On may8,1919, Cai Yuanpei, President of Peking University, submitted his resignation.
Four days ago, on May 4, more than 3000 students, including Peking University students, held a march because they were sad that the government had failed to “recover Shandong’s rights” at the Paris Peace Conference. Some students beat zhangzongxiang and set Cao Rulin’s house on fire. Afterwards, 32 people were arrested by the military and police, including 20 students from Beijing University.
Before the students set out, Cai Yuanpei came to dissuade them. He said to the students:
“The demonstrations can not change the current situation. Peking University, which advocates academic freedom and is disgusted by conservative figures and the government, is regarded as a scourge advocating heresy. Now the students are marching out of the university again. If there is an accident, it will give people an excuse. This poorly run and unsound Peking University will be destroyed first.”
The team was full of boos and curses. Zhangguotao and others took out CaiYuanpei’s “even asking and pushing”.
On the evening of May 4, PKU students gathered in the auditorium of the third college to discuss ways to rescue the arrested students. When everyone was speechless and helpless, Cai Yuanpei walked into the meeting and said to Zhu Sheng:
“I know all what you have done today, and I send you my sympathy. I am the head of the school, and I should do my duty to rescue the students. I also handle the aftermath. I just hope you will listen to my words: class as usual from tomorrow.”
Leaving the auditorium, Cai goes to the residence of his old boss, sunbaoqi, for help. Sun was well-known in the Beiyang government. Cai hoped that sun would come forward and tell the authorities that the students’ actions were purely patriotic. The matter was so important that sun felt very embarrassed. Cai Yu could not sit in the reception room. At 12 o’clock in the evening, sun finally agreed to go the next day for a try.
On the 5th, CAI and the presidents of 14 universities in Beijing went out to rescue the students. The crowd visited the presidential palace all the way from the police station and returned without success. Media reports of the day:
“The fourteenth president of Beijing middle school went to the police department for bail, but he didn’t allow it. He went to the Ministry and the people’s court. CaiYuanpei, the president of the University, was willing to plead guilty with one person.”
On the 6th, CaiYuanpei went to the police department again and had a long debate with Wu Bingxiang, the chief police officer. Whereas the next day is the “May 7th national humiliation day”
(the day when Japan issued the “21 article” ultimatum to China)
The national assembly was to be held, and the Beiyang government reached an agreement with the principals through Wu Bingxiang: the authorities promised to release the arrested students; All schools promised to have classes tomorrow and not allow students to participate in the national assembly. The principals questioned the credibility of the authorities’ commitment, and Wu had to say:
“If you resume classes without letting the students go, I, Wu Bingxiang, will be your lifelong son.”
On the 7th, the students were released. CaiYuanpei called the students to lecture on the playground, asking them to “forgive a little” for their decision, and “persist in class” for a little grievance. He hoped that they “can persist in a calm attitude in the future.”
The students present did not realize that when they said these words, their principal had already written his resignation – as early as at the cabinet meeting on the evening of May 4, Qian Nengxun, who was in charge of the cabinet, had issued the “what if caiheqing died?” Angry words. Therefore, in his resignation, CaiYuanpei explained why he did not resign on May 4:
“Since Yuan Pei became the president of National Peking University, he has been in office for a long time and thought about retiring. Recently, all the students of the school in Japan were harassed by patriotism and enthusiasm, and they were unable to restrain them. They should resign immediately. A few students were detained in the police station. Other students could not bear to blame all the others. They were unable to attend classes all day long. The order of the school was extremely difficult to maintain. They did not want to shirk their responsibilities. Now all the students detained have been released on bail. All All the students are in class as usual. My career has come to an end. Yuanpeiruo’s death in this school is not particularly guilty. It is also a great burden to the president and the chief Education officer for their knowledge. I sincerely submit my resignation and have left the school today. “
In short, he could not let his students go and see them fall into the hands of power. Students must be released before they are willing to resign as headmaster as some would like.
Cai never agreed that students should give up their studies for the sake of patriotism. He wrote an article entitled “sacrificing academic losses equals losing soil”. But he understood the students’ behavior and said:
“Since the May 4th movement, students from all over the country have competed for the patriotic movement. When the government and the people are in a position of mutual opposition, those who are older and more involved in affairs among the people dare not correct the government’s expression. Students are forced by their patriotic enthusiasm to accept their shortcomings, and they are sincere out of necessity. However, the way to save the country is not only one end, but also academic.”
From the Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China, Cai Yuanpei’s political arena has been ups and downs for decades. He has long understood that the rules of the game in the world are in the hands of the middle-aged and old people, and the world is also ruined in the hands of those middle-aged and old people
Meaning. He agreed with the students’ “patriotic enthusiasm” and their behavior “out of necessity”. However, he still insisted that for young students, the real way to save the country “is still academic”.
After resigning as president, Cai Yuanpei left a public notice to the teachers and students of Peking University:
“I am tired!” he who kills a king and a horse is beside the road. “The people are also tired. I want to take a short rest. I have officially resigned from the post of president of Peking University. I hereby declare that all other schools and gatherings that have relations with me have been separated from each other since May 9.”
The allusions in the notice are painstaking. “Those who kill horses are beside the road” – those who ride horses are on the road, and the roadsides applaud. The horseman was very proud and hurried. The faster the horse runs, the more clappers, and the louder the cheers. After running hundreds of miles and receiving countless applause, the horse finally fell to the ground and died. This is the story in the custom general in the Han Dynasty. “The people are tired, but they can take a rest” — the people have worked hard enough, and it is time to have a rest. This is the words in the bookofsongs · people’s labor.
Cai doesn’t want to be the “horse rider” (principal), nor does he want his “horse” (young students) to die from the applause of “roadsides” – he hopes that the life path of young people will be dominated by themselves and not be used by others. Cai Yuanpei sees too many people who are only standing by the roadside in charge of clapping at the time of the event, but do not bear any responsibility and have no loss afterwards. At the same time, he was also indignant at the oppression of the authorities – the main purpose of the sentence in the bookofsongs · people’s labor was to persuade King Li not to oppress the people too much, otherwise the country would be ruined.
These words are not suitable to speak frankly in the newspaper, and they are gloomy in the chest and do not spit out. Therefore, the former Qing Dynasty Hanlin started “strange stereotype” in a public notice to the teachers and students of Peking University. But since it is “strange stereotyped writing”, it will naturally be used by people. The sentence “wayside son of the man who killed the king and horse” was deliberately interpreted. It was said that “wayside son” refers to Peking University students, “King” refers to the Beiyang government, “horse” refers to the burned house of Caorulin; In combination, the sentence “the man who killed the king and horse is beside the road” is accusing Peking University Students of burning Caorulin’s house.
CaiYuanpei, who has quietly gone south, saw that his intentions were so distorted, so he had to write another public notice to support the students:
“I am convinced that your actions on the fourth day of this month were purely patriotic. I am also one of the people. How can I be dissatisfied with you? But those who are the president of the National University at the university will certainly take the blame and resign. So if I did not submit my resignation within five days, a small number of students were detained in the police station and had to be the president to try my best… I am afraid that you may not forgive me and take my resignation as a sign of dissatisfaction with you. Therefore, I am here I wrote this in a hurry on the way, in order to forgive you. “
The open letter made it clear that he loved these young students and recognized their patriotism; His resignation has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with these young students.
Twelve years later, on December 15, 1931, hundreds of people from the “demonstration groups of Beiping schools” went to Nanjing to petition for the government’s failure to repel the Japanese army and recover the northeast. CaiYuanpei and chenmingshu, who went to communicate with them, were dragged to the ground by angry students and beaten up. 63 year old CAI was hit on the head with a stick and his right arm was also strained.
In an interview with reporters afterwards, Cai still said:
“I have been engaged in education for decades. The rudeness of the young people present today is actually caused by the failure of our generation of educators to work hard. Therefore, we can only blame ourselves for this.”
This is not only an educator’s understanding and forgiveness for young people, but also a conscientious political figure who has experienced a long history of officialdom and a profound understanding of the changes of the world.