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Exhibition reveals history of the Ta Teh Institute

About 50 artifacts and more than 100 historical photographs which reveal the role of the Ta Teh Institute in a chapter of Hong Kong's history will be featured at the Hong Kong Museum of History from tomorrow (June 29) to October 3.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exhibition today (June 28), the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong Sean-yee, said the Ta Teh was founded during the Civil War period of the late 1940s. During its short operation for less than two and a half years, it witnessed the close relationship between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

"As early as the late Qing period, revolutionaries under the charge of Dr Sun Yat-sen established a base in Hong Kong to provide the revolutionary movement with logistical support. After the Second World War, many famous intellectuals from the Mainland in the fields of academic study, film, culture and journalism arrived in Hong Kong. The setting up of the Ta Teh Institute not only offered job opportunities for these literati, but also helped nurture distinguished young people for the New China," Ms Wong said.

The Ta Teh Institute was a full-time arts college established by the Communist Party Committee of the Guangdong Area and the patriots dwelling in Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War. Situated at the Tuen Mun district, the school's campus was the private residence, Longjiang Villa of the famous anti-Japanese General Cai Tingkai. The school's name came from a chapter of "The Book of Rites" saying that "wisdom, benevolence and courage are virtues shared by all."

With the permission of the Hong Kong Education Department, the Ta Teh Institute started its operation on October 10, 1946, until it was banned on February 23, 1949. Despite its short duration, a handful of intellectuals, who gathered in Hong Kong during the second half of the 1940s, provided the institute with an impeccable teaching staff, and groomed some 800 promising young people for the country’s service. Well-known intellectuals who had been lecturers or guest speakers of the institute include He Xiangning, Qiao Guanhua, Mao Dun, Cao Yu, Guo Moruo, Hou Wailu and Qian Jiaju.

Following the closure of the Ta Teh Institute, the London Missionary Society (now Council for World Mission) acquired the school premises in 1952, and loaned it to the Hoh Fuk Tong Centre as teaching and living quarters. In 1961, the London Missionary Society transferred the property to the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China. In 1999, the church put up a proposal to demolish the Hoh Fuk Tong Centre and its neighbouring CCC But San Primary School and Hoh Fuk Tong College. Such an attempt drew widespread concern from the community.

On March 26, 2004, the original main building of Ta Teh Institute (now called Morrison Building) was declared a historical monument and this invaluable cultural relic is finally preserved.

The "History of Ta Teh Institute Exhibition" exhibition is staged at the Foyer of the Museum of History. Admission is free.

The Museum of History is located at 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Admission of the galleries is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

For details of the exhibition, please visit the Museum of History's website at / or call 2724 9042.

Ends/Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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