6 Must-Know Terms Used by Tsinghua Students

From THU and C-Lou to Schwarz and a famous Chinese quote about Tsinghua sports, we’ve got you covered for the terms you need to know to survive at Tsinghua University.

Here are the six must-know terms:

1. THU

The official abbreviation for Tsinghua University. Established in 1911, THU is one of China’s top universities. The university’s motto is, “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment.” 

Fun Facts:

1. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended Tsinghua University (Class of 1979).

2. THU’s official school color is purple.

Photo: Tsinghua University

2. PKU

The official abbreviation for Peking University. PKU was the first modern national university established in China in 1898. The university’s motto is, “Ensuring Quality and Pursuing Excellence.”

Fun Facts:

  1. Former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, worked at PKU’s library in 1918 while auditing courses.
  2. PEK’s official school color is red.
Photo: pku.edu.cn

3. C-LOU

The term students use to describe Tsinghua University Building C. Lou in C-Lou is the pinyin writing of the Chinese character 楼, which means building

This term is pronounced “See Low.”

“I’ve gotten used to calling it C-Lou since that’s the Chinese name of it,” says Jenna Guðmundsdóttir, a first-year Master’s student in the School of Public Policy and Management from Iceland.

C-Lou is the C-shaped building in the middle of the campus map:

Photo: qinghuadx.com


The term students use to refer to Schwarzman College or a Schwarzman scholar. Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University hosts the Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious international scholarship programoffering students a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs. 

Photo: schwarzmanscholars.org

5.“无体育不清华”  (wu ti yu bu qing hua)

Direct translation: “No Sports, No Tsinghua”

Actual translation: “If you don’t play sports at Tsinghua, you technically don’t go to Tsinghua.”

A famous Chinese phrase to describe Tsinghua University’s emphasis on sports and physical education. Back in September 2017, Tsinghua University implemented a new law requiring undergraduate students to receive basic swimming certification as a graduation requirement. 

“Tsinghua has always been tied to sports and it’s part of our spirit,” says Dai Run Tao, a Chinese second year Master’s student in the School of Journalism and Communication.

Photo: Nico Gous

6.“难进好出” (nan jin hao chu)

Difficult to Enter, Easy to Exit

Another well-known Chinese phrase used by students to describe the academic experience at Tsinghua University and other top universities in China. The phrase refers to how it is more difficult to get admitted into university than to graduate from it. 

“In general, it’s a famous term about the universities here,” says Tiger de Jongé, a second year undergraduate student in the School of Aerospace Engineering from New Zealand.

Photo: tsinghua.edu.cn

Tsinghua University Photography Project

This photography project of Tsinghua University takes you on a journey to two unique places on campus.

The first set of photographs is of the Ziqing Pavilion. Situated beside a vast lotus pond, the pavilion structure stands out in vibrant colors of red, blue, and green.

The second set of photographs is of a mini market tucked away in Building 11. The space is quite small, yet crammed from top to bottom with snacks and packaged goods.

Both places are drastically different— which is why I decided to photograph them and combine them in this photography project.

Chaos and tranquility co-existing.

Just like inside of us.

This photography project is part of a series of blog posts for a course in the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University.