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Premier Wen Jiabao visits three senior intellectuals
2008/08/04

    BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese 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).

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) talks with Ji Xianlin, a well-known Chinese author and translator at the General Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Beijing,capital of China, on Aug. 2, 2008.(Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

    "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."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) vists Qian Xuesen, a renowned scientist and founder of China's space technology at Qian's home in Beijing, capital of China, on Aug. 2, 2008. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

    Afterwards, Wen visited Qian at his residence.

    The premier had many face-to-face talks with Qian, who is four months younger than Ji, during the late 1980s and the early 1990s,when Wen was in charge of the development of science and technology in the CPC Central Committee. Qian was then president of the China Association for Science and Technology.

    Being a geological expert himself, Wen had supported Qian for his strategic proposals on the development of sand industry, mathematics, and chemical industry. Wen even organized some experts to assist Qian in research projects.

    In their meeting, the premier informed the scientist of the country's progress in space industry, such as the forthcoming launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft, the Second Phase of the Moon-orbiting Program, and the country's ambitious plan to build large passenger aircraft.

    Wen attributed China's achievements in science and technology to the decades-long efforts made by the elder generation Chinese scientists.

    The premier echoed Qian that China still lags behind in many key sectors. "We have to be diligent," Wen said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) shakes hands with He Zehui, a renowned Chinese physicist during his visit to He's home in Beijing, capital of China, on Aug. 2, 2008. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

    Madame He, now 94, received Wen at her simple home in Beijing's Zhongguancun -- "China's Silicon Valley".

    He, one of the oldest woman nuclear physicists in China, had collaborated with her husband to discover ternary fission and quarternary fission in the uranous nucleus.

    Wen has been an old friend of the couple. When the husband was alive, Wen often visited their home. Once, Qian was invited to Zhongnanhai, the office compound of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, in central Beijing, to acknowledge Wen of the latest development of the country's nuclear industry.

    Wen talked with He about her daily life and health. The premier also recalled the night when he went to say farewell to the body of Qian.

    Wen praised He for her simple life style and outstanding contribution to the nation. "The younger generation scientists should learn from you," he said to the senior woman scientist.

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