Cai Yuanpei - Chinese Educator and the Chancellor of Peking University
Cai Yuanpei (January 11, 1868 – March 5, 1940) was a Chinese educator and the chancellor of Peking University, known for his critical evaluation of the Chinese culture that led to the influential May Fourth Movement. In his thinking, Cai was heavily influenced by Anarchism.
Born in Shanyin Village, Shaoxing Subprefecture, Zhejiang, Cai was appointed to the Hanlin Imperial Academy at 26. In 1898, he became involved in administering institutes and became:
* Superintendent of Shaoxing Chinese-Western School
He established Guangfuhui (an anti-Qing Empire organization) in 1904 and joined Tongmenghui the next year. After studying philosophy, psychology, and art history in the Universitat Leipzig of Germany in 1907 under Karl Lamprecht, he served as the provisional Republic's Minister of Education in January 1912, but later resigned during Yuan Shikai's presidency. Subsequently, he returned to Germany, and then went to France.
Cai returned to China in 1916 and served as the Chancellor of Peking University the following year. It was during his tenure at Peking University that he recruited such famous thinkers (and future Chinese Communist Party leaders) to the school as Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. In 1927, he co-founded the National College of Music, which later became the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In April 1928, he became the first president of the Academia Sinica.
Cai advocated the equal importance of five ways of life — "Virtue, Wisdom, Health, Collective, and Beauty" — core values that are still taught in schools today in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. He was also a proponent of women's right to divorce and remarry, he strongly opposed foot binding and concubinage that were widely practiced in China at the time.
Cai Yuanpei died at the age of 72 in Hong Kong.