National University under Siege

Timothy B. Weston

in The Power of Position

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520237674
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929906 | DOI:
National University under Siege

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The May Fourth Movement left Beijing University with two overlapping legacies as it headed into the 1920s, one intellectual and cultural, and the other political. Beida's prominence attracted political opportunists in search of a larger audience. Beida appeared to have its best opportunity in several years to begin to develop into the world-class university that Cai Yuanpei and his associates envisioned. Cai's resignation provoked a storm of outrage throughout Beijing's academic community that fed into a growing tide of radicalism across the country. Beida's student activists moved rapidly to merge the movement against Peng Yunyi with extra-university political and social struggles. A full-fledged movement aimed at bringing about Beida's restoration and autonomy got under way. Beijing University was not nearly as vibrant as it had been in the 1920s, and even in Beiping it was rivaled by Qinghua University academically and in terms of political activism.

Keywords: National University; May Fourth Movement; Beijing University; Cai Yuanpei; Qinghua University; Peng Yunyi; political activism

Chapter.  15019 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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