China honours Lee Kuan Yew for 'long-standing' support of its development

China honours Lee Kuan Yew for 'long-standing' support of its development

China on Tuesday (Dec 18) honoured Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew for his "long-standing support" of China's development. Channel NewsAsia takes a look at four decades of cooperation between the two countries.

SINGAPORE: China on Tuesday (Dec 18) honoured Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in recognition of his and Singapore's "long-standing support" of China's development.

The Reform and Friendship Award was conferred by the People's Republic of China government on Mr Lee as the Communist Party celebrated the 40th anniversary of the country's "reform and opening up".

"The award is conferred in recognition of Singapore’s and Mr Lee’s long-standing and substantive support for China’s development over the years," said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a press statement on Tuesday.  

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Singapore appointed Mr Alan Chan Heng Loon, chairman of the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore-China Foundation, and former Principal Private Secretary to then-Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew to receive the award on Mr Lee’s behalf.

Mr Chan received the medal at a ceremony on Tuesday at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Mr Lee was one of 10 foreigners who were honoured with China reform friendship awards.

The others included German economist Klaus Schwab, founder of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global government and business leaders where Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a defence of globalisation last year.

China also posthumously awarded medals to former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who helped Beijing organise the 2008 Summer Olympics, and former Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ohira, who was behind the normalisation of relations between Japan and China in the 1970s.

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In addition, 100 Chinese nationals were awarded "medals of reform pioneers" for their contributions to the country's economic rise.

The honorees included China's richest man, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and NBA star Yao Ming. 

Chinese scientists, inventors and academics were also honoured, such as Nobel laureate Tu Youyou, who helped develop an anti-malaria medicine, and Yuan Longping, China's "father of hybrid rice".

The ceremony commemorated the Dec 18, 1978, Communist Party conclave that endorsed late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping's reform drive, which transformed the once poor country into the world's second-biggest economy.

Source: CNA/AFP/nc(cy)

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