Ji Xianlin  (1911–2009) was born in the impoverished flatlands of Shandong Province, only weeks before the Qing government was overthrown, and educated in Germany in the 1930s. After the Second World War, he returned to China to co-chair the Eastern Languages Department at Peking University. A distinguished scholar of Sanskrit and Pali, Ji was best known as an influential essayist and public intellectual. 

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