Exhibition tells the stories of returnees

Until December 28, the Foreign-educated Chinese Museum is holding an exhibition entitled "The Great China Dream of the Foochow Naval Dockyard School Overseas Students."
Foreign-Educated Chinese Museum / Ti Gong

The passport of Shen Laiqiu who studied in France in 1920

Until December 28, the Foreign-educated Chinese Museum in Songjiang District is holding an exhibition entitled “The Great China Dream of the Foochow Naval Dockyard School Overseas Students.”

The school, set up in 1866 in Fuzhou, in southeast China’s Fujian Province, by Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885), a renowned general, and Shen Baozhen (1820-1879), a governor in Jiangxi Province, sent four batches of Chinese students to study in countries such as the UK and France in March 1877.

When they returned home, the students became the backbone of China’s naval and shipbuilding industries and made great contributions to the nation’s military development and industrialization.

The exhibition has photographs of the overseas students and details of Prosper Marie Giquel (1835-1886), the school supervisor. It focuses on how students studied and lived abroad and how they devoted themselves to China after their return.

Among the items on display are their passports, copies of their sailing licenses after they graduated from the navel school and a government award presented to Zhan Tianyou (1861-1919), a railway engineer who also studied abroad. Zhan, also known as Jeme Tien Yow, designed and built the first railway in China.

The museum holds regular exhibitions highlighting China’s culture of overseas study and details the background to some of the most important figures who studied abroad before 1949.

The museum’s collections include a plate with images of Confucius used at Yale University and account books used by foreign-educated students.

Confucius, who urged “read 1,000 books, travel 1,000 miles” and guided his disciples to visit various countries, is considered a forerunner in the promotion of overseas study.

The children of a foreign-educated medical student who visited the museum donated a set of ophthalmoscopes and other medical instruments.

Construction of the museum was initiated by Dr Li Kexin, a Chinese overseas student from Japan, in 2003 with the aim of helping Chinese overseas students seek their roots, express their gratitude to the motherland and communicate with each other.

The museum is open from 9am to 12pm and from 1pm to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free.


Date: Through December 28

Venue: Foreign-educated Chinese Museum

Address: 7, Lane 1177, Rongmei Rd

茸梅路1177弄7号

Foreign-educated Chinese Museum / Ti Gong

The plate of Yale University, used by Law School students in the 1890s

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