Today’s Historical Text comes from the Chinese Students’ Monthly of November 1908. The paragraph, on page 24 of the issue, addresses something that has been a difficulty of Chinese peoples for thousands of years: the diversity of languages among the different regions of China. What many in the US think of as “Chinese” is typically either Mandarin – a northern dialect – or Cantonese – a southern dialect – but in fact there are dozens of other languages within the borders of China. Although these languages all use the same Chinese characters, many are not mutually intelligible when spoken. Much like the solution the current People’s Republic of China has come up with, the CSA suggests using Mandarin as a lingua franca among the students of different dialects.
Today I cover another Boxer Indemnity Scholar, and indeed another famous Chinese scholar in general: Yueh Lin Chin (金岳霖, pinyin Jīn YuèLín), who attended Tsing Hua University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University, and was one of the principal founders of the study of Western logic in China. He is still famous in China today, not only for his books on philosophy, which are still read in schools, but for his interesting personal life.
Today’s Historical Text is a news item from the English-language news in China. The article is about the graduation exercises at Tsinghua University in June of 1915. A note: about 50 non-associated people from Peking attended this graduation, just because they were interested in Tsinghua as a school . . . something completely unheard of at a modern graduation from a US university!
My student for this week is Clarence Sze King Chow (周思敬, pinyin Zhōu SīJìng; courtesy name 仲久/Zhòng Jiǔ). Like many other Chinese students of this era, his travels were not limited to the United States, and he would serve as consul to Cuba and Australia under the Republic of China.
Today’s Historical Text is from the Chinese Students’ Monthly from 1915 and focuses on the changing role and policies at Tsinghua University. Founded just 4 years earlier with Boxer Indemnity funds, Tsinghua was meant to prepare Chinese students to study in US universities. It later added a university department of its own, and is currently one of the most prestigious universities in China.
I am REALLY EXCITED about this historical text, because it is a new one for me. I just connected with a colleague in China and we have been furiously exchanging information and documents. This is an edition of the “Mei zhou Liu xue Bao gao”, or “Newspaper of American Study Abroad”, which was published by the Chinese Students’ Association of the Western States (mainly California). This publication was meant to be released in 1906 – all the information in it is from 1905 – but it was delayed due to the San Francisco earthquake, so it was published in 1907 instead.
I have a famous person to profile today! T. F. Tsiang (蔣廷黻, pinyin Jiǎng Tíngfú) was not only a student during the time of the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship program, but he went on to serve the Republic of China’s government and was a delegate to the United Nations. This means that there is a ton of information and newspaper articles available about him, his life, and his work, unlike many of my other Indemnity Scholars. To keep this from being an entire novel, and to avoid retreading the same ground that others have already examined thoroughly, in this post I will concentrate on T. F. Tsiang’s university life and studies, as well as his personal life.
I thought I’d start a new feature in the blog where I reprint some amusing/interesting/historically significant text from some of my primary sources, to give you a better idea of the cultural context of the students I profile. These will be presented with citations, photos, descriptive text, and very little editorializing. Here we go!
Kicking it old-school again today! I have a government-funded student to profile today who came to the US 8 years before the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship was founded. In fact, he entered the United States not long after the Boxer Rebellion itself ended! Today’s student is C. Y. Wang (王寵佑, pinyin Wáng ChǒngYòu; courtesy name 佐臣, pinyin Zuǒ Chén) who was one of the first Chinese students to attend the University of California.
I return to the South this week with a Vanderbilt student: Dr. T. L. Li (李天祿, pinyin Lǐ Tiānlù; courtesy name 福田, pinyin Fútián). Dr. Li was not only extremely involved in the international Methodist Church, but participated in political events and was savvy enough to navigate the changing political waters of China through the Communist takeover.