Respectable Secretary General Kim Jae-youl, Dear Colleagues,
It is a great honor for me to attend this conference. First of all, I would extend, on behalf of President Xu Zhi-hong of Peking University, the most cordial gratitude and the grandest respect to Secretary General Kim Jae-youl, to friends from Hanoi University, and to each colleague of Asia Research Centers from other Asian Universities. With the assistance from Secretary General Kim Jae-youl and other colleagues, under the guidance of our deceased vice-president He Fang-chuan, Asia-Pacific Research Institute of Peking University (APRIPKU) grows stronger and stronger gradually and obtains so fruitful academic achievements that it has become one of the most influential and vibrant among the research centers at Peking University.
Again on behalf of President Xu Zhi-hong and other colleagues from APRIPKU, I also would like to share with you some of our experiences and ideas on improving research quality, on which your valuable suggestions are sincerely welcome.
I Advocating Contempt to Fame and Wealth and Devotion to Academic Study, Maintaining Benign Academic Atmosphere
Ever since Peking University was founded, the tradition of inclusiveness and freedom in academic study has been preserved very well, which is certainly the most valuable spiritual treasure for APRIPKU. We firmly secure the academic tradition, resisting the influence from the frivolous vogue of eagerness for quick success and instant benefit, and the influence from commerce inclination rooted from a money worship, because we believe only in this way could our scientific research be sustainable, and only in this way could long time accumulation induce spurs of inspiration and original achievements with high quality successively.
APRIPKU proposes that not only should a liberal atmosphere in favor of gifted persons to stand out be established with no stone unturned, but also a well-directed study and research ethos be set up, with full academic democracy exercised, and with academic contentions, failures and criticism permitted, the combination of which would ensure an environment that encourages exploration and innovation spirits and respects academic features.
The deceased professor Meng Er-dong of Department of Chinese Language and Literature PKU is a very renowned scholar and celebrated expert on Chinese traditional culture study in China. Chinese President Hu Jin-tao used to be very much concerned about his health condition, sending his special greetings and respects to Professor Meng.
Professor Meng was absorbed into his research all his life. It’s quite possible that few people could understand his research except for a few in his small academic circle. He hated to show himself in public or his name listed on mass media, rejecting all interviews, being afraid that these affairs may take too much of his time. In fact he is such a plain person that it not easy to identify him among others walking on campus. He seemed to be solitary, eccentric, and humble in making speeches and entertaining others, but he made striking scientific achievements. Scholars like professor Meng are precious stones for PKU.
II Emphasis on Asia Features of Academic Research and Combination of Cultural & Social Science Research with Developments of China and other Asian Countries
Chinese culture, in fact the orient culture, worships “harmonization”, desiring to build a society in which man coexists harmoniously not only with others but also with nature, develops freely and equally as well as enjoys the development fruits fairly. Meanwhile, we argue to construct a harmonious world that pays attention to world peace, developments, cooperation, pluralism and inclusiveness.
This is not only the allegation of Chinese government, but also the core spirits of orient culture. Researchers of APRIPKU have been working on such issues as “harmonious society” and “harmonious world”, and we wish all researchers from other Asian countries could join us.
Furthermore, Asia-Pacific research has to focus on the practical needs of social development. Presently, Chinese society enters a critical development period, while developments in other Asian countries also face plenty of opportunities and challenges. Therefore, responsibilities of scholars are so heavy that APRIPKU have been trying to assist and bridge the communications between researchers and the society.
For instance, professor Wang Ji-si, the dean of School of International Studies of PKU is a well-known expert on Sino-U.S. relationship. He had his article “Searching for Stability with America” published on Diplomat Magazine on the October Issue in 2005. He is the second after the famous Chinese diplomat, Mr. Huan Xiang, who published “On U.S.-China Relations” on this world influential political magazine 24 years ago in the beginning of 1980s. Wang’s article is of not only academic importance, but also of importance to recast China’s international image and to push the Sino-U.S. relation development forward.
Another example is that China is facing grave problems about drinking water safety. Not long ago, scholars from PKU submitted a proposal to the central government, which attracts state leaders’ great attention. Right now, PKU is working with other universities to assiduously conduct researches on drinking water safety and making preparations to establish a Nationwide University-Aligned Research Center. This project is the concourse of forces from such disciplines as arts, science, medicine and engineering, fully exerting the advantages of multi-discipline cooperation.
Now, sustainable development of China is facing many serious problems, so are the peace and development in Asia, which requires cultural and social science researchers to make in-depth and long-term research. Hereby APRIPKU would like to work jointly with other Asian universities in order to make contributions to the Asian development and blessings for Asian people.
III Sticking to “Sense of Confection” in Scientific Research Work
There is already a great number of excellent young researchers in PKU who are engaged in Asia-Pacific research field and have earned some international prestige. Professor Lin Yi-fu published his “The Reform in Rural Areas and Agriculture Increase in China” which became the best index article according to Institute of Science and Information in America (ISI). Thereafter in February 2006, the Marshall Lectures of Cambridge University, which is of great reputation throughout the world, sent invitation to professor Lin and invited him to deliver speeches in 2007-2008 period. Professor Lin will be the first Chinese scholar who steps to this world top economics bema.
According to the statistics of SSCI in America, altogether 425 journals on cultural and social science from PKU are included therein from 2001 to 2005, which is nearly two and a half times more than the 127 journals from 1996 to 2000. According to statistics of CSSCI in Nanjing University, 6971 journals from Peking University are included therein from 2001 to 2005. These numbers may tell us something.
The deceased ex-vice-president of Peking University, dean of APRIPKU, professor He Fang-chuan once made his remarks to his students which is also summarization of his experience in his research life, showing distinctively the “sense of confection”:
“To my understanding, regarding cultural disciplines, the so-called pursuits of one’s studies are to pursue some new sense in some discipline. Don’t haste to write down anything before you have any new sense, because if you do write something down, it is not academic research at all in its real sense. By using the so-called new sense, I mean that you stand on ancestor shoulders and move further a little, then another little…tell something that is never mentioned by ancestors, not thoroughly explained by ancestors or mistakenly presented by ancestors. If you determine to make your own contribution in these three aspects, you will have to abjure ostentation, calm down and get down to your work, accumulating, searching and collecting to make a sound theoretic foundation, foreign language foundation and professional knowledge foundation. For decades I could not calm down my restlessness, or wipe out my recklessness, thus what’s left to me is mere compunction. Such compunction might become the heritage, of some value, to our offspring.”
Vice president He Fang-chuan repeatedly emphasized when he was alive that a real master must render the world breathtaking works of great quality because quality is of vital significance. This has become the belief of all the researchers of APRIPKU.
IV Increasing Investment and Adapting to Informational Age
The modern cultural and social science research, regardless of empirical research by doing field investigation or by building models with illustrations of statistics, or by quoting literature and adopting other traditional historical research methodology, must adapt to the objective requirements of the current information society development. Informational age generates both unprecedented opportunities and tremendous challenges for cultural and social science activity. When this trend is observed and followed, cultural and social science research could be greatly enhanced.
Guanghua School of Management PKU has built an Economics-Sociology Analysis and Simulation Laboratory that provides great convenience for scientific study and empirical analysis of many related disciplines. During the past three years, nearly 60 papers from this school were published on some Core Journals of significant international academic influence. Such achievements are surely indispensable to the statistics provided by this laboratory.
The sub-project, Platform for Research on Chinese Language & Literature Teaching & Basic Theories and Their Application, developed Analysis System for “Poems of Song Dynasty” which “provides multidimensional searching and analyzing measures and reliable analysis data for such fields as Chinese ancient literature, classic Chinese and philology. The success of the system marks that the application of computer science in Chinese information processing has geared from the original information provision model of full text searching model to intelligent analysis model”, and it marks “the effective combination of information processing technology with Chinese ancient literature research, which demonstrates the information technology application direction and prospects in Chinese ancient literature research field, and we could say that this system has taken a leading place in the world in this respect.”
Certainly, establishment of huge database requires investments, especially continuous investment. APRIPKU will, on one hand, make good use of all existing databases in PKU, and on the other hand, wish to establish specialized database on Asia-Pacific research so that the quality of researches get further improved.
Respectable dear colleagues and scholars,
I will thank you again for the support you so generously award APRIPKU, without which we couldn’t get such great developments. We wish we could strengthen and enhance communication and cooperation with other Asian universities to impel our joint advancement and make our contributions to culture harmonization, co-prosperity, and the peaceful development in Asia-Pacific Area.