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Press Release 

  OUHK to honour four outstanding personages 01/11/2005

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) will confer honorary degrees upon Mo Yan, Xiang Huaicheng, Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen and Prof. Wichit Srisa-an in recognition of their achievements and contributions at its Fourteenth Congregation this December. 


Mo Yan (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa ) 

Mo Yan, a world-renowned Chinese contemporary writer, was born in a poor peasant family in Shandong, China. He was forced to give up schooling for farming during the Cultural Revolution, and had been a factory worker before he joined the People's Liberation Army in 1976. He began writing during his more than 20 years of service in the Army, and at the same time pursued studies at the Literature Department of the People's Liberation Army Arts College and obtained a Master of Arts degree in Literature at the Lu Xun Literature College of Beijing Normal University. 

Mo Yan is a prolific writer who has published over a hundred short fictions and long novels, and participated actively in script writing for plays and screenplays. Many of his literary works like Red Sorghum Family, The Republic of Wine, The Penalty of Sandalwood, Plump Breasts and Fat Buttocks and The Story of Jinke have been well-received by readers at home and abroad, and were translated into a dozen foreign languages for publication in different countries. He won numerous awards in recognition of his accomplishments. These include, among other national literary prizes, the Best Nouvelle Prize, the Dajia Honghe Literature Prize and the Chinese Literature Media Prize (Annual Outstanding Achievement Prize) of China; the United Literature Prize of Taiwan; the Laure Bataillin Prize and the French Arts and Literature Knight Medal of France; and the Nonino Prize of Italy. 


Xiang Huaicheng (Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa ) 

As Chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund of China, Xiang Huaicheng plays an instrumental role in overseeing the management and operation of the National Social Security Fund, a strategic reserve to support the aging population.

Xiang was born in Shanghai and graduated from the Chinese Literature Department of Shandong University in 1960. He had been an analyst of the Computing Technology Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences before embarking on a long career at the Ministry of Finance in 1962. He held various positions in the Tax Bureau, the Budget Department and the Planning and Policy Department of the Ministry and became Vice Minister of Finance in 1986 and Executive Vice Minister of Finance in 1992. He had been appointed Deputy Commissioner of the State Administration of Taxation before he assumed the office of Minister of Finance from 1998 to 2003. He holds honorary professorships at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University and Renmin University of China, and has published important papers on Chinese fiscal reform and policies. He has also participated in the Three Gorges Project as well as other welfare projects initiated by the State Council.


Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen (Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa )

Born in Hong Kong, Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen was appointed the first Chinese Chairman of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) in May this year. He holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree and a Master of Philosophy degree in Economics respectively conferred by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He joined the HSBC Group in 1978, and became its Chief Economist in 1986. From 1989 to 1991, he was seconded to the Government's Central Policy Unit and served as an adviser to the Governor of Hong Kong. In 1992, Cheng rejoined HSBC as Senior Manager, Economic and Strategic Research, before becoming the Bank's Chief Financial Officer in 1994. He took up the post of General Manager in June 1995 and the post of Executive Director in November. He was appointed Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of Hang Seng Bank in 1998.

Cheng is active in public service. He was a member of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council and a Hong Kong Affairs Adviser to the Chinese Government. He is currently Vice President of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust and Vice Patron of the Community Chest of Hong Kong. He is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In July, he was awarded a Gold Bauhinia Star medal by the Hong Kong SAR Government.


Prof. Wichit Srisa-an (Doctor of Science, honoris causa )

An eminent scholar and educational administrator, Prof. Wichit Srisa-an is the Founding Rector of Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, the first open university in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Prof. Srisa-an received his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Minnesota in the USA. After his return to Thailand, he has devoted himself to the development of open and distance education. He played a leading role in setting up Suranaree University of Technology and Walailak University, both being the first autonomous, public universities in Thailand. Apart from being a member of the Thai Parliament and Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education at home, Prof. Srisa-an also spares no effort in promoting educational cooperation in the international arena. He is President of the International Council on Education for Teaching; Chairman of the Consortium on Innovations in Higher Education for Asia and the Pacific, UNESCO; Founding President of the Asian Association of Open Universities; Executive Member of the International Council for Distance Education; and Founding President of the Association of Universities in Asia and the Pacific.

The Fourteenth Congregation of the OUHK will be held at 4 pm on 14 December (Wednesday) at Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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