An internationally renowned scholar, Professor D.C. Lau was born on 8 March 1921. He read Chinese at the Department of Chinese, The University of Hong Kong and went to Glasgow University, Scotland, in 1946 to further his studies in western philosophy. He joined the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1950, and was Chair Professor of Chinese at the University of London from 1970 to 1978.
He returned to Hong Kong in 1978 and was appointed Professor of Chinese by CUHK. He had since served the University and assumed various leadership positions, including Dean of Arts (1980-1983), Chief Editor of The Journal of Chinese Studies (1979-1995), and Director of T.T. Ng Chinese Language Research Centre (1979-2007), promoting Chinese culture and establishing the University as a bridge between the East and the West. He was conferred the degrees of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by CUHK in 1975.
Professor Lau retired in 1989, and was appointed Emeritus Professor of Chinese Language and Literature and Honorary Professor of the Institute of Chinese Studies. He then dedicated his time and relentless effort to the compilation of indices for ancient Chinese classics and other related research. He had guided Shaw College since its establishment by serving on its Board of Trustees from 1986 to 2005, and as Senior College Tutor since 1989 and Senior Advisor to Board of Trustees since 2005.
Professor Lau was a distinguished scholar in philosophy and linguistics. His seasoned English translation of Chinese classics has been applauded for its precise and authentic rendition and superb readability. The exemplary translations of Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching, Mencius, and Confucius: The Analects are indispensable references for Western learners of Chinese philosophy. Other publications of high acclaim include Guang ya shu zheng: Xin shi biao dian, a modern edition of Wang Nien-sun's work with punctuation and indices, The Pre-Han and Han Concordance Series, and The Six Dynasties Concordance Series, both computerized databases of traditional Chinese texts, D.C. Lau: English Writings Rendered into Chinese, Yuan Dao: Tracing Dao to Its Source, Sun Pin: the Art of Warfare, and Selected Short Stories of Lu Xun, among others. A master of profound scholarship and amiable personality, Professor Lau had won high respect in the academia, and had enlightened generations of students and scholars, both in Hong Kong and the UK.
Professor Lau passed away in the morning of 26 April 2010.