Cai Yuanpei: Selected Writings on Education


This collection of writings traces the evolution and revolution of Chinese modern education in the early twentieth century initiated by Cai Yuanpei (1868-1940), the first Minister of Education of the Republic of China, President of Peking University (1916-1927) and the founder of Academia Sinica.

This volume illustrates Cai Yuanpei’s educational thoughts, one of which is known as “freedom of thought and academic inclusiveness”(思想自由,兼容並包), through his own words from his political, social, and academic endeavors. Cai navigated the landscape of Chinese education at the time, bridging the gap between tradition and revolution, East and West, and setting the cornerstone of the Chinese modern education system. His innovative ideology remains significant in the context of Chinese education reforms in the 21st century.

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Cai Yuanpei was one of China’s most prominent democratic revolutionary thinkers and educators of the 20th century. He was among a group of intellectuals that included Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, and Hu Shih who advocated for a new academic culture promoting democracy and science. Cai integrated Chinese traditions with ideas he learned from his studies in Europe, including Germany and France. As President of Peking University, he supported literati, educators, and students to create one of China’s most dynamic universities, which played a pivotal role during the May Fourth Movement. He contributed significantly to modern Chinese education and culture by advocating for science and democracy, freedom of thought, and aesthetic education.

1 My View on New Education
February 8, 1912

2 Textbook on Moral Education in the Middle School
May 1912

3 Statement of Political Views to the Senate
May 13, 1912

4 Opening Remarks at the Inaugural Interim National Educational Conference
July 10, 1912

5 The University Bill
Promulgated by Order No. 17 of the Ministry of Education on
October 24, 1912

6 A View of the World and a View of Life
Winter 1912

7 Forewords to the Journal of Learning Spirit
Summer 1914

8 The Mission of the World Society

9 A Preface to the Journal of Work and Study
October 30, 1915

10 Lecture Notes for the School for Overseas Chinese Laborers
Summer in 1916

11 On the Absorption of Civilizations
August 15, 1916

12 The Inaugural Address of President of the Peking University
January 9, 1917

13 A Speech at the Patriotic Girls’ School
January 15, 1917

14 The Declaration of China Vocational Education Society
January 1917

15 A Speech to Senior-Grade Students of Tsinghua College
March 29, 1917

16 Replacing Religion with Aesthetic Education—Speech at Beijing Shenzhou Academic Meeting
April 8, 1917

17 Public Statement on the Establishment of the Sino-France Education Association
April 1917

18 Remarks at the Meeting at NanKai Middle School: Held by the Association of Professionalism, the Association of Diligent Study, and the Association of Youth
May 23, 1917

19 Facts and Reasons for University Restructuring
April 1918

20 The Fundamental Differences between New Education and Old Education–Remarks at the Welcome Ceremony of the Primary Schools’ Meeting of Hebei Province Organized by Zhonghua Book Company (Tianjin)
May 30, 1918

21 Preface to an Outline of the History of Chinese Philosophy
August 3, 1918

22 Forward to the Peking University MONTHLY JOURNAL
November 10, 1918

23 Philosophy and Science
January 1919

24 A Preface to the Journal The Chinese Citizen
January 1919

25 An Application for Establishing the National Language Research Association
January 1919

26 On Developing Complementarity in Education
February 1919

27 Why Initiate the China New Education Co-Progess Association
February 1919

28 A Letter to Gong Yan DAILY and a Response to Lin Qinnan’s Letter
March 18, 1919

29 Mind Cultivation and Science—A Speech Presented at the Mind Cultivation Society of the Beijing Normal COLLEGE Achievement Club
April 24, 1919

30 Statement of No Intention to Be President of Peking University Again
June 15, 1919

31 A Speech at the Dinner Party for the 60th Birthday of John Dewey
October 20, 1919

32 Don’t Forget Aesthetics in Cultural Movement
December 1, 1919

33 Obligations and Rights—a Speech at Peking Women’s Normal School
December 7, 1919

34 Remarks at the Opening of the Public Evening School by Peking University Student Union
January 18, 1920

35 Introduction to the Overseas Returned Scholars Association Magazine
March 10, 1920

36 The Flood and the Beast
April 1, 1920

37 A Speech at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Journal of Education and Society, Beijing Normal College
April 15, 1920

38 A Retrospect of the May Fourth Movement and Expectations for the Future
May 1920

39 Opening Remarks at the Ceremony Awarding Honorary Degrees to His Excellency, Professor Paul Painlevé and Others, at Peking University
August 31, 1920

40 On the University Flag of PEKING University
October, 1920

41 What Is Culture?
October 27, 1920

42 Regular Education and Specialized Education
December 5, 1920

43 The Relationship between the Arts and Science
February 22, 1921

44 My Hope for Normal School Students
October 29, 1920

45 My Hope for Students
October 28, 1920

46 Remarks at the Reception Hosted by the Edinburgh Chinese Students Association and Academic Research Association
May 12, 1921

47 The Integration of Western and Oriental Cultures—Remarks at Georgetown University in Washington
June 14, 1921

48 Remarks at the Berkeley Chinese Students Association
July 19, 1921

49 The Issue of Knowledge—Remarks at the Chinese Student and Scholar Association of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu
August 23, 1921

50 On Aesthetics
Autumn, 1921

51 The Proposal to PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF Peking University Faculty
February 11, 1922

52 On the Independence of Education
March, 1922

53 Approaches to Aesthetic Education
June, 1922

54 A Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Annual Meeting of The Institute for Improving Chinese Education (IICE)
July 3, 1922

55 On the Launch of the Peking University Alumni Association
October 12, 1922

56 On the Letter from Einstein
January 3, 1923

57 Advice on the Preparations for Establishing Hangchow University by Cai Yuanpei et al.
January, 1923

58 Guiding Principles of Hangzhou University
March 27, 1923

59 Why Schools Should Promote Physical Education
September 1923

60 The Renaissance in China—a Speech at University Du Travail Paul Pastur Charleroi in BELGIUM
October 10, 1923

61 The Development of Chinese Education
April 10, 1924

62 Memorandum Concerning the Disposal of the Boxer Indemnity Fund
April 15, 1924

63 INSCRIPTION to the Alumni Album for Graduates from the Department of Economics, Peking University, in 1925
May 1925

64 Preface to the Prospectus of Peking University Institute of Chinese Classics
June 27, 1925

65 CHINESE EDUCATION—Its Historical and Its Present Conditions
July 25, 1925

66 The Preface to Logic
June 5, 1926

67 Studying IN THE UNIVERSITY and Saving the Country—a Speech at Hangchow University
March 12, 1927

68 Motion for the Establishment of the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of China
June 13, 1927

69 The Trends of New Education in China—a Speech at Jinan University
November 12, 1927

70 Motion on Independent Education Grants and Funding
December 22, 1927

71 Proposal for Establishing the National University of the Arts
December 1927

72 Foreword to The Bulletin of the Ministry of Education and Reasearch
January, 1928

73 Remarks at the New Year Celebration of the Shanghai Branch of the Science Society of China
January 18, 1930

74 Opening Remarks at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Science Society of China
August 12, 1930

75 What Does It Take to Be a Modern Student?
October 1930

76 The Chinese Nation and the Doctrine of the Mean—a Speech Given to the Asia Society
November 20, 1930

77 Aesthetic Education as a Replacement for Religion
December 1930

78 Aesthetic Education as a Replacement of Religion—a Speech to the Chinese YMCA in Shanghai
December 1930

79 University Education

80 Aesthetic Education

81 Criteria for Choosing an Occupation—Remarks at the China Vocational Education Association
April 4, 1931

82 Gist of Speech at Suzhou High School
October 1931

83 Aesthetic Education and Life
Approximately 1931

84 Aesthetic Education as a Replacement for Religion

85 Inaugural Address Delivered as the President of the Music and Literature Society of the National Conservatory of Music
March 1, 1933

86 My Days at Peking University
January 1, 1934

87 Recollections of My Orthodox Chinese Education
April 4, 1934

88 Lessons from My Reading Experiences
April 10, 1935

89 On Reading Confucian Classics
May 10, 1935

90 A General Introduction to Collections of China’s New Literature
August 6, 1935

91 Guiding Principles for the Work of Academia Sinica
April 16, 1936

92 An Introduction to Great Figures of Science
May 20, 1936

93 The Spiritual Life of Confucius
August 17, 1936

94 Mozi’s Non-Attack and Good Defense
October 11, 1936

95 My Experiences in the Education Community
December 1937

96 Stories of George Washington in China’s Education
February 20, 1939
All interested in Chinese modern education reform and educational history.
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