"China must have a number of top-class universities at the international level", former President Jiang Zemin (1998), at the 100th centenary celebrations of Peking University
Since the cultural revolution brought the closure of China's then roughly 200 universities, China has now developed the largest higher education system in the world.
Project 985, which gave additional funding to an initial nine elite universities was formed to achieve the goal of China having a number of internationally elite universities.
These initial nine universities, known as the C9, are comprised of the following: Fudan University (Shanghai), Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, Xian Jiaotong University and Zhejiang University.
Note that 'Jiaotong' means transport in Mandarin, and is commonly used in the name of universities with a traditional specialty in the sciences. 'Normal' ('Shifan') universities meantime are traditionally teacher/academic training universities. Most universities have broadened from their specific core purpose of origin.
An additional 30 universities meantime have since also received enhanced funding.
In 2009, the group united around a formal C9 concept, and will now recognise each other's course credits, share resources and allow students to attend courses on each other's campuses.
While in many ways the C9 emulates America's Ivy League, it differs in the following ways:
The additional thirty universities comprise the following: