Premier Li Keqiang’s three-day inspection tour to Zhejiang province from Nov 19 to 21 was steeped in cultural resonance and provided a chance for the Premier to impress upon university students the contribution they can make.
Premier Li Keqiang already knew many of the names on display when he visited a history exhibition at Zhejiang University.
“Universities are places of accomplished academics and scholars,’’ he said。
“Zhejiang University has cultivated many outstanding people that all have close links with the country’s development and social progress.”
Then, Li reverently went to the bronze statue of Zhu Kezhen, a famous former president of Zhejiang University.
Zhu is credited with providing the university with its guiding spirit. He believed that “the academic atmosphere of a university depends on its soul — the professors. If the professors regard research and study as their life career, and consider educating students as their responsibility, a good academic atmosphere will be naturally born.”
The Premier also shared his student memories with students in the university library.
Li was among the first group of students admitted to college after the national entrance examination was resumed in 1977. However, the university library, with only several hundred seats, could not accommodate the more than 3,000 students.
“We had to get up at 6 am every day and line up in front of the library,” he told the students.
“The people of my generation were thirsty for knowledge after being deprived of access to books for so long.”
Li also explained and elaborated on the four-character motto of Zhejiang University “Qiu Shi Chuang Xin” (Seeking Truth and Pioneering New Trails) to the students.
He noted that no matter what path the students choose, science, or business, their options should be based on solid knowledge and a cultural background.
“You should strive to be the country’s expertise and shoulder responsibility in the future,” he said.
“However, this doesn’t mean that you must be rich or powerful. Society will be more complete and strong when you make full use of your talent in various fields, and generate hope for the country.”
The Premier visited the Gongchenqiao section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on Nov 21 and highlighted the importance to protect, inherit and promote traditional culture during urbanization.
“The canal is the creation of human knowledge, and the current Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is a re-creation of our historical heritage,” Li said.
Li later visited a bookstore in an old street west of the canal at the invitation of the shopowner.
“I haven’t visited a bookshop for a long time,” he said.
Zhu Yufang, the owner, recommended a best-seller to the Premier. Li picked up a work by Yang Jiang and carefully looked through it.
Zhu mentioned the difficulties in managing a bookstore with a growing number of people turning to e-books.
“Although bookshops are affected by the Internet, printed books are still the symbol of our culture. There will always be a market for them,” Li said.
The Premier frequently mentioned “culture” and “morality” even though when inspecting online stores and a privately owned bank.
Li praised the motto “Never Break The Rule” of Yang Yaohui, a young owner of an online shop who insisted on always obeying the law and conducting his business in a legal and moral manner.
“You are right. Only with such self-discipline, can businesses win lasting credibility from the market,” he said.
The Premier highlighted the honesty and trustworthiness reflected by the small shop and its owner. He also turned his attention to bigger businesses and praised a commercial bank in Zhejiang province for combining morality and profit.
Zhejiang Tailong Commercial Bank in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is a commercial bank dedicated to financial services for small enterprises.
“You are providing services to thousands of small- and micro-sized businesses, and the work is risky and hard. However, our society needs these companies to create jobs and increase incomes. Your efforts reflect social consciousness and facilitate social fairness,” Li said.
He then recommended the novel The Moneychangers, written by Arthur Hailey, to the head of the bank.
“The writer spent more than two years getting deeply involved in the banks and interviewing people. He came to the conclusion that banks can obtain more lasting and stable returns by serving the small- and micro-sized businesses,” he said.
“I hope you can become such a money-changer.”
The Premier compared Yiwu International Trade City, the world’s largest wholesale commodity market to the famous ancient scroll painting, Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival.
“Your shops are small in size, but you have expanded your business to the global market; the geographic location of your shops is not advantageous, but they have sent products to almost every corner of the world,” he said.
Li also said the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind when meeting global corporate leaders who were participating in the World Internet Conference in Zhejiang province.
The Internet has changed the way we look at the world and connect to it, he said.