Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 February 2009
In 1920 Wang Guangqi(1892–1936), a founder member of the Young China Association (Shaonian Zhongguo Xuehui) in 1918, wrote that in the past few years a clear division had arisen among Chinese overseas students. Those studying in the United States, having been influenced by the philosophy of “worshipping money” (baijin zhuyi) wanted to build a “capitalist” China on the American model when they returned. The work-study students in France, however, were concerned with practical training and participation in the labouring world. While Chinese students in the United States received regular government scholarships and enjoyed material comforts, Wang continued, those in France spent their time “sweating and working in factories.” Since the former sought their models in the “oil barons” while the latter looked to the workers for inspiration, Wang concluded, it was inevitable that whereas students returning from the United States would be capitalists, work—study students returning from France would promote “labour-ism” (laodong zhuyi) and become part of the labouring classes.
1. The Young China Association was founded by students and teachers (including Li Dazhao) in Beijing to promote “a spirit of rejuvenation, the study of authentic knowledge, the development of society, and the overturning of outmoded customs.” Yibin, Li (ed.), Zhongguo qingniandang (The China Youth Party) (Beijing: 1982), p. 60.Google Scholar For information on Wang Guangqi, see Minguo renwu zhuan (Biographies of Republican Figures) (Beijing, 1981), Vol. 3, pp. 326–32.Google Scholar
2. “Liuxue di liang da chaoliu” (“Two important strands in overseas study”), L¨-ou zhoukan (Weekly Journal for Overseas Students in Europe), No. 58, 18 12 1920.Google Scholar Also reprinted in Yunhou, Zhang et al. (eds.), Liufa qingong jianxue yundong (The Work-Study Movement in France) (Shanghai, 1986), Vol. 2, pp. 662–65.Google Scholar
3. Biographies of all these figures can be found in Boorman, H. and Howard, R. (eds.), Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (New York, 1967), 4 vols.Google Scholar; and Klein, D. and Clark, A. (eds), Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), 2 vols.Google Scholar
4. Nevertheless, references in English to the political activities of Chinese students in France are sparse. For a general study of the movement, see Leung, John Kong-cheong, “The Chinese work-study movement” (Ph.D., Brown University, 1982).Google Scholar For other references see Brandt, C., “The French-returned elite in the Chinese Communist Party,” in Szczepanik, E. F. (ed.), Symposium on Economic and Social Problems of the Far East (Hong Kong, 1962), pp. 229–39Google Scholar; Hsu, Kai-yu, Chou En-lai: China's Gray Eminence (New York, 1968), pp. 27–43Google Scholar; Kit-ching, Chan Lau, The Chinese Youth Party 1923–1945 (Hong Kong, 1972), pp. 10–19Google Scholar; Tse-tsung, Chow, The May Fourth Movement (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 35–40Google Scholar; Scalapino, R., Yu, G., Modern China and its Revolutionary Process (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1985), pp. 513–17, 618–25.Google Scholar See also Levine, M., “The diligent-work frugal-study movement and the new culture movement,” Republican China, Vol. 12, No. 1 (1986), pp. 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For information in French see Van der Stegen, J., Les Chinois en France 1915–1925 (Mémoire de Maîtrise, Univ. de Paris-Nanterre, 1974)Google Scholar; and Kriegel, A., Communismes au Miroir Français (Paris, 1974), pp. 57–93.Google Scholar A recent doctorat d'état also deals with the work-study movement. See Wang, N., “Paris-Shanghai: débats d'idées et pratique sociale, les intellectuels progressistes chinois 1920–1925” (University of Paris, 1986).Google Scholar
5. Qinghua Daxue Zhonggongdang Shijiao Yanzu (comp.), Fufa qingong jianxue yundong shiliao (Historical Materials on the Work—Study Movement in France) (Beijing, 1979–1981), 3 vols.Google Scholar; Yunhou, Zhang et al. (eds.), Liufa qingong jianxue yundong (The Work-Study Movement in France) (Shanghai, 1980, 1986), 2 vols.Google Scholar See also Xiaoxun, Bi, “Liufa qingong jianxue ziliao” (“Materials on the work-study movement in France”), Jindaishi ziliao (Materials on Modern History), No. 2 (1955), pp. 174–208.Google Scholar Short secondary accounts include Tianwei, Jiang, “Liufa qingong jianxue xiaoshi” (“A short account of the work-study movement in France”), Wenshi ziliao xuanji (Selections of Historical Accounts), No. 34 (1962), pp. 30–40Google Scholar; Shang, Guo, “Shilun fufa qingong jianxue yundong di fazhan he yanbian” (“A discussion of the development and evolution of the work-study movement in France”), Jiaoyu yanjiu (Educational Research), No. 3 (1980), pp. 152–59Google Scholar; Teruo, Terahiro, “Ryūfa kinkō-kengaku undo ni tsuite” (“On the work-study movement in France”), Rekishi Kenkyū (Historical Research), No. 11 (1974), pp. 1–22.Google Scholar See also the collection of documents on the movement compiled by Sanjing, Chen, Qingong jianxue yundong (The Work-Study Movement) (Taibei, 1981).Google Scholar Personal accounts by work-study participants include Changgong, He, Qingong jianxue shenghuo huiyi (Memories of Work-Study Life) (Beijing, 1958)Google Scholar; Cheng, Sheng, Haiwai gongdu shinian jishi (A Record of 10 Years' Work-Study Abroad) (Shanghai, 1932)Google Scholar; Huang, Li, “Liufa qingong jianxue yu Zhongguo Gongchan-dang” (“Work-study in France and the Chinese Communist Party”), Ming bao yuekan (Clear-sighted Journal Monthly), Nos. 45 (09 1969), pp. 2–8Google Scholar; 46 (October 1969), pp. 15–19; 47 (November 1969), pp. 10–16; 48 (December 1969), pp. 22–28.
6. For a brief introduction to Deng's activities in France, see Wang, N., “Deng Xiaoping, the years in France,” The China Quarterly, No. 92 (12 1982), pp. 695–705.Google Scholar
7. Historical Materials, Vols. 1Google Scholar, 2:2, 3 all begin with long articles by Zhou, which he wrote while in France, while the editors' introduction to The Work-Study Movement in France, Vol. 1Google Scholar, continually underlines Zhou's leading role among work-study students. Zhou's letters from Europe, written between 1920 and 1924, have now been reprinted: Lü-ou tongxin (Letters from Europe) (Beijing, 1979).Google Scholar For an example of the many works dedicated to Zhou since his death, written especially for “youth,” see Hua, Hu, Qingshaonian shiqi di Zhou Enlai tongzhi (Comrade Zhou Enlai's Youth) (Beijing, 1977).Google Scholar
8. Li later recalled that he inherited an “anti-official” philosophy from his father, who discouraged him from taking the traditional civil service examinations. Shizeng biji (Notes of Li Shizeng) (Taibei, 1961), pp. 77, 148.Google Scholar After his father's death, Li was awarded official rank anyway, qualifying him to hold the rank of a department head.
9. Sun's family had been neighbours of the Li household in Beijing. Li Shizeng xiansheng wenji (Collected Writings of Li Shizeng) (Taibei, 1980), Vol. 2, p. 19.Google Scholar
10. Boorman, , and Howard, (eds.), Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 1, pp. 73–77.Google Scholar Zhang's family had purchased for him the rank of expectant taotai, Leung, , ‘The Chinese work-study movement,” p. 53Google Scholar, is mistaken when he refers to Li Shizeng as the “cultural attaché” on this 1902 mission.
12. Kelu, Shao (Jacques Reclus), “Wo suorenshi di Li Yuying Xiansheng” (“The Li Shizeng I knew”), Zhuanji wenxue (Biographical Literature), Vol. 45, No. 3 (1984), pp. 87–88.Google Scholar Jacques Reclus was the son of Elisée's nephew, Paul Reclus. See also Li Shizeng xiansheng jinianji (Commemorative Volume to Li Shizeng) (Taibei, 1973), pp. 1–2, 236.Google Scholar
14. In 1925 Li was created a Commander of the Legion of Honour.
15. The Bulletin de l'Association Amicale Franco-Chinoise was published between 1907 and 1916.Google Scholar
17. Li, who became a strict vegetarian, was confident that France would appreciate the nutritional value of the bean-curd.
20. For a more detailed discussion of these points, see my unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, “Popular education in China 1904–1919: new ideas and developments” (University of British Columbia, 1982).
22. As minister of education, Cai allowed the school to be located in a section of the former Imperial College (Guozijian). A similar school was opened in Chengdu, Sichuan by Wu Yuzhang (1878–1966), who was to be elected to a number of educational posts after 1949. Leung, , ‘The Chinese work-study movement’ erroneously notes (p. 59)Google Scholar that Wu was the principal of the Beijing school.
24. On this, see Biggerstaff, K., The Earliest Modern Government Schools in China (Ithaca, 1961)Google Scholar. It is true that during the last years of the Qing dynasty a large number of Chinese students went to Japan (many of them self-financed and coming from well-off gentry families) but here too the Qing Government, wary of the radical influences on Chinese students there, imposed restrictions during the final years of the dynasty, so that by the end of 1911 the number had declined to approximately 1,400 from a peak of nearly 10,000 in 1905–1906. Fuqing, Huang, Qingmo liuri xuesheng (Chinese Students in Japan at the end of the Qing) (Taibei, 1975), pp. 24–29.Google Scholar
25. Liufa jianxue baogaoshu (A Report on Frugal Study in France) (Guangzhou, 1918), pp. 66–71.Google Scholar
26. The Work-Study Movement in France, Vol. 1, p. 26Google Scholar; Collected Writings of Li Shizeng, Vol. 2, p. 61Google Scholar. See also Yinghui, Tao, “Ji minguo silao” (“A recollection of the four elder statesmen of the Republic”), Zhuanji wenxue, Vol. 23, No. 5 (11 1973), p. 23Google Scholar. The “four elder statesmen” referred to Li Shizeng, Wu Zhihui, Cai Yuanpei and Zhang Jingjiang.
28. For a February 1914 report on these Chinese workers by the commissioner of police at Dieppe, see Archives du Ministere de l'Intérieur, F7 1348. The commissioner noted that they were “mediocre” workers but very ‘correct” in their behaviour. See also L'Humanite, 30 03 1914.Google Scholar
30. Lü-ou zazhi, No. 3 (09 1916), p. 3Google Scholar. For information on the negotiations involved in the recruitment of Chinese labour, see Archives du Ministere des Affaires Etrangères, E-110-2, E-22-15. It is interesting to note that between 1915 and 1916, 58,000 Chinese workers were also recruited to work in Russia, most of them in factories east of the Volga. For information on Chinese workers in France, see Ta, Chen, Chinese Migrations with Special Reference to Labor Conditions (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., 1923), pp. 142–158Google Scholar; Wou, P., Les Travailleurs Chinois et la Grande Guerre (Paris, 1939)Google Scholar; McNair, H., The Chinese Abroad (Shanghai, 1924), pp. 235–38Google Scholar; Blick, J., “The Chinese labor corps in WWI,” Harvard Papers on China (08 1955), pp. 111–45Google Scholar; Chesnaux, J., The Chinese Labor Movement (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968), pp. 138–40Google Scholar. See also the report published by the Huimin Company, Huagong fufa (Chinese Workers in France) (n.p. 1918).Google Scholar
31. On the recruitment of Chinese workers by the British, see Summerskill, M., China on the Western Front (London, 1982)Google Scholar. Britain had previously been involved in the recruitment of Chinese contract labour when 63,695 labourers (mainly from Zhili and Shandong) were recruited to work in the Transvaal gold mines between 1904 and 1907. See Richardson, P., Chinese Mine Labour in the Transvaal (London, 1982).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
34. Archives du Ministère de l'Interieur. F7 1348.
35. Cai Yuanpei xiansheng quanji (The Complete Works of Cat Yuanpei) (Taibei, 1969), pp. 197, 202–205, 210–20.Google Scholar
38. Ibid. Vol. 1, p. 66. Another interesting feature of the regulations was that they suggested the metal or other goods produced by the students be sold in order to help contribute towards the school's expenditures. Vocational schools in the last years of the Qing and early years of the Republic had already begun to implement such a measure.
40. These figures are from the documents of the Sino-French Education Association and the Sino-French Committee of Support now kept in the National Archives, Paris (hereafter cited as NA 47 AS). For the November 1920 report giving the numbers of work-study students, see NA 47 AS, A/2–1. For a guide to these documents, see Barman, G., Dulioust, N., Etudiants-Ouvriers Chinois en France 1920–1940 (Paris, 1981).Google Scholar In 1921 the Association reported a total of 1,576 registered work-study students. Of the 21 women students, most were from Hunan, Sichuan and Guangdong. Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, E-27-4 s/d.
41. Of the 1,237 students who left for France between May 1919 and August 1920, 500 were primary- or middle-school graduates. Three hundred were from the various preparatory schools, but since only a middle or lower vocational school education was required to enter these schools, many of them can be included in the former group. Historical Materials, Vol. 1, pp. 85–87.Google Scholar
45. In 1915 Cai Yuanpei insisted that work was everyone's “sacred task.” Historical Materials, Vol. 1, p. 184.Google Scholar For Cai's 1918 speech on the “sanctity of labour,” see Pingshu, Gao (ed.), Cai Yuanpei jiaoyu wenxuan (A Selection of Cai Yuanpei's Writings on Education) (Beijing, 1980), p. 57.Google Scholar See also The Complete Works of Cai Yuanpei, p. 523.Google Scholar
50. Ibid. Vol. 2:1, pp. 51–52; Changgong, He, Memories of Work-Study Life, pp. 8–11.Google Scholar See also Cai Hesen's August 1918 letter to Xuezan, Luo, in Cai Hesen wenji (The Collected Works of Cai Hesen) (Changsha, 1978), Vol. 2, p. 242Google Scholar, as well as his letter to Mao Zedong and others, in the same month. Ibid. Vol. 1, pp. 4–10. Mao himself, in 1920, noted that he would have preferred to go to Russia since he felt egalitarian philosophy was more profound there than in Western Europe. The Work-Study Movement in France, Vol. 1, pp. 158, 159.Google Scholar R. Scalapino overlooks this in his article “The education of a young revolutionary: Mao Zedong in 1919–1921,” Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. XLII, No. 1 (11 1982), pp. 29–61.Google Scholar Scalapino's description of Mao as a “liberal” at this time is a rather meaningless one since, according to his definition of a “liberal” (i.e. one who was attracted to a variety of political ideologies), the term could be applied to practically all student activists in the 1919–20 period.
52. Huang, Li, “Liufa qingong jianxue yu Zhongguo gongchandang,” Ming bao yuekan. No. 48 (12 1969), pp. 27–28.Google Scholar
54. The Work-Study Movement in France, Vol. 1, p. 493.Google Scholar Provincial prestige was also at stake. Thus the head of the Guangdong branch of the Sino-French Education Association appealed to the provincial governor for funds in 1919, declaring that the more Guangdong students who went to France, the better equipped the province would be in participating in the future national revival. Ibid. Vol. 1, p. 491.
55. See, e.g., the letter (29 March 1920) from the French consul in Shanghai to the French Foreign Ministry, in Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, E–27–4. The French minister in Beijing also warned his government in December 1919 of American attempts to woo Chinese students away from France and study in the United States. Ibid. E-27–4.
57. Archives Nationales: Section Outre Mer, NF 269 (1).
59. Alphonse Aulard, at the opening meeting of the Sino-French Education Association in June 1916, maintained that the humanist philosophy of Confucius anticipated the ideals of the French Revolution. Historical Materials, Vol. 1, pp. 202–203.Google Scholar Louis Grillet, on an official mission to China in 1918 to investigate how French influence could be increased, claimed that the Chinese were the “French of the Far East” because they were “philosophers, poets and artists.” Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, E–28–1/6.
62. Huang, Li, “Liufa qingong jianxue yu Zhongguo gongchandang,” Ming bao yuekan, No. 46 (10 1969), p. 16.Google Scholar
63. Students from Montargis, for example, organized a lecture group which regularly visited Chinese workers in neighbouring factories and gave talks on science and hygiene. Lü-ou zhoukan, No. 1 (15 11 1919)Google Scholar, No. 5 (13 December 1919). Workers were also encouraged to form associations of their own to promote the elimination of gambling and other “incorrect behaviour.” Huagong zazhi (Journal for Chinese Workers), Nos. 28 (25 11 1918), 33 (25 04 1919).Google Scholar
66. Ibid. Vol. 2:1, pp. 218, 220; Vol. 3, pp. 107–116. A revealing letter from the principal of Montargis College in 1921 to the Chinese legation noted that of the 110 students at Montargis some had decided to continue their studies while those unable to pay fees would “accept suitable work that could be found for them, that is to say, not manual work” (emphasis added). NA 47 AS B/6–2(2). Neither did Chinese students closely identify with non-white workers. Wang Ruofei objected to being housed in an immigrant workers' dormitory along with blacks and Arabs, while Chen Yi made it clear that he resented illiterate French workers treating him the same as blacks. Historical Materials, Vol. 3, p. 56Google Scholar. Note also He Changgong's surprise at French girls going out with blacks. Memories of Work-Study Life, pp. 23–24.Google Scholar
71. Cai noted, however, that a communist revolution might encounter greater opposition in China than in Russia because, first, in China there were far more small landholders, and, secondly, traditional Chinese government had exerted only slight control over the individual economy and hence there had been more economic freedom in China than in Russia. Collectivization would hence meet with stiffer resistance. Nevertheless, Cai was still confident that a vanguard party could instil class consciousness among workers and peasants. For Mao's response to Cai's letters, see Schram, S. (ed.), The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung (New York, 1963), pp. 214–16.Google Scholar
74. Report by the prefect of police to the Ministry of the Interior, 4 March 1921, Archives du Ministère de L'Intérieur F7 12900. Enlai, Zhou's account of the incident is in Historical Materials, Vol. 1, pp. 27–30.Google Scholar
76. Letter from the French minister to the foreign minister, dated 21 June 1920, in Archives du Ministère de l'Intérieur, F7 2900.
77. See Supra, Fn. 74. Authorities in China also began urging the government to bring the students home, warning that they should not be allowed to “linger” in Shanghai but should quickly be sent back to their home provinces. See the telegram sent by the Jiangsu Education Association and Shanghai Chamber of Commerce to the Education Ministry, in Historical Materials, Vol. 2: 1, pp. 409–410.Google Scholar
78. The loan was to have been deposited with the Banque Industrielle de Chine, which was in serious financial difficulties in the summer of 1921. See Jeanneney, Jean-Noël, “Finances, presse et politique: l'affaire de la Banque Industrielle de Chine,” Revue Historique (04–06 1975), pp. 377–416Google Scholar. For Zhou Enlai's account of the loan demonstrations, see Historical Materials, Vol. 2: 2, pp. 459–66Google Scholar. See also Historical Materials, Vol. 2: 2, pp. 483–92, 493–504.Google Scholar
79. NA47 AS, A/1–1(1).
80. See, e.g., NA 47 AS, B/1–1(2), C/10–1(1).
81. NA 47 AS, B/6–56(3), 8/16–4(5). Some enterprises complained that Chinese students would often leave their jobs as soon as they had enough money to enrol in a school. NA 47 AS, A/1–2(5), C/4–3(12). The owner of a silk factory at Louviers refused to take on a Chinese student out of concern to preserve the secret of French textile skills. NA 47 AS, A/1–2(8).
82. For a discussion of the Sino-French Institute de Lyon, see Bouchez, D., “Un defricheur méconnu des Etudes Extrême-Orientales: Maurice Courant (1865–1935),” Journal Asiatique, Vol. 271, Nos. 1–2 (1983), pp. 43–138.Google Scholar
84. Students from Le Creusot, in a letter to Shizeng, Li, claimed that poor work-study students were being abandoned in favour of “wealthy aristocrats” from China. Historical Materials, Vol. 1, p. 66.Google Scholar
85. Historical Materials, Vol. 1, p. 74Google Scholar; The Work-Study Movement in France, Vol. 1, p. 24Google Scholar. It would seem, however, that French authorities were equally concerned that any deportation should appear to be the responsibility of the Chinese Government. In a communication to his government on 1 September 1920, the French minister in Beijing argued that “it would be wise to allow Chinese students in Paris to engage in demonstrations against their legation in order to enhance the Chinese Government's resolution to deport them. We must avoid any appearance of being responsible for such a deportation.” Quoted in Bouchez, D., “Un défricheur méconnu des Etudes Extrême-Orientales: Maurice Courant (1865–1935),” p. 117.Google Scholar
86. NA 47 AS, A/1–1 (3). In 1923 the Committee was amalgamated with the Association Amicale Franco-Chinoise and concentrated its efforts on placing qualified Chinese students in prestigious institutions of higher learning in France. One of its first decisions was to award a scholarship of 6,000 francs to a Chinese student known for his “enthusiasm for study, his good behaviour and his feelings towards France.” NA 47 AS, A/1–2(1).
87. On this, see my chapter “The Sino-French connection 1902–1928,” in Goodman, D. (ed.), China and the West: Ideas and Activists (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, forthcoming)Google Scholar. See also Linden, A., “Politics and education in Nationalist China: the case of the University Council 1927–1928,” Journal of Asian Studies (08 1968), pp. 763–77.Google Scholar
89. Archives du Ministère de l'Interieur, F7 12900.
91. Archives du Ministère de l'Interieur, F7 1348. Brissaud-Desmaillet also suggested that Chinese who had married in France and had families should be encouraged to move to recently depopulated agricultural regions in France.
92. In 1918, e.g., the Comité fédéral des oeuvres Sino-françaises was organized in Beijing to campaign for the introduction of French into all higher and secondary schools in China, as well as to promote the sale of cheap French books. La Politique de Pékin, Nos. 31 (4 08 1918), 32 (11 August 1918), 43 (27 October 1918), 44 (3 November 1918).Google Scholar
93. Interestingly, however, current opinion in China, although acknowledging the movement as an important part of China's educational history, regards the ideals that lay behind it as “Utopian” and “idealistic,” code words which carry negative connotations. Sheng, Gao, “Shilun fufa qingong jianxue yundong di fazhan he yanbian,” Jiaoyu yanjiu, No. 3 (1980), pp. 152–59.Google Scholar