Zhang Baixi

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.
Zhan Baixi
Zhan Baixi.jpg
Zhang in official robes
Minister of Post
In office
Preceded by -
Succeeded by Lin Shaonian
Personal details
Born 1847
Died March 30, 1907
Occupation Politician

Zhang Baixi (simplified Chinese: 张百熙; traditional Chinese: 張百熙; pinyin: Zhāng Bǎixī; Courtesy Yěqiū (埜秋); Posthumous name: Wéndá (文達)) (1847 — March 30, 1907) was a Chinese government official during the late Qing Dynasty who is known for initializing the education reform. He was considered to be the "father of university" in China.[1] Both the Peking University and the Beijing Normal University respect him as a founder and president.

Zhang Baixi was born in Changsha County of Hunan province, where studied in the top local school, Chengnan 城南书院, under Guo Songtao (1818-1891). In 1874, he earned a Jinshi degree and was elevated to the Hanlin Academy. As high administrator for many years, Zhang Baixi advocated profound political, economical and educational reforms. Although he was a member of the reform group led by Kang Youwei in the Hundred Days Reform of 1898, his role was small enough that his career continued to develop after the reformers were suppressed. After the Boxer Rebellion, partly because there were few surviving officials of ability and experience, he became a close advisor to the Empress Dowager.[2]

Zhang proposed to reopen the Imperial Capital University (京師大學堂, former Peking University) founded in 1898. He had several motivations. One was national pride, to show the world that China could have a world-class university even after the Boxer debacle. A second was to keep higher education under the control of the central government, not local or provincial governments or private universities. He succeeded in getting government funding for an expanded and more impressive campus in the heart of the capital and for a well-supported faculty. Among his priorities for the university was a bureau to translate Japanese books and a compilation bureau which would publish text books of modern knowledge. According to one later official, Zhang's contribution to the development of Peking University was second only to that of Cai Yuanpei. [2]

In 1902, Zhang drafted the "Authorized School Regulation" (《欽定學堂章程》, alternatively called Renyin Educational system (壬寅學制)), "renyin" being the year 1902, which was puit into effect by Qing government. In 1904, Zhang participated establishment of the "Presented School Regulation" (《奏定學堂章程》, or called "Guimao Educational System" (癸卯學制)), "guimao" being the year 1904, which was the first modern Chinese educational system.

Zhang died in Beijing in 1907.


  1. ^ "《辰子说林》". 《大学当年》:直至庚子拳乱以后,张百熙以西安奏对为西后所喜,被命为管学大臣,始一意于大学之经营。此时为大学全盛时代,著名幽默家于晦若任总办、桐城大师吴汝纶任总教习,颇能集中人才,总其事者实为百熙,当时多呼百熙为“大学之父”也。
  2. ^ a b Weston (2004), p. 44-45.

References and further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sun Jianai
Ministry of Personnel
Succeeded by
Lu Chuanlin
Preceded by
Zhao Erxun
Ministry of Revenue
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ministry of Post
Succeeded by
Lu Chuanlin