May Fourth and the Birth of Modern China: A Walk and Discussion
The year was 1919. Just seven years earlier, a revolution had swept away the last crumbling vestiges of the old imperial system. From the ashes of the Qing Dynasty, a new republic was born and then betrayed. Since then, China had become a failed state. Much of the country was in the hands of warlords or foreign powers outside the control of a weak and corrupt government in Beijing.
The generation which came of age in this decade would rise to the challenges of the era. On May 4, 1919 they took to the streets of Beijing in a massive demonstration which gave birth to Modern China. Their experiences and ideas during what became known as the May Fourth Era left a powerful legacy which continues nearly a century later.
This two-hour walk and discussion will visit the epicenter of the May Fourth Movement: the original campus of Peking University. There we will meet the scholars and students who defined a generation and gave rise to a nation.
We'll also discuss the end of the empire and the rise and fall of the Republic of China, and the origins of the Chinese Communist Party as we explore some of the hidden byways around the old campus and visit the relics and residences of Beijing's old intelligentsia.
Length of the walk: About two hours
Upcoming May Fourth Movement Walking Tours
300 RMB per person (260 RMB for members of The Hutong)
Price includes all guide fees and tickets
Consider a Private Tour!
Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?
Private historical walks the May Fourth era are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.
Private walks are 1200 RMB for up to five people and 80 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.
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Your Walk Leader
Jeremiah Jenne is a writer and historian based in Beijing since 2002. He has taught Late Imperial and Modern Chinese History at the IES Abroad Program for over 10 years and has written extensively on China for a number of publications including The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, Journal of Asian Studies, Asia Society/China File, Los Angeles Review of Books, Radii China, The Beijinger, and the World of Chinese. His work can be found in the anthologies China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance, The Insider’s Guide to Beijing, and the 2015 collection While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writer’s Colony. He is frequently asked to speak or lead workshops on Chinese history, culture, and cultural adaptation to schools, organizations, and company groups from around the world and is the proprietor of Beijing by Foot, which organizes educational programs and historic walking tours of Beijing’s most famous sites and hidden by-ways. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremiahjenne or online at jeremiahjenne.com.