Chinese Biographies

edited by Hanno E. Lecher
Last updated on 16 Nov 2008, 27 main entries

Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
Related:   History

    Biographical Databases

  1. Essential!
    China Vitae = 中国名人录 (David D. Gries, China Vitae, [Washington, USA?])
    Language: English.
    Self description: "China Vitae is an online biographical database that provides more than 2500 biographies of current Chinese political, military, economic, business, and academic leaders. The China Vitae database offers state-of-the-art searches of its biographies, including advanced tools for learning about the backgrounds and careers of senior Chinese officials. China Vitae's database is extensively cross-referenced. Employing an array of search tools, users can easily create lists of officials who have similar career paths, organizational affiliations, education, and places of origin. The cross-referencing allows users to follow the lives and careers of Chinese officials, individually or in groups, from birth to the present, facilitating background studies of officials in politics, military, business, and academia. In addition to the main China Vitae database, VIP Appearances, a second database, tracks the public appearances of several hundred senior Chinese officials, allowing its users to follow the daily activities of those officials whose lives and views influence Chinese policies. China Vitae also offers links to other databases of biographical information on Chinese officials."
    Description: An exceptional and long needed resource! And the best: it's free of charge!
    Site contents: (1) Research Center (gives you quick access to biographies, the most recent VIP Appearances and updates, as well as a research library covering major government organizations); (2) Search the Database; (3) Browse by Institution; (4) View Detailed Biographies; (5) Search History; (6) Discover Connections; (7) Compare Personal Histories; (8) Track VIP Appearances (for a select group of important individuals, we report on recent speeches, attendence at meetings, and other public appearances).
    Resource suggested by Thomas Kampen, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
    Added 03 Apr 2004 (HL)

  2. Essential!
    China Biographical Database Project (CBDB) = 中國歷代人物傳記資料庫 (中央研究院歷史語言研究所, Taipei, Taiwan ; Harvard-Yenching Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA ; 北京大学中国古代史研究所, Beijing, China)
    Language: Chinese ; English.
    Cited description: "[...] an online relational database with biographical information about approximately 40,000 individuals as of July 2008, primarily from the seventh through fourteenth centuries. The data is meant to be useful for statistical and spatial analysis as well as serving as a kind of biographical reference. The long term goal of CBDB is systematically to include all significant biographical material from China’s history and to make the contents available free of charge, without restriction, for academic use."
    Contents: (1) Home; (2) History of the CBDB; (3) Collaborating Institutions and Editorial Committee; (4) Methodological Issues; (5) Mapping and Analyzing CBDB Data; (6) Structure of Data; (7) Work Progress; (8) Download CBDB Data; (9) Conferences and Papers; (10) First International Workshop on Biographical Databases for China's History; (11)Discussion Forum; (12) FAQ; (13) Chinese Homepage.
    Availability: Free.
    Resource suggested by Peter K. Bol, Harvard University, USA
    Added 16 Nov 2008 (HL), last updated 17 Nov 2008 (HL)

  3. Very useful
    The Chinese Biographical Database (CBD) (Marilyn Levine, Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho, USA)
    Language: English; Chinese (Big5).
    Supplied note: "An interactive, scholarly moderated online database, [...] an interdisciplinary, multilingual tool. There is no authorization needed or charge to users. The database is not for downloading but for online usage and growth. [...] The CBD is based on multiple tables of which 11 are now online: Basic Biographical Information, Career, Alternate Names, Family, Education, Youth Activities, Affiliations, Official Positions, Historical Events, Locator Table, and Sources. There are more than 20 searches (queries) and 9 report forms. [...] The range of biography includes artists, officials, educators, industrialists, scientists, military leaders, politicians and many other career types. [...] We encourage our colleagues to join us in supplying new figures, information and particularly - new sources (in English or Chinese). Although we have concentrated on post-1850 figures, the chronological scope of the database is open-ended." (Cited from the Asian Studies WWW Monitor, 06 Mar 1998).
    Description: Last updated in December 2001 (as of June 2003), the database contains some 3500 biographies on people almost exclusively born between 1890 and the early twentieth century.
    Note: Simple searches are also possible directly via the IGCS. Please enter your search term above. (Service provided with kind permission by Marilyn Levine)
    Added 17 Aug 1998 (HL), last revised 31 Oct 2008 (HL)

  4. Very useful
    Der Westen in China - China im Westen = Cultural relations between China and the West (Ostasiatisches Seminar, Universitat Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland)
    Language: German, English.
    Cited description: "This database project is dedicated to the cultural relations between China and the West (1245-2000). It links systematically collected and scientifically validated biographic and bibliographic information. The main items are chronology and names, which are indexed and searchable. [...] The subject fields currently [Dec 2006 - ed.] comprise the following: history, religion, history of missions, travel and legation accounts, history of medias, geography, history of universities, sinology, literature, philosophy, art, and science."
    Resource suggested by Andrea Riemenschnitter, Zurich University, Zurich, Switzerland.
    Added 16 Dec 2006 (HL)

  5. Very useful
    Chinese Scholar & Others (The Asia Library, University of Michigan Libraries, Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
    Language: Chinese (GB).
    Description: This page is part of the China: New Resources Web site and contains a growing database of important Chinese scholars, politicians, and business people. Besides a very short descriptive note each entry contains links to further on-line resources on the person in question.
    Added/revised on 14 Jul 1999 (HL)

  6. Useful
    Index and Database on Chinese Writers (Renditions, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "The author index is linked to a database which contains information [on] about 600 Chinese writers whose works have appeared in Renditions publications. The translator index lists the works of individual translators. Listings are in alphabetical order."
    Description: Quite useful little database, containing biographical data as well as a list of most important works, available English translations, and studies and biographies on the authors. However, these lists are by no means complete. Unfortunately no Chinese characters are given, only Hanyu Pinyin transliterations.
    Site contents: (1) Authors (Biography; Works; Works available in English; Studies and Biographies); (2) Translators; (3) Search.
    Added 12 Feb 2005 (HL)

  7. Some Noteworthy Americans of Asian or Pacific Island Descent (Internet School Library Media Center, USA)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "The following list was researched on the Internet. The individuals listed are just a tiny sample of noteworthy Asian Americans. [...] Links are to biographical information where possible. In some cases biographical information was not available. In such cases, a link is made to some resource on the Internet in which the individual is identified."
    Site contents: (1) Architecture; (2) Arts & Entertainment; (3) Sports; (4) Business & Professional; (5) Education; (6) Fashion; (7) Government; (8) Literature; (9) Military; (10) Mathematics, Science & Technology; (11) Non-Profit Agencies.
    Added/revised on 15 Jun 1999 (HL)

  8. Essential!
    Biographies: Important Chinese Christians, Missionaries and other Notable Persons (The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, University of San Francisco, USA)
    Language: English (some parts of the database are in Chinese (Big5) and other languages).
    Self description: "This section contains a listing of individuals who have played a role in the history of Christianity in China. This section includes, but is not limited to, missionaries, teachers, doctors, converts, critics, and the literati. Entries are not intended to be exhaustive but to provide a useful foundation for further research, especially for those whose backgrounds are not well documented. Individuals who have been the subject of study will be listed with biographical excerpts and bibliographic citations."
    Description: The biographical database is part of the Ricci Institute 21st Century Roundtable: an International Database for the Study of the History of Christianity in China site ( The database is searchable using full document or context sensitive search.
    Note: Frames capable browser needed! Warning: Does not support any browser but MS IE 4.0 or higher!!
    Resource suggested via the Asian Studies WWW Monitor (26 Apr 1999) by Lawrence Crissman (
    Added/revised on 18 Mar 2000 (HL)

  9. Useful
    100 Celebrated Chinese Women (Kate Foster, Hong Kong)
    Language: English.
    Description: Short illustrated introductions to some of the best known women in Chinese literature and history (such as Nüwa, Hua Mulan, Yang Guifei, etc.).
    Added/revised on 19.09.1998 (HL)

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History

    Premodern China

  10. A Biographical Dictionary for Early Medieval China (Early Medieval China Group, AAS, USA)
    Language: English.
    Description: Some entries contain basic biographical data, but in any case bibliographic information or links to other websites about each person are given.
    Added 27 Oct 1998 (HL), last revised 11 Jun 2004 (HL)

  11. Useful
    Wang Yinglin 王應麟 1223-1296 (Christian Soffel, Inst. of East Asian Studies, Munich University, Germany)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "[...] the only genuine Wang Yinglin page on the whole WWW!"
    Description: A short biography of Wang Yinglin, including a few bibliographic references and links to relevant Web sits. Christian Soffel wrote his Ph.D. thesis on this Song dynasty scholar.
    Site contents: (1) Biography; (2) Wang Yinglin's most important works; (3) Some selected references; (4) Links on Wang Yinglin.
    Added 25 Jan 2001 (HL), last revised 22 Feb 2005 (HL)

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History

    China - Republic

  12. Useful
    Shanghai Municipal Police (Robert Bickers, Dept. of Historical Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K.)
    Language: English.
    Description: Supplied note: "I have placed online a directory of British (Irish, Welsh, White Russian, some Chinese, some Japanese etc) members of the Shanghai Municipal Police (1900-45). There are about 1700 names and personal details. The site is hardly ambititous, but the information is useful, for those seeking information about minor figures in twentieth century Shanghai history, and also ancestors who were in the force." Only a portion of the information Dr. Bickers has on these men is put on-line. The full records include citations, promotions, sometimes the branch of the force. For any further information about individuals please contact him at
    Information supplied by Robert Bickers, Dept. of Historical Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K.
    Added/revised on 16.01.1999 (HL)

  13. Useful
    胡適紀念館 (Hu Shi Memorial Hall) (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
    Language: Chinese (Big5).
    Description: Includes biographical data (including his publications), a list of publications on him (mostly Chinese), some audio-files of his speeches, and a lot of photographs.
    Added/revised on 03.05.1998 (HL)

  14. Useful
    Dr. Sun Yat-Sen: His Hawai'i Roots 孫中山先生—夏威夷溯源 (Sun Yat-sen Hawai'i Foundation; and Kapiolani Community College Library, Hawaii, USA)
    Language: English, Chinese (GB, Big5).
    Description: Supplied note: "A site by 'The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawai'i Foundation', a registered nonprofit organization with no political affiliation. The [site] collects and presents materials on Dr. Sun's links to Hawai'i and its people. Documentary materials, photographs, and research sources focus on his family, friends and supporters in Hawaii; his six visits and activities in Hawai'i; and scenes of Hawai'i in his era." (Cited from the Asian Studies WWW Monitor Oct. 1998).
    Information supplied by Bin Zhang (
    Added 01 Oct 1998, last revised 05 Feb 2001 (HL)

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History

    People's Republic of China

  15. Essential!
    Government Organizations Of The People's Republic of China (Asia System Media Corp., USA)
    Language: English.
    Description: Gives descriptions of the structure as well as detailed biographical data of the members of the following Chinese govenrmental organizations: (1) National People's Congress (NPC) (State Central Military Commission; Supreme People's Court; Supreme People's Procuratorate); (2) State Council; (3) Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); (4) Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CCCPC) (Political Bureau; Secretariat; Central Military Commission; Central Discipline Inspection Commission). The data are based on a government organization chart published by China Daily in early 1998.
    Added/revised on 14.02.1999 (HL)

  16. Very useful
    Special Issue on the Death of Deng Xiaoping 鄧小平逝世特輯 (Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore)
    Language: Chinese (GB)
    Description: A whole series of articles on life and significance of Deng Xiaoping, that appeared in the Singaporean daily Lianhe Zaobao in February 1997.
    Last revised 30 Nov 2002 (AST).

  17. The Mao Tse-tung Internet Archive
    Short biographical data of Mao Zedong 毛澤東 and English translations of several texts he wrote between 1926 and 1940. The translations include footnotes with explanations.

  18. 纪念毛泽东诞辰110周年大型专题 - 人民军队缔造者毛泽东 (Great special commemorating the 110th anniversary of Mao Zedongs birthday - Founder of the People's Army: Mao Zedong) (PLA Daily, Beijing, China)
    Language: Chinese (GB).
    Description: Official page of, now, focusing on the military aspects of Mao Zedongs life. Some interesting images (including scans of his original autographs) with short annotations, although the pictures tend to be of poor quality. This sub-site does not provide a search, articles included here may be found with the global search on
    Site contents: (1) News reports on commemorating Mao Zedong 纪念毛泽东新闻报道; (2) Commemorating Mao Zedong 纪念毛泽东; (3) Record and events from Mao Zedongs life 毛泽东生平纪事; (4) Mao Zedongs military inscriptions 毛泽东军事题词; (5) 500 pictures of Mao Zedongs military activities 毛泽东军事活动500图片; (6) Records of great events in Mao Zedongs military activities 毛泽东军事活动大事记; (7) The course of the development in Mao Zedongs military thinking 毛泽东军事思想发展历程; (8) The art of Mao Zedongs military command 毛泽东军事指挥艺术; (9) Selections from Mao Zedongs military writings 毛泽东军事名篇选.
    Added 06 Mar 2005 (MA)

  19. Essential
    From Marx to Mao (Dave Romagnolo, Watsonville, CA, USA)
    Language: English; Spanish.
    Description: This site presents a collection of the "basic texts of Scientific Socialism and the Communist movement" and enables the user to search these texts using a search engine. The collections are not complete yet, but all five volumes of The Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung and the famous Cultural Revolution booklet Quotations from Mao Tse-tung are available on-line.
    Site contents: (1) What's New?; (2) Marx and Engels; (3) Lenin; (4)Stalin; (5) Mao; (6) Other documents; (7) Reading guide; (8) What's coming?; (9) Help!; (10) Search engine.
    Resource suggested by Geoff Wade (
    Added 14 Dec 2000 (HL), last revised 02 Aug 2005 (HL)

  20. Very Useful
    Wei Jingsheng - China's Spirit of Democracy
    Language: English.
    Description: Information about Wei Jingsheng, the most prominent Chinese dissident imprisoned by China. The site includes his detailed biography and several of his essays and articles.
    Last revised 05 Feb 2001 (HL)

  21. Useful
    A Chronology of the Life of Zhou Enlai 周恩來生平大事年表 (Nankai Univ., PR China)
    Language: Chinese (GB)
    Description: Enter a year and you will be told about the activities of the Late Premier's activities then. The site also offers a video on him.
    Added/revised on 10.07.98

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History


  22. Useful
    Founding Father & Former Presidents of the ROC (Presidential Office of the ROC)
    Language: English. A Chinese version (Big5) is also available.
    Description: Provided by the Presidential Office of the Republic of China, this site gives short biographies of Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan) 孫中山, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) 蔣介石, Yen Chia-kan (Yan Jiagan) 嚴家淦 and Chiang Ching-kuo (Jiang Jingguo) 蔣經國.

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History


  23. Useful
    Dr Thomas Oxley (1805 - 1886) (by Robert Alexander, Singapore)
    Language: English.
    Description: Dr. Thomas Oxley was an early citizen of Singapore, where he acted as surgeon and major landowner. This page, maintained by Robert Alexander, contains biographical data and additional material that can give some insight into the 18th century history of Singpore.

    Biographies:   Biographical Databases | Premodern China | China - Republic | People's Republic of China | Taiwan | Singapore | Sinologists
    Related:   History


  24. John King Fairbank (Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, USA)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "As he boarded ship for England in the Autumn of 1929 to take up a Rhodes Scholarship, there was little in John Fairbank's background to mark him as the future founder of modern Chinese studies in the United States."
    Added 15 Dec 2000 (HL)

  25. Very useful
    The Morrison Collection of Chinese Books (Andrew C. West)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "This site provides information relating to the Morrison Collection of Chinese Books at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). This collection was formed by Dr. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, whilst living in Canton and Macau between 1807 and 1824. Information about the collections of William Marsden (1754-1836) and Sir George Thomas Staunton (1781-1859), inherited by SOAS from King's College London, are also included."
    Description: Between November 1996 and February 1998 Andrew C. West was employed by S.O.A.S. library on a one year contract to catalogue the Morrison Collection. This resulted in the publication of the Catalogue of the Morrison Collection of Chinese Books in 1998. The content of the catalogue and this site are not identical: "The site acts mainly as a supplement to the published catalogue, providing various (non-copyrighted) material that there was no room to include in the catalogue. It also includes catalogue records for Morrison books that have been uncovered since the publication of the catalogue" [information by A.C. West]. Next to the various catalogues this site also contains a short biography of Robert Morrison and an introduction to the collection.
    Site contents: (1) Introduction (Site Contents; Robert Morrison; The Collection; The Catalogue; Notes); (2) Morrison's Manuscript Catalogue (Edited transcription of Morrison's own manuscript catalogue of his Chinese books); (3) Index of "RM" Numbers (Index of the catalogue numbers assigned to books in Morrison's Manuscript Catalogue); (4) Index of UCL Shelfmarks (Index of the shelfmarks of the bound items in the Morrison Chinese Library as held at University College London (UCL) during the nineteenth-century); (5) The Williams Report (Extract from the 1854 Report on the Contents of the Morrison Chinese Library by John Williams); (6) The Marsden Collection (Summary of the contents of William Marsdens's collection books and manuscripts in Oriental and African languages that were transferred to SOAS from King's College London in 1920); (7) The Staunton Collection (List of Sir George Staunton's collection of Chinese printed books donated to King's College London in 1853); (8) Lost and Found (List of missing books from the Morrison Collection); (9) Addenda to the Catalogue (Catalogue records for books omitted from the 1998 printed cataloe of the Morrison Collection).
    Resource suggested by Andrew C. West.
    Added 8 Jun 2001 (HL), last revised 30 Nov 2002 (AST).

  26. Walter Simon: A Scholar-Librarian and his East Asian Collection (Andrew Gosling, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia)
    Language: English.
    Self description: "[...] Professor Walter Simon (1893-1981) was Professor of Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London from 1947 to 1960, and an eminent scholar of Chinese and other East Asian languages. The National Library of Australia acquired his collection in stages between 1970 and 1982. There are over 2000 books in Asian and Western languages reflecting Professor Simon's academic interests, in particular the Chinese, Tibetan and Manchu languages."
    Resource suggested via the Asian Studies WWW Monitor (08 Dec 2000) by Andrew Gosling (
    Added 15 Dec 2000 (HL), last revised 30 Nov 2002 (AST).

  27. Holmes Hinkley Welch (1921-1981) Memorial Site (Library, East Asian Collection, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA)
    Language: English.
    Description: Holmes Hinkley Welch was a specialist on Taoism and Buddhism in China, whose work was a major contribution in this field. Cf. John K. Fairbank's Obituary to Holmes Hinkly Welch (1921-1981).
    Site contents: (1) Manuscripts; (2) The Person (Biography, Obituary, Books and Articles); (3) The Image Archive.
    Resource suggested via the Asian Studies WWW Monitor (20 Jul 1999) by Thomas H. Hahn.
    Note: This page is not available anymore on its original site at Madison. The link above leads to a version archived in Jul 2002 by the Internet Archive.
    Added 10 Aug 1999 (HL), last revised 21 Jul 2003 (HL)

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