China Professional Occupation Datasets (CPOD) 中国专业职业人员数据库

We have created China Professional Occupation Datasets (CPOD) for six professional occupations – certified accountants, engineers, health professionals, legal professionals, university faculty and staff, and academicians and experts – during the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to understand better the development of professional education and employment in China.

These six datasets include information for some 50,000 working professionals, largely from the Republic of China, many of who also have student records in the CUSD-ROC and CUSD-OS.  These datasets do not include individuals from the CGED-BY and ROC unless they worked in private practice as well as pubic service.  They also do not include many more individuals in the CUSD-BY, CUSD-ROC,  CUSD-OS, and CUSD-PRC who majored in a professional training program for whom we do not have any record of professional registration or employment.



The beginnings of modern professional education in China generally date from the dissolution of the civil service examination system in 1905 and the establishment of professional training programs by the Qing and later by the Beiyang Republican government in tertiary educational institutions called 專門學校 or Specialized School and 大學堂 which we translate as Academy.

These programs further evolved during the Guomindang Republican period into full fledged institutes 學院 and universities 大學.  However, in the absence of such non-government professional qualifying examinations as the Law and Medical boards typical in the Western world, much tertiary education in China continued to focus more on professional training and skills than broad education and learning in the liberal arts. This was especially true in such professionally related majors as business, education, engineering, health, and law where a tertiary university or institute degree was a prerequisite for official professional certification and for advanced professional and government employment.

Project History

Building on our collection of PRC university student data for Peking University beginning in 2003, Suzhou University beginning in 2006, and ROC university student data for these two and 35 other Republican universities beginning in 2010, we decided in 2016 to create the first China Professional Occupation Dataset (CPOD) when Bamboo Y. Ren discovered individual university faculty and staff personnel records from various universities in Northeast China among the microfilms of Liaoning Provincial Archives holdings stored at FamilySearch (Genealogical Society of Utah) in Hong Kong. James Z. Lee collaborating with Bamboo Y. Ren and Wenhao Jiang together compiled the CPOD-UE-PRC in 2017.  In 2018, Bamboo Ren further located two published volumes of faculty lists created by the ROC Ministry of Education in 1941 and 1944, and with the help of Zixin Zhang, Yuying Shen, and Haoyuan Li, compiled the CPOD-UE-ROC from these published books.  In 2019, Yibei Wu and Li Yang further expanded the CPOD-UE-ROC by collecting and adding individual faculty records dating from 1947 and 1948 preserved in the Second Historical Archives. In the meantime, James Z. Lee obtained permission and collaborated with the Zhejiang University Archives to add all ZJU employees records in the Republican period and the early People’s Republic period to the CPOD-UE-ROC.

Alongside the construction of the CPOD-UE, James Z. Lee encouraged Bamboo Y. Ren to explore and collect individual data for other professionals especially from the first half of the twentieth century for her PhD research. With the help of many coders, Bamboo subsequently produced the CPOD-CA-ROC in 2017, and the CPOD-EP-ROC, CPOD-LP-ROC and the CPOD-HP-ROC in 2019 and 2020.  At the same time, David Y. Zuo, working as a research assistant for James Z. Lee, began to compile the CPOD-AE which he completed before beginning his studies in Fall 2021 as a Nanjing University PhD student in history under Chen Liang.

CPOD Data Series

The CPOD currently includes six discrete datasets: the China Certified Accountant Dataset or CPOD-CA; the China Engineering Professional Dataset or CPOD-EP; the China Legal Professional Dataset or CPOD-LP; the China Health Professional Dataset or CPOD-HP; the China University Employee Dataset or CPOD-UE, and the China Academician and Expert Dataset or CPOD-AE. In every case, when appropriate, we also distinguish between the Republic of China and Peoples Republic of China.

The CPOD-CA currently includes 2,021 records of 2008 unique certified accountants who registered with the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs, 490 of whom are also in the CUSD-ROC. These ROC Ministry of Economic Affair Archives data are preserved in the Academia Sinica Institute of Modern History Archives in Taipei and available online. Variables include name, age, place of origin, prior education and employment qualifications, certificate of approval, and qualification date.

In September 2016, Bamboo Ren collected individual records of certified accountants compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs 經濟部 Archives from the Institute of Modern History Archives 近史所檔案館 of the Academia Sinica. With personal financial support from James Lee, she hired a coder in January 2017 and produced the CPOD-CA in March 2017.

The CPOD-EP currently includes data on 20,967 engineers in the Republic of China, 4358 of whom are also in the CUSD-ROC. Most of the CPOD-EP-ROC data are from Who’s Who of Chinese Engineers published in 1941, based on a survey by the ROC National Resources Commission supplemented by published lists of members of the China Institute of Engineers and the Chinese Society of Power Engineering, 1919-1948. Common variables include name, place of origin, education qualification, employment history, and correspondence address and phone number.

In 2018, Bamboo Ren with the help of coders organized by Yibei Wu began data entry for  Chinese engineers published in 1941 as Who’s Who of Chinese Engineers to produce the initial version of the CPOD-EP in April 2019.  With the help of Xiulan Li, she expanded these data beginning in July 2020 by adding archival records of certified engineers collected by the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs 經濟部 stored in the Archives of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica to produce the current version of the CPOD-EP in November 2020.

The CPOD-LP currently includes just 1,350 lawyers based on various Law Association Membership Lists from Beijing and Shanghai during the Republic of China, but will hopefully grow to include more localities. Primary sources for the CPOD-LP-ROC are a list of members of the Beijing Law Association from 1912 to 1931 summarized in Michael Ng 2014, and a list of members of the Shanghai Law Association in 1935 from The Modern and Contemporary Persons Integrated Information System constructed by Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica. Common variables include year, name, place of origin, and university education.

The CPOD-HP currently includes 5,024 doctors of Western medicine in the Republic of China. The primary source for the CPOD-HP-ROC is the Chinese Medical Directory published by the Chinese Medical Association in 1940 and 1947. Common variables include name, place of origin, sex, office address, residence address, telephone number, education qualifications, employment history and publications.

In 2014, Bamboo Ren collected and explored the 1928, 1932, 1937, and 1940 editions of the Chinese Medical Directory. However, it was not until she discovered the 1947 edition in 2018 with help from Yibei Wu, that she began to construct the CPOD-HP which was completed in June 2019.

As for the CPOD-UE-ROC, we have already entered data for 5,340 university professorial faculty surveyed by the Ministry of Education in 1941 and 1944, 1,229 of whom can be traced to their CUSD-ROC records. While the MOE also did a similar survey in 1947 of another 2000 plus professorial and teaching faculty, we are only able to locate part of the data for these individuals at the Second Historical Archives of China. In addition, the Zhejiang University Archives has completed data entry for 15,000 university employee records from the Zhejiang University Archives which they have agreed to share with us. Common variables include name, sex, age, place of origin, discipline, concentration, academic position, prior tertiary and post tertiary education, employment history, and current employer.

The CPOD-UE-ROC was produced in three stages. In late 2017, Bamboo Ren discovered a 1941 published volume of university faculty compiled by the Republican Ministry of Education 教育部, and with the help of Yuying Shen coded these data to produce the CPOD-UE-ROC_1941 in April 2018. Bamboo subsequently also discovered a similar 1944 published volume of Republican faculty and with the help of Haoyuan Li and Zixin Zhang also produced the CPOD-UE-ROC_1944 that August. Starting from October 2018, with the help of Li Yang and Yibei Wu, she then collected and coded unpublished data from 1947 and 1948 of other qualified faculty stored individually in the Second Historical Archives to produce the current version of the CPOD-UR-ROC in July 2019.

We have also begun to compile the CPOD-UE-PRC which currently includes over 5,500 individual records of university employees in the People’s Republic of China. This sub-dataset is expanding and will eventually include over 15,000 records of university employees from 1949 on. The primary source for the CUED-PRC are the CVs and registration forms of university employees collected during the period of Reorganization of the Higher Education System in China (yuanxi tiaozheng). Other sources include various lists of university employees reported to the Higher Education Education Bureau in the 1950s and 1960s stored in the Beijing and Shanghai Municipal Archives. Common variables include name, sex, age, place of origin, family origin, health status, ethnicity, religion, political studies, teaching experience, publications education qualification, courses taught, skills, foreign language ability, family background and biographic information of family members.


in December 2016, Bamboo Ren first explored individual university faculty and staff records microfilmed by the Liaoning Provincial Archives for FamilySearch. She subsequently collected these materials with the help of the Family Search Hong Kong office, and with Wenhao Jiang and others started coding them in July 2017 to produce the CPOD-UE-PRC-Dongbei in 2018.


In October 2018, Yibei Wu discovered in the Hubei Provincial Library a 1950 compilation of all faculty at universities in East China, and subsequently coded these data to produce the CPOD-UE-PRC-Huadong in May 2019.

The CPOD-AE contains detailed information for 4999 scholars who comprise many of the best scholars in the Chinese academe including 53 Academia Sinica Fellows elected in the physical and biological sciences before 1949, 2545 Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) academicians, 36 of whom were also Academia Sinica Fellows, elected beginning from 1955 and 1994 respectively, and 3308 ‘experts’ selected by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), 871 of whom were also CAS and CAE academicians.  Data for CAS and CAE academicians are from their online and published biographies as well as from the membership offices of both academies.  Data for CAST experts are largely from their published biographies in 钱三强, 朱光亚, 周光召. Eds, 1991-2015,《中国科学技术专家传略》(Collection of Biographies of Chinese Science and Technology Experts), 中国科学技术出版社, which includes 1351 engineers, 858 agrarian scientists, 807 natural scientists, and 334 medical scientists supplemented by other information from other sources.

Project Funding

Data entry for the CPOD has been supported by General Research Fund of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Project Number 16602117 James Z. Lee PI (Co-I Cameron Campbell, Liang Chen), The Social and Spatial Origins of China’s Educated Elite: 1865-2014 and by intramural funds from HKUST and SJTU, as well as personal funds from James Lee.

Data Access

The global Covid pandemic and consequent temporary closing of many archives and libraries has inevitably delayed the completion of the CPOD datasets several of which are still undergoing construction.  However, once we have completed our data construction and preliminary analyses, we do plan eventually to release these data for academic use in collaboration with our various co-investigators and collaborators.  The only exceptions are some of the FamilySearch (Genealogical Society of Utah) holdings which are considered proprietary as well as the CPOD-UE-ROC data from the Zhejiang University Archives which belongs to Zhejiang University.