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Native son Rong planted seed of Reform & Opening Up


Updated: 2018-12-25

The new Yung Wing Museum was ready enough on Dec 22 to commemorate the 190th birthday of its namesake during the 40th anniversary of China's Reform & Opening-Up policy, in which he played an early historic key role.

The museum in Nanping Town is soon to be opened to the public after which it will provide detailed knowledge of the forefather of Chinese overseas study and continue to promote patriotism. Academic seminars and activities were held there on the 22nd.

Born on Nov 17, 1828, Zhuhai native Yung Wing (Rong Hong) (1828-1912) was a noted educator, diplomat, social activist, and the first Chinese student to receive a degree from an American university (Yale College in 1854).


Yung Wing Museum

With the aim of adapting foreign ideas, he initiated the Chinese Educational Mission (CEM) in 1872 . Sent to study in New England of the US were 120 youngsters, many of whom returned to make significant contributions to China's development. This was the first study-abroad achievement of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The dedicated museum is located on Dongda Jie at the former site of Zhenxian School, which was founded by Yung himself. It is 1 km (less than a mile) from Yung's childhood residence.

The building devotes 600 of 800 sq m (957 sq yd) in floor space to displaying more than 300 images and 100 historical documents. The first display zone introduces Yung's life path sequentially while his far-reaching influence is highlighted in the second zone by presenting the significant roles played by the 120 CEM talents who returned from overseas.


Distinguished guests

Forty-eight other outstanding returned overseas scholars who went abroad before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 are also pictured.

The museum also presents restorations of critical historical scenes using advanced technologies, as well as service facilities.

At the same time, dozens of experts, scholars, and some descendants of the aforementioned youngsters gathered to explore Yung's efforts and Chinese and Western cultures. 

Liu Zaiping, professor of history at Zhuhai College of Jilin University, said that Zhuhai was one of the earliest cities in China to pilot Reform & Opening Up. Yung's patriotic spirit is exactly what modern Zhuhai needs as the shine in its city spirit, he said. As the hometown of Yung Wing and birthplace of modern Chinese overseas study culture, he added, Zhuhai should study the spirit of Yung in a more comprehensive, in-depth, and systematic way and carry it forward. Newly discovered historical and cultural heritages would increase the cultural soft power of the city, Liu added.


Opening ceremony [Photos by Zhao Zi / Zhuhai Daily]

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