Through the connection of Professor Yuk-Shan Wong (VP-AB), Mrs. Eileen Lin decided to donate her late husband, Professor Ta-Kuang Lin's (林達光) personal collection to the HKUST Library. It includes books, manuscripts, correspondence, speeches and photos which illuminate the study of contemporary China.
The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada named Professor Lin, together with other renowned individuals such as Dr. Henry Norman Bethune (白求恩), as one of the ten Canadians who have contributed most to Canada-Asia relations in the past century. The Foundation stated that Professor Lin, an eminent Professor of McGill University and later at the University of British Columbia, spent much of his life working for the greater understanding between China and the West.
Born in Canada and educated in Canada and the U.S., Professor Lin went to China in January 1950, soon after Mao Zedong proclaimed the birth of the People's Republic of China. He spent the next 15 turbulent years working and teaching there, experiencing first-hand the campaigns and struggles that culminated in the Cultural Revolution. After his return to Canada in 1964, he spoke out frequently on the need for the West to normalize relations with China. He advised Prime Minister Trudeau on the China problem which fruitfully led to Canada's recognition of the PRC in 1970. Professor Lin also became one of the intermediaries approached by Henry Kissinger, through his Harvard associate, to relay a confidential message to Beijing concerning Kissinger's desire to visit the Chinese leaders in preparation for President Nixon's visit.
The Library received over 5,500 items including documents, booklets, and pamphlets from Mrs. Lin in November 2007. We have, during this year, processed and added close to 2,800 items to our collection. We noted that a large number of booklets were from the Cultural Revolution era. Many of the books also bear the autographs of prominent figures, including Song Qingling (宋慶齡), Liao Chengzhi (廖承志), Fei Xiaotong (費孝通), and Joseph Needham.
To pay tribute to Professor Lin and to acknowledge Mrs. Lin's generosity, a handsome bookplate is affixed to each of the donated items.
Mrs. Lin is writing a memoir entitled "In the Eye of the China Storm" on the exceptionally varied life and achievements of Professor Lin, a son born between two worlds.