Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1984, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 17-19.doi: 10.11821/xb198401003

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DR. CHU KO-CHEN AND THE DEPARTMENT OFGEOGRAPHY AT PEKING UNIVERSITY

Lin Chao, Wang En-yong   

  1. Department of Geography, Peking University
  • Online:1984-01-15 Published:1984-01-15

Abstract: In geographical circle Dr. Chu Ko-chen is well known as a great teacher, an eminent scholar, head of various scientific institutions and president of the Geographical Society of China for more than twenty years. But his service and influence on the development of geography in China far exceeded his professional capacities. One of the examples was his care and help to the Department of Geography at Peking University.Since he came to Beijing in 1950 he gave continual help and guidance to the department. The department had its origin as a section in the Department of Earth Sciences at Tsin Hua University. In 1950, just after the Liberation, the Geographical Section was very small with a staff of only four teachers and fifteen students. Dr. Chu helped to strengthen the teaching staff by recommending a new professor. During the period of restructuring of higher education he was instrumental in the founding of the new Department of Geography at Peking University. Towards the end of the fifties during the Great Leap, among the leading members of the staff, there was a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of mathematics, physics and chemistry and to reduce geographical courses. Dr. Chu advised in time that geograpical subjects should remain the focus of a geographical department. His advice helped to rectify the tendency and retain the geographical subjects.Towards the end of the Cultural Revolution, how to meet the need of the nation became a prerequisite for the recovery of the department. When the advice of Dr. Chu was sought he pointed out that environmental protection would be a suitable subject for the department of geography His advice was adopted by the University and approved by the Ministry of Education. It not only paved the way for the recovery of the department but was also followed by the departments of other universities. Thus it opened up new vistas for the development of geography in China.In retrospect we owe much to the wisdom and guidance of Dr. Chu for the development of the Department of Geography at Peking University which has now become one of the important centre for the training of geographers in China.