NJU's development has always been closely linked with the destiny of China and its ever changing society. Nanjing Higher Normal School, the predecessor of NJU, played an important role in the upsurge of Chinese nationalism following the May Fourth Movement in 1919. In the early 1920s, a group of Chinese communist forerunners from this university introduced the theory of Marxism to the general public. The Second National Conference of Chinese Communist Youth League was also held here. During the Anti-Japanese War, Pan Shu, Liang Xi and Jin Baoshan, renowned professors from the university (then known as National Central University), organized the Natural Sciences Forum and the Democracy and Science Forum, which eventually led to the founding of the democratic party Jiu San Society. During the subsequent Liberation War, the university has always been at the forefront of fight for democracy and nationalism. On May 20, 1947, students from National Central University initiated an Anti-Hunger, Anti-Civil War, and Anti-Persecution” campaign, later known as the May 20th Patriotic Students Movement. Such a truth-seeking spirit has been carried forward to the era when the university was renamed Nanjing University. In May 1978, one scholar from the Philosophy Department published in the Guangming Daily an article titled Practice Is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth which evoked a heated discussion on the “criterion of truth and attracted nationwide attention.

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