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one of the oldest and largest institutions of higher learning in China. Founded as the Higher Capital School in 1898, the institution became a university in 1911. In the 1920’s the faculty included one of the founders of the Communist Party of China, Li Ta-chao (who organized the Marxist Research Society at the university library), and the writer Lu Hsiin. During the National Liberation War of 1937–45, the university was evacuated to K’unming (Yünnan Province). In 1952 it was reorganized and expanded to include several departments of other higher educational institutions in Peking. A number of the university’s departments were turned into independent institutes, and a graduate school and a workers’ and peasants’ preparatory school were organized.
In the early 1960’s, Peking University had 14 departments: Chinese language and literature, Russian language and literature, Oriental languages (Arabic, Vietnamese, Japanese), Western European languages and literature (English, German, French), history, geography, philosophy, library science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, economics, and law. The university library contains 1.8 million volumes. In the 1965–66 academic year, there were more than 10,000 students and about 2,000 instructors and researchers. The Cultural Revolution (late 1960’s) interrupted studies at the university until 1970. In the 1971–72 academic year, the student enrollment was about 3,000. A three-year course of study has been established, at the cost of curtailing the program of study, especially in theoretical disciplines.