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Born in Shanghai, Zhu was, like so many others, shaped in his eventual outlook by China's Cultural Revolution, when he was sent to rural Lankao County, Henan as a "sent-down youth" in 1970. In 1972 he was transferred to factory work.
Taking an MA degree in history in 1985 from Shaanxi Normal University, from 1985 to 1991 he taught in the Air Force Politics Institute. In 1992 he graduated from Fudan University with a doctorate in history. From 1991 he has been a Professor in the Department of History, Academy of Letters, Shanghai University.
He wrote an article entitled "1998: The Discourse of Liberalism," which spoke of a "resurfacing" of liberal thought which was published in the widely circulated Nanfang Zhoumo [Southern Weekend].
- Xueqin Zhu (2003). 道德理想囯的复灭 : 从卢梭到罗伯斯庇尔 = Daode lixiang guo de fumie : conglusuo dao Luobosibier /Dao de li xiang guo de fu mie : cong Lusuo dao Luobosi Bi'er = Daode lixiang guo de fumie : conglusuo dao Luobosibier [Downfall of the Moral Republic: from Rousseau to Robespierre]. Shanghai san lian xue shu wen ku (in Chinese). Shanghai Shi: Shanghai san lian shu dian. ISBN 978-7-5426-1837-5. OCLC 54384481.
- Zhongguoyu ouzhou wenhua jiaoliu zhi [Annals of Sino-European Cultural Exchange] (《中国与欧洲文化交流志》)
- Xueqin Zhu (2006). 书斋里的革命 / Shu zhai li de ge ming [The revolution in the study] (in Chinese). Kunming: Yunnan ren min chu ban she. ISBN 978-7-222-04765-5. OCLC 123909210.