Tongwen Guan (Chinese: 同文館), or the School of Combined Learning was a government school for teaching Western languages (and later scientific subjects), founded at Beijing, China in 1862 during the late-Qing dynasty. The establishment signifies the Qing Empire, after years of reluctance, at last tried to learn about the West of their own accord.
Following the Convention of Peking, the Qing Empire created Zongli Yamen, an office for foreign affairs, in 1861 and Tongwen Guan one year later, which was supervised by Zongli Yamen. One of the Tongwen Guan's employees was Dr. Martin. The college was not the first Western language school in China, though. The Eluosi Wenguan (俄羅斯文舘 "Russian College") was set up by the Lifan Yuan in 1708, which was later integrated into Tongwen Guan. There were also Siyi Guan (四夷舘; founded 1407) and Huitong Guan (會同舘) during the Ming dynasty for training translators and interpreters of Asian languages. Hanlin Academy#Bureau of Translators
The college taught English, French, German, Russian and Japanese, as well as chemistry, medicine, machine-making, astronomy, mathematics, geography and international laws. Similar colleges were later set up at Canton and Shanghai. Tongwen Guan published several influential works introducing Western knowledge into China. It became part of the Imperial Capital University (now Peking University) since 1902.
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