The Fight For The Republic in China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 444 pages of information about The Fight For The Republic in China.

Here you have the matter of foreign interests in China explained in the sense that they appear to Chinese.  It is not too much to say that this illustration of the deliberate lawlessness, which has too often been practised in the past by consuls who are simply Justices of the Peace, would be incredible elsewhere; and yet it is this lawlessness which has come to be accepted as part and parcel of what is called “policy” in China because in the fifty years preceding the establishment of the Republic a weak and effeminate mandarinate consistently sought safety in surrenders.  It is this lawlessness which must at all costs be suppressed if we are to have a happy future.  The Chinese people have so far contented themselves by pacific retaliation and have not exploded into rage; but those who see in the gospel of boycott an ugly manifestation of what lies slumbering should give thanks nightly that they live in a land where reason is so supreme.  Think of what might not happen in China if the people were not wholly reasonable!  Throughout the length and breadth of the land you have small communities of foreigners, mere drops in a mighty ocean of four hundred millions, living absolutely secure although absolutely at the mercy of their huge swarms of neighbours.  All such foreigners—­or nearly all—­have come to China for purposes of profit; they depend for their livelihood on co-operation with the Chinese; and once that co-operation ceases they might as well be dead and buried for all the good residence will do them.  In such circumstances it would be reasonable to suppose that a certain decency would inspire their attitude, and that a policy of give-and-take would always be sedulously practised; and we are happy to say that there is more of this than there used to be.  It is only when incidents such as the Chengchiatun and Laihsikai affairs occur that the placid population is stirred to action.  Even then, instead of turning and rending the many little defenceless communities—­as European mobs would certainly do—­they simply confine themselves to boycotting the offenders and hoping that this evidence of their displeasure will finally induce the world to believe that they are determined to get reasonable treatment.  The Chinese as a people may be very irritating in the slowness with which they do certain things—­though they are as quick in business as the quickest Anglo-Saxon—­but that is no excuse why men who call themselves superior should treat them with contempt.  The Chinese are the first to acknowledge that it will take them a generation at least to modernize effectively their country and their government; but they believe that having erected a Republic and having declared themselves as disciples of the West they are justified in expecting the same treatment and consideration which are to be given after the war even to the smallest and weakest nations of Europe.

FOOTNOTES: 

[23] Russian diplomats now deny that the Japanese proposals regarding the cession of the railway south of the Sungari river have ever been formally agreed to.

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The Fight For The Republic in China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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