This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
His Excellency Fan Yuan-lien, was born at Hsiang-ying Hsien, Hunan, in 1872. He attended the Shi Hu School, in his native province, in 1899. After his graduation he went to Japan for higher education. He attended the Normal College of Tokyo, where he specialized in education. Upon the completion of his course, he attended the Law College, and took a few short courses in jurisprudence. Upon his return to China, he attracted much public attention; especially from the Chinese educational authorities.
He was invited by the Board of Education to be Councillor. Later he became the Vice-President of the Tsing Hua College. At the beginning of the Republic, in 1912, he was appointed by the incumbent President, Yuan Shih-kai, as Secretary to the President’s office. In April, of the same year, he was promoted to be Vice-Minister of Education. Upon the resignation of Mr. Tsai Yuan-pei, who became Chancellor of the Peking Government University, as Minister of Education, he succeeded him.
In January 1913, Mr. Fan resigned the office of Minister of Education, and went to Shanghai to be the Chief Editor of the compilation department of the Chung Hua Book Publishing Company. In 1916, when the Cabinet, with Marshal Tuan Chi-jui as Premier, was organized, Mr. Fan again joined the government service, and was appointed Minister of Education. A few months later, he was appointed to act also as a Minister of the Interior. On account of the monarchical movement of 1917, all of the Minsters resigned; he remained for some time, because of his Ministry had nothing to do with politics. In November 1917, he also resigned.
After his resignation, Mr. Fan went to America to make educational investigations, and returned in the spring of 1920. In the autumn of the same year, General Chin Yun Peng, upon being made Premier, again invited Mr. Fan to head the Ministry of Education. This offer was accepted.
In October 1920, Mr. Fan was awarded the First Order of Tashou Chiaho. In May 1921, he was appointed Minister of Education. This portfolio he held until December 1921. In November 1922, he received the First Order of Tashou Paokuang Chiaho. In February 1923, he was appointed President of the Teacher’s College, Peking. Mr. Fan is popular with the literary element of the country.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 51.