Mandate of Heaven is shown in one’s life and nothing can be said about this Mandate if one is away from life. On the other hand, if one is away from the Mandate of Heaven, life cannot be discussed any more.”
These times inspire study of the Mandate of Heaven and contemplation of how it can inform our path forward.
When I flew to Hong Kong as a nineteen-year-old college student long ago, I had no idea how lucky I was to have such an opportunity. I was inspired to study in Hong Kong by my father’s stories of life as a medical resident under General Stilwell in China during WW II. My classmates doing a third year abroad were going to Paris. I headed in the opposite direction. My father had a medical student from Hong Kong who graciously arranged for his family to watch out for me while I was here. Touring the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Sunday, I could feel the many blessings that have flowed from that year in Hong Kong throughout my life and work.
As globalization slows and China grows, the young people of Hong Kong are seeking a renewed identity and culture amidst the “one country, two systems” principle that defines the integration of this globally powerful region with China. Having the support of a great public research university makes a big difference.