PROFESSOR PAUL T.K. LIN (1920 - 2004)
Professor Paul Ta-Kuang Lin was born in Vancouver on March 14, 1920. He received his early schooling in Vernon, B.C. After completing his studies at the University of British Columbia, the University of Michigan, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University, he went to China in 1949. For the next 15 years, he lived and worked in the People's Republic of China, engaged in literary translation, as artistic director of English-language radio, and as a professor in international Law and Relations. He spent one year in a North China village as a participant in the programme for sending intellectuals down to the grassroots of Chinese rural society.
He returned to Canada in 1964, and taught Chinese and East Asian history for 18 years at McGill University, where he concurrently held the post of the Centre for East Asian Studies and Chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature. After his retirement from McGill, he accepted an invitation to become rector of the University of East Asia in Macau, a post from which he resigned in 1988.
Prof. Lin was instrumental in promoting the normalization of western relations with China, especially Canada-China and U.S.-China relations. He revisited China on numerous occasions on academic or trade-related missions. During these visits he was often received by many Chinese leaders, including the late Premier Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.
Prof. Lin was active in many international research institutes, including the United Nations University, the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, and the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa. He was a founding Director of the Canada-China Trade Council, had appeared frequently on national television as a commentator of Chinese affairs, and was a public affairs columnist in a major Chinese-language newspaper. In 1992, he was named "most distinguished Chinese scholar" by the Society of Hong Kong Scholars.
In 1981, he founded and later became the Honorary Chairman of the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation of Canada (SCLCFC). He received the SCLCFC’s “For the Children Award” in 2001, and the “Soong Ching Ling Honorary Camphor Tree Award” from the China Welfare Institute in 2003.
In 1998, the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, announced the appointment of Paul Ta-Kuang Lin to be a Member of the Order of Canada, the centrepiece of Canada's system of honours.
Professor Lin passed away in Vancouver on July 4th, 2004 at the age of 84.