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Pioneering Endeavor: Peking University Striding Towards Being Among World-Class Universities

NOV . 09 2017
Peking University, Oct. 26, 2017:

Editor’s Note:
2012 is a year worth engraving in the memory of Peking University. It was the year when the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was convened, as well as the 12th Congress of Communist representatives of Peking University. Ever since then, PKU has been marching on the path of emulating the world-class universities, also serving the country in the process.

Forming youth values

Chinese President Xi Jinping always cares for the youth of Peking University. On June, 2012, Xi Jinping set foot on PKU for the very first time, and was immediately intrigued by the report presented by School of Archaeology and Museology about the construction of the temporary party branch on an archaeological site. Therefore, on May 2, 2013, President Xi Jinping encouraged the undergraduates from the Youth League Branch of School of Archaeology and Museology in his correspondence that they should merge their pursuit of personal dreams and responsibility together with national missions. Also, on Chinese Youth’s day, 2014, the president came to Peking University in person and addressed the significance of cultivation of youth values.

 “The construction of primary party branch is exactly paving the path for the goal of becoming one of the world-class universities” said Hao Ping, chairman of Peking University Council.

In order to reinforce  ideological and political education, Peking University has adopted several new forms in teaching, like inviting famous professors to give lectures about the core values of Chinese society. Among the lecturers, there were a great number of respectable professors such as Professor Li Xiaofan, Professor Liu Pujiang, and Professor Wang Haiyan. As we can see, so long as there exist those noble souls, the spirit of Peking University will never cease to live on.

Character and Excellence

During the last five years, to actively respond to the call of our country, Peking University has been exploring a characteristic way of successful higher education for Chinese students. Arising at that right moment, Yuanpei College became the pioneer of reform on undergraduate education, along with several schools who are also are involved in the construction of a major to broaden students’ horizons. For instance, Liu Bo, an undergraduate form Yuanpei College, is taking professional courses in physics, chemistry, biology, computer and so on, at the same time. Not only did Yuanpei College have a go, there are a lot of other schools which also provide students with the option of choosing courses from other majors, such as the Department of Philosophy.

Unlike the traditional education system, students are no longer passive receivers of their professors’ opinions. They have been transformed into active participants of class discussions. What’s more, the scale of classes have been greatly reduced since 2013, which immensely improved the quality of lectures. 
Looking back at our path, we are aware that there is still a long way ahead.

Talents Trigger Technical Innovation

On August 10,2017, Nature announced that according to the natural index in 2017, the number of Chinese papers published in top journals was only fewer than that of America, ranking No.2 in the world. Among all the best universities in China, Peking University came at the top, showing great achievements in natural science.

The improving level of scientific research attracts many scholars abroad to return to their homeland, one of whom is Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, an alumnus of Peking University and member of United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2014, Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, along with the research team of Peking University, completed the world’s first high-precision genome sequencing of a single human oocyte, which serves as a milestone in the history of science.

Furthermore, the advanced Think Tanks of Peking University are playing important roles in national strategies. There are also many scholars, from the National School of Development, the Center for New Structural Economics, and the Institute of Population, giving suggestions and being involved in national projects.

Peking University has been organizing the collecting and editing of Confucian classics and Marxism materials, which engages broad international cooperation. What’s more, most of the six translated versions of Chinese Civilization will be completed by this year. Last year, Beijing Sub-Forum, in which Beida participated as a dominant role, was successfully held overseas as well in Pakistan.

During the last five years, scholars from Peking University have received numerous international honors. For example, Tu Youyou finally won the Nobel Prize. Cao Wenxuan was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize. Yu Kongjian and Li Ling have become members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dong Qiang became the Lifelong Foreign Correspondent Academician of the French Academy of Morality and Political Science.

Just like what Professor Tang Yijie, a leading scholar of Confucian classics, once said, “The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation cannot be achieved without the rejuvenation of traditional Chinese culture.”


The establishment of two schools in Peking University is surely a miniature of international education: Yenching Academy of Peking University and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development. Yenching Academy of Peking University came into being on September, 2015. Only one year later, the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development began enrolling new students. Their projects are mainly aimed at cultivating excellent bachelors and doctors suited for enhancing mutual communication between China and the world.

The educational resources of Peking University are now open to the whole world. In recent years, the campus has provided over 40 types of MOOCS, covering the Humanities, Science, Engineering, and Medicine. It has drawn over half a million learners from over 100 countries to register for online learning.
Meanwhile, the cooperation between Beida and famous universities of other countries has been strengthened. Also, one part of the Peking University HSBC School of Business is located in Oxford, and has already started recruiting.

Nowadays, professors coming from all over the world gather in PKU to share their experiences with the students here. “As long as you have talents, you will have the chance to draw them all out and will accomplish a great achievement here. This is the clear information from China to the world,” said the former principal of Cornell University and current president of Peking University School of Transnational Law.

Moreover, Lin Jianhua, the principal of Peking University, said: “To serve the national diplomatic strategy, the international activities, and the essential education of the school itself is where we should start the internationalization of Peking University from.” 

Peking University has always been chasing its dream on the road leading to the fulfillment of the Chinese dream.

Appendix: Digital Beida

18 professors of Peking University were elected as Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or of Engineering in the years of 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Until now, there are 76 Academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 17 Academicians of Chinese Academy of Engineering who graduated from Peking University.

From 2012 to 2017, there have been 49 publications in Science/Nature/Cell.

From 2012 to 2016, the scientific research funds were respectively 25.98,25.5,25.68,26.72, and 31.42 hundred million yuan.

From 2012 to 2016, Peking University has won 14 National Awards for Natural Sciences, eight National Awards for Natural Sciences, and three National Awards for Technological Invention.

At this moment, Peking University has 16 Think Tanks, which are providing indispensable help for the national important decisions. 

Three alumni of Peking University were awarded the Nobel Prize. Twelve alumni became the fathers of the nuclear bomb, missile, and satellite. Thirteen of them received Highest Science and Technology Awards. More than 500 alumni have been entitled as the Academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences or of Engineering. Fourteen of them, admitted to this campus after the reform and opening-up of China, have become members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and of Engineering or Medicine (two of them have double titles).

Written by: Wang Nini
Edited by: Fu Wenyun, Karen Xu
Source: PKU News (Chinese)