Zhang Zhiming, also known as Zhang Yinxi, was born in the ancient town of Guide in Qinghai province. He attended the local school when he was young and systematically studied traditional Confucianism by taking the influential or well-known scholar Qing Xiu Cai―Ning Zancheng as his teacher. However, the traditional imperial examination system was abolished and a new school system was founded, so he had no chance to take the examination.
When he was an adult, he could only teach in the Guide and Xining area. When he was in his 30's he served as the County Government Secretary of Datong, Tongren, Hualong, Guide and other county government departments and promoted the fields of Chinese literature, history, poetry, calligraphy and painting, music and traditional Chinese medicine.
After liberation, TCM clinics were set up in the South Street and West Street of Guide county town. Later these were merged into the county health care center. During the "Cultural Revolution", because of "historical problems", he moved his whole family to Donggou and other places and worked as a part-time "barefoot doctor." After 1976, he returned to Guide county town to become a doctor and to dispense medicine. He retired in 1982 and passed away on May 28th 1988 at the age of 83.
Mr. Zhang Yinxi abided by traditional ethics all his life and was famous for his benevolence, filial piety and honesty. No matter whether he was teaching or involved in political, medical or agricultural work he cherished the poor and pitied those who suffered. He also did his best to help his patients. Whenever a poor patient asked to be cured, he would receive subsidised or even free treatment. Actions like this meant that he became deeply loved by the local people.
Mr. Zhang had a wide range of knowledge, and was famous in the northwest of China for his profound poetic skills. His poetry style was simple and centered on themes such as human ethics and moral ideology, and people's livelihoods and the hardships they faced. More than 1000 residual poems were collected and published in two anthologies, in 1986 and 2005
When 'He Yin Literature Institute / Association' was founded in the early 1980s, Mr Zhang served as the honorary president. On the centenary of his birth, the Qinghai River Source Culture Research Association and the People's Government of Guide county held a special cultural seminar. They collected and published academic monographs and an anthology, "Zhang Mengxi's poetry and article collection" plus "Yinxi calligraphy remains." Mr Zhang also left a lot of documents in literary and historical circles. His works "Ma Zhongying's Aftercare After His Transit" and "My Memories of the Guide Qin Opera Troupe" were chosen to be added to a local literature and history series.
Mr. Zhang Yinxi lived through three dynasties and suffered a lot of misfortune. He is a typical old Confucian in the modern cultural history of Guide and Qinghai province and, as such is a representative of the cultural elites that existed in the Guide area.