Hawking’s death triggers tributes in China

By , 25/04/2020 19:35

Professor Stephen Hawking’s death unleashed a flood of emotional tributes in China.The death of British physicist Stephen Hawking has unleashed a flood of tearful goodbyes on Chinese social media while state television and newspapers paid tribute to the man who featured in many a school essay in China over the years.

Hawking, who died in England on Wednesday, was the top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo at one point, with ordinary people and celebrities alike bidding farewell to the author of A Brief History of Time.

“May Hawking now run freely in the universe that he had explored,” a Weibo user wrote in a post.

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, wrote on Weibo telling its 56.5 million followers to reflect on some of Hawking’s quotes on science and life.

The newspaper also remarked at the coincidence that Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death and died on Einstein’s birthday.

“One less star on earth, one more star in the sky,” another Weibo post said.

Hawking was followed by more than 4.7 million people on Weibo, China’s biggest social media platform. His posts, while infrequent, were widely discussed and shared.

In an oft-quoted post in 2016, Hawking wished all Chinese students taking the all-important annual university entrance exam best of luck, describing them as “the next generation of scientific minds”.

Hawking himself had been a subject of countless essays by Chinese students on who had inspired them the most.

Hawking, who visited the Great Wall on one of his few trips to China despite being ravaged by a wasting motor neurone disease, had professed a deep appreciation for Chinese culture and customs, as well as its youth.

China’s foreign ministry, in its daily press briefing on Wednesday, took time out to pay tribute to Hawking, describing him as a “remarkable scientist” and a “fighter”.

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