Peking University (abbreviated PKU, colloquially known as Beida) is a major research university in Beijing, China, and a member of the elite C9 League of Chinese universities. The first modern national university established in China, it was founded during the late Qing Dynasty in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking and was the successor of the Guozijian, or Imperial College. The university's English name retains the older transliteration of 'Beijing' that has been superseded in most other contexts.
Throughout its history, Peking University has played an important role 'at the center of major intellectual movements' in China. Starting from the early 1920s, the university became a center for China's emerging progressive movements. Faculty and students held important roles in originating the New Culture Movement, the May Fourth Movement protests, and other significant cultural and sociopolitical events, to the extent that the university's history has been closely tied to that of modern China. Peking University has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese figures, including Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Gu Hongming, Hu Shih, Mao Dun, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, and the current Premier Li Keqiang.
As of 2018, Peking University is consistently ranked as one of the two top academic institutions in China, along with nearby Tsinghua University. It is among the most selective universities for undergraduate admissions in China and hosts one of the only undergraduate liberal arts colleges in Asia. It is a Class A institution under the national Double First Class University program.
Peking University's faculty includes 76 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and 25 members of the World Academy of Sciences. Peking University Library is one of the largest libraries in the world with over 8 million volumes. The university also operates the PKU Hall, a professional performing arts centers, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Arts and Archaeology. Peking University's affiliated Founder Corporation is the largest university-affiliated company in China, with total assets valued at 239.3 billion renminbi as of 2016. Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds and the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture.