Cai Yuanpei

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Cai Yuanpei

Cai Yuanpei ( Chinese  蔡元培 , Pinyin Cài Yuánpéi , W.-G. Ts'ai Yüan-p'ei ; 鶴 卿  /  鹤 卿 , Hèqīng , Ho-ch'ing ; milk name 阿培 , Āpéi , Ā-p'ei ; Nickname 孑 民 , Jiémín , Chieh-min  - "Lone Citizen"; * January 11, 1868 in what is now the Jishan street district of the Yuecheng district of Shaoxing (then Shanyin County, Shaoxing Prefecture), Zhejiang Province , Chinese Empire ; † 5. March 1940 in Hong Kong ) was a Chinese educator , ethnologist and rector of Peking University . He was known for his critical evaluation of Chinese culture and is therefore considered to be one of the initiators of the May 4th Movement .


At the age of 26, Cai became a member of the Imperial Hanlin Academy . In 1898 he worked in the administration of educational institutions and became:

  • Shaoxing Chinese Western School inspector (紹興 中西 學堂 監督);
  • Shanshan College director in Sheng County (嵊 縣 剡 山 書院 院長);
  • Director and teacher of the special class of the Nanyang Public School (南洋 公 學 特 班 總 教 習).

He founded Guangfuhui in 1904 and became a member of Tongmenghui the following year .

After studying philosophy , psychology , art history and ethnology at the University of Leipzig in 1907 , especially with Karl Lamprecht , Wilhelm Wundt and Karl Weule , he became Minister of Education of the Provisional Republic of China in January 1912 , but resigned under the presidency of Yuan Shikai . He returned to Germany and then went to France .

Cai returned to China in 1916 to become rector of Peking University the following year . In 1926 he founded the essay Shuo minzu xue (Explanation of Ethnology), the ethnology as a modern science in China. In 1927 he co-founded the National Music Academy, which later became the Shanghai Music Academy . In April 1928 he became the first president of the Academia Sinica .

Cai claimed the equal importance of the five lifestyles of virtue , wisdom , health , collective and beauty ( 德 德 智 、 體 、 群 、 美 ), as they are still taught as slogans in Taiwan , Hong Kong and Macau today. He was an opponent of foot-tying and cohabitation , as well as an advocate of divorce and remarriage.

Cai Yuanpei died in Hong Kong at the age of 72 .


  • Wang Peili, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Cai Yuanpei: a comparative analysis of two classic educational concepts in the German Enlightenment and in the first Chinese Republic , Münster & New York: Waxmann 1996
  • Cai Jianguo, Cai Yuanpei: Scholar and mediator between East and West , German by Hans Christian Stichler, Münster [u. a.]: Lit 1998
  • Sheila Melvin and Jindong Cai, Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese , New York 2004, ISBN 0-87586-179-2
  • Dieter Kuhn, The Republic of China from 1912 to 1937: Draft for a Political Event History , 3rd Edition, Würzburger Sinologische Schriften, Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 3-927943-25-8

Web links

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