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Jiang Gives Address At Drexel University

* Officials roll out the red carpet for Chinese pres.

By Joshua L. Kwan, SPECIAL TO THE CRIMSON

PHILADELPHIA--Chinese President Jiang Zemin, on his first state visit to an American university, underlined the importance of education to China's future last night in a brief speech at Drexel University here, two days before he is scheduled to deliver an important policy address at Harvard University.

Though officials welcomed the president elaborately, the demonstrations by human-rights activists that have followed Jiang throughout his visit to the United States continued at the Pennsylvania campus.

Speaking at the technical school where his eldest son, Jiang Mian Heng, received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1991, the president said that he placed "a great emphasis on education to build up the country."

For five minutes, Jiang read from a prepared text in Chinese in an elaborately decorated marble hall of the Main Building at Drexel. With a plush, specially rolled-out red carpet underneath Jiang's feet and gold and blue Drexel banners in English and Chinese characters draping the hallways, Drexel was clothed to the hilt. Painters put the fin- ishing touches on doors just hours before the Secret Service would escort Jiang through. Behind the president hung two enormous flags, each three stories long, of the United States and the People's Republic of China.

Sitting between his interpreter and Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis, Jiang listened to brief introductions from Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who both highlighted the economic ties between their constituencies and China.

Ridge noted the importance of communication. "May the door we opened today lead to greater and more meaningful conversation in the future."

Jiang first expressed his happiness at seeing so many Chinese students greet him at Drexel. He pledged to support the vast contingent of students from China studying in the United States, which he said has numbered more than 100,000 over the last decade.

Jiang was also pleased to point out the inauguration of the Sun Yat Sen lectures at Drexel, which will be aimed at educating Drexel students about China's past, present and future. Sun Yat Sen, regarded as the father of modern China by mainland Chinese and Taiwanese alike, inspired the revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty in 1912.

Jiang switched to English midway through his talk, much to the amusement of about 1,000 invited guests, including nearly 100 leaders of campus groups. Another 200 people, most of them Chinese, watched the speech via simulcast in a nearby auditorium.

In halting words, Jiang sincerely thanked the president and professors who "educated my son and gave him technical lessons." He then poked fun at himself; Jiang only holds a bachelor's degree from Jiaotong University in Shanghai, while his son earned a doctorate. One of the draws of visiting Drexel and Philadelphia was the chance to see an old college classmate, who later taught Jiang's son at Drexel.

Jiang reached back into Mandarin for a Chinese idiom and promptly lost his translator in the process. The translator managed to say for a jovial Jiang, "I should be glad with the progress made by the next generation."

U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who has traveled to China to lecture at Drexel's sister school there, presented Jiang with a parting gift. As Weldon described the dual importance of cultivating the mind and the body, he pulled out a white and orange Philadelphia Flyers hockey jersey with Jiang's name in black.

A smiling Jiang answered: "My grandson...he likes the football very much. Thank you."

Jiang's humor and miscues in English endeared him to several Chinese observers.

"He is showing a human side," said Shufen Li, a visiting scholar from China.

But to others, Jiang's message lacked any real substance.

"Jiang didn't say anything about human rights or Tibet," said Drexel first-year Brad Morrow said. "He avoided the heavy stuff."

After receiving the jersey, Jiang shook hands with visitors as he was quickly led out into a car. He then visited the University of Pennsylvania

Sitting between his interpreter and Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis, Jiang listened to brief introductions from Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who both highlighted the economic ties between their constituencies and China.

Ridge noted the importance of communication. "May the door we opened today lead to greater and more meaningful conversation in the future."

Jiang first expressed his happiness at seeing so many Chinese students greet him at Drexel. He pledged to support the vast contingent of students from China studying in the United States, which he said has numbered more than 100,000 over the last decade.

Jiang was also pleased to point out the inauguration of the Sun Yat Sen lectures at Drexel, which will be aimed at educating Drexel students about China's past, present and future. Sun Yat Sen, regarded as the father of modern China by mainland Chinese and Taiwanese alike, inspired the revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty in 1912.

Jiang switched to English midway through his talk, much to the amusement of about 1,000 invited guests, including nearly 100 leaders of campus groups. Another 200 people, most of them Chinese, watched the speech via simulcast in a nearby auditorium.

In halting words, Jiang sincerely thanked the president and professors who "educated my son and gave him technical lessons." He then poked fun at himself; Jiang only holds a bachelor's degree from Jiaotong University in Shanghai, while his son earned a doctorate. One of the draws of visiting Drexel and Philadelphia was the chance to see an old college classmate, who later taught Jiang's son at Drexel.

Jiang reached back into Mandarin for a Chinese idiom and promptly lost his translator in the process. The translator managed to say for a jovial Jiang, "I should be glad with the progress made by the next generation."

U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who has traveled to China to lecture at Drexel's sister school there, presented Jiang with a parting gift. As Weldon described the dual importance of cultivating the mind and the body, he pulled out a white and orange Philadelphia Flyers hockey jersey with Jiang's name in black.

A smiling Jiang answered: "My grandson...he likes the football very much. Thank you."

Jiang's humor and miscues in English endeared him to several Chinese observers.

"He is showing a human side," said Shufen Li, a visiting scholar from China.

But to others, Jiang's message lacked any real substance.

"Jiang didn't say anything about human rights or Tibet," said Drexel first-year Brad Morrow said. "He avoided the heavy stuff."

After receiving the jersey, Jiang shook hands with visitors as he was quickly led out into a car. He then visited the University of Pennsylvania

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