ABSTRACT: The Tsing Hua Journal sponsored by Tsing Hua University is investigated by reading,comparing, and analysing original literature about it. It is concluded that it was the first Englishlanguage journal of natural science and social science published by a Chinese university. The early establishment of an editorial department, of exchange with European and American journals, and of its inclusion of abstracts of foreign papers,demonstrate its international aims. Through its parallel Chinese- and English-language versions it aimed to achieve an exchange of knowledge between China and the West.
Figure 1 (a) The Tsing Hua Monthly; (b) the first page of the initial issue of the Tsing Hua Journal; and (c) the cover of the Tsing Hua Journal.
the journal was the Tsing Hua Society, the union society of several student societies on the Tsing Hua Campus. There was a journal department to manage the journal. Mr S. C. Hung was the chief editor of the English version,K. C. Chungh and T. Y. Woo were the literature editors, H. K. Tseng was the physical education editor, and T. Y. Pai the news editor. From December 1915, the title of the Tsing Hua Monthly was changed to the Tsing Hua Journal, sponsored by Tsinghua University.
According to an editorial in the Tsing Hua Weekly, the journal of Tsinghua University began publication in September 1915, and at that time the English version was called the English Journal, the Chinese version was called the Collection of the Translations. They were published bimonthly alternately. The president of Tsinghua University at that time, Dr Y.T. Tsur, was very enthusiastic about the publication. He employed the editors, managers, and advisors, and provided the funds for publication. The journal was distributed by post and was formally registered with the police. Its name was changed to the Tsing Hua Journal for concordance between the English and Chinese names. However, when we did a complete investigation of the publications published by the university from 1911 to 1915, we did not find either the English Journal or the Collection of the Translations. Also, in an investigation of the publications of Tsinghua University made by the editorial board of the Tsing Hua Weekly in 1921, those two journals were not found. In the foreword to the initial issue of the Tsing Hua Journal, there is one sentence: ‘The Tsing Hua Journal is a continuation of the Tsing Hua Monthly.’5 We also found the only existing copy of the Tsing Hua Monthly. So we think the latter comment is correct, that is to say the Tsing Hua Journal was a continuation of the Tsing Hua Monthly and the reference to other journals was in error.
The journal included two versions, an English one (Tsing Hua Journal) and a Chinese one (Qinghua Xuebao). From December 1915 to December 1919, there were total of five volumes published; nos. 1, 3, 5, and 7 of every volume were published in English,and nos. 2, 4, 6, and 8 were published in Chinese. The editorial team consisted of both staff and students. There were two groups of editors, one with responsibility for the English version and the other with responsibility for the Chinese version. Obviously the student editors changed frequently but the staff ones did not and formed a stable team that took the journal forward.The journal ceased publication from 1920 to 1923 because of the May 4th Movement,6 and no articles were published in English from 1924 to 1926. From 1927, Chinese articles and English articles were arranged astwo parts of each issue in Qinghua Xuebao. At this point all the editors were staff of the university and were not divided into English and Chinese editors. In all, 85 articles were published in English. One special issue was published entirely in English in 1931.
In 1948, the journal again ceased publication,but in 1955, comprehensive university journal publishing in Chinese recommenced.Thus from 1948, National Tsinghua University (the name was changed from Tsinghua University to National Tsinghua University in 1928) had no journal published in English until 1996, when a new comprehensive English-language journal was launched.
Aim and content
The Tsing Hua Monthly published only one issue. The columns of the Tsing Hua Monthly included a monograph, transactions, communications,reports, etc. Its English contents included ‘Editorials’ written by S. C. Hung, ‘On Knowledge’ by Y. T. Tsur, ‘Journalism as a Profession’ by K. C. Chung, ‘The Importance of Habit Formation’ by T. Y. Woo, ‘Labor in China’ by T. K. Woo,‘Purple and White the Fourth Sectional Meet’ by S. C. Hung, ‘Athletic Notes’ by H. K.Tseng, etc.
After the change of title to the Tsing Hua Journal, the journal’s columns included ‘Tsing Hua Activities’, ‘The World at Large’,‘Progress of China’, etc. It was stated that:
The first portion of every number will be set aside for the record of things spoken,written, and done in Tsing Hua, which, in our humble estimation, are worthy of wider publicity. In the second division of the Magazine we hope to deal with miscellaneous subjects which deserve to be popularized; while in the last section we shall endeavour to present in an English dress the best and most up-to-date ideas current in the Chinese educational world.5
The English content of the initial issue included: ‘The Responsibilities of an Educated Man’ by Dr Y. T. Tsur, ‘Youth and the Ethical Appeal’ by J. Wong-Quincey, ‘Sandflies (Phlebotomus) in China and their Relation to Disease’ by Richard Arthur Bolt, ‘Rabindranath Tagore’ by ChuPin-Ku’ei,‘Taking a Step Forward’ by B. E. Chiu, ‘Village and Town Life in China’ by Y. L. Tong, ‘What About China’s Weights and Measures’ by B. E. Chiu, ‘The Great Problem of National Survival’ by Hsieh Pao-t’ien, ‘A Chat on General Education’ by Huang Ch’in, etc.
From its contents lists at that time, it would seem that the English journal was comprehensive, publishing in both social and natural sciences and including literature, political science, education, geography,history of weights and measures, physics, etc.
The contents about natural science also included, in 1916: ‘The Chinese Abacus’ by Yeh Ch’I-Sun; in 1916, ‘Eugenics and Euthenics’ by Dr A. Shoemaker, ‘Analysis of Tsing Hua Water’ by C. A. Pierlé, ‘The History of Mathematics in China’ by Yeh Chi-Sun, ‘The Vibrating Rectifier’ by Hung Sung, ‘A Study of Addison’ by Chu Pin Kuei;in 1917: ‘Why Men Starve and the Remedy’ by W.W. Chung, ‘The History of Astronomy in China’ by Yeh Chi-Sun, ‘The Quest of the South Pole’ by R. D. Whitmore; ‘Engineering Education in China’ by R. D. Whitmore; No. 7 of 1917 included ‘Civil Engineering’ by T. C. Sun, ‘Forestry as a Profession for Chinese’ by Forsythe Sherfersee, etc. In addition, there were papers on ethics, psychology,culture exchange, democracy,military history, emigration, popular education,money, literature history, drama criticism, etc. Papers on education appeared on almost every issue.
From 1927 to 1948, the year that publication stopped again, the journal published both English and Chinese articles in each issue. During this period, there were many important papers published in English, such as ‘Internal and External Relations’ by Jin Yuelin, published in 1930; ‘Responsibility of State for International Delinquencies’ by Hua-Cheng Wang, published in 1932; ‘On Finite Systems’ by Shen Youding, published in 1935; ‘Ancient and Modern Problems’ by J. J. Gapanovich, published in 1937; ‘Asymptotic Method on the Problems of Thin Elasticring Shell with Rotational Symmetrical Load’ by Qian Weichang, published in 1948; ‘Vapor Lock in Aircraft Fuel System’ by Xia Zhenhuan, ‘Manufacturing Process of In-line Engine Crankshaft’ by Dong Shoshen, ‘Bridged-Parallel Antennas’, ‘Work Locating in Tool Design’ by Meng Qingji,‘Die Linearen Wechselstromschaltungen Unterberuecksichtigung Der Verluste’ by Min Naida. In No. S2 of 1948, a special issue published entirely in English, there are many influential papers, such as ‘Studies on Spray Drying’ by Cao Benxi, ‘The True Leaving Angle for Diaphragm and Bucket Wheel with Curved Guides at the Discharge End’ by Qian Weichang, ‘On The Surface of Discontinuity between Two Flows Perpendicular to Each Other’ by Lu Shijia, ‘Temperature,Phase and Frequency Compensations in Indicating Instruments’ by Tang Tongyi, ‘Adjustment of the Shoran Triangulation’ by Chu Zhongrui.
In the papers on natural science published in the journal, the research papers on the history of mathematics and astronomy in China were the most important. The first research paper on the history of mathematics in China, written by Li Yan, a founder of the subject, was published in 1917 to be followed by a more detailed discussion in 1919.7 However, as early as in 1916, Yeh Chi Sun began to publish his research on the history of mathematics in China in the Tsing Hua Journal, including ‘The Chinese Abacus’ and ‘The History of Mathematics in China’. These papers were the first research papers in this subject. Also, many famous scientists published major papers in their subjects in theTsing Hua Journal. The included Jin Yuelin, who introduced symbolic logic into China; Qian Weichang, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Min Naida, the founder of computer science in China; Chang Jiong, an expert in radio engineering and information; and Cao Benxi, a specialist in chemical and nuclear Engineering.
Other publication issues
Advertisements were one of the features of the journal. Because of its low price, large distribution, different languages (Chinese,English, German, etc.), and varied readership, the journal attracted advertisements not only from publishers but from a range of companies and products. The earnings from advertising were sufficient to support the journal.
The distribution of the journal was quite good. In China, the journal reached readers by the following means: students from the different provinces would buy the journal and send it to their friends and relatives, when students went to the United States they would introduce the journal to the institutions they were studying in. The journal was also sent directly to various organizations and many were sold through agents. The university had a business management department in America to distribute the journal. By 1919, besides the 300 copies distributed free by the publisher, the subscription of the journal was as follows: 50 copies overseas, 70 copies in China, and 300 copies within the university. A further 100 copies were sold by the distribution agent and 170 copies were exchanged with various journals at home and abroad.6 At that early period in the history of the Republic of China, such a circulation was exceptional for an academic journal sponsored by a University.
Exchanges arranged by the editorial department were an important aspect of scholarly communication. The number of subscriptions exchanged increased from 68 (25 domestic and 43 American journals) to 157 (45 domestic and 112 abroad). The exchanged journals abroad included American
Mathematical Monthly, School Science and Mathematics, and Technology Monthly. Tsing Hua Alumni Quarterly, published in Washington,DC, was also included in the exchange list.
Using these exchange journals, some news columns, such as ‘Editorial Narration’ and ‘Abstract of Monographs’, were launched to provide secondary coverage of articles published elsewhere. The journal also published articles, introducing some foreign science and technology journals and providing abstracts of papers published in them.
Besides the staff of Tsinghua University,the journal also had many students as its authors. Many of the authors of English-language papers were researchers who had studied abroad or who were foreigners themselves. Dr Richard Arthur Bolt, the author of ‘Sandflies (Phlebotomus) in China and their Relation to Disease’, published in the initial issue, was a physician working at Tsinghua University. Dr Paul S. Reinsch,the author of ‘The Old and New Spirit in Education’ published in Vol. 2, No. 1, 1916, was the US minister in China. Professor W. W. Willoughby, the author of ‘The Problem of Republican Government’ published in Vol. 2, No. 1, 1916, was the legal consultant to the Chinese government at that time.
Influence and meaning
There were few English journals published in China in 1915. From 1815 to 1911, there had been 136 newspapers and journals published in China in foreign languages, including English, German, French, and Russian,7 but by 1915 few remained.3 Before the launch of the Tsing Hua Journal, there were only three comprehensive journals sponsored by universities in China and of those, only St John’s Echo, started in 1889, and sponsored by St John University of Shanghai, published parts of English papers.
Although St John’s Echo started earlier than the Tsing Hua Journal, it only published parts of English papers. However, when the Tsing Hua Journal started in 1915, all the contents in the English version journal were published in English and it was a completely English-language journal at that time. We therefore believe that the Tsing Hua Journal (English version) was the earliest Englishlanguage comprehensive journal sponsored by a university in China The Tsing Hua Journal was very important in the early years of the Republic of China because its different versions had different purposes. The Chinese version published much of the latest science and technology from Western countries, that is to say it spread Western learning to the East, and the English version published much on the natural science of ancient China and thus spread knowledge of it to the West.
1. Fang, Huijian and Zhang Sijing. Record of Tsinghua University. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, 2001,745–786 (in Chinese).
2. Yao, Yuan. The History of Sci-tech Journals in Chinese Universities. Xi’an: Shaanxi Normal University Press,1997.
3. Yao, Yuan, Wang, Rui, Yao, Shufeng, et al. Sci-tech Journals in Modern China. Jinan: Shangdong Education Press, 2005.
4. Yao, Yuan and Du, Wentao. The start of the Tsing Hua Journal and its history meaning. Acta Editologica, 2006: 18(2), 1–4.
5. Editor. Foreword. Tsing Hua Journal 1915:1(1), 1.
6. Editor. Society and the publications in the Tsing Hua University. Tsing Hua Weekly, 28 Apr 1921.
7. Shi, He, Yao, Fushen, and Ye, Cuidi. The List of Newspapers and Journals in Modern China. Fuzhou: Fujian People’s Press, 1991.
(Zhang Li,Yao Yuan,Zhang Fenglian,Du Wentao. The Pioneer of English University Journal of Natural Science and Social Science: The Tsing Hua Journal and Its Communication Mode[J]. Learned Publishing， 2006,19（3）:204-208.)