Chen Jitong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chen Jitong in official dress
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Chen.

Chen Jitong (simplified Chinese: 陈季同; traditional Chinese: 陳季同; pinyin: Chén Jìtòng; 1851–1907), courtesy name Jingru (敬如), also known as Tcheng Ki-tong, was a Chinese diplomat, general and scholar during the late Qing Dynasty. Chen was born in Houguan, in present day Fuzhou. In 1869 he started to study the French language at the school attached to the Fuzhou shipyard. In 1875 Shen Baozhen sent thirty Chinese students, from the training school attached to the Foochow Arsenal to study shipbuilding and navigation in Europe. In 1876, Chen Jitong was selected to go to Europe and he wrote a book on his impressions after his return to China the following year. He subsequently served on a number of important positions in the Qing foreign service. While serving as a diplomat in France, he wrote several famous works in French, becoming the first Francophone Chinese author.

We will get everything we need, all the technology of your intellectual and material culture, but we will adopt not one element of your faith, not one of your ideas or even one of your tastes ... You are yourselves providing the means wherby we will vanquish you.

— Chinese military attaché in Paris, Chen Jitong, [1]

In 1891, he was dismissed from all official positions and settled in Shanghai. Following China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, he served as foreign minister of the short-lived Republic of Formosa.


  1. ^ Jonathan B. A. Bailey, Great Power Strategy in Asia: Empire, Culture And Trade, 1905-2005, p. 17
  • Tcheng-ki-tong. The Chinese painted by themselves. Translated from the French by James Millington. London: Field & Tuer, [1885?]
  • Yeh, Catherine Vance. "The Life-Style of Four Wenren in Late Qing Shanghai." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 57, no. 2 (1997): 419-70.

External links[edit]