Date: Dec.1, 2014
Source: Journal of Jinan University
Author: Lin Shining
Publisher: News Center
A common characteristic of Chinese born in 1949 is that they have rich life experiences. Ji Zong'an, former vice president of JNU and the university's first female Ph.D. student, is no exception. In the first half of her life, Ji worked in four different provincial capital cities in China. When she was in middle age, she and her husband chose to stay in Guangzhou permanently.
Ji was born in July 1949 and lived in Nanjing until she was 5. When the People’s Republic of China was founded, Ji's father, a graduate of Columbia University in New York, returned to work in the New China, responding to the call of then-Premier Zhou Enlai. He was named head of Nanjing Public Security Hospital and later transferred to the Military Medical University in Xi’an, where the whole family moved.
At the end of 1968, during the Cultural Revolution, Ji went to work in a production team as an educated youth in the countryside of Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, as part of the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement. She was assigned to Shandanjun Horse Farm in Gansu Province, where she had once worked as a farmer, worker, saleswoman, accountant and teacher. It was her work experience as a teacher that helped her enter Lanzhou University's Department of History, where she scored second in that county when college entrance exams were restored in 1977.
In 1985, Ji enrolled as a Ph.D. student of JNU Prof. Zhu Jieqin, majoring in history of Sino-foreign relations. After she graduated in 1988, Ji and her husband decided to stay in Guangzhou, as she considered this city an inclusive one. Since 1991, she has held positions at JNU including director of the History Department, vice dean of the College of Liberal Arts, head of the United Front Work Department, head of the Office of Academic Affairs and vice president of JNU. Although she retired in June 2014, she still leads eight postgraduates in research. Li's husband is also a renowned scholar in the circle of gardening in China and currently chief editor of Chinese Gardening magazine.
Ji is an expert on the history of Sino-foreign relations. In retirement, she remains vice president of the Chinese Society for the History of China's Foreign Relations and vice president of the Chinese Society for the History of China's Overseas Transportation. Her research focuses on the relations between ancient China and the Western regions, and China's relationship to the South China Sea.
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