Born 1898 in Hunan Province. Chinese historian. Elected a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1955.
Chien has written numerous works dealing with archaeology and the ancient and medieval history of China. In 1946 he published Essays on the History of China (vols. 1–2), which covers the period from the Paleolithic to the third century A.D. Between 1959 and 1962 he published a series of methodological articles that upheld the principle of historicism and criticized oversimplification, dogmatism, and the use of ready-made categories in the study of Chinese history. Chien was sharply criticized by the Chinese press in the second half of the 1960’s, during the Cultural Revolution.