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Han Jin Talks about Universities and Cities’ Coexistence and Development
Author:Jingli Tang  Date:2014-04-01  Clicks:

Universities undertake the responsibility of fostering talents, developing academic research and disciplines and serving the society, while the development of a city concerns the well-being of people, the prosperity of material wealth, the improvement of productivity. A certain relation must exist between universities and the city, for their own development depends on the support of each other.

So far, the Innovation-driven Development Strategy is being carried out in the whole nation. How do we rely on innovation to drive the leaping development of a city? In this process, what role do universities play? On March 11th, the Chair of the University Council Han Jin, also as representative of the National People’s Congress, was interviewed by Tang Jingli, a journalist from the China Education Daily and China Education News website.

Starting with the practical things is paramount

Tang: You used to work as Director General of Development Planning Division in the Ministry of Education, Deputy Secretary of Deputy Secretary of Huanggang Municipal CPC Committee, Secretary and Mayor of Ezhou Municipal Government, and now take the office of Chair of the Wuhan University Council. Having experienced these positions, what do you think oft the coexistence and development of a university and a city?

Han: I’m very glad to be invited to have an interview here. My personal experiences let me see the reality of China’s economic and social development. Therefore, I have cultivated a different perspective for seeing things. Since I am now working in Wuhan University so that I more tend to answer your question from the point of a university.

First of all, the communication and development of a university and a city is based on a common goal, especially nowadays, when the concept of “people first”, the creation and construction of harmonious society, the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation are the focus of the whole world. Therefore, I contend that the development of a university is consistent with that of a city, and it is true at all times and in the whole world. So the key to my point is the idea of “uniformity”.

Secondly, I think that a university and a central city develop in their own regular patterns but for a common goal. Actually, they have achieved certain win-win results in principle. A university undertakes the responsibilities fostering talents, developing academic and scientific cause and serving the society, while the development of a city concerns the well-being of people, the prosperity of material wealth, the improvement of productivity. A certain relation must exist between universities and the city, for their own development depends on the support of each other.

Thirdly, universities should cooperate with enterprises and support each other. However we should take more seriously the idea that a university and a city also develop on different trajectories. Just as in the case of two partners cooperating to finish a task, trust is the main issue, and you should keep in mind that a few people may stand against your opinions. Actually, how much we reach an agreement depends on how much we trust each other in cooperation.

Last but not the least, at present, China’s higher education and universities’ development should start with doing practical things and so should a city. A less important thing is likely to turn out the most important one. There are numerous ideas, different achievements and colorful activities sprouting from the academic environment, but we should incorporate them into a joint force to motivate the economical and societal development in a focused, organized manner.

A university is the best brand of a city

Tang: A university is the best brand of a city. Every time we come to the beautiful city of Wuhan, it occurs to us that Wuhan University is in complete harmony with this city. Therefore, can we say that the existence of Wuhan University adds more taste and charm to Wuhan?

Han: At least, I think so. I’m not sure if there is a beautiful high-level university in every beautiful developed city, but I assume that a positive relation should exist between a university and its host city. It seems that this positive relation adds more beauty to a city. Wuhan University’s campus is charming and has already become the most beautiful place in the minds of Wuhan inhabitants.

I didn’t stay in Wuhan long enough and I don't have an overall knowledge of the best places to see or detailed information of Wuhan city. However, I can talk about some key factors regarding this city. The first is the rejuvenation of the Great Wuhan. It is said that only two cities can bear the name “Great City” in the whole history of China. Great Shanghai is one, and the other is the Great Wuhan. You haven’t heard of the Great Beijing or the Great Guangzhou, only of the Great Shanghai and the Great Wuhan. Among Wuhan’s developmental goals is to rejuvenate the Great Wuhan. Another important goal is to build a national central city and to construct a national innovative city. All these goals are closely related to the existence of Wuhan University.

I consider that universities occupy a very important place both in Hubei province and in Wuhan city. When I was the Mayor, the delegation of Hubei province went to attract investors from Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shanghai. When the leaders introduced the characteristics of Hubei province, they introduced it not only as a province which is endowed with thousands of lakes but also as a place where great education, science and lots of universities gathered.

Wuhan University is responsible for the rejuvenation of the Great Wuhan

Tang: Just now, you have mentioned the rejuvenation of the Great Wuhan. Then, what reports or decision-making references you put forward have been adopted by the municipal government? Can Wuhan University and Wuhan city set good examples for the development of a city and its universities?

Han: In my mind, the concept of rejuvenating the Great Wuhan consists of several points. First, the economic support is very important. Secondly, the innovation and science. This concept involves many aspects such as the impact on the economy and society, political systems, industry, technical structure, social harmony. It cannot say that all these ideas are provided by Wuhan University, but we have offered some advice and references. In the discussion of Wuhan’s city development and city planning and during the process of promoting and introducing Wuhan, scholars, teachers and students in Wuhan University, all play an active role.

We need to put great efforts in making Wuhan University and Wuhan city as good a good example for the development between a city and its universities. I believe that the leaders in Wuhan city have the same idea. On my arrival at Wuhan University, I paid a visit to the secretary of the Wuhan Municipal Committee and expressed our willingness to make contribution to the development of Wuhan city. I remembered that in 2010, our university renewed a cooperation agreement with Wuhan municipality in which some principles and implementation were made up in areas such as technology research and development, talent cultivation, social service. Although we do not define our strategic cooperation from the perspective you mentioned, what we have done counts as a foundation for this task. Four years have passed and we need to take a fresh look at the past and make some amendments and improvements so that this concept can be put into practice and ensure the whole mechanism really functions. Last year, Wuhan University celebrated its 120th birthday anniversary, and in honor of this day, many people came to plant trees or donate trees which symbolized cultivating talents. Wuhan municipality heard about this and asked to undertake the planting task, which we named “Hanlin”, a way to call ancient scholars. We aim to achieve the joint development with Wuhan city and become the brand of the city.

(translated by Chunhua Mei, edited by Sijia Hu & Diana)

Source:China Education Daily

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