|Residence||Guangzhou, Guangdong, China|
|Alma mater||Zhongshan University, Fudan University|
Yuan was born in Xingning, Guangdong. He was admitted to Zhongshan University Department of Economics in 1950, and then went to a master program in political economy at Fudan University. He worked as a faculty member at Zhongshan University Department of Philosophy.
In the January 2006 issue of Freezing Point, Yuan published an essay titled Modernisation and History Textbooks, criticizing the official theme of government issued middle schools history textbooks,claiming that they contain numbers of distortions of the historical accounts (see for example in the article about the Boxer Rebellion). Professor Yuan said:"The public, especially the students, have the right to find out the true historical facts." 
- "Interview with Historian Yuan Weishi" (in Chinese). Financial Times. December 13, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Yuan Weishi (January 11, 2006). "Modernisation and History Textbooks" (in Chinese). China Youth Daily. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Kahn, Joseph (1 September 2006). "Where's Mao? Chinese Revise History Books". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
“Our traditional version of history was focused on ideology and national identity,” said Zhu Xueqin, a historian at Shanghai University.
- Charles W. Hayford (March 18, 2006). "The High School History Textbook Debate in China". History News Network. Retrieved 2008-09-24.