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[120th Anniversary] Know Beida via Keywords: spiritual traditions

MAY . 03 2018
Peking University, April 30, 2018: Peking University will celebrate its 120th anniversary on May 4. The 120th anniversary serves as a key milestone for PKU to review past achievements and to look to future developments. “Knowing Beida via 120 keywords” provides a series of historical snapshots as windows  to PKU’s illustrious past.

1. Patriotism, progress, democracy and science

When visiting Peking University on May 4, 2014, President Xi Jinping pointed out that the May Fourth Movement forged the spirit of “patriotism, progress, democracy, and science”, paving the way for China’s New Democratic Revolution, spreading Marxism in China, and gaving impetus to the establishment of the Communist Party of China. Peking University is the initiator of the May Fourth Movement, with its students and staff internalizing its spirit. 

2. Diligence, rigor, truth-seeking and innovation

Students of Peking University have always been notable for their diligence and rigor, whatever circumstances they are in. The spirit of scientists such as Professor Fei Xiaotong and President Ma Yinchu, who spent their entire careers seeking truth, can still be found in PKUers today. Innovation is another characteristic of Peking University. The school is always making progress through continuous reforms, guiding the development of China’s higher education and nurturing future leaders.

3. Freedom of thought, tolerance and inclusiveness

Since 1917, Peking University has undertaken successful reforms under President Cai Yuanpei, who encouraged students to think freely and was not afraid to employ scholars with controversial views.

4. Academic prosperity and the pursuit of truth

On the 25th anniversary of Peking University, Li Dazhao remarked that only academic developments can serve as a university’s commemoration, and that only academic achievements are worth the cry of “long live Peking University”. Peking University’s research, guidance, and academic work have played a vital role in many of China’s important strategic projects since the establishment of the PRC. As PKU stated during the 13th CPC National Congress, academic prosperity and the pursuit of truth remain fundamental pursuits of the university.

5. La Jeunesse

La Jeunesse was a magazine founded by Chen Duxiu in Shanghai on September 15, 1915, and played a vital role in the New Culture Movement. Its headquarters were moved to Beijing in 1917, after which Peking University rapidly became the main front of the New Culture Movement, and PKU and staff became its main participants. 

6. “Vanguard of the movement of improvement”

“Peking University is always new, it is the vanguard of the movement of improvement, and it should lead China on to a good path that goes upwards,” wrote Lu Xun. Peking University has always been guiding the development and progress of China’s society.

7. The doctrine of sacrifice

In 1927, Ma Yinchu stated that the doctrine of Peking University is the doctrine of sacrifice. The students, staff and alumni of PKU all care deeply for the country, and are willing to commit to the good of the whole nation.

8. The Red Building

From 1916 to 1952, The Red Building served as one of the main campuses of Peking University. It was the center of the New Culture Movement, the origin of the May Fourth Movement, and the earliest base of the CPC’s activities, where Mao Zedong once worked In the mind of PKUers, The Red Building is not only a building, but is also a historical  and spiritual symbol.

9. Resoluteness and fortitude

“Resoluteness and fortitude” was the motto of National Southwestern Associated University, which was formed by Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University from 1937 to 1946. National Southwestern Associated University was renowned for its spirit of academic freedom, which stemmed from the freedom of thought, tolerance and inclusiveness of Peking University.

10. Yanyuan Garden

Yanyuan Garden is currently the main campus of Peking University. It used to be the campus of Yenching University. After Peking University moved here from the Red Building in 1952, it gradually became a synonym for Peking University. For PKUers, Yanyuan Garden is never only a campus; it is a totem  in our hearts.

11. “Let’s unite and invigorate the Chinese nation!”

In 1981, the China men's national volleyball team advanced out of Asia for the first time, and the women’s team became world champion. On this occasion, it was the teachers and students of Peking University who first exclaimed “Let’s unite and invigorate the Chinese nation!” 35 years later, the China women’s national volleyball team visited Peking University after winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics, and this exclamation was again echoed in Yanyuan Garden.

12. Integrity, Creativity, Futurity

This is the mission of Peking University. We will stand by the traditions of Peking University and promote righteousness throughout the country; we will keep undertaking comprehensive reforms, and will stand at the forefront of innovation; and we will actively participate in development of the nation, changing the present and creating the future.

Written by: Ma Haocheng
Edited by: Wei Yunqi, Karen Xu
Source: PKU News (Chinese)