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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wei.

Wei Yuan (Chinese: 魏源pinyin: Wèi YuánWade-Giles: Wei Yüan, April 23, 1794—August 26, 1856), born Wei Yuanda (魏远达), courtesy names Moshen (默深) and Hanshi (汉士), was a Chinese scholar from Shaoyang, Hunan. He moved to Yangzhou in 1831, where he remained for the rest of his life. Wei obtained the provincial degree (juren) in the Imperial examinations and subsequently worked in the secretariat of several prominent statesmen, such as Lin Zexu. Wei was deeply concerned with the crisis facing China in the early 19th century; but, while he remained loyal to the Qing Dynasty, he also sketched a number of proposals for the improvement of the administration of the empire.

From an early age, Wei espoused the New Text school of Confucianism and he also became a vocal member of the statecraft school, which advocated practical learning in opposition to the allegedly barren evidentiary scholarship as represented by scholars like Dai Zhen. Among other things, Wei advocated sea transport of grain to the capital instead of using the Grand Canal and he also advocated a strengthening of the Qing Empire's frontier defense. In order to alleviate the demographic crisis in China proper, Wei also spoke in favor of large scale emigration of Han Chinese into Xinjiang.

Later in his career he became increasingly concerned with the threat from the Western powers and maritime defense. Military history of the Qing Dynasty (聖武記, Shèngwu Ji) and a narrative work on the Opium War (道光洋艘征撫記, Daoguang Yangsou Zhengfu Ji ). Today, he is mostly known for his work from 1844, Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms (海國圖志, Haiguo Tuzhì), which consisted of Western material collected by Lin Zexu during and after the First Opium War.


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  • Hummel, Arthur William, ed. Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912). 2 vols. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1943.
  • Leonard, Jane Kate. Wei Yüan and China's Rediscovery of the Maritime World. Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, 1984.
  • Mitchell, Peter M. "The Limits of Reformism: Wei Yuan's Reaction to Western Intrusion." Modern Asian Studies 6:2 (1972), pp. 175-204.
  • Tang, Xiren, "Wei Yuan". Encyclopedia of China, 1st ed.

Simple English

Wei Yuan (Chinese:魏源 1794 AD - 1857 AD) was a Chinese scholar of the Qing Dynasty and he wrote many books on politics in his life. His courtesy name were Mo Shen(Chinese: 默深) and Hanshi (Chinese: 漢士), . He was born in Shao Yang (present-day Hu Nan Province).


  • When Wei Yuan was young, he followed his teacher, Liu Feng, to study the History of China.
  • During the reign of Daoguang Emperor, Wei Yuan successfully got a provincial degree in the Imperial examinations.
  • In 1826 AD, Wei Yuan was ordered to write a political book called Huang Chao Jing Shi Wen Pian (Chinese: 《皇朝經世文篇》). Besides, he helped the imperial official to deal with the problem of building the canals.
  • From 1841 AD until 1842 AD, Wei Yuan was asked to defeat the British armies in the First Opium War.
  • From 1842 AD until 1843 AD, Wei Yuan finished writing a book which was about the matters of Western countries. The book was called Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms. (Chinese: 《海國圖志》).
  • After the First Opium War, Wei Yuan wrote another book titled Military history of the Qing Dynasty (Chinese: 《聖武記》)


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