31 March, 2014
The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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Renowned Chinese scholar Prof Peng Lin and Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal the Honourable Geoffrey Ma spoke at Lingnan’s University Assemblies on 10 and 17 March respectively.

In his lecture on the past, present and future of Chinese classical learning, Prof Peng pointed out that how to become a “full man” who distinguishes himself from the animal has been the ultimate concern and inquiry of Confucianism. “While the physical evolution of man was completed hundreds of thousands years ago, spiritual evolution is still in progress,” Prof Peng said. “At times we let our animal instincts take over and thus pull us back from, rather than getting closer to, becoming a full man.” He thus called for studying the Confucian classics to remind us of the importance of spiritual evolution in order to become “full” men and women.

Prof Peng is professor and doctoral advisor of history at the School of Humanities, Tsinghua University. He also serves as a council member of the International Confucian Network and a visiting researcher at the Ancient Civilisations Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His research interests cover the history of ancient China, intellectual history of imperial China and the ancient Chinese culture of ritual and music. He also received a first-class municipal teaching award of Beijing and a second-class state teaching award of China. In 2010, Prof Peng was selected one of the first Best 10 Teachers at Tsinghua University.

On 17 March, the Hon Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma cited several case samples to discuss conflicting rights and interests in Hong Kong and how the courts make their decisions on such conflicts in his lecture “A Respect for Rights and a Respect for the Rights of Others”.

He pointed out that Hong Kong is a complex city where conflicts of interest are common and even inevitable. While the court decisions are made to protect public interest, Justice Ma cautioned that the courts define “public interest” in a different way from the public. “When courts and judges talk about the public interest, they do not mean what the majority or a section of the public may want as the result in any case. What is meant by the public interest in this context is the adherence to the law and to principle,” he said. “The particular outcomes may not be to people’s liking, but what really matters is their confidence in the system of law and in the belief that the courts are independent.”

Graduated with an LLB from Birmingham University in 1977 and completed his Bars Finals in 1978, Mr Justice Ma joined the Hong Kong Judiciary as Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court in 2001. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong on 1 September 2010. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by the University of Birmingham in 2011, awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2012 and granted an honorary fellowship by Harris Manchester College of the University of Oxford in the same year.

Please click the following links to review Prof Peng and Mr Justice Ma’s University Assemblies:
Prof Peng - http://www.library.ln.edu.hk/find/lectures_seminars/sem_ethnic_culture
Mr Justice Ma - http://www.library.ln.edu.hk/find/lectures_seminars/sem_respect_rights