Taking an MA degree in history in 1985 from Shaanxi Normal University, from 1985 to 1991 he taught in the Air Force Politics Institute. In 1992 he graduated from Fudan University with a doctorate in history. From 1991 he has since been a Professor in the Department of History, Academy of Letters, Shanghai University.
An article entitled "1998: The Discourse of Liberalism," which spoke of a "resurfacing" of liberal thought, struck a particularly resonance, as it appeared in the widely circulated Nanfang Zhoumo [Southern Weekend].
Zhu Xueqin was among the those who found works of the brilliant but isolated and tragically persecuted social theorist Gu Zhun particularly inspiring when rediscovered in the mid 1990s.
An interview with him entitled "For a Chinese Liberalism" is published in the book One China, Many Paths.