A Letter from Dean Yuan Ming Concerning Fighting the Coronavirus

Dear Scholars, Staff and Alumni,

Happy Chinese New Year!

As we are aware, China is now dealing with the public health emergency caused by the new coronavirus. Peking University is also participating in this nation-wide effort to contain the spread of the virus and providing medical support to all those in China who are in need. We stand together with the Chinese people, and we stand together as members of this university community in our combined endeavor to protect the health of all who live in China. As Dean of Yenching Academy, my thoughts go out to every scholar, staff and alumnus of the Academy, my first concern is about your health and well-being, and I want you to know that we are ready to offer help and assistance to all of you who may require them.

In view of this unexpected and still evolving situation, I want you all to take good care of yourselves. Please keep in mind that your health and safety is a priority for you and for the Academy too, and this is the first step we should all take in order to be a part of our joint effort to confront this challenge. We will keep everyone informed about the latest developments in China and on our campus, and arrangements will be made later with regard to adjusting your YCA study plans for the Spring Semester.

We urge all YCA scholars to strictly follow the instructions issued by the University regarding the current coronavirus emergency. Peking University has decided to postpone the opening of the Spring Semester. This is a critical and integral step to enforce the quarantine against the virus. Although we regret the disruption and inconvenience this may cause, we must nevertheless request that scholars who are away from the University Campus for the time being do not come back until further notice. This decision is made for your personal safety and for the public good. For those of you who are now staying with your families and friends in and out of China, please adjust your travel plans, spend a little more time with your loved ones and wait for our notification. If you are now travelling in China or neighboring areas and experiencing problems returning to the campus which is now of limited access, please let your Banzhuren know and we will try our best to help you immediately.

Secondly, we urge all of our scholars now in China to strictly follow the instructions issued by the government and its health authorities. Please be conscientious in taking all necessary steps for personal protection purposes: avoiding large crowds of people, wearing mask properly and washing your hands frequently. If you suffer from symptoms such as cough, fever, etc., please notify us and seek medical assistance immediately. The University has set up a daily reporting system to collect all necessary information in order to monitor the situation and protect our students, please help us by contacting your Banzhuren or RA to complete the reporting forms.

Last but not least, we have already communicated with YGS executive committee and suggested postponing this year’s Yenching Global Symposium to a later date. We are also contemplating cancelling field trips in the spring semester in order to better protect ourselves and also to support the national campaign against the virus epidemic. For scholars who will graduate this year, we encourage you to communicate and work closely with your supervisors online and complete your theses accordingly. We appreciate your understanding and your cooperation.

For myself, the Academy has always been a large, international but intimate family, and we look out for each other in everything we do. So, for the time being, I want you to be calm and reassured, because we have strong and effective mechanisms and means on every institutional level to handle the current crisis and to handle it well. If you need us, do not hesitate to contact me and our staff, and we will be there for you. We are in this together, for China and for each other, too. Finally, I want you to keep up your spirits and be confident, give a helping hand whenever you can, and try to comfort and calm those around you. And we shall get through this together.

Sincerely and with love,

Yuan Ming

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