Feng Guifen

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Feng Guifen (Chinese: 馮桂芬; pinyin: Féng Guìfēn; Wade–Giles: Feng2 Kuei3-fen1; 1809 – May 28, 1874,[1] courtesy name Linyi (Chinese: 林一; pinyin: Línyī), art name Jingting (Chinese: 景亭; pinyin: Jǐngtíng), later art name Dengweishanren (Chinese: 鄧尉山人; pinyin: Dèngwèishānrén), jinshi degree 1840) was a scholar during the Qing Dynasty that was a strong contributor to the philosophy of the Self-Strengthening Movement undertaken in the late 19th century. Born to a family of wealthy Suzhou landowners, Feng served as a compiler in Beijing's Hanlin Academy before finally serving as a private secretary to the Viceroy of Liangjiang, Li Hongzhang.[2]

In his capacity, Feng argued for self-strengthening and industrialization by borrowing western technology and military systems, while retaining core Neo-Confucian principles. In his essay, On The Manufacture of Foreign Weapons, he was famously quoted as saying: "what we have to learn from the barbarians is only the one thing - solid ships and effective guns", though in reality his proposals were a little more extensive.[3][4] Although many of his reforms were never fully enacted, they were circulated for later generations of political reformers. They contributed to the Hundred Days Reform of 1898.


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  2. ^ Rowe, W. T. (2009) China’s Last Empire: The Great Qing. Harvard University Press. p. 208.
  3. ^ Fairbank, J. & Teng, S. (1979, Nov 15) China’s Response to the West: A Documentary Survey. Harvard University Press. Page 53.
  4. ^ Wealth and Power