Kong Lingren, Confucius’ seventy-six-generation descendant, professor of the School of History and Culture, Shandong University, and a famous historian and social activist, passed away at 93 on July 18, 2016 in Jinan, Shandong Province. Born in Jinan in November, 1924, she previously served as member of CPPCC Standing Committee, Vice-Chairperson of the All-China Women’s Federation, Vice-Chairperson of the Central Committee of China Democratic League, Vice-President of the China Confucius Foundation, Vice-Chairperson of the Shandong Committee of CPPCC, Honorary Chairperson of the Shandong Provincial Committee of China Democratic League, and Deputy Director of the SDU Council, etc..
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, conveyed his condolences to Kong Lingren’s family over her death.Party and state leaders as well as public characters expressed their condolences for her death in different ways. Leaders of Shandong Province and Shandong University attended the funeral ceremony.
Born in a family of scholars, Kong Lingren had been well educated from a child. From 1942 to 1946, she studied in the School of History, National Southwest Associated University, the renowned university merged by Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University during wartime. From 1950 to 1953, she studied Russian in SDU, and then went to the School of Economics, Peking University for further study. The integration of traditional and modern culture contributed to her rich knowledge and moral characters.
After she worked at SDU, Kong Lingren successively held the posts of Teaching Assistant, Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor and the Deputy Director of the SDU Council. As a teacher, she scrupulously abided by her great ancestor Confucius’s teachings of “to teach with indefatigable zeal and to be good at giving systematic guidance”. For more than sixty years, Kong Lingren has cultivated lots of intellects for the nation. Therefore, she received the Special government allowances of the State Council and the special reward of SDU.
In the class, she taught with huge enthusiasm and in a relaxing manner, which was popular among students. Many students said, “Professor Kong was so kind and interesting that she turned the economic history course which we had expected to be boring into enjoyment.” Besides, her academic monographs like The Pioneer of Chinese Modern Enterprises and China Modernization and Westernization Movement, and the monumental works China's Time-honored Brand (Shop) up to four million characters with ten volumes, all received high appreciation in the academia.
As a social activist, Kong Lingren has promoted various overseas fellowship activities by making the best of the opportunities of giving lectures abroad, visiting friends and relatives and meeting foreign guests. She has been to the United States, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Korea and other countries for cultural and academic exchanges for many times. From April to July in 1985, she attended the “Sino-US famous scholars’ exchange program” and visited 13 universities in 11 cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington and Seattle, where she delivered speeches and received the exclusive interview by the Voice of America, which raised a wave of folk diplomacy between China and the United States.
Kong Lingren has devoted herself to the welfare of women and children. Since the September of 1993, she had served as Vice-Chairperson of the 7th and 8th All-China Women’s Federation. As an educated woman, she advocated that women shall be self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-enhancement，and proposed to select woman leaders and cadres. In 1994, Kong Lingren headed a Chinese woman delegation to Poland and Bulgaria and was widely acclaimed. Later in 1995, she attended the UN Fourth World Conference on Woman held in Beijing, and was awarded due to her significant performance.
As the descendant of Confucius and a historian, Kong Lingren had been serving as the Vice-President of the China Confucius Foundation for a long term, promoting the study of Confucius, and giving full play to the role of Chinese traditional culture in the modernization construction. When as a member of the CPPCC Standing Committee, her proposal on establishing the Confucius Research Institute was adopted, and later it was sponsored by national and local sectors. In 1986, Kong Lingren and her seven siblings donated their former residence with an area of 1,100 square meters located in the prime area in Qingdao to the country, which later was reconstructed as the Confucius Memorial.
In her daily life, Kong showed filial respect for the elders and frugality in household management, and had a harmonious family and happy marriage, for which she and her husband were selected into the first “Ten Sapphire Wedding(45th anniversary) Couples of China”. She loved her children affectionately and taught them to be kindhearted; treated her friends and relatives equally; educated her students like her own children, and got along with people with a refined and cultured attitude.
Kong Lingren has committed to education and culture, multi-party cooperation, unity of the country and the development and improvement of children and women’s affairs. Her noble character, spirit of dedication, outstanding performance, and unique charisma, deserve us to cherish and follow forever.
Translated by: Song Yijun, Meng Shuai, Lang Cuicui
Edited by: Xie Tingting