Zhou Enlai (Wade-Giles: Chou Enlai) (March 5, 1898 – January 8, 1976), a prominent Communist Party of China leader, was Premier of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 until his death.
Zhou Enlai was born in Huai An, Jiangshu Province. His family, although of the education scholar class, was not well off. Zhou Enlai was the eldest son and eldest grandson of the Zhou family. Enlai was an orphan at the age of ten. At the age of twelve Enlai was enrolled in the Tang Guan model school that taught “new learning”, where Enlai learned about freedom, democracy and the American and French revolutions.
In 1913, at the age of fifteen, Enlai graduated from Tong Guan and in September of that year he was enrolled in the Nankai School, located in Tianjin.
The next step in Zhou’s education was to attend university in Tokyo. His goal was to become a teacher so that he could have influence on the youth of China. But in early May 1919, dejected and without completing his education, he left Japan. Zhou arrived in Tianjin on May 9th, in time to take part in the momentous May Fourth Movement of 1919.