The spread of Catholicism inBeijingin the early ages owed much to some officials and intellectuals, especially Xu Guangqi (1562-1633) fromShanghai.
Xu was the first intellectual believer in Catholicism in the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as well as the top official.
In 1595, he got to know several foreign missionaries inGuangzhou. In 1600, when he was on his way toBeijingfor the imperial examination, he met Matteo Ricci for the first time inNanjing, and admired the latter's knowledge.
In 1603, he acquainted another foreign missionary and got a brief idea of the Catholicism. Soon, he received baptism and converted to the Catholicism, getting the name of Paul.
In 1604, he passed the highest-level examination inBeijingand was offered an official post. Later, he was appointed as the prime minister.
He liked the western science and technology and finished several translation works. He was also the writer ofNongzheng Quanshu(Complete Treatise on Agriculture), one of four greatest agricultural books inChina.