BA Anhui Normal, MA Nankai, PhD Harvard

Office: 10.36, Run Run Shaw Tower

Professor Xu Guoqi was born in China and taught both in Asia and the USA before joining the University of Hong Kong’s History Department. He writes and has published widely in both Chinese and English on various topics.

Professor Xu is a leading authority of international history of modern China. His peers in Society of Chinese Historians in the United States (CHUS) recently honored him with the 2008 academic excellence award. His most recent book Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008, published by Harvard University Press in spring 2008, was chosen by International Society of Olympic Historians as the best book of 2008. The same book also received rave reviews from Washington Post, [London] Times, Irish Times, New York Review of Books, South China Morning Post, Toronto Star, Journal of Asian Studies, among many others. The Phoenix Television (Hong Kong) devoted two whole episodes of its book program to focus on this book, a rare treatment for any authors. His ideas and comments have been frequently sought by media such as Associated Press, Reuters, the New York Times, the South China Morning Post. His invited articles appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, and other places. Professor Xu’s research has attracted worldwide attention and his research profiles and interviews appeared in both the United States and China. Most recently two long interviews of him regarding his research on Chinese laborers in France during the First World War and the May Fourth Movement were published respectively in 2009 from China in China Archives China Archives’ February issue (中国档案) and the July issue of Xi Hu Zazhi (西湖杂志), a popular literary journal.


Current Projects

Wei Wenming Chu Zheng: diyici shijie dazhan zhong xixian zhanchang de zhongguoren jiqi lűcheng (Journey in the name of civilizations: Chinese in the Western Front during WWI), Beijing: Inter-Continental Press (Chinese, French, and English editions), forthcoming.

Ideas of “China and Chineseness”

Research Interests

  • International history of modern China
  • China and the wide world
  • First World War and Asia
  • Sports history and diplomacy
  • Issues related to Chinese national identity and internationalization
  • US-China relations
  • Sino-Foreign relations
  • Ideas of China


難問西東集 [Nanwen Xidong Ji]

边缘人偶记 [Xu Guoqi’s Personal Memoir] | 2018 (Collector’s Ed.)

In this short memoir, Professor Xu wrote about his China and the world in last fifty years. Through his childhood in a poor Chinese countryside to a doctoral student at Harvard, he penned an amazing journey of learning and discovery. He also described his scholarly life as a professor in American universities and the University of Hong Kong and how he become an expert of international history of China and the world. This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to know about Professor Xu, his China and world.

Asia and the Great War: A Shared History

“From this Asian perspective, Xu Guoqi offers us a telling account of the instabilities inherent in imperial power in the aftermath of the war. What he offers us is a vision of a shared history, une histoire croisée, rather than separate and several national histories. […] All of Asia, indeed, the whole world, suffered in this age of iron, before the dreams of independence, so movingly described in this book, could be realized. Xu Guoqi’s powerful study of Asia and the Great War illuminates that dark story in important and enduring ways.”

– Jay Winter, Yale University and Monash University

Chinese and Americans: A Shared History

“The history of Chinese–American relations is the history of people, not just of high politics and diplomacy. Ours has been a relationship defined largely by the private spheres of Chinese who came to America and Americans who went to China. They went and came as advisers; as students and teachers, as workers, as intellectuals, and as entrepreneurs. And they still do. In this volume of elegant essays on the shared history of Chinese and Americans over the past two centuries, Xu Guoqi retells the sojourns of men well known in their time, but not in ours: of generations of cultural ambassadors who framed the foundation of the Chinese–American relationship we have inherited. Any serious student of U.S.–China relations will want to read this book.”

– William C. Kirby, Harvard University

Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War | 2019 (Second Chinese Ed.)

“This is the first comprehensive study of the roughly 140,000 Chinese laborers who worked in France during the Great War. Filled with rich details and based on extensive archival research, the book adds immeasurably to the literature on the war, international migrations, racism, and cross-cultural encounters. Written clearly and with a wonderful eye for the telling anecdote, the book will establish Xu as among the foremost scholars of modern Chinese and international history.”

– Akira Iriye, Harvard University

Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008

“Thoroughly researched and lucidly articulated, Mr. Xu’s book provides a unique perspective on China through the history of sports. Just as baseball and football define the heart and mind of America, China’s promotion of various sports as national games also speaks to the cultural psyche of a country seeking recognition in the global political arena.”

– Yunte Huang, Santa Barbara News-Press

“Xu Guoqi’s masterful survey of China’s hundred-year tryst with the Olympics, Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008, reminds the reader that sports have been central to the construction of the Chinese nation and its links with the rest of the world…Xu shows how politicians have micromanaged every aspect of China’s sporting progress.”

– Mark Leonard, Chronicle of Higher Education

China and the Great War: China’s Pursuit of a New National Identity and Internationalization | 2019 (Second Chinese Ed.) 

“Xu’s arguments are supported by rich archival materials from China, France, England, Germany, and the United States, which provide the most detailed discussion of China’s involvement in World War I to date. It is also a successful combination of national and international histories… Xu Guoqi has indeed taken us beyond the “betrayal” of the Versailles Conference to emphasize the importance of the Great War in China’s participation in the international community.”

– H-War

Full list of publications


  • HIST2114 China and the Wider World since 1600
  • HIST2118 Chinese and Americans: A cultural and international history
  • CCCH9032 Sports and Chinese Society


奧林匹克之夢:體育視野下的中國與世界 1895-2050 [Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895–2050]

CUHK Press 

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亚洲与一战:一部共有的历史 [Asia and the Great War: A Shared History]

Sichuan People’s Publishing House

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難問西東集 [Nanwen Xidong Ji]

Commercial Press 

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一戰中的華工 [Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War]

Shanghai People Publishing House 

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[Also in French & English: Aux champs de bataille pour la civilisation: les histoires des travailleurs chinois au front d’ouest pendant la premiere guerre mondiale/Long Journey for Civilization: Stories of Chinese Laborers on the Western Front in WWI/]

China Intercontinental Press 

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