ACS is now three years old. As one of her “babysitters,” I watched her come into the world, nourished her, supported her as she learned to walk, and led her upstairs... Although not necessarily graceful and stunning yet, she is growing healthy and more vigorous.
In Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, it is our obligation to create an academic institute to study and carry forward Chinese culture. It also was the long-cherished wish of the cultural pioneers who had plowed and sowed the land. As early as the 1930s, the founding scholar of Hong Kong’s modern culture, Professor Xu Dishan, advocated the establishment of a research institute for Chinese culture. Due to circumstances at that time, it did not come to pass. Now we are at a new stage of history, and it is time to realize our forerunners’ wishes.
Hong Kong’s return to China marks the beginning of a new era, in which the long-ignored status of Chinese culture, both traditional and modern, needs to change. At the same time, Hong Kong, a global hub of cultural exchange, is obliged to reposition its unique culture and to assess its values and characteristics as an example for the modernization of Chinese culture. It is based on this sense of mission that I consider it my obligation to support and promote Chinese culture—the crystallization of the national spirit—regardless of my own heavy workload and the fact that my expertise is in law and economics rather than culture.
Fortunately, we are not alone. First, the Chief Executive and the HKSAR government have given us much attention and their full support. Mr. Tung Chee-hwa has not only kindly agreed to chair the Steering Committee of our education project, Splendid Chinese Culture, but has also offered moral support and detailed guidance. We greatly appreciate these generous deeds which have been encouraging. Meanwhile, we received understanding, concern, and support from ministries and departments of the central government, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the Publicity Department, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, and the Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. The support has strengthened our confidence in developing our cause. Furthermore, the contribution and collaboration of hundreds of renowned scholars and experts from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan have made the flourishing of our mission possible.
We sincerely look forward to like-minded sympathy and support.
It is still the first step on a thousand-mile journey to carry forward the spirit of Chinese civilization. We will make unremitting efforts to stride forward!
The birth of ACS goes back to the year 1999.
The idea of establishing ACS emerged when I and two outstanding scholars, professors Jao Tsung-i and Hu Congjing, realized that the general public of Hong Kong lacked a sense of national awareness and identity among themselves, even though Hong Kong had been returned to its motherland. This urged us to formulate a common goal—it was time to take action and to contribute to the promotion of Chinese culture.
Holding on to that conviction and determination, and through painstaking efforts, ACS was founded in the year 2000.
It is important to make Chinese cultural education more popular. It will improve the understanding of the Chinese culture in the entire community, so that every Chinese can be proud of being a “descendant of the dragon.”
So, we decided to begin with the younger generation.
The first important task for ACS was to build a substantial educational website of Chinese culture through years of meticulous work. This would be the Splendid Chinese Culture website. We believed that with the help of the Internet, this encyclopedic website of Chinese cultural knowledge would accelerate our work and benefit not only citizens of mainland China and Hong Kong, but also overseas Chinese, as well as readers from around the globe. Since its launch on October 27, 2001, Splendid Chinese Culture has received recognition and praise from all sides, along with increasing website traffic. These gratifying results have become the driving force for us to strive forward. We believe this is a meaningful and meritorious undertaking
We have merely taken the first step. To carry the splendid Chinese civilization forward to future generations, ACS will rely on the fine Chinese traditions of indomitable determination and perseverance, and undertake the responsibilities of research, exploration, preservation, and the exchange of Chinese culture. We hope to involve more like-minded people in this beneficial work.
Relatives and friends may wonder why, in my seventies, I should still bother to work. All I know is that ACS is established to promote Chinese culture, and as a “descendant of the dragon,” it is my and every Chinese person’s responsibility to participate in this cause, regardless of age.
In this economy-dominated society of Hong Kong, I deeply understand that it will not be a smooth road. I hope that ACS will continue to develop and grow, and to adhere to its mission.