China Overseas Chinese Network, June 19th, title: Why does Tan Kah Kee "Ning to sell the building but also support Xiamen University?"
Xiamen University, the first university founded by overseas Chinese in modern China, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Speaking of this century-old school, one has to mention one person—the leader of overseas Chinese, Tan Kah Kee.
In May 1919, following the wave of the May Fourth Movement, Tan Kah Kee returned to his hometown to initiate Xiamen University.
Tan Kah Kee, who was born in Tong'an County, Fujian Province, has always been concerned about the education of the children in southern Fujian and overseas Chinese. Before that, he had founded Jimei Girls’ Primary School and Jimei Middle School.
On April 6, 1921, Xiamen University was announced.
At that time, the school building had not yet been completed, and Xiamen University opened the school on the basis of the school building in Jimei School Village.
To found Xiamen University, Tan Kah Kee pledged 4 million silver dollars.
According to Tan Kah Kee's eldest grandson, Chen Liren, this amount is equivalent to all the assets of his grandfather that year.
"To be able to match the universities of the world" and "bring a splendor for our country" were Chen Kah Kee's expectations when he founded Xiamen University.
In 1929, when the world economic crisis broke out, Tan Kah Kee Company was hit hard and announced its closing in February 1934.
During this period, some banks and consortia were willing to contribute money to support Tan Kah Kee's enterprises, and their condition was to stop funding Xiamen University and Jimei School.
Tan Kah Kee resolutely replied: "Enterprises can be closed, and schools must not be shut down!" To keep the school, Tan Kah Kee raised funds in various ways and even changed the three villas where the seller lived. All the money received was used as Xiamen University's funding.
In order to realize the educational ambition in his heart, he devoted all his efforts to management, "Ning to sell the building, but also to support Xiamen University."
In 1950, Tan Kah Kee returned to China and settled in his hometown Jimei Village.
At that time, he took a boat from Jimei to Xiamen University to supervise the construction of the school every week. It took him more than three hours each time, rain or shine.
Tan Kah Kee, who was a businessman, devoted all his efforts to education.
He firmly believes that "education is the foundation of a country, and education is the bounden duty of the nation."
Today, nearly 120 schools founded or funded by Tan Kah Kee are spread all over the world, covering kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, vocational education and universities.
Under the advocacy and drive of Tan Kah Kee, Xingxue education has become a common practice, and a large number of overseas Chinese are enthusiastic about public welfare and assisting social undertakings.
(Source: Xinhuanet, Guangming Daily, Fujian Daily, China News, China Overseas Chinese History Museum exhibition related materials, etc.; Author: Liang Yi; ID: qiaowangzhongguo)