In modern times, the Western Learning flowed into China with expansion of the Western Powers. In the times, the government and intellectuals made efforts to cultivate people of talent in the Western Learning and diffuse it through academies, schools and translation institutes. In the course, people got to show their perception, receiving attitude and point of view in various western learnings. Thus, what is the perception, receiving attitude and point of view of the Chinese intellectuals on the Western Learning should be the keyword in understanding of the changes in Chinese society and Chinese knowledge system.
Shanghai Gezhi Academy was one of the schools those had taken an important part the late Qing Dynasty in diffusion of Western Learning and cultivating people of talent. As a school established by cooperation between Chinese people and foreigners, Gezhi Academy carried out an important function in diffusion of Western Learning the late Qing Dynasty. Especially, during year 1886-1894, the test (an exam, called as考课in Chinese, i.e., an essay test of Western Learning) was applied as one of scholarly activities in Gezhi Academy for spread and receiving of Western Learning (Especially, the science of principle and knowledge, i.e., Gezhi). The exam questions were mostly concerning Western Learning while the examiners were intellectuals from the ‘Westernization’ group and the examinees general intellectuals. The tests carried out by Gezhi Academy would be a typical object of study in understanding the response, recognition and attitude for the Western knowledge of general intellectuals since dissemination of Western Learning to the Orient. Looking at the establishment, system and intellectual activity (test) of Gezhi Academy, it’s can be seen that the Chinese people and foreigners, government officials and civilians, representative intellectuals and general intellectuals collaborated each other to promote self-reliance and making the country rich through spreading and receiving of Western Learning, and further to intend to change the traditional knowledge system of China.
The studies up to now on diffusion and receiving of Western Learning for the period of dissemination of Western Learning to the Orient have been centered on a few well-known intellectuals such as Wang Tao(王韬), Zheng GuanYing(郑观应), Kang YouWei(康有为), Liang QiChao(梁启超), and major media such as ShenBao(『申報』), ShiWuBao(『時務報』) and WanGuoGongBao(『萬國公報』), while that on perception and receiving attitude of general intellectuals to Western Learning appear lacking. Therefore, this article is intended to make Gezhi Academy that made efforts on spread of Western Learning and the essay test carried out as the academic activities there as the object of study under the category roughly of organization, characters, knowledge and discussion, to look into the aspects of acceptance of Western Learning by the people through the establishment and system of Gezhi Academy. Especially, this article tries to make an analysis on the details such as perception and attitude to Western Learning contained or reflected on the examinees, examiners, questions and the content with the essay tests. Through above process, we would have a look into that how the intellectuals of ‘Westernization’ group and general intellectuals received the knowledge of Western Learning at the time and tried to change traditional knowledge system, and what is the perception, attitude and point of view to Western Learning shown in the period.