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Coordinates: 39°59′23″N 116°18′19″E / 39.98972°N 116.30528°E / 39.98972; 116.30528

Peking University
Established 1898
Type National
President Zhou Qifeng (周其凤)
Faculty 4,206
Undergraduates 15,128
Postgraduates 15,039
Location Beijing,  People's Republic of China
Campus Urban, 273 ha (2.73 km2 )
Former names Imperial Capital University
Nickname 北大, Běidà

Peking University (simplified Chinese: 北京大学traditional Chinese: 北京大學pinyin: Běijīng Dàxué), colloquially known in Chinese as Beida (北大, Běidà), is a major research university located in Beijing, China. It is the first formally established modern research university in and the first national university of China. It was founded as Imperial Capital University in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient Guozijian (國子監 guózǐjiàn)[1]. By 1920 it had become a center for progressive thought. Today, most national and international rankings frequently place Peking University as one of the best universities in China.[2][3][4][5][6] In addition to its academics, Peking University is especially renowned for the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture at its campus grounds.[7]

Throughout its history, the university has distinguished itself from its peers in terms of intellectual freedom and has produced and hosted many of modern China's top thinkers, including Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Hu Shih, Li Dazhao, Gu Hongming, and Chen Duxiu[8]. Peking University was influential in the birth of China's New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events.[9]



Peking University's West Gate, one of the symbols of the university campus

Peking University was established in Beijing in December 1898 during the Hundred Days Reform and was originally known as the Imperial Capital University (simplified Chinese: 京师大学堂traditional Chinese: 京師大學堂pinyin: Jīngshī Dàxuétáng) to replace the ancient Guozijian (國子監 guózǐjiàn). In 1902, the Imperial Capital University's Faculty of Education was spun off to become today's Beijing Normal University, the best teacher's college in China. In 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, the Imperial University was renamed National Peking University (simplified Chinese: 国立北京大学traditional Chinese: 國立北京大學). The famous scholar Cai Yuanpei was appointed president on January 4, 1917, and helped transform the university into the country's largest institution of higher learning, with 14 departments and an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. Cai, inspired by the German model of academic freedom, recruited an intellectually diverse faculty that included Hu Shi, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun. In 1919, students of Peking University formed the bulk of the protesters of the May Fourth Movement. Efforts by the Beiyang government to end the protests by sealing off the Peking University campus led to Cai's resignation. In 1920, Peking University became the second Chinese university to accept female students, after Nanjing University.

The white marble huabiao (華表 or 华表), or ornamental pillars on the campus ground

After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 (and the resulting expansion of Japanese territorial control in east China), Peking University moved to Changsha and formed the Changsha Temporary University along with Tsinghua University and Nankai University. In 1938, the three schools moved again, this time to Kunming, and formed the National Southwestern Associated University. In 1946, after World War II, Peking University moved back to Beijing. At that time, the university comprised six schools (Arts, Science, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Agriculture), and a research institute for humanities. The total student enrollment grew up to 3,000.

In 1952, three years after the People's Republic of China was established, Yenching University was merged into Peking University and Peking University lost its "national" appellation to reflect the fact that all universities under the new socialist state would be public. In 1952 Peking University moved from downtown Beijing to the former Yenching campus. The first disturbances of the Cultural Revolution began at Peking University in 1966; education there ceased between 1966 and 1970.

In 2000, Beijing Medical University was merged into Peking University and became the Peking University Health Science Campus. Beida now has eight affiliated hospitals and 12 teaching hospitals.

In 2001, Peking University set up a satellite campus in Shenzhen. The university's second business school was launched on this campus in 2004, and was renamed Beida HSBC School of Business in 2008.


The Weiming Lake, located in the middle of the university campus
Peking University during spring

Most national and international rankings of Chinese universities place Peking University amongst top universities in China[2][3][4][5][6]. The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2006 ranked Peking University as the 14th best university in the world, taking the highest spot in Asia;[10][11] the same ranking in 2007 placed the University at 36th,[12] and in 2008, it was ranked at the 50th.[13] Human Resources & Labor Review published in Chasecareer Network, ranked the university 41st internationally for 2009.[14] The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2008 placed the University between 201 and 300.[15]

Peking University is a national key university 全国重点大学. The University consists of 30 colleges and 12 departments, with 93 specialties for undergraduates, 2 specialties for the second Bachelor's degree, 199 specialties for Master's degree candidates and 173 specialties for Doctoral candidates. While in a leading position of basic sciences research and teaching, the university has gained itself very successful development of applied sciences.

At present, Peking university has 216 research institutions and research centres, including 2 national engineering research centres, 81 key national disciplines, 12 national key laboratories. With 4.5 million holdings, the university library is the largest of its kind in Asia.[16]

The university has made an effort to combine the research on fundamental scientific issues with the training of personnel with high level specialized knowledge and professional skill as demanded by the country's modernization.

Peking University has been becoming a center for teaching and research, consisting of diverse branches of learning such as pure and applied sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and sciences of management and education.

Over the past century, more than 400 Peking University alumni had become presidents of other major Chinese universities, including former Tsinghua President Luo Jialun, Renmin University President Yuan Baohua, Zhejiang University President Qian Sanqiang, Fudan University President Zhang Zhirang, Nankai University President Teng Weizao, Chinese University of Science and Technology President Guan Weiyan and many others.[17]

Campus, art and culture

The campus of Peking University was originally located north of Forbidden City in the center of Beijing, and was later moved to the former campus of Yenching University in 1952. The current campus is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district, which was concentrated with many well known colleges and universities.

The Peking University's campus site is also situated near the Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace; the area is traditionally where many of Beijing's most renowned gardens and palaces were built.

The Peking University campus is situated on a former royal garden

The university campus is located in the former site of Qing Dynasty royal gardens and it retains traditional Chinese-style landscaping including traditional houses, gardens, pagodas as well as many notable historical buildings and structures. There are several gates that lead into campus - East, West and South gates, with the West Gate being the most well known for the painted murals on its ceiling. The Peking University is known throughout China, along with its neighbour, Tsinghua University, for their beautiful campuses. The university campus is surrounded by the Weiming lake.

The university also contains many museums, such as the "Museum of University History" and the "Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology".[18] Notable items in these museums include funerary objects that were excavated in Beijing and date back thousands of years from the graves of royalties of the Warring States period. There are ritual pottery vessels as well as elaborate pieces of jewelry on display. There are also bones of human remains set up in the traditional burial style of that period.[18]

Beyond its main campus, Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) is located in Xue Yuan Rd. where the country's most distinguished colleges are located. The PKUHSC's campus is less aesthetically appealing than the main Peking University campus, but is nonetheless a fitting site for academics and research.

In 2001, Peking University's Shenzhen campus, Shenzhen Graduate School, opened its doors. The campus is located in the northwest part of Shenzhen City.

A performance of Kunqu at the Peking University

In 2008, the Times Higher Education (THE) ranked the Peking University as the 23rd best universities in the world in arts and humanities; it is also the highest ranked university from Asia in this field.[19] The Peking University was previously ranked as the 18th (2007 rankings),[20] 10th (2006 rankings),[21] 6th (2005 rankings),[22] and 7th (2004 rankings)[23] best arts and humanities universities in the world.

The Peking University is well-known for its contribution to modern Chinese literature, poetry and art, and for the publications of groundbreaking modern Chinese books such as Hong Zicheng's A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature.[24] The Peking University has been participating in many art-research projects, such as the Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA) with the University of Chicago,[25] and developing the "Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design" with UNESCO.[26][27] The Peking University also partners with the Stanford University for its Asian cultural studies programs such as "The Stanford Program in Beijing" and "The Stanford-Peking University Summer Program", which encourages Stanford students interested in exploring Chinese language, history, culture, and society to study on campus at Peking University.[28]

National Economic Research Institute

The Director of the National Institute of Economic Research, Professor of Economics of the Peking University and Professor of the graduate school of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is Prof. Fan Gang. Dr. Fan had more than 100 academic papers published in both Chinese and English academic journals, more than 200 articles in newspapers and magazines and had also published several books.

Office buildings

Justin Lin, the founding director of the institute, is the World Bank's chief economist, the first time the post has gone to a candidate outside Europe and the United States.[29]

International students

The dormitories for international students are located at "Shao Yuan" (Spoon Garden). Every year, Peking University has approximately 2,000 international students studying on campus. Its international students are made up of students from most countries in the world including most of Western Europe, North America, South America, all parts of Asia, Australia as well as many countries in Africa.

In 2005, Peking University and Cornell University signed an agreement formally establishing[30][31] the China and Asia-Pacific Studies major[32] at Cornell, which requires students to spend a semester studying at Peking University while working at internships. One year later, Peking University launched a joint undergraduate program with the Yale University;[33][34] students will spend a semester overseas, living and studying together with the host institute's students.[34] Peking University's School of International Studies also launched joint degree programs with London School of Economics and Waseda University.

Notable faculty, administrators, and alumni

Beida Students & May Fourth Movement

Peking University has produced many notable people, especially lead thinkers in modern China. These include Hu Shi, Li Dazhao and Lu Xun. Beida also has two Nobel Prize winners, Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning, although both conducted their Nobel winning work at Universities in the US. Since the year 1948, 586 Peking University alumni have been selected into the renowned Academic Division of the Chinese Academy of Science (两院院士), overshadowing any other universities in China.[35]

Peking University is the home both to communist, nationalist and liberal thoughts in modern China.[9] Mao Zedong, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, all founders of the Communist Party of China, either taught or held offices in the university. Lu Xun, a great contemporary writer, thinker and influential figure of the Chinese New-Culture Movement, which took place in 1919 and sparked China’s anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism march, was also attached to the university.[36] During the Cultural Revolution, Peking University philosophy faculty Nie Yuanzi notoriously published the first Big-character poster. Peking University students also led at the Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989 for democracy.



  • Hu Shih 胡适 – philosopher, writer and the leader of China's New Culture Movement
  • Lu Xun 鲁迅 – writer, a spiritual leader of modern Chinese nationalism
  • Chen Duxiu 陈独秀 – dean of letters, later co-founder of Communist Party of China
  • Gu Hongming 辜鸿铭 – writer, advocate of monarchy and Confucian values. Gu preserved his plait even after the overthrow of Qing Dynasty
  • Liu Shipei 刘师培 – historian and philosopher, advocate of monarchy and traditional Chinese value
  • Shen Congwen 沈从文 – writer
  • Qian Xuantong 錢玄同 – linguist
  • Lin Yutang 林语堂 – writer, inventor of the first Chinese typewriter and a new method of romanizing the Chinese language
  • Qian Mu 钱穆[37] – historian, philosopher and confucian. One of the founders of New Asia College and Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Liang Shuming 梁漱溟 – modern neo-Confucianist. Liang was most famous for his critique of Marxist class theory, stating that, despite obvious disparities of wealth, Chinese rural society could not be unambiguously classified along class lines. One and the same family (particularly the large patriarchal lineages found in many regions) would commonly have some members among the "haves" and others among the "have-nots". The class struggle advocated by the Maoists would necessitate kinsmen attacking each other.
  • Ma Yinchu 马寅初 – a prominent population economist, whose New Population Theory was criticized by Mao since 1957 for two decades. Having examined trends of the early 1950s, Ma argued that further population growth at such high rates would be detrimental to China's development. Therefore, he advocated government control of fertility. In 1979, the Communist Party formally apologies to Ma, stating that "erroneously criticized one person, population mistakenly increased 300,000,000".
  • Jiang Menglin 蒋梦麟[38] – a prominent education reformer in China and former President of Peking University and Zhejiang University
  • Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻 – the most famous Chinese artist, dean of Beida School of Arts, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and chairman of the Chinese Artists' Association.
  • Ta-You Wu 吴大猷 – the "Father of Chinese Physics". His many illustrious students include Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee, co-winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957, Yuan Tseh Lee, the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986.
  • Yu Dafu 郁達夫 – modern Chinese short story writer and poet, author of Ch'en-lun "Sinking" (1921)
  • Wang Xiaobo 王小波 – writer
  • He Weifang 贺卫方 – judicial reformist
  • Wang Tieya 王鐵崖 – jurist, Judge of International Criminal Court
  • Li Haopei 李浩培 – jurist, Judge of International Criminal Court
  • Fei Xiaotong 费孝通 - researcher of sociology and anthropology; chairman of China Democratic Alliance.
  • Jian Bozan 翦伯贊 – historian


Cai Yuanpei, early University Chancellor
  • Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 – early University Chancellor
  • Yan Fu 严复 – early University Chancellor
  • Li Dazhao 李大钊 – head librarian, later co-founder of Communist Party of China

Former employees




  • Michael Halliday – developed systemic functional grammar
  • Tian Gang 田刚 – mathematician
  • Li Yining 厉以宁 – economist
  • Tsung-Dao Lee (Li Zhengdao) 李政道 – Honorary professor, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (physics, 1957)
  • Yang Zhenning 杨振宁 – Honorary professor (at Tsinghua as well), physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, 1957
  • Justin Yifu Lin 林毅夫 – economist (now the chief economist of World Bank)
  • Yu Jie – First house church leader to meet an American president (May 2006, meeting George W Bush in the White House)
  • Yu Min – physicist, Father of Chinese H-bombs
  • Luo Jialun 罗家伦 – leader of the May Fourth Movement, president of Tsinghua University
  • Fu Sinian 傅斯年 – educator and linguist; leader of the May Fourth Movement, creators of the Academia Sinica, former president of National Taiwan University
  • Gu Jiegang 顾颉刚 – a Chinese historian; the founder of the Skeptical school of early Chinese history, known as yigupai; best known for the seven volume work Gushi Bian (古史辨 "Debates on Ancient History").
  • Ren Jiyu 任继愈 – Chinese historian and philosopher, former director of the National Library.
  • Deng Jiaxian 邓稼先 – a nuclear physics expert; a leading organizer and key contributor to the Chinese nuclear weapon programs.
  • Qian Sanqiang 钱三强 – a nuclear physicist and education administrator; a leading organizer and key contributor to the Chinese nuclear weapon programs; former president of Zhejiang University
  • Zhu Guangya 朱光亚 – a renowned nuclear physicist of China, key contributor to China's "Two Bombs, One Satellite" projects.
  • Zhou Guangzhao 周光召 – expert on particle physics, discoverer of PCAC (partial conservation of axial current), an important step toward the understanding of symmetry breaking; former director of the Chinese Nuclear Weapons Research Institute and president of the Academica Sinica.

In politics

The gate of the Flora Temple on the eastern bank of the Weiming Lake
  • Bo Xilai 薄熙來 – Mayor of Chongqing, Former Minister of Commerce
  • Cai Wu 蔡武 – Minister of Culture
  • Deng Nan 邓楠 – Former Vice minister of the State Science and Technology Commission
  • Deng Pufang 鄧朴方 – founder and Chairman of China Disabled Persons' Federation
  • Guo Gengmao 郭庚茂 – Governor of Henan Province
  • Hu Chunhua 胡春華 – Youngest governor in China, former First Secretary of the Communist Youth League
  • Hu Deping 胡德平 – vice chairman of All-China General Chamber of Industry & Commerce Party, Secretary of National Association of Industry and Commerce, and vice minister of the Propaganda Department
  • Li Keqiang 李克强 – Politburo Standing Committee member, First Deputy Prime Minister
  • Li Yuanchao 李源潮 – Politburo member and Minister for the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party
  • Li Zhaoxing 李肇星 – minister of foreign affairs
  • Lu Hao 陆昊 – First Secretary of Communist Youth League of China
  • Yuan Chunqing 袁纯清 – Governor of Shaanxi Province, Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
  • K. Natwar Singh – India politician
  • Chen Duxiu 陳獨秀 – founding member and leader in the Communist Party of China
  • Zhang Guotao 張國燾 – founding member and leader in the Communist Party of China
  • Li Dazhao 李大釗 – founding member and leader in the Communist Party of China
  • Mao Zedong 毛澤東 – founding member and leader in the Communist Party of China
  • Deng Zhongxia 鄧中夏 – founding member and leader in the Communist Party of China
  • Wang Dan 王丹 – Leader of the Tiananmen protests in 1989
  • Fang Lizhi 方励之 – Spiritual leader of the Tiananmen Protests in 1989
  • Shen Tong 沈彤 – Author, Pro-democracy activist

In commerce and media

Boya Pagoda by the Weiming Lake, one of the landmarks on the campus

Among the "top 300 richest in China"[41] 27 graduated from Beida, much higher than any other Chinese university. The second ranking school is Zhejiang University, with 17 alumni on the list.

  • Li Yanhong 李彦宏 – founder of
  • Wang Xuan 王選 – founder of Founder Co.
  • Wang Zhidong 王志東 – founder of
  • Yu Minhong 俞敏洪 – founder of New Oriental Education Group
  • Peggy Yu 俞渝 – founder of, the largest online retailor in Chinese language.
  • Yan Yan – founding partner of SoftBank China
  • Li Ning 李寧 – founder of Li Ning Group[42]
  • Huang Nubo 黄怒波 – founder of Zhongkun Real Estate Group
  • James Jian Ding – founder of Asiainfo, founding partner of Golden Sand River Venture Capital
  • Yu Liang – CEO of China Vanke Group
  • Shen Tong 沈彤 – founder and president of VFinity

See also


  1. ^ Baidu
  2. ^ a b China Education Center ranking
  3. ^ a b Composite indicator Ranking
  4. ^ a b China University Ranking
  5. ^ a b University Metrics rankings
  6. ^ a b University ranking in China
  7. ^ About Peking University. National University of Singapore
  8. ^ a b c Peking University - Mingren
  9. ^ a b "Peking University". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008-08-21. 
  10. ^ THES - QS World University Rankings 2006
  11. ^ The Top 200 World University Rankings
  12. ^ World University Rankings 2007
  13. ^ THES - QS World University Rankings 2008
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ Harvard University Gazette - Summers visits People's Republic of China
  17. ^ Club Yahoo!
  18. ^ a b A destination to be explored
  19. ^ "University rankings in the Arts and Humanities". 
  20. ^ "The world's top universities for arts and humanities 2007". Times Higher Education. 
  21. ^ "The world’s top arts and humanities universities 2006". Times Higher Education. 
  22. ^ "The world’s top arts and humanities universities 2005". Times Higher Education. 
  23. ^ "The world’s top arts and humanities universities 2004". Times Higher Education. 
  24. ^ "A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature". Brill Publishers. 
  25. ^ "Center for the Art of East Asia". University of Chicago. 
  26. ^ Culture: Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design UNESCO.
  27. ^ Digi arts: Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design UNESCO
  28. ^ "Overseas Studies". Stanford University. 
  29. ^ New World Bank economist is first from outside Europe and U.S. - International Herald Tribune
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Peking University - Yale University. Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing
  34. ^ a b English - People's Daily
  35. ^ 北大招生网
  36. ^ [3]
  37. ^ Baidu Baike – Qian Mu
  38. ^ Baidu Baike – Jiang Menglin
  39. ^ Guoxue – Fengyoulan
  40. ^ Baidu Baike – Zhu Ziqing
  41. ^
  42. ^ [4]

External links


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