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Auditor Cat: PKU’s Auditing Tradition

Peking University, Beijing, Oct. 15, 2009: Recently Beijing Evening New had a report of a stray cat that loves attending classes at Peking University (PKU) for five years and is adored by teachers and students. Since then, this fat, short-hair, tailless cat has attracted enormous attention from both netizens and PKU students while being named philosophy cat, auditor cat, or academic cat. This auditor cat is an interesting reminder of PKU’s tradition of auditing which originated from the period of University President Mr. Cai Yuanpei.


Among previous decades, a large number of renowned people had the experience of auditing at PKU, such as Mao Zedong, Qu Qiubai, Shen Congwen, Feng Xuefeng, Ding Ling, Yang Mo, Cheng Shewo, Hu Yepin, Rou Shi, Jin Kemu, even the “master of Chinese culture”-Ji Xianlin. One of the alumni, Xiao Lao, recalled auditing experience of his fellow countrymen in his book My Memory at Peking University. He was admitted to the Department of Chinese Language of Peking University in the year 1917 when Mr. Cai Yuanpei was the president. The university launched the plan of taking in auditors at those years. Xiao was asked by one of his fellow countrymen Du to apply for one seat. Xiao went to Office of Teaching Affairs but was declined with the excused of no vacancy. He knew the seats had not been filled yet, so he asked the teacher to see in the classroom himself but was refused again. Then Xiao went to the president’s office for help. After listening to his story, Mr. Cai Yuanpei called the teacher of Office of Teaching Affairs to his office immediately to validate the truth. When Mr. Cai Yuanpei was clear of the event, he wrote a permissive note for student Du to audit at Department of Chinese Language.


Xiao himself also audited at PKU for 13 years and he knew many others auditors. It is common for most of them to audit at PKU for three or five years while some had the experience of auditing for over 20 years. Now the eldest auditor at PKU is Zhao Wenqing, nearly 80-year-old expert of Li Yu Research from Zhejiang Province.


Translated by: Su Juan

Edited by: Cai Ying

Source: Beijing Evening News