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 step further, pushing to have Western military and science taught in Chinese schools.

Read a short translated excerpt of Feng’s essay “On the Adoption of Western Learning.”