Biography in English

Ma Hsü-lun ( 27 April 1884-), educator, revolutionary, and government official, was a professor of Chinese philosophy at Peking University in 1916-36. He became sympathetic to the Communist cause during the Sino- Japanese war, and he was named minister of education when the Central People's Government was established in 1949. From 1952 to 1954 he served as minister of higher education. A native of Hangchow, Chekiang, jVIa Hsülun was born into an impoverished scholarly family. He began the study of the Chinese classics under a local scholar, but the death of his father made it impossible for him to continue with a private tutor. In 1899 he entered the Yang-cheng School in Hangchow (later the First Chekiang Provincial High School), where he studied under the celebrated Chekiang savant Ch'en Chieh-shih, acquiring a solid grounding in philology and philosophy. He also joined with such schoolmates as T'ang Erh-ho, Chiang Fang-chen (qq.v.), Tu Shihchen, and Hsü Shou-ch'ang in planning revolutionary activities. On the eve of their graduation in 1902 Ma, T'ang, and Tu were given scholarships for study in Japan, but these were rescinded when the provincial authorities discovered their revolutionary tendencies. After spending some time in Shanghai, where he contributed writings to several revolutionary magazines, Ma Hsü-lun returned to Chekiang to become a teacher. In 1906 his former teacher Ch'en Chieh-shih took him to Canton to teach at a language school. At Canton, Ma soon met Chu Chih-hsin (q.v.) and other T'ung-meng-hui leaders. When Ch'en Chieh-shih returned to his native province in 1909 to become chairman of the Chekiang provincial advisory bureau, Ma accompanied him. Ma taught at the Hangchow Normal School and took part in local revolutionary activities. He and Hsia Tseng-yu maneuvered a meeting of the shareholders in the Shanghai-Hangchow-Ningpo railway into opposing the plan for its nationalization proposed by Sheng Hsuan-huai (q.v.), then head of the Board of Posts and Communications. In 1910 Ma joined the Nan-she [southern society], the poets' club founded by Liu Ya-tzu (q.v.). After the Wuchang revolt of 10 October 1911, Ma joined with Shen Chün-ju and Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei (qq.v.) in staging an uprising in Chekiang. When the revolutionaries assumed control of the province, T'ang Shou-ch'ien became governor, with Ma as his secretary. Ma soon left this post and returned to teaching after a brief period in Shanghai as an editor of the Ta-kung-ho jih pao. ^Vhen T'ang Erh-ho founded National Peking Medical College in 1913, he invited Ma Hsü-lun to join its staff as an instructor in Chinese. Ma taught at the rnedical college until Yuan Shih-k'ai's monarchical aspirations became apparent, at which point he returned to Chekiang to take part in" the anti-Yuan movement. He resumed his teaching duties after Yuan died in June 1916. About this time, Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei became the chancellor of Peking University. Ma soon joined its faculty as a professor of Chinese philosophy, lecturing principally on Chuang-tzu and the Cheng-Chu school of Confucian philosophy. Although his scholarship and his classroom eloquence made him a popular teacher, he was not well liked by his colleagues. He often came into conflict with Huang K'an, a disciple of Chang Ping-lin (q.v.), and with Hu Shih (q.v.). As a result of his differences with Hu Shih, Ma became a strong opponent of the pai-hua [vernacular] movement.

At the time of the May Fourth Movement of 1919, Ma Hsü-lun demonstrated his ability as a protest leader when, as secretary of the association of faculty members of secondary schools and institutions of higher learning in Peking, he led the teachers in a strike to show their support of the students. When the Peking authorities arrested the student leaders, Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei resigned from Peking University, and Chiang Monlin (Chiang Meng-lin, q.v.) became acting chancellor. It was proposed that the university move to Shanghai, but Ma Hsü-lun called a meeting of faculty members and students and convinced them that the move would turn the university into a second-rate institution. After Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei returned in September 1919, the university was reorganized and was placed under faculty control. Because his participation in the May Fourth demonstrations placed him in danger, Ma went to Chekiang early in 1921 and became principal of the Chekiang First Normal School. In 1922 he served as director of the province's department of education. Ma Hsü-lun returned to Peking in September 1922 as vice minister of education in the cabinet of Wang Ch'ung-hui (q.v.). When this cabinet collapsed in November, he resumed his teaching duties at Peking University. After serving as vice minister of education in 1924 and as acting minister in 1925, he resigned again and returned to teaching. The reason for his resignation was that he had become director of propaganda in the Peking headquarters of the Kuomintang, and he no longer could ^erve the Peking government in good conscience. Following the incident of 18 March 1926 {see Feng Yü-hsiang; Tuan Ch'i-jui) concerning the blockade of Taku, Ma left Peking and went south after Tuan Ch'i-jui blamed the Kuomintang for the demonstrations. When the Northern Expedition forces captured Chekiang early in 1927, Chang Jenchieh (q.v.) became head of the provisional provincial government, with Ma Hsü-lun as director of the civil affairs department. Ma held this post until late 1928, when he became vice minister of education in the new National Government at Nanking. However, he soon came into conflict with the minister, Chiang Monlin, and he resigned at the end of 1929. In January 1931 he rejoined the faculty of Peking University only to serve under Chiang again after Chiang became chancellor later that year. As Japanese aggression in north China increased. Ma began to take part in demonstrations against the National Government's policy of nonresistance. During this period, his difficulties in getting along with his colleagues, particularly Hu Shih, also increased. Ma learned that the university no longer desired his services when, in 1936, he applied for a semester's leave and was granted a full year's leave instead.

Ma Hsü-lun moved to Shanghai in 1936 and remained there throughout the Sino-Japanese war. It was a difficult time for Ma. His oldest and closest friend, T'ang Erh-ho, joined the Japanese-sponsored regime in north China as minister of cultural affairs and offered him the presidency of Peking University. Ma refused the offer and terminated his friendship with T'ang. After his former student Ch'en Kung-po (q.v.) joined Wang Ching-wei's regime at Nanking in 1940, Ma refused to see him or to accept money from him. Ma finally agreed to see Ch'en Kung-po in February 1944 in the hope that he could persuade him to sever his connections with the Japanese. These and other demonstrations of personal integrity caused Ma's former colleagues to regard him with new respect, and some of them attempted to secure research grants for him. At war's end in 1945 many government leaders called on him to offer expressions of praise and comfort, but nobody thought of making provision for his support. The bitterness of Ma's feelings toward the Kuomintang had increased during the war, and the appointment of Hu Shih to the chancellorship of Peking University increased his dissatisfaction with the ruling party of China. He soon became an open opponent of the Kuomintang. Toward the end of 1945 Ma Hsü-lun helped found the China Association for Promoting Democracy, and in 1946 he became the secretary of the China Committee of the International League for the Promotion of Human Rights. On 23 June 1946 he led a group from Shanghai to Nanking to demand an end to the civil war. At their destination. Ma and his colleagues were met by a group of "peasant representatives" who stopped them and asked some embarrassing questions. A free-for-all ensued, and Ma was so badly beaten that he had to take to his bed and remain there for over a month. When the National Government banned the various "democratic parties and groups" in 1947, Ma, as one of the most prominent leaders of such groups, fled to Hong Kong. He went to Peiping by way of the Communist-controlled Northeast early in 1949 and became a member of the standing committee of the higher education commission in the North China People's Government. He attended the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in September 1949 as the senior delegate representing the China Association for Promoting Democracy. W'hen the Central People's Government was established at Peking, Ma Hsü-lun was appointed minister of education, a member of the Government Council, and a member of the Government Administration Council. In 1952 the ministry of education was split into a ministry of higher education and a ministry of general education, and Ma became minister of higher education. He held this post until 1954. Ma was a delegate to the National People's Congress in 1954, 1959, and 1964, a vice chairman of the China Democratic League, a member of the third National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and a vice chairman of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association. Ill health and old age forced him to give up most of his activities after 1960, but he continued to hold the chairmanship of the China Association for Promoting Democracy.

Ma Hsü-lun was well known for his research and writing on philosophical and philological problems. His philosophical researches resulted in the Lao-tzu ho-ku (1924), Chuang-tzu i-cheng (1930), and Tu Lü-shih ch'un-ch'iu chi (1931). He also produced such philological works as the Shih-ku-wen su-chi (1935), a study often individual stone drums of the Chou dynasty, with an interpretation of each inscription. In this field his major contribution lay in the study of the Shuo-wen chieh-tzu [analytical dictionary of characters] compiled by Hsü Shen (fl. 100 A. D.), notably in his Shuo-wen chieh-tzu liu-shu su-cheng [the six types of graphs in he Shuo-wen chieh-tzu], published in 1957. In 1958 a collection of Ma's learned articles appeared under the title Ma Hsü-lun hsueh-shu lun-wen chi.

Little is known about Ma Hsü-lun's personal life except that he married several times and that he is known to have had a daughter and a son, Ma K'e-hsiang.

Biography in Chinese


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