Introduction by Shen-su Sun

16 August, 1999

Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences recently compiled a number of Chinese articles and published them under the title of "Resource environment and sustainable development" (Kexuechubanshe, 1999). Publication of this book constitutes a part of celebration activities of Prof. Tu Guangzhi's 80th birthday. Among these articles I was most impressed by the one written by Zhang Zhuru and Chen Shizheng (page 27-29). I would like to share my appreciation of this article with readers of the OCESTA website.

As I understand Prof. Tu has played an important role in persuading many scientists in the U.S.A. of Chinese origin to return to China during the late 1940th. He urged them to contribute in reconstruction of their homeland, which was in ruin because of Japanese invasion and civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists.

On the hazardous and accident-ridden road of modernisation of China it is littered with broken dreams of Utopia, evidences of betrayal of trust, treachery, personal humiliation and self-destruction, broken bodies and spirits of patriotic intellectuals, rusty loudspeakers used for self-congratulation of "glorious" achievements and wasteful special Chinese products of bimenzaoju. I admire a person who has survived the gruesome ordeal travelling on this road and emerged with a warm heart and unfailing commitment made in his youth. During the "Cultural Revolution" period (1966-1976) like many other people Prof. Tu and his family suffered enormously. The events took a high emotional and physical toll, and yet he continued to pursue his earlier commitment to serve his country.

In addition to his professional achievements and contributions to the advancement of Earth sciences in China, Prof. Tu is famous for his total dedication to his chosen profession. Zhang and Chen's article vividly portrays Prof. Tu in this aspect. In his article celebrating Prof. Tu 80th birthday Prof. Liu Dongsheng, an old friend of 65 years, wishes that Prof. Tu would write about the journey of his youth, his experience of study in the U.S.A. and Russia. Prof. Liu also emphasised that Prof. Tu is an upright and tolerant person when he deals with other people. Following this line of thought I sincerely hope that in his retirement age Prof. Tu can speak his mind, to be a guoshi, about many things he has experienced, in the past and present. Under current circumstances in China it is very desirable to hear a person of Prof. Tu's status critically comment on current issues and some weird and disheartening xuefeng phenomena permeating in Chinese Earth sciences community. I believe that such an action from Prof. Tu will be highly appreciated by Chinese Earth scientists of the current and future generations.