Premier Wen Jiabao (R) chats with linguist Ji Xianlin in Beijing August 2, 2008. [Xinhua]
Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday paid visits to three best-known senior intellectuals living in Beijing, honoring his own promise to call on these over-90-year elders once every year.
The three were linguist Ji Xianlin, founder of China's space industry Qian Xuesen, and "China's Madame Curie" He Zehui, who is the widow of China's Father of A-bomb Qian Sanqiang (1913-92).
"I've come to congratulate your birthday in advance," said Wen to Ji, who is now staying in the General Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Ji turns 97 on August 6.
Ji, a former deputy president of the prestigious Beijing University, is known for his translation works and fruitful study on Sanscrit and other ancient Indian languages, speaks good English and German, and can read French and Russian.
In their talks, Wen exchanged views with Ji on issues like the relief efforts for the deadly May 12 Earthquake, foreign language education, and the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.
"Our history has always witnessed disasters like floods, droughts and earthquakes, but our nation has never been collapsed, and quite the contrary, (our nation) has become stronger and stronger after these disasters," said the premier, who is also member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau.
Ji agreed with Wen and he said in reply, "It is same for a nation and a person. Disasters train will of a person and a nation, as well."