Peking University (abbreviation PKU; colloquially known by the Chinese as Běidà 北大), is a major Chinese research university located in Beijing, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China, founded as the "Imperial University of Peking" in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient Guozijian. By 1920, it had become a center for progressive thought. Today, Peking University is frequently listed by many domestic and international rankings as one of the top universities in China. In addition to academics, Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds, and the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture.
Throughout its history, the university has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese thinkers, including figures such as: Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Gu Hongming, Hu Shih, Li Dazhao, and Chen Duxiu. Peking University was influential in the birth of China's New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events
Imperial University of Peking
When it was established on July 3, 1898, the school was known as the Imperial University of Peking (simplified Chinese: 京师大学堂; traditional Chinese: 京師大學堂; pinyin: Jīngshī Dàxuétáng). It was established to replace Taixue or Guozijian, or Imperial Academy, as part of the Hundred Days' Reform. In 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, the Imperial University was renamed "National Peking University" (simplified Chinese: 国立北京大学; traditional Chinese: 國立北京大學; pinyin: Guólì Běijīng Dàxué). The noted scholar Cai Yuanpei was appointed president on January 4, 1917, and helped transform the university into the country's largest institution of higher learning, with 14 departments and an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. Cai, inspired by the German model of academic freedom, recruited an intellectually diverse faculty that included Hu Shih, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun. In 1919, students of Peking University formed the bulk of the protesters of the May Fourth Movement. Efforts by the Beiyang government to end the protests by sealing off the Peking University campus led to Cai's resignation. In 1920, Peking University became the first Chinese university to accept female students.
The first disturbances of the Cultural Revolution began at Peking University in 1966; education there ceased between 1966 and 1970.
In 2000, Beijing Medical University was merged into Peking University and became the Peking University Health Science Campus. Peking University now has eight affiliated hospitals and 12 teaching hospitals.
In 2001, Peking University set up a satellite campus in Shenzhen. The university's second business school was launched on this campus in 2004.
Peking University is a national key university. The university consists of 30 colleges and 12 departments, with 93 specialties for undergraduates, 2 specialties for the second Bachelor's degree, 199 specialties for Master's degree candidates and 173 specialties for doctoral candidates. A leader in basic sciences research and teaching, the university has successfully developed applied sciences research and teaching as well.
At present, Peking university has 216 research institutions and research centres, including 2 national engineering research centres, 81 key national disciplines, 12 national key laboratories. With 4.5 million holdings, the university library is the largest of its kind in Asia.
The university has made an effort to combine the research on fundamental scientific issues with the training of personnel with high level specialized knowledge and professional skill as demanded by the country's modernization.
Peking University has been becoming a center for teaching and research, consisting of diverse branches of learning such as pure & applied sciences, social sciences & humanities, and sciences of management & education.
Over the past century, more than 400 Peking University alumni had become presidents of other major Chinese universities, including former Tsinghua President Luo Jialun, Renmin University President Yuan Baohua, Zhejiang University President Qian Sanqiang, Fudan University President Zhang Zhirang, Nankai University President Teng Weizao, Chinese University of Science and Technology President Guan Weiyan and many others.
The campus of Peking University was originally located north of the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing, and was later moved to the former campus of Yenching University in 1952. The main campus is in northwest Beijing, in Haidian district, which is also home to other well-known colleges and universities.
The Peking University's campus site is near the Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace; the area is traditionally where many of Beijing's most renowned gardens and palaces were built.
The university campus is in the former site of the Qing Dynasty imperial gardens and it retains much traditional Chinese-style landscaping, including traditional houses, gardens, pagodas, as well as many notable historical buildings and structures. There are several gates that lead into campus — East, West and South gates, with the West Gate being the most well known for the painted murals on its ceiling. Peking University is known throughout China, with its neighbour, Tsinghua University, for their beautiful campuses. Weiming lake is in the north of the campus and is surrounded by walking paths and small gardens.
The university hosts many museums, such as the Museum of University History and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology. Notable items in these museums include funerary objects that were excavated in Beijing and date back thousands of years from the graves of royalties of the Warring States period. There are ritual pottery vessels as well as elaborate pieces of jewelry on display. There are also human bones set up in the traditional burial style of that period
The Director of the National School of Development (formerly China Center for Economic Research), Professor of Economics of Peking University and Professor of the graduate school of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is Prof. Justin Lin. Dr. Lin had more than 100 academic papers published in both Chinese and English academic journals, more than 200 articles in newspapers and magazines and had also published several books.
Justin Lin, the founding director of the institute, is the World Bank's chief economist. His appointment marked the first time the post went to a candidate outside Europe or the United States.
Peking University has produced many notable people, especially prominent thinkers in modern China. These include figures such as Hu Shih, Li Dazhao and Lu Xun. Peking University also has two Nobel Prize winners, Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning. Since 1948, 586 Peking University alumni have been selected into the renowned Academic Division of the Chinese Academy of Science (两院院士), overshadowing any other universities in China.
Another notable alumni includes Hao Ping current Vice President of the Ministry of Education.
Peking University is the home to communist, nationalist and liberal thoughts in modern China. Mao Zedong, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, all founders of the Communist Party of China, either taught or held offices in the university
Peking University is a comprehensive and national key university. The campus, known as "Yan Yuan"（the garden of Yan）, is situated at Haidian District in the western suburb of Beijing, with a total area of 2,743,532 square metres (or 274 hectares). It stands near to the Yuanmingyuan Garden and the Summer Palace.
Peking University is proud of its outstanding faculty, including 53 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 7 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and 14 members of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
The university has effectively combined research on important scientific subjects with the training of personnel with a high level of specialized knowledge and professional skill as demanded by the country's socialist modernization. It strives not only for improvements in teaching and research work, but also for the promotion of interaction and mutual promotion among various disciplines.
Thus Peking University has become a center for teaching and research and a university of a new type, embracing diverse branches of learning such as basic and applied sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and sciences of medicine, management, and education. Its aim is to rank among the world's best universities in the future.