HONG KONG, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Government officials as well as members of education and academics of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Tuesday mourned the passing away of renowned sinologist Professor Jao Tsung-I.
Jao, one of the world's most distinguished scholars of the Chinese culture, passed away at home in Hong Kong early on Tuesday at the age of 101.
Chief Executive of the HKSAR Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she was grieved to learn of the passing of Jao and would like to extend her deepest condolences to his family on behalf of the HKSAR government.
"I am so privileged to have known Professor Jao personally for years and participated directly in the establishment of the Jao Tsung-I Academy during my tenure as the secretary for Development. I had a fond relationship with Professor Jao and his family and benefited greatly from his teaching," Lam said.
Praising Jao as "the treasure in the academic and arts sectors of Hong Kong and the world," Lam said "Professor Jao was very learned in matters of the ancient and modern worlds and strong in both the academic field and fine arts. His significant academic and artistic achievements over the past eight decades contributed tremendously to the promotion of the Chinese traditional culture."
She added that Jao's research, spanning decades, covered areas including history, literature, language and religious studies as well as philosophy, arts and Chinese and Western cultures. "He is world-renowned for his outstanding achievements and his scholarship deserves our deep respect... He inspired the world with great wisdom and produced many great works."
Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, sent a message of condolences and visited Jao's family on Tuesday morning.
Hailing Jao as "a master sinologist reputable both at home and abroad" and "the pride of Hong Kong as well as the whole nation," Wang said the sinologist, deeply affectionate towards the nation, dedicated his whole life to the research and promotion of Sinology and has done a lot of fruitful work to promote the cause of "one country, two systems."
Jao, as an outstanding promoter for the Chinese traditional culture, is also a practitioner of cultural diffusion along the Belt and Road as well as a role model of China's cultural self-confidence, Wang said.
The HKSAR government's Chief Secretary for Administration Cheung Kin-chung said that Jao's passing "will bring an outpouring of grief not only from Hong Kong residents but also the Chinese around the world."
"As a renowned master in the studies of Chinese culture, Professor Jao was very learned in matters of the ancient and modern worlds and had a wealth of knowledge in different areas, from history, literature, language and religious studies to philosophy, art and Chinese and Western cultures," Cheung said. "Being a prolific writer, he devoted his life to inspiring people with his wisdom."
The HKSAR government's Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah said that Jao, upholding the principle of "amalgamation of scholarship and art," made tremendous contributions to academic development.
"He taught at various universities and even after retiring he continued tutoring postgraduate students, giving lectures and delivering speeches. He was also keen on promoting cultural development in Hong Kong, including donating his calligraphy works and paintings to academic and cultural organizations for exhibition in order to enrich the local cultural scene," Lau recalled.