Posts Categorized: Chapter 3


Feng Guifen and Wei Yuan, aware of each other through their connection to Lin Zexu, met in Beijing. Although Feng criticized Wei for the quality of his research on foreign powers, Wei was an important influence on the defining concept of Feng’s career, “self-strengthening,” or ziqiang (自强). Feng took Wei’s suggestion of studying the “barbarians” a… Read more »

Who was Feng Guifen?

Feng Guifen was born to a family of wealthy landowners in Suzhou, the wealthy Chinese city near Shanghai, in 1809. As a young man, Feng excelled at the imperial examinations, passing the local and the provincial exams at a young age. Like Wei Yuan, however, Feng’s progress up the examination ladder stalled at the provincial… Read more »