Emphasis should be on peace, not war, at Chinese universities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 9:03pm

Hong Kong and the mainland are forging closer links in many areas, including between universities. This is a positive development since both sides can gain from exchanging scholars and resources.

Knowledge is universal and can help to encourage world peace. Scientific knowledge, especially, can help us to solve many problems related to disease and the environment. These two areas are of great concern in Hong Kong and China.

Unfortunately, science is a double-edged sword. If misused, it brings danger and destruction. Around the world, too many university graduates and scientists are employed by military agencies to produce ever more threatening weapons. The first world war saw the use of poison gas and the horrendous fire- bombing of civilians in the second world war was made possible by war-related science.

Uranium-based nuclear energy, although used for civilian purposes, also produces the fissionable isotopes needed in the A-bombs and H-bombs now possessed by China, the US and six or seven other powerful nations.

Science is not an automatically beneficial pursuit. It is entangled in politics, finance and national ambitions. For this reason, we must have universities that make human progress and world peace their chief goal.

Why is this so difficult? The answer is money. Education is expensive and its sponsors want palpable results and profits.

Moral issues and ethical concerns are of little interest to corporations and Pentagon-type agencies.

However, with the world growing smaller and more interconnected, we need scholars and universities that can help mankind escape from an ominous future.

Our universities, while still fostering the peaceful uses of science, should also encourage students to pursue courses in ethics, community building, peace efforts, spirituality and environmental protection.

For centuries, the Western world’s institutions of learning pursued technological and military supremacy with harmful results for citizens in Asian countries. Will China go the same way?

Let’s encourage our universities and serious scholars to bring the best philosophies, cultural and ethical values of China into local and international understanding and acceptance. The Confucian teachings of family harmony can and should be helpful to both East and West.

Jason Kuylein, Stanley