China's prestigious Peking University on Sunday marked the 95th birthday of well-known Chinese linguist, sanskritist and literary translator Ji Xianlin.
For health reasons, Ji himself was not present at the celebration.
"Thank you all very much for arranging such a grand ceremony for an old man who's much less incompetent," he said in a video recording played during Sunday's ceremony.
Ji has been hospitalized for more than three years at the Beijing-based General Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, but looked well and smilingly on the screen.
"I've noticed great changes in recent years: harmony in particular," he said. "Once the Chinese nation is in harmony and unity, it will have a far-reaching effect on the world and the whole humanity. No one is able to hold back China's rapid development, not even God."
In his speech delivered at Sunday's ceremony, Peking University President Xu Zhihong praised Ji as a "hardworking and persevering scholar" and "a good example" for teachers and students.
State Councilor Chen Zhili sent a congratulatory letter, in which she spoke highly of Ji's hard work to promote cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
Ji Xianlin, born in 1911, has been teaching at Peking University since 1946.
Ji has contributed significantly to the research on ancient Indian aboriginal languages form, primeval Buddhist languages and Sanskritic literature. He also translated numerous works on ancient Indian languages and primeval Buddhist tongue, as well as foreign essays.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2006)