Gong Zizhen (Kung Tzu-chen) 1792-1841

Poet, scholar and one of the most influential thinkers in late Qing (1636-1911). He was born in Hangzhou into a respected scholar-official family. His lifelong desire to serve the nation was frustrated by repeated failure to gain the jinshi degree. When he finally passed in 1829, his low ranking on the list disqualified him from the Hanlin Academy. He served as a minor official, retiring two years before his death. A reformist, he wrote extensively on social and political problems, particularly on issues related to government policies. His ideas had substantial influence on a later generation of reformers such as Kang Youwei d (1858-1927).