Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan has been granted an honorary doctor's degree from Xiamen University in southeastern China's Fujian Province.
Xiamen University President Zhu Chongshi presented a diploma to Lien before Lien made a speech to 3,000 students and teachers on Wednesday afternoon.
Lien is not only a prominent statesman but also a leading scholar who has accomplished outstanding academic achievements, publishing many political works and educating dozens of scholars in this field, Zhu said.
Lien visited the mainland last April, making important contributions to the peace and development of the Chinese nation. A year later, Lien attended the Cross-Straits Economic and Trade Forum in Beijing, to promote economic and trade cooperation across the Taiwan Straits.
Over 50 years ago, many graduates from Xiamen University went to Taiwan and played an important role in the island's construction and development, Zhu said.
"The university has carried out many cross-Straits academic exchange programs over the last 20 years. Granting an honorary doctor's degree to Lien will improve such exchange programs as well as the development of cross-Straits ties," Zhu said.
In his speech, Lien recalled history and cultural relations between himself, his family and Xiamen University. "Conveying Chinese culture from generation to generation is our common responsibility," Lien said.
Lien strongly criticized secessionist movements in Taiwan, making reference to the incident where the island's textbooks were tampered with. "The inbred Chinese culture cannot be destroyed, no matter what anyone does," he said.
"The cross-Straits exchange of culture is the most basic and powerful exchange, with which all issues between the two sides can be resolved," he said, calling for closer ties in the fields of culture and history.
Lien arrived in Fujian on Monday evening after attending the forum in Beijing from April 14 to 15. He also met with President Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
On Wednesday morning, Lien paid homage to his ancestors in Maqi Village in Zhangzhou, a city in Fujian.
(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2006)