Chu Ching-nung (14 August 1887-9 March 1951), educator, one of the founders and later the president of the China Academy and of Kuang-hua University. An educational reformer, he edited a major textbook series for the Commercial Press, served the National Government in such posts as vice minister of education, and created a fine school system in Hunan as commissioner of education (1932-42). After 1948 he lived in the United States.
Although he was a native of Paoshan, Kiangsu, Chu Ching-nung was born in P'uchiang, Chekiang. His paternal grandfather, Chu K'uei, was a scholar who had gone to Hunan to teach. His father, Chu Ch'i-shu (T. Jen-fu), was the magistrate of P'uchiang. Chu Ching-nung was the second child in the family; he had two brothers and one sister. After being transferred to Shihmen, Chu Ch'i-shu died in 1894. Chu Ching-nung's mother, T'ien Hsi, then returned to Paoshan, where she struggled to raise her children. In 1897 she moved the family to Hunan, where her husband's brother, Chu Ch'i-yi, was serving as an official. Chu Ch'i-yi was a prominent scholar who had served as prefect in several districts in Hunan and who had trained many classical scholars in the province. Chu Ching-nung arrived in Hunan at a time when the province was one of the leading centers of reform activity in China. Chu's uncle Hsiung Hsi-ling (q.v.) was then in Hunan, and both Hsiung and Chu Ch'i-yi were active in the reform movement. Hsiung Hsi-ling had organized the Nan-hsueh-hui [southern study society], and Chu Ching-nung often went to meetings to hear lectures by such prominent young scholars as Huang Kung-tu, Ou-yang Chi-wu, P'i Lu-men, and Hsiung Hsi-ling. In 1898, however, the Hundred Days Reform ended when the imperial government sternly repressed the movement and executed several of the leading reformers.
Both Chu Ch'i-yi and Hsiung Hsi-ling survived the disaster, and in 1902 Chu Ch'i-yi founded a middle school at Ch'angte, where he was serving as prefect. Chu Ching-nung was enrolled in the first class at his uncle's school. While there he met T'an Chen (q.v.), began to read anti-Manchu periodicals, and acquired a sympathetic attitude toward the revolutionary movement.
In the summer of 1904, Chu Ch'i-yi decided to send him to Japan for further study. He first entered the Kobun Gakko at Sugamo to study Japanese. In 1905 he transferred to the Seijo Gakko. When Sun Yat-sen came to Tokyo to head the T'ung-meng-hui, Chu became a member of that society through the sponsorship of a close friend, Kung Lien-pai.
In the winter of 1905 the Japanese government adopted regulatory measures against Chinese students. Chu was among the many students who left Japan and went to Shanghai to establish a new institution called the Chungkuo kung-hsueh, or China Academy. Because of the shortage of Chinese teachers of mathematics and science, the school had to hire Japanese teachers. Chu Ching-nung helped to pay his educational expenses by serving as an interpreter. His classmates at the China Academy included Hu Shih, Jen Hung-chün, and others who later became prominent educators. The China Academy was a center of anti- Manchu activity, and the imperial government authorities watched it carefully. In 1908 the viceroy of the area attempted to reorganize the China Academy as a government institution. The students responded to this action by withdrawing from the China Academy and establishing the New China Academy. Chu Ching-nung was elected one of the three managers of the new institution. The New China Academy operated successfully for a year. Then, because of financial difficulties, it was dissolved, and the students returned to the China Academy. In 1910 Chu Ch'i-yi died, and Chu Ching-nung returned to Hunan to help support the family. He taught English at the Kao-teng shih-yeh hsueh-t'ang, or senior industrial school. After the Wuchang revolt of October 1911, Chu took part in establishing the initial independence of Hunan from imperial rule. In 1912, in response to invitations from Sung Chiao-jen (q.v.) and T'an Chen, he went to Peking to edit the Min-chu pao [democratic newspaper], an organ of the republican revolutionaries. Later, he also became chief editor of the Ya-tung hsin-wen [East Asia news]. After the so-called second revolution broke out in the summer of 1913, the two papers were closed by the police, and an order was issued for Chu Ching-nung's arrest. He fled to Tientsin. Under the protection of Hsiung Hsi-ling, who had become the premier, Chu Ching-nung returned to Peking, where he worked for a time in the ministry of agriculture and commerce, then headed by Chang Chien. He remained in Peking until the end of 1915. Then, because Yuan Shih-k'ai made public his plan to become monarch, Chu decided to leave China. With financial assistance from friends, Chu was able to leave for the United States.
From 1916 to 1919 he worked in Washington as a part-time clerk in the Chinese embassy while he studied at George Washington University. After obtaining the B.A. degree, Chu continued his studies and received an M.A. in 1919. In 1920 he obtained a scholarship from the Kiangsu provincial government which permitted him to resign his post at the Chinese embassy and go to New York to study education at Teachers College, Columbia University. During his years in the United States, Chu renewed his contacts with other young Chinese scholars, including Hu Shih, Yang Ch'uan, and Jen Hung-chün, and thus was involved in the intellectual activity that led to the Chinese literary revolution. While in the United States, Chu became a Christian. Although the precise date of his conversion cannot be determined, it is known that he remained a devout Christian for the rest of his life.
In 1920 Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei, the chancellor of Peking University, invited Chu Ching-nung to return to China to teach education at Peking University. Chu accepted and taught at Peking for two years. In 1923 the government introduced a major reform of the Chinese school system. To support the new curriculum, an entire set of textbooks, teachers' manuals, and homework materials had to be prepared for elementary and middle school use. The Commercial Press invited Chu to Shanghai to become chief editor of their textbook project. The series had a great influence on the thought and training of an entire generation of young Chinese and proved to be a great financial success for the Commercial Press.
During this period, James Yen (Yen Yangch'u, q.v.) began the so-called mass education movement, an attempt to extend basic literacy to the rural areas of China. Chu was an enthusiastic supporter ofYen's program and helped to edit the first set of materials, the P'ing-min ch 'ien-tzu-k''e [lessons for the common people to learn the first thousand basic characters]. Chu also found time to edit a special supplement on rural education for the Shun Pao [Shanghai news daily], Shanghai's oldest and most prominent newspaper. In the autumn of 1924 Chu became head of the Chinese department of Shanghai College.
In the aftermath of the May Thirtieth Incident of 1925 the students of St. John's University in Shanghai staged a mass withdrawal on 3 June 1925. Their decision to establish a new university won public support in Shanghai. Chu Ching-nung was appointed dean of Kuang-hua University, and he managed to create a university program in a few weeks. Classes began in the autumn of 1925, and Kuang-hua, enthusiastically supported by both the students and the faculty, soon matched the high academic standards of St. John's. During this period, Chu Ching-nung managed to maintain his relationship with the Commercial Press and to teach evening classes at Ta-hsia University. In 1926 Chu visited Canton and made contact with the central authorities of the Kuomintang. After returning to Shanghai, Chu worked secretly for the Kuomintang cause with Wu Chih-hui (q.v.) and Yang Ch'uan. As the Northern Expedition advanced, the Shanghai authorities began executing without benefit of trial men suspected of being covert Kuomintang workers. Chu was not discovered, however; he remained in Shanghai and continued working. In 1927, after the Nationalist forces had occupied Shanghai, Huang Fu (q.v.) was appointed mayor. Huang made Chu Ching-nung commissioner of education, and Chu drafted plans for the reform of both primary and secondary education.
In 1928 Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei, then head of the newly established Ta-hsueh-yuan in the National Government at Nanking, named Chu Chingnung to take charge of the office of general education, with responsibility for planning and supervising elementary and secondary education throughout China. When the Ta-hsueh-yuan was reorganized in the winter of 1928 as the ministry of education, Chu continued to hold the same post under Chiang Monlin (Chiang Meng-lin, q.v.), the new minister of education. He was promoted to vice minister of education in 1930. Near the end of that year, however, when Chiang Monlin resigned from the ministry, Chu Ching-nung left his government post. Chu went to Shanghai and became acting president of the China Academy in the absence of its president, Shao Li-tzu. In June 1931 he was appointed president of Cheeloo University in Tsinan, Shantung.
In September 1932 Chu took a leave of absence to become commissioner of education in Hunan, where he had begun his formal education some 30 years earlier. A year later, he resigned from the presidency of Cheeloo University. Chu remained in Hunan for more than ten years and built up the educational system of that province to a notably high level despite the pressures and the difficulties of war. When he left his post in 1943, there was, on the average, one four-year elementary school for every hundred families and one complete sixyear elementary school in each local administrative district. The number of secondary schools increased from about 100 in 1932 to more than 250 in 1943, and a decisive effort was made to improve the quality of teaching. Chu improved the academic standards of Hunan University to such an extent that it was given the status of a national university in July 1937. After the Sino-Japanese war began, he helped to establish a temporary university at Changsha to accommodate the students and faculty of Peking, Tsinghua, and Nankai universities, which had been forced to leave their campuses by the Japanese invasion. Hsiang-ya, or the Yale-in- China Medical College, at Changsha was nearly destroyed. Chu helped to reestablish it and made it a national college. In 1941 he founded three provincial professional colleges (agriculture, engineering, and business) at Hengshan. In February 1943 Chu Ching-nung became deputy chancellor of National Central University in the wartime capital of Chungking. This was the leading government university of China. The chancellorship was an honorary designation reserved for the Chairman of the National Government; the university was run by the deputy chancellor. In March 1944 Chu was appointed political vice minister of the ministry of education. In May 1945 he was elected a member of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang, and later he served on its standing committee.
After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Chu took charge of moving the ministry of education from Chungking back to Nanking. In October 1946 he resigned from the service of the National Government to succeed Wang Yun-wu (q.v.) as general manager of the Commercial Press at Shanghai. He also became president of Kuanghua University. In November 1946 Chu attended the National Assembly at Nanking as a representative of the educational profession. He was elected to the presidium. In March 1948 he attended the first National Assembly, which put the new constitution into effect. In November 1948 Chu Ching-nung was sent as China's chief delegate to the third session of UNESCO, meeting in Lebanon. On his way back to China, he visited the United States. Shanghai fell into the hands of the Communists when Chu was in America. Because he was not willing to cooperate with the Communists, Chu resigned from both the Commercial Press and Kuang-hua University. He remained in the United States and began work on a history of Chinese educational thought. In 1950 Chu joined the faculty of Hartford Theological Seminary. On 9 March 1951 he suffered a heart attack and died in his suite at the seminary. He was survived by his wife, Yang Ching-shan, by four sons, and by one daughter. His eldest son, Chu Wen-djang, received his Ph.D. at the University of Washington and later taught at Yale University and at the University of Pittsburgh.
Chu Ching-nung wrote or edited many textbooks, books, and articles on education and educational theory. He was the chief editor of the Chiao-yü ta-tz'u-shu [encyclopedia of education], published in 1930; the author of Chin-tai chiao-yü ssu-ch'ao [modern educational theory,] published in 1941, and of a book on the philosophy of education, published in 1942; and the translator of John Dewey's School of Tomorrow (Ming-jih chih hsueh-hsiao) . All of his important books were published by the Commercial Press. Chu also contributed the chapter on education to the Symposium on Chinese Culture, edited by Sophia H. Chen (Ch'en Heng-che, q.v.) ; his last article, written in English, was on the Confucian tradition. It appeared in the 1951 Yearbook ofEducation published in London. Most of Chu Ching-nung's articles on pedagogical and curriculum problems appeared in Chiao-yü tsa-chih [education magazine] between 1923 and 1925 and in Chiao-yü yü jen-sheng [education and life] between 1924 and 1926. A collection of his verse, entitled Ai-shan-lu shih-ch'ao [poems by Chu Ching-nung], was published by the Commercial Press in Taiwan in 1965. That volume also included a full bibliography of Chu Ching-nung's publications, as well as biographical materials concerning his public career.