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PKU today in history–Mar. 26: famous Chinese writer Lin Yutang passed away

MAR . 28 2012

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Peking University, Mar. 26, 2012: On the same day 30 years ago, world-renowned Chinese contemporary writer Lin Yutang, once teaching at Peking University (PKU) as a professor, passed away in Hong Kong. His substantial translations and compilations of classic Chinese texts into English were bestsellers in the West and his informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generation.


Lin Yutang was born on Oct. 10, 1895 in Fujian Province. In his early 20s, he graduated from Saint John’s University in Shanghai before receiving a half-scholarship to continue study for a doctoral degree at Harvard University. He left Harvard early however, moving to Germany where he completed his requirements for a doctoral degree in Chinese philology at the University of Leipzig. After that, he came back to China to teach English literature at PKU.


In the movement initiated by students of National Beijing Women's Normal College in 1925, he supported students’ patriotic actions and denounced military police for their violent suppression against the students. In 1932 Lin established Lunyu Banyuekan also known as Analects Fortnightly, a type of Western-style satirical magazine totally new to China at that time. It was highly successful, and he soon introduced two more publications, thus he is regarded as the key figure in introducing the Western concept of humor, which he felt China had lacked.


After 1936, Lin Yutang lived mainly in the United States and published many works in English, including the renowned novel Moment in Peking (Jin Hua Yan Yun). He was the former director of the department of art and literature in UNESCO and president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. 


Lin Yutang

There are several other significant events that happened on March 26 in PKU history, which are:


On March 26, 1923, about 4,000 students from over 30 public schools including PKU demonstrated in the rain in Tian’anmen Sqaure against Japan for disobeying the treaty by intentionally not returning the city of Lvshun and Dalian.


On March 26, 1951, PKU council decided to change the name of the official paper from PKU Weekly into PKU Journal, which was published once every two weeks. On August 31, 2000, it was changed into PKU Gazette as it is today.


On March 26, 1994, the State of Education Commission of China replied to PKU, permitting PKU to cooperate with Taiwan Kwang-Hua Education Foundation to set a new college of management, which was named Guanghua School of Management, PKU.


On March 26, 1998, the founder of Microsoft Bill Gates visited PKU to meet with Professor Yang Fuqing, Dean of the Department of Computer Science and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After nice conversation, Bill Gates kindly offered to grant software and technical support to PKU on behalf of Microsoft.


Wikipedia: Lin Yutang



Written by: Fang Runiu
Edited by: Chen Long
Source: PKU News (Chinese)