Tuesday June 2, 2020


October 4, 2014


On October 4, 2014, USCPF President and former head of the Chinese Section at the Library of Congress Chi Wang spoke at Columbia University in New York for the launch of A Pioneer Remembered: A Biography of How Zoen Fong (Xia Ruifang, in pinyin). The launch was in collaboration with a symposium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of How Zoen Fong’s passing.

How Zoen Fong founded the distinguished Commercial Press in Shanghai in 1897. The Commercial Press is the longest-standing modern publishing house in China with independent operations in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It developed from a small print shop into a thriving enterprise under How Zoen Fong’s diligence, vision and managerial skills. He died in his prime in 1914 as a victim of assassination.

Mr. Chunmai Chao, President of the North American Chinese Writers Association and former columnist with The World Journal, authored the new biography. The biography is unique in that it was published with both the English and Chinese translations side-by-side. The renowned writer Kenneth Pai (Bai Xianyong, in pinyin) has called the book “one of the most outstanding and the most fascinating biographies he has read in recent years and is a must-read book for anyone interested in the history of modern Chinese culture and education.”


Jim Cheng, Director of the C.V. Starr Library of Columbia University, and Ben Wang, Co-chair of the Renwen Society of the China Institute presided over the symposium. Dr. Yong Ho, Co-Chair of the Renwen Society of the China Institute gave the opening remarks.

In addition to Dr. Wang and the author of the biography, several other notable figures provided remarks, including Mr. Wang Chunshen, Board Chair of the Commercial Press in Taiwan; Dr. Tai-lai Ma, Director of the East Asian Library at Princeton University; and Mr. Julian Suez, grandson of How Zoen Fong.

After the scheduled remarks, symposium attendees were given the opportunity to have their copies of the biography signed by the author and also view a display of books published by the Commercial Press under How Zoen Fong’s management. The event was sponsored by the Renwen Society of the China Institute, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, and the Asia-Pacific Development Society at Columbia University.

Dr. Wang’s prepared remarks can be read in full here.

For Chinese language reports of the event, please see the following:
SinoVision Net video, China Press Article