This year, Tsinghua University is celebrating its 100th anniversary. In 1911, the University was founded with a surplus of money that China had planned to give to the US as reparations for US victims in the Boxer Rebellion. Interestingly, the US asked China to use that money to start a university. Here we are 100 years later.
This week was the official celebration. It consisted of a big alumni event last weekend. President Hu Jintao, also an alumnus, was present and gave a speech. They held a grand opening and gave tours of a new building and unveiled the newly reconstructed historic buildings on campus. On Sunday night they also held a performance on a huge outdoor stage on the mall.
Most of these events were invitation only. To clear campus, the administration gave students and teachers the entire week off, which when connected to the May 1st holiday makes for a 9 day break. They encouraged students to head home during this time. This break was a surprise; we learned about it only three weeks ago. We laughed that in order to celebrate the university, they were asking all the people who comprised the university normally to leave.
For the entire week ahead of time too, security on campus was tightened, which meant that you needed to bring your ID or Business Card with you. Really though, it was fairly easy to circumvent, but it at least gave the appearance of security.