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The Fight For The Republic In China by B.L. Putnam Weale

Part 6 out of 9

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Chinese authorities visited the Japanese barracks, and expressed
the desire that the affair be settled amicably. It was the
original intention of the Japanese troops to fight it out, but
they were completely out-numbered, and lest the safety of the
Japanese residents be endangered, they stopped fighting. On
examination of the dead bodies of seven Japanese soldiers, who
were attacked outside the barracks, it was discovered that they
had been all slain by the Chinese troops, the bodies bearing marks
of violence."

Without entering again into the merits of the case, we would ask
those who are acquainted with recent history whether it is likely
that Chinese soldiers, knowing all the pains and penalties
attaching to such action, would deliberately attack a body of
twenty armed Japanese under an officer as the Japanese official
account states? We believe that no impartial tribunal,
investigating the matter on the spot, could fail to point out the
real aggressors and withal lay bare the web of a most amazing
state of affairs. For in order to understand what occurred, on the
13th August, 1916, it is necessary to turn far away from
Chengchiatun and see what lies behind it all.

At the back of the brain of the Japanese Military Party, which by
no means represents the Japanese nation or the Japanese Government
although it exercises a powerful influence on both, is the fixed
idea that South Manchuria and Inner Mongolia must be turned into a
strongly held and fortified Japanese ENCLAVE, if the balance of
power in Eastern Asia is to be maintained. Pursuant to this idea,
Japanese diplomacy was induced many months ago to concentrate its
efforts on winning--if not wringing--from Russia the
strategically important strip of railway south of the Sungari
River, because (and this should be carefully noted) with the
Sungari as the undisputed dividing-line between the Russian and
Japanese spheres in Manchuria, and with Japanese shallow-draft
gun-boats navigating that waterway and entering the Nonni river,
it would be easily possible for Japan to complete a "Continental
quadrilateral" which would include Korea, South Manchuria and
Inner Mongolia, the extreme western barrier of which would be the
new system of Inner Mongolian railways centring round Taonanfu and
terminating at Jehol, for which Japan already holds the building
rights. [Footnote: 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.] policing rights
--in the outer zone of this enclave,--with a total exclusion of all
Chinese garrisons, is the preliminary goal towards which the
Japanese Military Party has been long plainly marching; and long
before anybody had heard of Chengchiatun, a scheme of
reconnoitring detachments had been put in force to spy out the
land and form working alliances with the Mongol bands in order to
harass and drive away all the representatives of Chinese
authority. What occurred, then, at Chengchiatun might have taken
place at any one of half-a-dozen other places in this vast and
little-known region whither Japanese detachments have silently
gone; and if Chinese diplomacy in the month of August, 1916, was
faced with a rude surprise, it was only what political students
had long been expecting. For though Japan should be the real
defender of Chinese liberties, it is a fact that in Chinese
affairs Japanese diplomacy has been too long dictated to by the
Military Party in Tokio and attempts nothing save when violence
allows it to tear from China some fresh portion of her

And here we reach the crux of the matter. One of the little known
peculiarities of the day lies in the fact that Japan is the land
of political inaction because there is no tradition of action save
that which has been built up by the military and naval chiefs
since the Chinese war of 1894-95. Having only visualized the world
in international terms during two short decades, there has been no
time for a proper tradition to be created by the civil government
of Japan; and because there is no such tradition, the island
empire of the East has no true foreign policy and is at the mercy
of manufactured crises, being too often committed to petty
adventures which really range her on the side of those in Europe
the Allies have set themselves to destroy. It is for this reason
that the Chinese are consistently treated as though they were
hewers of wood and drawers of water, helots who are occasionally
flattered in the columns of the daily press and yet are secretly
looked upon as men who have been born merely to be cuffed and
conquered. The Moukden Governor, General Chang Tso-ling,
discussing the Chengchiatun affair with the writer, put the matter
in a nutshell. Striking the table he exclaimed: "After all we are
not made of wood like this, we too are flesh and blood and must
defend our own people. A dozen times I have said, 'Let them come
and take Manchuria openly if they dare, but let them cease their
childish intrigues.' Why do they not do so? Because they are not
sure they can swallow us--not at all sure. Do you understand? We
are weak, we are stupid, we are divided, but we are innumerable,
and in the end, if they persist, China will burst the Japanese

Such passionate periods are all very well, but when it comes to
the sober business of the council chamber it is a regrettable fact
that Chinese, although foreign friends implore them to do so, do
not properly use the many weapons in their armoury. Thus in this
particular case, instead of at once hurrying to Chengchiatun some
of the many foreign advisers who sit kicking their heels in Peking
from one end of the year to the other and who number competent
jurisconsults, China did next to nothing. No proper report was
drawn up on the spot; sworn statements were not gathered, nor were
witnesses brought to Peking; and it therefore happened that when
Japan filed her demands for redress, China had not in her
possession anything save an utterly inadequate defence. Mainly
because of this she was forced to agree to foregoing any direct
discussion of the rights and wrongs of the case, proceeding
directly to negotiations based on the various claims which Japan
filed and which were as follows:--

1. Punishment of the General commanding the 28th Division.

2. The dismissal of officers at Chengchiatun responsible for the
occurrence as well as the severe punishment of those who took
direct part in the fracas.

3. Proclamations to be posted ordering all Chinese soldiers and
civilians in South Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia to refrain
from any act calculated to provoke a breach of the peace with
Japanese soldiers or civilians.

4. China to agree to the stationing of Japanese police officers in
places in South Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia where their
presence was considered necessary for the protection of Japanese
subjects. China also to agree to the engagement by the officials
of South Manchuria of Japanese police advisers.

And in addition:--

1. Chinese troops stationed in South Manchuria and Eastern Inner
Mongolia to employ a certain number of Japanese Military officers
as advisers.

2. Chinese Military Cadet schools to employ a certain number of
Japanese Military officers as instructors.

3. The Military Governor of Moukden to proceed personally to Port
Arthur to the Japanese Military Governor of Kwantung to apologize
for the occurrence and to tender similar personal apologies to the
Japanese Consul General in Moukden.

4. Adequate compensation to be paid by China to the Japanese
sufferers and to the families of those killed.

The merest tyro will see at once that so far from caring very much
about the killing of her soldiery, Japan was bent on utilizing the
opportunity to gain a certain number of new rights and privileges
in the zone of Southern Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia--
notably an extension of her police and military-supervision
rights. In spite, however, of the faulty procedure to which she
had consented, China showed considerable tenacity in the course of
negotiations which lasted nearly half a year, and by the end of
January, 1917, had whittled down the question of Japanese
compensation to fairly meagre proportions. To be precise the two
governments agreed to embody by the exchange of Notes the five
following stipulations:

1. The General commanding the 28th Division to be reprimanded.

2. Officers responsible to be punished according to law. If the
law provides for severe punishment, such punishment will be

3. Proclamations to be issued enjoining Chinese soldiers and
civilians in the districts where there is mixed residence to
accord considerate treatment to Japanese soldiers and civilians.

4. The Military Governor of Moukden to send a representative to
Port Arthur to convey his regret when the Military Governor of
Kwantung and Japanese Consul General at Moukden are there

5. A solatium of $500 (Five Hundred Dollars) to be given to the
Japanese merchant Yoshimoto.

But though the incident was thus nominally closed, and amicable
relations restored, the most important point--the question of
Japanese police-rights in Southern Manchuria and Eastern Inner
Mongolia--was left precisely where it had been before, the most
vigorous Chinese protests not having induced Japan to abate in the
slightest her pretensions. During previous years a number of
Japanese police-stations and police-boxes had been established in
defiance of the local authorities in these regions, and although
China in these negotiations recorded her strongest possible
objection to their presence as being the principal cause of the
continual friction between Chinese and Japanese, Japan refused to
withdraw from her contention that they did not constitute any
extension of the principle of extraterritoriality, and that indeed
Japanese police, distributed at such points as the Japanese
consular authorities considered necessary, must be permanently
accepted. Here then is a matter which will require careful
consideration when the Powers meet to revise their Chinese
Treaties as they must revise them after the world-war; for Japan
in Manchuria is fundamentally in no different a position from
England in the Yangtsze Valley and what applies to one must apply
to the other. The new Chinese police which are being distributed
in ever greater numbers throughout China form an admirable force
and are superior to Japanese police in the performance of nearly
all their duties. It is monstrous that Japan, as well as other
Powers, should act in such a reprehensible manner when the Chinese
administration is doing all it can to provide efficient guardians
of the peace.

The second case was one in which French officialdom by a curious
act of folly gravely alienated Chinese sympathies and gave a
powerful weapon to the German propaganda in China at the end of
1916. The Lao-hsi-kai dispute, which involved a bare 333 acres of
land in Tientsin, has now taken its place beside the Chengchiatun
affair, and has become a leading case in that great dossier of
griefs which many Chinese declare make up the corpus of Euro-
Chinese relations. Here again the facts are absolutely simple and
absolutely undisputed. In 1902 the French consular authorities in
Tientsin filed a request to have their Concession extended on the
ground that they were becoming cramped. The Chinese authorities,
although not wishing to grant the request and indeed ignoring it
for a long time, were finally induced to begin fitful
negotiations; and in October, 1916, after having passed through
various processes of alteration, reduction, and re-statement
during the interval of fourteen years, the issue had been so fined
down that a virtual agreement regarding the administration of the
new area had been reached--an agreement which the Peking
Government was prepared to put into force subject to one
reasonable stipulation, that the local opposition to the new grant
of territory which was very real, as Chinese feel passionately on
the subject of the police-control of their land-acreage, was first
overcome. The whole essence or soul of the disputes lay therein:
that the lords of the soil, the people of China, and in this case
more particularly the population of Tientsin, should accept the
decision arrived at which was that a joint Franco-Chinese
administration be established under a Chinese Chairman.

When the terms of this proposed agreement were communicated to the
Tientsin Consulate by the French Legation the arrangement did not
please the French Consul-General, who was under transfer to
Shanghai and who proposed to settle the case to the satisfaction
of his nationals before he left. There is absolutely no dispute
about this fact either--namely that the main pre-occupation of a
consular officer, charged primarily under the Treaties with the
simple preservation of law and order among his nationals, was the
closing-up of a vexatious outstanding case, by force if necessary,
before he handed over his office to his successor. It was with
this idea that an ultimatum was drawn up by the French Consul
General and, having been weakly approved by the French Legation,
was handed to the Chinese local authorities. It gave them a time-
limit of twenty-four hours in which to effect the complete police
evacuation of the coveted strip of territory on the ground that
the delay in the signature of a formal Protocol had been wilful
and deliberate and had closed the door to further negotiations;
and as no response came at the end of the time-limit, an open
invasion of Chinese territory was practised by an armed French
detachment; nine uniformed Chinese constables on duty being
forcibly removed and locked up in French barracks and French
sentries posted on the disputed boundary.

The result of this misguided action was an enormous Chinese outcry
and the beginning of a boycott of the French in North China,--and
this in the middle of a war when France has acted with inspiring
nobility. Some 2,000 native police, servants and employes promptly
deserted the French Concession en masse; popular unions were
formed to keep alive resentment; and although in the end the
arrested police were set at liberty, the friendly intervention of
the Allies proved unable to effect a settlement of the case which
at the moment of writing remains precisely where it was a year
ago. [Footnote: A further illustration of the action of French
diplomacy in China has just been provided (April, 1917) in the
protest lodged by France against the building of a railway in
Kwangsi Province by American engineers with American capital,--
France claiming exclusive rights in Kwangsi by virtue of a letter
sent by the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs to the French
Legation in 1914 as settlement for a frontier dispute in that
year. The text of the letter is as follows:

"The dispute that rose in consequence of the disturbance at the
border of Annam and Kwangsi has been examined into by the Joint
Committee detailed by both parties concerned, and a conclusion has
been reached to the effect that all matters relating to the
solution of the case would be carried out in accordance with the
request of Your Excellency.

"In order to demonstrate the especially good friendly relations
existing between the two countries, the Republican Government
assures Your Excellency that in case a railway construction or a
mining enterprise being undertaken in Kwangsi Province in the
future, for which foreign capital is required, France would first
be consulted for a loan of the necessary capital. On such an
occasion, the Governor of Kwangsi will directly negotiate with a
French syndicate and report to the Government." It is high time
that the United States raises the whole question of the open door
in China again, and refuses to tolerate any longer the old
disruptive and dog-in-the-manger policy of the Powers. America is
now happily in a position to inaugurate a new era in the Far East
as in the Far West and to stop exploitation.]

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.



The question of Chinese sentiments on the subject of the war, as
well as the precise relations between the Chinese Government and
the two groups of belligerents, are matters which have been
totally misunderstood. To those who have grasped the significance
of the exhaustive preceding account of the Republic in travail,
this statement should not cause surprise; for China has been in no
condition to play anything but an insignificant and unsatisfactory
role in world-politics.

When the world-war broke out China was still in the throes of her
domestic troubles and without any money at all in her Central
Treasury; and although Yuan Shih-kai, on being suddenly confronted
with an unparalleled international situation, did initiate certain
negotiations with the German Legation with a view to securing a
cancellation of the Kiaochow lease, the ultimatum which Japan
dispatched to Germany on the 15th August, 1914, completely
nullified his tentative proposals. Yuan Shih-kai had, indeed, not
been in the slightest degree prepared for such a sensational
development as war between Japan and Germany over the question of
a cruiser-base established on territory leased from China; and
although he considered the possibility of sending a Chinese force
to co-operate in the attack on the German stronghold, that project
was never matured, whilst his subsequent contrivances, notably the
establishment of a so-called war-zone in Shantung, were without
international value, and attracted no attention save in Japan.

Chinese, however, did not remain blind to the trend of events.
After the fall of Tsingtao and the subsequent complications with
Japan, which so greatly served to increase the complexities of a
nebulous situation, certain lines of thought insensibly developed.
That the influential classes in China should have desired that
Germany should by some means rehabilitate herself in Europe and so
be placed in a position to chastise a nation that for twenty years
had brought nothing but sorrow to them was perhaps only natural;
and it is primarily to this one cause that so-called sympathy with
Germany during the first part of the war has been due. But it must
also be noticed that the immense German propaganda in China during
the first two years of the war, coupled with the successes won in
Russia and elsewhere, powerfully impressed the population--not so
much because they were attracted by the feats of a Power that had
enthroned militarism, but because they wrongly supposed that
sooner or later the effects of this military display would be not
only to secure the relaxation of the Japanese grip on the country
but would compel the Powers to re-cast their pre-war policies in
China and abandon their attempts at placing the country under
financial supervision. Thus, by the irony of Fate, Germany in
Eastern Asia for the best part of 1914, 1915 and 1916, stood for
the aspirations of the oppressed--a moral which we may very
reasonably hope will not escape the attention of the Foreign
Offices of the world. Nor must it be forgotten that the modern
Chinese army, being like the Japanese, largely Germany-trained and
Germany-armed, had a natural predilection for Teutonism; and since
the army, as we have shown, plays a powerful role in the politics
of the Republic, public opinion was greatly swayed by what it
proclaimed through its accredited organs.

Be this as it may, it was humanly impossible for such a vast
country with such vast resources in men and raw materials to
remain permanently quiescent during an universal conflagration
when there was so much to be salvaged. Slowly the idea became
general in China that something had to be done; that is that a
state of technical neutrality would lead nowhere save possibly to

As early as November, 1915, Yuan Shih-kai and his immediate
henchmen had indeed realized the internal advantages to be derived
from a formal war-partnership with the signatories of the Pact of
London, the impulse to the movement being given by certain
important shipments of arms and ammunition from China which were
then made. A half-surreptitious attempt to discuss terms in Peking
caused no little excitement, the matter being, however, only
debated in very general terms. The principal item proposed by the
Peking government was characteristically the stipulation that an
immediate loan of two million pounds should be made to China, in
return for her technical belligerency. But when the proposal was
taken to Tokio, Japan rightly saw that its main purpose was simply
to secure an indirect foreign endorsement of Yuan Shih-kai's
candidature as Emperor; and for that reason she threw cold-water
on the whole project. To subscribe to a formula, which besides
enthroning Yuan Shih-kai would have been a grievous blow to her
Continental ambitions, was an unthinkable thing; and therefore the
manoeuvre was foredoomed to failure.

The death of Yuan Shih-kai in the Summer of 1916 radically altered
the situation. Powerful influences were again set to work to stamp
out the German cult and to incline the minority of educated men
who control the destinies of the country to see that their real
interests could only lie with the Allies, who were beginning to
export Chinese man-power as an auxiliary war-aid and who were very
anxious to place the whole matter on a sounder footing. Little
real progress was, however, made in the face of the renewed German
efforts to swamp the country with their propaganda. By means of
war-maps, printed in English and Chinese, and also by means of an
exhaustive daily telegraphic service which hammered home every
possible fact illustrative of German invincibility, the German
position in China, so far from being weakened, was actually
strengthened during the period when Rumania was being overrun. By
a singular destiny, any one advocating an alliance with the Allies
was bitterly attacked not only by the Germans but by the Japanese
as well--this somewhat naive identification of Japan's political
interest with those of an enemy country being an unique feature of
the situation worthy of permanent record.

It was not until President Wilson sent out his Peace offering of
the 19th December, 1916, that a distant change came. On this
document being formally communicated to the Chinese Government
great interest was aroused, and the old hopes were revived that it
would be somehow possible for China to gain entry at the
definitive Peace Congress which would settle beyond repeal the
question of the disposal of Kiaochow and the whole of German
interests in Shantung Provinces,--a subject of burning interest to
the country not only because of the harsh treatment which had been
experienced at the hands of Japan, but because the precedent
established in 1905 at the Portsmouth Treaty was one which it was
felt must be utterly shattered if China was not to abandon her
claim of being considered a sovereign international State. On that
occasion Japan had simply negotiated direct with Russia concerning
all matters affecting Manchuria, dispatching a Plenipotentiary to
Peking, after the Treaty of Peace had been signed, to secure
China's adhesion to all clauses EN BLOC without discussion. True
enough, by filing the Twenty-one Demands on China in 1915--when
the war was hardly half-a-year old--and by forcing China's assent
to all Shantung questions under the threat of an Ultimatum, Japan
had reversed the Portsmouth Treaty procedure and apparently
settled the issues at stake for all time; nevertheless the Chinese
hoped when the facts were properly known to the world that this
species of diplomacy would not be endorsed, and that indeed the
Shantung question could be reopened.

Consequently great pains were taken at the Chinese Foreign Office
to draft a reply to the Wilson Note which would tell its own
story. The authorized translation of the document handed to the
American Legation on the 8th January has therefore a peculiar
political interest. It runs as follows:--

"I have examined with the care which the gravity of the question
demands the note concerning peace which President Wilson has
addressed to the Governments of the Allies and the Central Powers
now at war and the text of which Your Excellency has been good
enough to transmit to me under instructions of your Government.

"China, a nation traditionally pacific, has recently again
manifested her sentiments in concluding treaties concerning the
pacific settlement of international disputes, responding thus to
the voeux of the Peace Conference held at the Hague.

"On the other hand, the present war, by its prolongation, has
seriously affected the interests of China, more so perhaps than
those of other Powers which have remained neutral. She is at
present at a time of reorganization which demands economically and
industrially the co-operation of foreign countries, a co-operation
which a large number of them are unable to accord on account of
the war in which they are engaged.

"In manifesting her sympathy for the spirit of the President's
Note, having in view the ending as soon as possible of the
hostilities, China is but acting in conformity not only with her
interests but also with her profound sentiments.

"On account of the extent which modern wars are apt to assume and
the repercussions which they bring about, their effects are no
longer limited to belligerent States. All countries are interested
in seeing wars becoming as rare as possible. Consequently China
cannot but show satisfaction with the views of the Government and
people of the United States of America who declare themselves
ready, and even eager, to co-operate when the war is over, by all
proper means to assure the respect of the principle of the
equality of nations, whatever their power may be, and to relieve
them of the peril of wrong and violence. China is ready to join
her efforts with theirs for the attainment of such results which
can only be obtained through the help of all."

Already, then, before there had been any question of Germany's
ruthless submarine war necessitating a decisive move, China had
commenced to show that she could not remain passive during a
world-conflict which was indirectly endangering her interests.
America, by placing herself in direct communication with the
Peking Government on the subject of a possible peace, had given a
direct hint that she was solicitous of China's future and
determined to help her as far as possible. All this was in strict
accordance with the traditional policy of the United States in
China, a policy which although too idealistic to have had much
practical value--being too little supported by battleships and
bayonets to be respected--has nevertheless for sixty years
tempered the wind to the shorn lamb. The ground had consequently
been well prepared for the remarkable denouement which came on the
9th February, 1917, and which surprised all the world.

On the fourth of that month the United States formally
communicated with China on the subject of the threatened German
submarine war against neutral shipping and invited her to
associate herself with America in breaking-off diplomatic
relations with Germany. China had meanwhile received a telegraphic
communication from the Chinese Minister in Berlin transmitting a
Note from the German Government making known the measures
endangering all merchant vessels navigating the prescribed zones.
The effect of these two communications on the mind of the Chinese
Government was at first admittedly stunning and very varied
expressions of opinion were heard in Peking. For the first time in
the history of the country the government had been invited to take
a step which meant the inauguration of a definite Foreign policy
from which there could be no retreat. For four days a discussion
raged which created the greatest uneasiness; but by the 8th
February, President Li Yuan-hung had made up his mind--the final
problem being simply the "conversion" of the Military Party to the
idea that a decisive step, which would forever separate them from
Germany, must at last be taken. It is known that the brilliant
Scholar Liang Ch'i-chao, who was hastily summoned to Peking,
proved a decisive influence and performed the seemingly impossible
in a few hours' discussion. Realizing at once the advantages which
would accrue from a single masculine decision he advised instant
action in such a convincing way that the military leaders
surrendered. Accordingly on the 9th February the presence of the
German Minister was requested at the Chinese Foreign Office when
the following Note was read to him and subsequently transmitted
telegraphically to Berlin.

Your Excellency:

A telegraphic communication has been received from the Chinese
Minister at Berlin transmitting a note from the German Government
dated February 1st, 1917, which makes known that the measures of
blockade newly adopted by the Government of Germany will, from
that day, endanger neutral merchant vessels navigating in certain
prescribed zones.

The new measures of submarine warfare, inaugurated by Germany,
imperilling the lives and property of Chinese citizens to even a
greater extent than the measures previously taken which have
already cost so many human lives to China, constitute a violation
of the principles of public international law at present in force;
the tolerance of their application would have as a result the
introduction into international law of arbitrary principles
incompatible with even legitimate commercial intercourse between
neutral states and between neutral states and belligerent powers.

The Chinese Government, therefore, protests energetically to the
Imperial German Government against the measures proclaimed on
February 1st, and sincerely hopes that with a view to respecting
the rights of neutral states and to maintaining the friendly
relations between these two countries, the said measures will not
be carried out.

In case, contrary to its expectations, its protest be ineffectual
the Government of the Chinese Republic will be constrained, to its
profound regret, to sever the diplomatic relations at present
existing between the two countries. It is unnecessary to add that
the attitude of the Chinese Government has been dictated purely by
the desire to further the cause of the world's peace and by the
maintenance of the sanctity of international law.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the
assurance of my highest consideration.

At the same time the following reply was handed to the American
Minister in Peking thus definitely clinching the matter:

Your Excellency:

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's
Note of the 4th February, 1917, informing me that the Government
of the United States of America, in view of the adoption by the
German Government of its new policy of submarine warfare on the
1st of February, has decided to take certain action which it
judges necessary as regards Germany.

The Chinese Government, like the President of the United Slates of
America, is reluctant to believe that the German Government will
actually carry into execution those measures which imperil the
lives and property of citizens of neutral states and jeopardize
the commerce, even legitimate, between neutrals as well as between
neutrals and belligerents and which tend, if allowed to be
enforced without opposition, to introduce a new principle into
public international law.

The Chinese Government being in accord with the principles set
forth in Your Excellency's note and firmly associating itself with
the Government of the United States, has taken similar action by
protesting energetically to the German Government against the new
measures of blockade. The Chinese government also proposes to take
such action in the future as will be deemed necessary for the
maintenance of the principles of international law.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the
assurance of my highest consideration.

His Excellency Paul S. Reinsch, Envoy Extraordinary & Minister
Plenipotentiary of The United States of America.

When these facts became generally known an extraordinary ferment
was noticeable. What efforts had to be made to overcome the not
inconsiderable opposition of the Military Party who were opposed
to any departure from a policy of passive neutrality need not now
be set down; but it is sufficient to state that the decision
arrived at was in every sense a victory of the younger
intellectual forces over the older mandarinate, whose traditions
of laissez faire and spineless diplomacy had hitherto cost the
country so dear. A definite and far-reaching Foreign Policy had at
last been inaugurated. By responding rapidly and firmly to the
invitation of the United States to associate herself with the
stand taken against Germany's piratical submarine warfare, China
has undoubtedly won for herself a new place in the world's esteem.
Both in Europe and America the news of this development awakened
well-understandable enthusiasm, and convinced men that the
Republic at last stood for something vital and real. Until the 9th
February, 1917, what China had been doing was not really to
maintain her neutrality, since she had been unable to defend her
territory from being made a common battleground in 1914: she had
been engaged in guarding and perpetuating her traditional
impotency. For whilst it may be accurate to declare--a fact which
few Westerners have realized--that to the mass of the Chinese
nation the various members of the European Family are
undistinguishable from one another, there being little to choose
in China between a Russian or a German, an Englishman or an
Austrian, a Frenchman or a Greek, the trade-contact of a century
had certainly taught to a great many that there was profit in
certain directions and none in certain others. It was perfectly
well-known, for instance, that England stood for a sea-empire;
that the sea was an universal road; that British ships, both
mercantile and military, were the most numerous; and that other
things being equal it must primarily be Britain more than any
other European country which would influence Chinese destinies.
But the British Alliance with Japan had greatly weakened the trust
which originally existed; and this added to the fact that Germany,
although completely isolated and imprisoned by the sea, still
maintained herself intact by reason of her marvellous war-machine,
which had ploughed forward with such horrible results in a number
of directions, had made inaction seem the best policy. And yet,
although the Chinese may be pardoned for not forming clear
concepts regarding the rights and wrongs of the present conflict,
they had undoubtedly realized that it was absolutely essential for
them not to remain outside the circle of international friendships
when a direct opportunity was offered them to step within.

It was a sudden inkling of these things which now dawned on the
public mind and slowly awakened enthusiasm. For the first time
since Treaty relations with the Powers had been established
Chinese diplomatic action had swept beyond the walls of Peking and
embraced world-politics within its scope. The Confucianist
conception of the State, as being simply a regional creation, a
thing complete in itself and all sufficient because it was locked
to the past and indifferent to the future, had hitherto been
supreme, foreign affairs being the result of unwilling contact at
sea-ports or in the wastes of High Asia where rival empires meet.
To find Chinese--five years after the inauguration of their
Republic--ready to accept literally and loyally in the western way
all the duties and obligations which their rights of eminent
domain confer was a great and fine discovery. It has been supposed
by some that a powerful role was played in this business by the
temptation to benefit materially by an astute move: that is that
China was greatly influenced in her decision by the knowledge that
the denouncing of the German treaties would instantly suspend the
German Boxer indemnity and pour into the depleted Central Treasury
a monthly surplus of nearly two million Mexican dollars.
Paradoxical as it may sound in a country notoriously hard-pressed
for cash, monetary considerations played no part whatever in
convincing the Peking Government that the hour for action had
arrived; nor again was there any question of real hostility to a
nation which is so far removed from the East as to be meaningless
to the masses. The deep, underlying, decisive influence was simply
expediency--the most subtle of all political reasons and the
hardest to define. But just as Britain declared war because the
invasion of Belgium brought to a head all the vague grounds for
opposition to German policy; and just as America broke off
relations because the scrapping of undertaking after undertaking
regarding the sea-war made it imperative for her to act, so did
China choose the right moment to enunciate the doctrine of her
independence by voicing her determination to hold to the whole
corpus of international sanctions on which her independence
finally rests. In the last analysis, then, the Chinese note of the
9th February to the German Government was a categorical and
unmistakable reply to all the insidious attempts which had been
made since the beginning of the war to place her outside and
beyond the operation of the Public Law of Europe; and it is solely
and entirely in that light that her future actions must be judged.
The leaders who direct the destinies of China became fully
prepared for a state of belligerency from the moment they decided
to speak; but they could not but be supremely anxious concerning
the expression of that belligerency, since their international
position had for years been such that a single false move might
cripple them.

Let us make this clear. Whilst China has been from the first fully
prepared to co-operate with friendly Powers in the taking of war-
measures which would ultimately improve her world-position, she
has not been prepared to surrender the initiative in these matters
into foreign hands. The argument that the mobilization of her
resources could only be effectively dealt with by specially
designated foreigners, for instance, has always been repellent to
her because she knows from bitter experience that although Japan
has played little or no part in the war, and indeed classifies
herself as a semi-belligerent, the Tokio Government would not
hesitate to use any opportunity which presented itself in China
for selfish ends; and by insisting that as she is on the spot she
is the most competent to insure the effectiveness of Chinese co-
operation, attempt to tighten her hold on the country. It is a
fact which is self-evident to observers on the spot that ever
since the coup of the Twenty-one Demands, many Japanese believe
that their country has succeeded in almost completely infeodating
China and has became the sovereign arbitrator of all quarrels, as
well as the pacificator of the Eastern World. Statements which
were incautiously allowed to appear in the Japanese Press a few
days prior to the Chinese Note of the 9th February disclose what
Japan really thought on the subject of China identifying herself
with the Allies. For instance, the following, which bears the
hall-mark of official inspiration, reads very curiously in the
light of after-events:

... "Dispatches from Peking say that England and France have
already started a flanking movement to induce China to join the
anti-German coalition. The intention of the Chinese Government has
not yet been learned. But it is possible that China will agree, if
conditions are favourable, thus gaining the right to voice her
views at the coming peace conference. Should the Entente Powers
give China a firm guarantee, it is feared here that China would
not hesitate to act.

"The policy of the Japanese Government toward this question cannot
yet be learned. It appears, however, that the Japanese Government
is not opposed to applying the resolutions of the Paris Economic
Conference, in so far as they concern purely economic questions,
since Japan desires that German influence in the commerce and
finance of the Orient should be altogether uprooted. But should
the Entente Powers of Europe try to induce China to join them,
Japan may object on the ground that it will create more
disturbances in China and lead to a general disturbance of peace
in the Orient."

Now there is not the slightest doubt in the writer's mind--and he
can claim to speak as a student of twenty years' standing--that
this definition of Japanese aims and objects is a very true one;
and that the subsequent invitation to China to join the Allies
which came from Tokio after a meeting between the Japanese
Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Allied Ambassadors was simply
made when a new orientation of policy had been forced by stress of
circumstances. Japan has certainly always wished German influence
in the Far East to be uprooted if she can take the place of
Germany; but if she cannot take that place absolutely and entirely
she would vastly prefer the influence to remain, since it is in
the nature of counterweight to that of other European Powers and
of America--foreign influence in China, as Mr. Hioki blandly told
the late President Yuan Shih-kai in his famous interview of the
18th January, 1915, being a source of constant irritation to the
Japanese people, and the greatest stumbling-block to a permanent
understanding in the Far East.

Chinese suspicion of any invitation coming by way of Tokyo has
been, therefore, in every way justified, if it is a reasonable and
legitimate thing for a nation of four hundred millions of people
to be acutely concerned about their independence; for events have
already proved up to the hilt that so far from the expulsion of
Germany from Shantung having resulted in the handing-back of
interests which were forcibly acquired from China in 1898, that
expulsion has merely resulted in Japan succeeding to such
interests and thereby obliterating all trace of her original
promise to the world in 1914 that she would restore to China what
was originally taken from her. Here it is necessary to remark that
not only did Japan in her negotiations over the Twenty-one Demands
force China to hand over the twelve million pounds of German
improvements in Shantung province, but that Baron Hayashi, the
present Japanese Minister to China, "has recently declared that
Japan would demand from China a vast settlement or concession at
Tsingtao, thus making even the alleged handing-back of the leased
territory--which Japan is pledged to force from Germany at the
Peace Conference--wholly illusory, the formula of a Settlement
being adopted because twelve years' experience of Port Arthur has
shown that territorial "leases," with their military garrisons and
administrative offices, are expensive and antiquated things, and
that it is easier to push infiltration by means of a multitude of
Settlements in which police-boxes and policemen form an important
element, than to cut off slices of territory under a nomenclature
which is a clamant advertisement of disruptive aims.

Now although these matters appear to be taking us far from the
particular theme we are discussing, it is not really so. Like a
dark thunder-cloud on the horizon the menace of Japanese action
has rendered frank Chinese co-operation, even in such a simple
matter as war-measures against Germany, a thing of supreme
difficulty. The mere rumour that China might dispatch an
Expeditionary Force to Mesopotamia was sufficient to send the host
of unofficial Japanese agents in Peking scurrying in every
direction and insisting that if the Chinese did anything at all
they should limit themselves to sending troops to Russia where
they would be "lost"--a suggestion made because that was what
Japan herself offered to do when she declined in 1915 the Allies'
proposal to dispatch troops to Europe. Nor must the fact be lost
sight of that as in other countries so in China, foreign affairs
provide an excellent opportunity for influencing the march of
internal events. Thus, as we have clearly shown, the Military
Party, although originally averse to any action at all, saw that a
strong foreign policy would greatly enhance its reputation and
allow it to influence the important elections for the Parliament
of 1918 which, sitting as a National Convention, will elect the
next President. Thus, in the extraordinary way which happens
throughout the world, the whole of February was consumed in the
rival political parties manoeuvring for position, the Vice-
President, General Feng Kuo-chang, himself coming hastily to
Peking from Nanking to take part in this elaborate game in which
many were now participating merely for what they could get out of

On the 4th March matters were brought to a climax by an open
breach between President Li Yuan-hung and the Premier, General
Tuan Chi-jui, at a Cabinet meeting regarding the procedure to be
observed in breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany.
Although nearly a month had elapsed, no reply had been received
from Berlin; and of the many plans of action proposed nothing had
been formally decided. Owing to the pressure Japan was exerting
from Tokio to get China to come to a definite arrangement, popular
anxiety was growing. Over the question of certain telegrams to be
communicated to the Japanese Government, of which he had been kept
in ignorance, President Li Yuan-hung took a firm stand; with the
result that the Premier, deeply offended, abruptly left the
Council Chamber, handed in his resignation and left the capital--a
course of action which threatened to provoke a national crisis.

Fortunately in President Li Yuan-hung China had a cool and
dispassionate statesman. At the first grave crisis in his
administration he wished at all costs to secure that the assent of
Parliament should be given to all steps taken, and that nothing so
speculative as a policy which had not been publicly debated should
be put into force. He held to this point doggedly; and after some
negotiations, the Premier was induced to return to the capital and
resume office, on the understanding that nothing final was to be
done until a popular endorsement had been secured.

On the 10th March the question was sent to Parliament for
decision. After a stormy debate of several hours in the Lower
House the policy of the Government was upheld by 330 votes to 87:
on the following day the Senate endorsed this decision by 158
votes to 37. By a coincidence which was too extraordinary not to
have been artificially contrived, the long-awaited Germany reply
arrived on the morning of this 10th March, copies of the document
being circulated wholesale by German agents among the Members of
Parliament in a last effort to influence their decision. The
actual text of the German reply was as follows, and it will be
seen how transparently worded it is:

To the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China:

YOUR EXCELLENCY: By the instructions of my home Government--which
reached me on the 10th inst.--I beg to forward you the following
reply to China's protest to the latest blockade policy of

"The Imperial German Government expresses its great surprise at
the action threatened by the Government of the Republic of China
in its Note of protest. Many other countries have also protested,
but China, which has been in friendly relations with Germany, is
the only State which has added a threat to its protest. The
surprise is doubly great, because of the fact that, as China has
no shipping interests in the seas of the barred zones, she will
not suffer thereby.

"The Government of the Republic of China mentions that loss of
life of Chinese citizens has occurred as the results of the
present method of war. The Imperial German Government wishes to
point out that the Government of the Republic of China has never
communicated with the Imperial Government regarding a single case
of this kind nor has it protested in this connexion before.
According to reports received by the Imperial Government, such
losses as have been actually sustained by Chinese subjects have
occurred in the firing line while they were engaged in digging
trenches and in other war services. While thus engaged, they were
exposed to the dangers inevitable to all forces engaged in war.
The fact that Germany has on several occasions protested against
the employment of Chinese citizens for warlike purpose is evident
that the Imperial Government has given excellent proof of its
friendly feelings toward China. In consideration of these friendly
relations the Imperial Government is willing to treat the matter
as if the threat had never been uttered. It is reasonable for the
Imperial Government to expect that the Government of the Republic
of China will revise its views respecting the question.

"Germany's enemies were the first to declare a blockade on Germany
and the same is being persistently carried out. It is therefore
difficult for Germany to cancel her blockade policy. The Imperial
Government is nevertheless willing to comply with the wishes of
the Government of the Republic of China by opening negotiations to
arrive at a plan for the protection of Chinese life and property,
with the view that the end may be achieved and thereby the utmost
regard be given to the shipping rights of China. The reason which
has prompted the Imperial Government to adopt this conciliatory
policy is the knowledge that, once diplomatic relations are
severed with Germany, China will not only lose a truly good friend
but will also be entangled in unthinkable difficulties."

In forwarding to Your Excellency the above instructions from my
home Government, I beg also to state that--if the Government of
China be willing--I am empowered to open negotiations for the
protection of the shipping rights of China.

I have the honour to be. ... (Signed by the German Minister.)
March 10, 1917.

With a Parliamentary endorsement behind them there remained
nothing for the Peking Government but to take the vital step of
severing diplomatic relations. Certain details remained to be
settled but these were expeditiously handled. Consequently,
without any further discussion, at noon on the 14th March the
German Minister was handed his passports, with the following
covering dispatch from the Chinese Foreign Office. It is worthy of
record that in the interval between the Chinese Note of the 9th
February and the German reply of the 10th March the French mail-
steamer Athos had been torpedoed in the Mediterranean and five
hundred Chinese labourers proceeding to France on board her

Your Excellency:--

With reference to the new submarine policy of Germany, the
Government of the Republic of China, dictated by the desire to
further the cause of world's peace and to maintain the sanctity of
International Law, addressed a protest to Your Excellency on
February 9th and declared that in case, contrary to its
expectations its protest be ineffectual, it would be constrained
to sever the diplomatic relations at present existing between the
two countries.

During the lapse of a month no heed has been paid to the protest
of the Government of the Republic in the activities of the German
Submarines, activities which have caused the loss of many Chinese
lives. On March 10, a reply was received from Your Excellency.
Although it states that the Imperial German Government is willing
to open negotiations to arrive at a plan for the protection of
Chinese life and property, yet it declares that it is difficult
for Germany to cancel her blockade policy. It is therefore not in
accord with the object of the protest and the Government of the
Chinese Republic, to its deep regret, considers its protest to be
ineffectual. The Government of the Republic is constrained to
sever the diplomatic relations at present existing with the
Imperial German Government. I have the honour to send herewith to
Your Excellency, the passport for Your Excellency, the members of
the German Legation and their families and retinue for protection
while leaving Chinese territory. With regard to the Consular
Officers of Germany in China, this Ministry has instructed the
different Commissioners of Foreign Affairs to issue to them
similarly passports for leaving the country.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the
assurance of my highest consideration.

March 14th, 1917.

It was not until eleven days later--on the 25th March--that the
German Minister and his suite reluctantly left Peking for Germany
via America. Meanwhile the Chinese Government remained undecided
regarding the taking of the final step as a number of important
matters had still to be settled. Not only had arrangements to be
made with the Allies but there was the question of adjusting
Chinese policy with American action. A special commission on
Diplomatic affairs daily debated the procedure to be observed, but
owing to the conflict of opinion in the provinces further action
was greatly delayed. As it is necessary to show the nature of this
conflict we give two typical opinions submitted to the Government
on the question of a formal declaration of war against Germany
(and Austria). The first Memorandum was written for the Diplomatic
Commission by the scholar Liang Ch'i-chao and is singularly


"Those who question the necessity for war can only quote the
attitude of America as example. The position of China is, however,
different from that of America in two points. First, actual
warfare will follow immediately after America's declaration of
war, so it is necessary for her to make the necessary preparations
before taking the step. For this purpose, America has voted
several hundred million dollars for an increase of her naval
appropriations. America therefore cannot declare war until she has
completed every preparation. With China it is different. Even
after the declaration of war, there will be no actual warfare. It
is therefore unnecessary for us to wait.

"Secondly, America has no such things as foreign settlements,
consular jurisdiction or other un-equal treaties with Germany.
Under the existing conditions America has no difficulties in
safeguarding herself against the Germans residing in America after
the severance of diplomatic relations even though war has not yet
been actually declared, and as to future welfare, America will
have nothing to suffer even though her old treaties with Germany
should continue to be operative. It is impossible for China to
take the necessary steps to safeguard the country against the
Germans residing in China unless the old treaties be cancelled.
For unless war is declared it is impossible to cancel the consular
jurisdiction of the Germans, and so long as German consular
jurisdiction remains in China we will meet with difficulties
everywhere whenever we wish to deal with the Germans. If our
future is to be considered, unless war is declared, the old
treaties will again come into force upon the resumption of
diplomatic relations, in which case we shall be held responsible
for all the steps which we have taken in contravention of treaties
during the rupture. It will be advantageous to China if the old
treaties be cancelled by a declaration of war and new treaties be
negotiated after the conclusion of peace.

"In short by severing diplomatic relations with Germany China has
already incurred the ill-feelings of that country. We shall not be
able to lessen the hostile feelings of the Germans even if we
refrain from declaring war on them. It is therefore our obligation
to choose the course that will be advantageous to us. This is not
reluctantly yielding to the request of the Entente Allies. It is
the course we must take in our present situation.


"The presumptuous manner in which Germany has replied to our
demand is an open affront to our national integrity. Recently
Germany has deliberately shown hostility to our advice by
reiterating her determination to carry out the ruthless submarine
policy with increased vigour. All these are reasons for diplomatic
rupture as well as for declaration of war. Furthermore, the peace
of the Far East was broken by the occupation of Kiachow by
Germany. This event marked the first step of the German disregard
for international law. In the interests of humanity and for the
sake of what China has passed through, she should rise and punish
such a country, that dared to disregard international law. Such a
reason for war is certainly beyond criticism.


"War should be declared as soon as possible. The reason for the
diplomatic rupture is sufficient reason for declaring war. This
has already been explained. It would be impossible for us to find
an excuse for declaring war if war be declared now. According to
usual procedure war is declared when the forces of the two
countries come into actual conflict. Now such a possibility does
not exist between China and Germany. Since it is futile to expect
Germany to declare war on us first, we should ask ourselves if war
is necessary. If not, then let us go on as we are, otherwise we
must not hesitate any more.

"Some say that China should not declare war on Germany until we
have come to a definite understanding with the Entente Allies
respecting certain terms. This is indeed a wrong conception of
things. We declare war because we want to fight for humanity,
international law and against a national enemy. It is not because
we are partial towards the Entente or against Germany or Austria.
International relations are not commercial connexions. Why then
should we talk about exchange of privileges and rights? As to the
revision of Customs tariff, it has been our aspiration for more
than ten years and a foremost diplomatic question, for which we
have been looking for a suitable opportunity to negotiate with the
foreign Powers. It is our view that the opportunity has come
because foreign Powers are now on very friendly terms with China.
It is distinctly a separate thing from the declaration of war. Let
no one try to confuse the two.


"If China decides to declare war on Germany the same attitude
should be taken towards Austria. We have severed diplomatic
relations with Germany but retain the status quo with Austria.
This is fraught with danger. German intrigue is to be dreaded.
What they have done in America and Mexico is enough to shock us.
The danger can easily be imagined when we remember that they have
in China the Austrian Legation, Austrian Consulates and Austrian
concessions as their bases of operation for intrigue and plotting.
Some say we should follow America, which has not yet severed
diplomatic relations with Austria. This is a great mistake.
America can afford to ignore Austria because there are no Austrian
concessions and Austrian consular jurisdiction in America.

"The question is then what steps should be taken to sever
diplomatic relations with and declare war on Austria. The solution
is that since Austria has also communicated to our Minister
regarding her submarine policy we can serve her with an ultimatum
demanding that the submarine policy be cancelled within twenty-
four hours. If Austria refuses, China may sever diplomatic
relations and declare war at the same time immediately upon the
expiry of the twenty-four hour limit.

"In conclusion I wish to say that whenever a policy is adopted we
should carry out the complete scheme. If we should hesitate in the
middle and become afraid to go ahead we will soon find ourselves
in an embarrassing position. The Government and Parliament should
therefore stir up courage and boldly make the decision and take
the step.

Unanswerable as seem these arguments to the Western mind, they
were by no means so to the mass of Chinese who are always fearful
lest some sudden reshuffling in the relationships existing between
foreign Powers exposes them to new and greater calamities. This
Chinese viewpoint, with its ignorance of basic considerations, is
well-illustrated by the Second Memorandum, which follows. Written
by the famous reformer of 1898 Kang Yu-wei, it demonstrates how
greatly the revolutionists of 1911 are in advance of a school
which was the vogue less than twenty years ago and which is
completely out of touch with the thought which the war has made
world-wide. Nevertheless the line of argument which characterizes
this utterance is still a political factor in China and must be


... "The breach between the United States and Germany is no
concern of ours. But the Government suddenly severed diplomatic
relations with Germany and is now contemplating entry into the
war. This is to advance beyond the action of the United States
which continues to observe neutrality. And if we analyse the
public opinion of the country, we find that all peoples--high and
low, well-informed and ignorant--betray great alarm when informed
of the rupture and the proposal to declare war on Germany, fearing
that such a development may cause grave peril to the country. This
war-policy is being urged by a handful of politicians, including a
few members of Parliament and several party men with the view of
creating a diplomatic situation to serve their political ends and
to reap great profits.

"Their arguments are that China--by siding with the Entente--may
obtain large loans, the revision of the Customs Tariff and the
suspension of the Boxer indemnity to Germany, as well as the
recovery of the German concessions, mining and railroad rights and
the seizure of German commerce. Pray, how large is Germany's share
of the Boxer indemnity? Seeing that German commerce is protected
by international law, will China be able to seize it; and does she
not know that the Kaiser may in the future exact restitution?


"News from Holland tells of a rumoured secret understanding
between Germany, Japan and Russia. The Japanese Government is
pursuing a policy of friendship toward Germany. This is very
disquieting news to us. As to foreign loans and the revision of
the Customs Tariff, we can raise these matters at any time. Why
then should we traffic for these things at the risk of grave
dangers to the nation? My view is that what we are to obtain from
the transaction is far less than what we are to give. If it be
argued that the policy aims at securing for China her right to
live as an unfettered nation, then we ought to ask for the
cancellation of the entire Boxer Indemnities, the abolition of
exterritoriality, the retrocession of the foreign concessions and
the repeal or amendment of all unjust treaties after the war. But
none of these have we demanded. If we ourselves cannot improve our
internal administration in order to become a strong country, it is
absurd to expect our admission to the ranks of the first-class
Powers simply by being allowed a seat at the Peace Conference and
by taking a side with the Entente!

"Which side will win the war? I shall not attempt to predict here.
But it is undoubted that all the arms of Europe--and the
industrial and financial strength of the United States and Japan--
have proved unavailing against Germany. On the other hand France
has lost her Northern provinces and Belgium, Serbia and Rumania
are blotted off the map. Should Germany be victorious, the whole
of Europe--not to speak of a weak country like China--would be in
great peril of extinction. Should she be defeated, Germany still
can--after the conclusion of peace--send a fleet to war against
us. And as the Powers will be afraid of a second world-war, who
will come to our aid? Have we not seen the example of Korea? There
is no such thing as an army of righteousness which will come to
the assistance of weak nations. I cannot bear to think of hearing
the angry voice of German guns along our coasts!

"If we allow the Entente to recruit labour in our country without
restriction, thousands upon thousands of our fellow countrymen
will die for no worthy cause; and if we allow free exportation of
foodstuff, in a short time the price of daily necessaries will
mount ten to a hundredfold. This is calculated to cause internal
troubles. Yea, all gains from this policy will go to the
politicians but the people will suffer the evil consequences
through no fault of theirs.


"In the matter of diplomacy, we do not need to go to the West for
the apt learning on the point at issue. Confucius had said: 'Be
truthful and cultivate friendship--this is the foundation of human
happiness.' Our country being weak and undeveloped, if we strive
to be truthful and cultivate friendship, we can still be a
civilized nation, albeit hoary with age. But we are now advised to
take advantage of the difficulties of Germany and abandon honesty
in order that we may profit thereby. Discarding treaties is to be
unfaithful, grasping for gains is not the way of a gentleman,
taking advantage of another's difficulties is to be mean and
joining the larger in numbers is cowardice. How can we be a
nation, if we throw away all these fundamental qualities.

"Even in the press of England and the United States, there is
opposition to America entering the war. If we observe neutrality,
we are not bound to any side; and when the time comes for peace--
as a friend to both sides--we may be able to bring about the ends
of the war. Is this not a service to humanity and the true spirit
of civilization?

"Now it is proposed to take the existence of this great nation of
five thousand years and four hundred million people in order to
serve the interests of politicians in their party struggles. We
are now to be bound to foreign nations, without freedom to act for
ourselves and running great risks of national destruction. Can you
gentlemen bear to see this come to pass? China has severed
relations with Germany but the decision for war has not yet been
reached. The whole country is telegraphing opposition to the
Government's policy and wants to know whether Germany will not in
the future take revenge on account of our rupture with her; and if
we are not secured against this eventuality, what are the
preparations to meet with a contingency? The Government must not
stake the fate of the nation as if it be a child's toy, and the
people must not be cast into the whirlpool of slaughter. The
people are the backbone of a country, and if the people are all
opposed to war on Germany, the Government--in spite of the support
of Parliament--must call a great citizens' convention to decide
the question. We must persist in our neutrality. You gentlemen are
patriotic sons of this country and must know that the existence of
China as a nation depends upon what she does now in this matter.
In tears, I appeal to you. KANG YU-WEI."

March and April were consumed in this fruitless discussion in
which everybody participated. The Premier, General Tuan Chi-jui,
in view of the alleged provincial opposition, now summoned to
Peking a Conference of Provincial Military Governors to endorse
his policy, but this action although crowned with success so far
as the army chiefs were concerned--the conference voting solidly
for war--was responsible for greatly alarming Parliament which saw
in this procedure a new attempt to undermine its power and control
the country by extra-legal means. Furthermore, publication in the
Metropolitan press of what the Japanese were doing behind the
scenes created a fear that extraordinary intrigues were being
indulged in with the object of securing by means of secret
diplomacy certain guarantees of a personal nature. Apart from
being associated with the semi-official negotiations of the
Entente Powers in Peking, Japan was carrying on a second set of
negotiations partly by means of a confidential agent named Kameio
Nishihara dispatched from Tokio specially for that purpose by
Count Terauchi, the Japanese Premier, a procedure which led to the
circulation of highly sensational stories regarding China's future
commitments. When the Premier, General Tuan Chi-jui, had made his
statement to Parliament on the 10th March, regarding the necessity
of an immediate rupture with Germany, he had implied that China
had already received assurances from the Allies that there would
be a postponement of the Boxer Indemnities for a term of years, an
immediate increase in the Customs Tariff, and a modification of
the Peace Protocol of 1901 regarding the presence of Chinese
troops near Tientsin. Suddenly all these points were declared to
be in doubt. Round the question of the length of time the
Indemnities might be postponed, and the actual amount of the
increase in the Customs Tariff, there appeared to be an
inexplicable muddle largely owing to the intervention of so many
agents and to the fact that the exchange of views had been almost
entirely verbal, unofficial, and secret. It would be wearisome to
analyse a dispute which belongs to the peculiar atmosphere of
Peking diplomacy; but the vast difficulties of making even a
simple decision in China were glaringly illustrated by this
matter. With a large section of the Metropolitan press daily
insisting that the future of democracy in China would be again
imperilled should the Military Party have its own way, small
wonder if the question of a formal declaration of war on Germany
(and Austria) now assumed an entirely different complexion.

On the 1st May, in spite of all these trials and tribulations,
being pressed by the Premier to do so, the Cabinet unanimously
decided that a declaration of war was imperative; and on the 7th
May, after an agreement with the President had been reached,
Parliament received the following dispatch--this method of
communication being the usual one between the executive and
legislative branches of the Government:

The President has the honour to communicate to the House of
Representatives the following proposal. Since the severance of
diplomatic relations with Germany, Germany has continued to
violate the rights of the neutral nations and to damage and cause
losses in life and property to our people as well as to trample on
international law and disregard principles of humanity. For the
purpose of hastening peace, upholding international law and
protecting the life and property of our people, the President is
of the view that it is necessary to declare war on the German
Government. In accordance with Article 35 of the Provisional
Constitution, he now asks for the approval of the House, and
demands--in accordance with Article 21 of the Provisional
Constitution--that the meeting in the House be held in secret.

On 8th May, after hearing a statement made in person by the
Premier, the House of Representatives in secret session referred
the question for examination to the House sitting as a Committee
in order to gain time to make up its mind. On the same day the
Senate sat on the same question. A very heated and bitter
discussion followed in the upper House, not because of any real
disagreement regarding the matter at issue, but because a large
section of Senators were extremely anxious regarding the internal
consequences. This is well-explained by the following written
interpellation which was addressed to the government by a large
number of parliamentarians:

We, the undersigned, hereby address this interpellation to the
Government. As a declaration of war on Germany has become an
object of the foreign policy of the Government, the latter has
held informal meetings to ascertain the views of parliament on the
question; and efforts are being made by the Government to secure
the unanimous support of both Houses for its war policy. In
pursuing this course, the Government appears to believe that its
call for support will be readily complied with by the Houses. But
in our view there are quite a number of members in both Houses who
fail thoroughly to understand the war decision of the Government.
The reason for this is that, according to recent reports, both
foreign and vernacular, the Government has entered into secret
treaties with a "neighbouring country." It is also reported that
secret agents on both sides are active and are travelling between
the two countries. The matter seems to be very grave; and it has
already attracted the attention of Parliament, which in the near
future will discuss the war-issue.

Being in doubt as to the truth of such a report, we hereby request
the Government for the necessary information in the matter. We
also beg to suggest that, if there is any secret diplomatic
agreement, we consider it expedient for the Government to submit
the matter to Parliament for the latter's consideration. This will
enable the members in Parliament to study the question with care
and have a clear understanding of the matter. When this is done,
Parliament will be able to support the Government in the
prosecution of its war policy according to the dictates of
conscience. In this event both Parliament and Government will be
able to co-operate with each other in the solution of the present
diplomatic problem. Troubled not a little with the present
diplomatic situation of the country, we hereby address this
interpellation to the Government in accordance with law. It is
hoped that an answer from the Government will be dispatched to us
within three days from date.

On the 10th May Parliament met in secret session and it was plain
that a crisis had come. Members of the House of Representatives
experienced great difficulties in forcing their way through a mob
of several thousand roughs who surrounded the approaches to
Parliament, many members being hustled if not struck. The mob was
so plainly in control of a secret organization that the House of
Representatives refused to sit. Urgent messages were sent to the
Police and Gendarmerie headquarters for reinforcements of armed
men as a protection, whilst the presence of the Premier was also
demanded. Masses of police were soon on the ground, but whilst
they prevented the mob from entering Parliament and carrying out
their threat of burning the buildings, and murdering the members,
they could not--or would not--disperse the crowds, it transpiring
subsequently that half-a-battalion of infantry in plain clothes
under their officers formed the backbone of the demonstrators.

It was not until nearly dark, after six or seven hours of these
disorderly scenes, that the Premier finally arrived. Cavalry had
meanwhile also been massed on the main street; but it was only
when the report spread that a Japanese reporter had been killed
that the order was finally given to charge the mob and disperse it
by force. This was very rapidly done, as apart from the soldiers
in plain clothes the mass of people belonged to the lowest class,
and had no stomach for a fight, having only been paid to shout. It
was nearly midnight, after twelve hours of isolation and a
foodless day, that the Representatives were able to disperse
without having debated the war-question. The upshot was that with
the exception of the Minister of Education, the Premier found that
his entire Cabinet had resigned, the Ministers being unwilling to
be associated with what had been an attempted coercion of
Parliament carried out by the Military.

The Premier, General Tuan Chi-jui, however, remained determined to
carry his point, and within a week a second dispatch was sent to
the House of Representatives demanding, in spite of what had
happened, that the declaration of war be immediately brought up
for debate. Meanwhile publication in a leading Peking newspaper of
further details covering Japan's subterranean activities greatly
inflamed the public, and made the Liberal political elements more
determined than ever to stand firm. It was alleged that Count
Terauchi was reviving in a more subtle form Group V of the Twenty-
one Demands of 1915, the latest Japanese proposal taking the form
of a secret Treaty of twenty articles of which the main
stipulations were to be a loan of twenty million yen to China to
reorganize the three main Chinese arsenals under Japanese
guidance, and a further loan of eighty million yen to be expended
on the Japanization of the Chinese army. As a result of this
publication, which rightly or wrongly was declared to be without
foundation, the editor of The Peking Gazette was seized in the
middle of the night and thrown into goal; but Parliament so far
from being intimidated passed the very next day (19th May) a
resolution refusing to consider in any form the declaration of war
against Germany until the Cabinet had been reorganized--which
meant the resignation of General Tuan Chi-jui. A last effort was
made by the reactionary element to jockey the President into
submission by presenting to the Chief Executive a petition from
the Military Governors assembled in Peking demanding the immediate
dissolution of Parliament. On this proposal being absolutely
rejected by the President as wholly unconstitutional, and the
Military Governors soundly rated for their interference, an
ominous calm followed.

Parliament, however, remained unmoved and continued its work.
Although the draft of the Permanent Constitution had been
practically completed, important additions to the text were now
proposed, such additions being designed to increase parliamentary
control and provide every possible precaution against arbitrary
acts in the future. Thus the new provision that a simple vote of
want of confidence in the Cabinet must be followed by the
President either dismissing the Cabinet or dissolving the House of
Representatives--but that the dissolution of the Lower House
could not be ordered without the approval of the Senate--was
generally recognized as necessary to destroy the last vestiges of
the Yuan Shih-kai regime. Furthermore a new article, conferring on
the President the right to dismiss the Premier summarily by
Presidential Mandate without the counter-signature of the other
Cabinet Ministers, completed the disarray of the conservatives who
saw in this provision the dashing of their last hopes. [Footnote:
The final text of the Permanent Constitution as it stood on the
28th May, 1917, will be found in the appendix. Its accuracy has
been guaranteed to the writer by the speakers of the two Houses.]

By the 21st May, the last remaining Cabinet Minister--the
Minister of Education--had resigned and the Premier was left
completely isolated. On the 23rd May the President, relying on the
general support of the nation, summarily dismissed General Tuan
Chi-jui from the Premiership and appointed the veteran diplomat
Dr. Wu Ting-fang to act during the interim period in his stead, at
the same time placing the metropolitan districts under four
trustworthy Generals who were vested with provost-marshals' powers
under a system which gave them command of all the so-called
"precautionary troops" holding the approaches to the capital. The
Military Governors, who a few hours before these events had left
Peking precipitately in a body on the proclaimed mission of
allying themselves with the redoubtable General Chang Hsun at
Hsuchowfu, and threatening the safety of the Republic were,
however, coolly received in the provinces in spite of all their
most bitter attempts to stir up trouble. This, however, as will be
shown, had no influence on their subsequent conduct. The quiet
disappearance of the ex-Premier in the midst of this upheaval
caused the report to spread that all the members of the corrupt
camarilla which had surrounded him were to be arrested, but the
President soon publicly disclaimed any intention of doing so,--
which appears to have been a fatal mistake. It is disheartening to
have to state that nearly all the Allied Legations in Peking had
been in intimate relations with this gang--always excepting the
American Legation whose attitude is uniformly correct--the French
Minister going so far as to entertain the Military Governors and
declare, according to reports in the native press, that Parliament
was of no importance at all, the only important thing being for
China promptly to declare war. That some sort of public
investigation into Peking diplomacy is necessary before there can
be any hope of decent relations between China and the Powers seems
indisputable. [Footnote: Since this was written certain
diplomatists in Peking have been forced to resign.]

Before the end of May the militarists being now desperate,
attempted the old game of inciting the provincial capitals "to
declare their independence," although the mass of the nation was
plainly against them. Some measure of success attended this move,
since the soldiery of the northern provinces obediently followed
their leaders and there was a sudden wild demand for a march on
Peking. A large amount of rolling-stock on the main railways was
seized with this object, the confusion being made worse confounded
by the fierce denunciations which now came from the southernmost
provinces, coupled with their threats to attack the Northern
troops all along the line as soon as they could mobilize.

The month of June opened with the situation more threatening than
it had been for years. Emissaries of the recalcitrant Military
Governors, together with all sorts of "politicals" and disgruntled
generals, gathered in Tientsin--which is 80 miles from Peking--and
openly established a Military Headquarters which they declared
would be converted into a Provisional Government which would seek
the recognition of the Powers. Troops were moved and concentrated
against Peking; fresh demands were made that the President should
dissolve Parliament; whilst the Metropolitan press was suddenly
filled with seditious articles. The President, seeing that the
situation was becoming cataclysmic, was induced, through what
influences is not known, to issue a mandate summoning General
Chang Hsun to Peking to act as a mediator, which was another fatal
move. He arrived in Tientsin with many troops on the 7th June
where he halted and was speedily brought under subversive
influences, sending at once up to Peking a sort of ultimatum which
was simply the old demand for the dissolution of Parliament.

Meanwhile on the 5th June, the United States, which had been
alarmed by these occurrences, had handed China the following Note
hoping thereby to steady the situation:

The Government of the United States learns with the most profound
regret of the dissension in China and desires to express the most
sincere desire that tranquillity and political co-ordination may
be forthwith re-established.

The entry of China into war with Germany--or the continuance of
the status quo of her relations with that Government--are matters
of secondary consideration.

The principal necessity for China is to resume and continue her
political entity, to proceed along the road of national
development on which she has made such marked progress.

With the form of Government in China or the personnel which
administers that Government, the United States has an interest
only in so far as its friendship impels it to be of service to
China. But in the maintenance by China of one Central United and
alone responsible Government, the United States is deeply
interested, and now expresses the very sincere hope that China, in
her own interest and in that of the world, will immediately set
aside her factional political disputes, and that all parties and
persons will work for the re-establishment of a co-ordinate
Government and the assumption of that place among the Powers of
the World to which China is so justly entitled, but the full
attainment of which is impossible in the midst of internal

The situation had, however, developed so far and so rapidly that
this expression of opinion had little weight. The Vice-President
of the Republic, General Feng Kuo-chang, unwilling or unable to do
anything, had already tendered his resignation from Nanking,
declaring that he would maintain the "neutrality" of the important
area of the lower Yangtsze during this extraordinary struggle; and
his action, strange as it may seem, typified the vast misgivings
which filled every one's mind regarding the mad course of action
which the rebellious camarilla had decided upon.

Until Saturday the 9th June, the President had seemed adamant. On
that day he personally saw foreign press correspondents and
assured them that, in spite of every threat, he would in no
conceivable circumstances attempt the unconstitutional step of
dissolving Parliament,--unconstitutional because the Nanking
Provisional Constitution under which the country was still
governed pending the formal passage of the Permanent Constitution
through Parliament, only provided for the creation of Parliament
as a grand constitutional Drafting Committee but gave no power to
the Chief Executive to dissolve it during its "life" which was
three years. As we have already shown, the period between the coup
d'etat of 4th November, 1913, and the re-convocation of Parliament
on 1st August, 1916, had been treated as a mere interregnum:
therefore until 1918, if the law were properly construed, no power
in the land could interrupt the Parliamentary sessions except
Parliament itself. Parliament, in view of these threatening
developments, had already expressed its willingness (a) to re-
consider certain provisions of the draft constitution in such a
conciliatory manner as to insure the passage of the whole
instrument through both houses within two weeks (b) to alter the
Election Law in such fashion as to conciliate the more
conservative elements in the country (c) to prorogue the second
session (1916-1917) immediately these things were done and after a
very short recess to open the third session (1917-1918) and close
it within three months allowing new elections to be held in the
early months of 1918,--the new Parliament to be summoned in April,
1918, to form itself into a National Convention and elect the
President for the quinquennial period 1918-1923.

All these reasonable plans were knocked on the head on Sunday, the
10th June, by the sudden report that the President having been
peremptorily told that the dissolution of Parliament was the sole
means of saving the Republic and preventing the sack of Peking, as
well as an open armed attempt to restore the boy-emperor Hsuan
Tung, had at last made up his mind to surrender to the inevitable.
He had sealed a Mandate decreeing the dissolution of Parliament
which would be promulgated as soon as it had received the counter-
signature of the acting Premier, Dr. Wu Ting-fang, such counter-
signature being obligatory under Article 45 of the Provisional

At once it became clear again, as happens a thousand times during
every year in the East, that what is not nipped in the bud grows
with such malignant swiftness as finally to blight all honest
intentions. Had steps been taken on or about the 23rd May to
detain forcibly in Peking the ringleader of the recalcitrant
Military Governors, one General Ni Shih-chung of Anhui, history
would have been very different and China spared much national and
international humiliation. Six years of stormy happenings had
certainly bred in the nation a desire for constitutionalism and a
detestation of military domination. But this desire and
detestation required firm leadership. Without that leadership it
was inchoate and powerless, and indeed made furtive by the
constant fear of savage reprisals. A great opportunity had come
and a great opportunity had been lost. President Li Yuan-hung's
personal argument, communicated to the writer, was that in sealing
the Mandate dissolving Parliament he had chosen the lesser of two
evils, for although South China and the Chinese Navy declared they
would defend Parliament to the last, they were far away whilst
large armies were echeloned along the railways leading into Peking
and daily threatening action. The events of the next year or so
must prove conclusively, in spite of what has happened in this
month of June, 1917, that the corrupt power of the sword can no
longer even nominally rule China.

Meanwhile the veteran Dr. Wu Ting-fang, true to his faith,
declared that no power on earth would cause him to sign a Mandate
possessing no legality behind it; and he indeed obstinately
resisted every attempt to seduce him. Although his resignation was
refused he stood his ground manfully, and it became clear that
some other expedient would have to be resorted to. In the small
hours of the 13th June what this was was made clear: by a rapid
reshuffling of the cards Dr. Wu Ting-fang's resignation was
accepted and the general officer commanding the Peking
Gendarmerie, a genial soul named General Chiang Chao-tsung, who
had survived unscathed the vicissitudes of six years of
revolution, was appointed to act in his stead and duly counter-
signed the fateful Mandate which was at once printed and
promulgated at four o'clock in the morning. It has been stated to
the writer that had it not been so issued four battalions of Chang
Hsun's savage pigtailed soldiery, who had been bivouacked for some
days in the grounds of the Temple of Heaven, would have been let
loose on the capital. The actual text of the Mandate proves
conclusively that the President had no hand in its drafting--one
argument being sufficient to prove that, namely the deliberate
ignoring of the fact that Parliament had been called into being by
virture of article 53 of the Nanking Provisional Constitution and
that under article 54 its specific duty was to act as a grand
constitutional conference to draft and adopt the Permanent
Constitution, article 55 furthermore giving Parliament the right
summarily to amend the Provisional Constitution before the
Promulgation of the permanent instrument, should that be
necessary. Provisions of this sort would naturally carry no weight
with generals of the type of Chang Hsun, of whom it is said that
until recent years he possessed only the most elementary
education; but it is a dismal thing to have to record that the
Conservative Party in China should have adopted a platform of
brute force in the year of grace, 1917.


In the 6th month of last year I promulgated a Mandate stating that
in order to make a Constitution it was imperative that Parliament
should be convened. The Republic was inaugurated five years ago
and yet there was no Constitution, which should be the fundamental
law of a nation, therefore it was ordered that Parliament be re-
convened to make the Constitution, etc., at once.

Therefore the main object for the re-convocation of Parliament was
to make a formal constitution for the country. Recently a petition
was received from Meng En-yuen, Tu-chun of Kirin, and others, to
the effect that "in the articles passed by the Constitution
Conference there were several points as follows: 'when the House
of Representatives passes a vote of want of confidence against the
Cabinet Ministers, the President may dismiss the Cabinet
Ministers, or dissolve the said House, but the dissolution of the
House shall have the approval of the Senate.' Again, 'When the
President dismisses his Prime Minister, it is unnecessary for him
to secure the counter-signature of the Cabinet Ministers.' Again
'when a bill is passed by the Two Houses it shall have the force
of the law.' We were surprised to read the above provisions.

"According to the precedents of other nations the Constitution has
never been made by Parliament. If we should desire a good and
workable Constitution, we should seek a fundamental solution.
Indeed Parliament is more important than any other organ in the
country; but when the national welfare is imperilled, we must take
action. As the present Parliament does not care about the national
welfare, it is requested that in view of the critical condition of
the country, drastic measures be taken and both the House of
Representatives and the Senate be dissolved so that they may be
reorganized and the Constitution may be made without any further
delay. Thus the form of the Republican Government be preserved,

Of late petitions and telegrams have been received from the
military and civil officials, merchants, scholars, etc.,
containing similar demands. The Senate and the House of
Representatives have held the Constitution Conference for about
one year, and the Constitution has not yet been completed.
Moreover at this critical time most of the M.P's. of both Houses
have tendered their resignation. Hence it is impossible to secure
quorums to discuss business. There is therefore no chance to
revise the articles already passed. Unless means be devised to
hasten the making of the Constitution, the heart of the people
will never be satisfied.

I, the President, who desire to comply with the will of the
populace and to consolidate the foundation of the nation, grant
the request of the Tuchuns and the people. It is hereby ordered
that the Senate and the House of Representatives be dissolved, and
that another election be held immediately. Thus a Constitutional
Government can be maintained. It must be pointed out that the
object for the reorganization of Parliament is to hasten the
making of the Constitution, and not to abolish the Legislative
Organ of the Republic. I hope all the citizens of the Republic
will understand my motives.

A great agitation and much public uneasiness followed the
publication of this document; and the parliamentarians, who had
already been leaving Peking in small numbers, now evacuated the
capital en masse for the South. The reasonable and wholly logical
attitude of the Constitutionalists is well-exhibited in the last
Memorandum they submitted to the President some days prior to his
decision to issue the Mandate above-quoted; and a perusal of this
document will show what may be expected in the future. It will be
noted that the revolting Military Governors are boldly termed
rebels and that the constitutional view of everything they may
contrive as from the 13th June, 1917, is that it will be bereft of
all legality and simply mark a fresh interregnum. Furthermore, it
is important to note that the situation is brought back by the
Mandate of the 13th June to where it was on the 6th June, 1916,
with the death of Yuan Shih-kai, and that a period of civil
commotion seems inevitable.


To the President: Our previous memorandum to Your Excellency must
have received your attention. We now beg further to inform you
that the rebels are now practically in an embarrassing predicament
on account of internal differences, the warning of the friendly
Powers, and the protest of the Southwestern provinces. Their
position is becoming daily more and more untenable. If Your
Excellency strongly holds out for another ten days or so, their
movement will collapse.

Some one, however, has the impudence to suggest that with the
entry of Chang Hsun's troops into the Capital, and delay in the
settlement of the question will mean woe and disaster. But to us,
there need be no such fear. As the troops in the Capital have no
mind to oppose the rebels, Tsao Kun and his troops alone will be
adequate for their purposes in the Capital. But now the rebels
troops have been halting in the neighbourhood of the Capital for
the last ten days. This shows that they dare not open hostilities
against the Government, which step will certainly bring about
foreign intervention and incur the strong opposition of the
Southwestern provinces. Having refused to participate in the
rebellion at the invitation of Ni Shih-chung and Chang Tso-lin,
Chang Hsun will certainly not do what Tsao Kun has not dared to
do. But the rebels have secret agents in the Capital to circulate
rumours to frighten the public and we hope that the President will
remain calm and unperturbed, lest it will give an opportunity for
the rebel agents to practise their evil tricks.

Respecting Parliament, its re-assembly was one of the two most
important conditions by means of which the political differences
between the North and the South last year were healed. The
dissolution of Parliament would mean the violation of the terms of
settlement entered into between the North and the South last year
and an open challenge to the South. Would the South remain silent
respecting this outrageous measure? If the South rises in arms
against this measure, what explanation can the Central Government
give? It will only serve to hasten the split between the North and
the South. From a legal point of view, the Power of Government is
vested in the Provisional Constitution. When the Government
exercises power which is not provided for by the Constitution, it
simply means high treason.

Some one has suggested that it would not be an illegal act for the
Government to dissolve Parliament, since it is not provided in the
Provisional Constitution as to how Parliament should be dissolved,
nor does that instrument specifically prohibit the Government from
dissolving Parliament. But this is a misinterpretation. For
instance, the Provisional Constitution has not provided that the
President shall not proclaim himself Emperor, nor does it prohibit
him from so doing. According to such interpretation, it would not
be illegal, if the President were to proclaim himself Emperor of
the country.

In short, the action taken by Ni Shih-chung and others is nothing
short of open rebellion. From the legal point of view, any
suggestion of compromise would be absurd. It has already been a
fatal mistake for the President to have allowed them to do what
they like, and if he again yields to their pressure by dissolving
Parliament, he will be held responsible, when the righteous troops
rise and punish the rebels. If the President, deceived by ignoble
persons, take upon himself to dissolve the assembly, his name will
go down in history as one committing high treason against the
Government, and the author of the break between the North and the
South. The President has been known as the man by whose hands the
Republic was built. We have special regard for his benevolent
character and kind disposition. We are reluctant to see him
intimidated and misled by evil counsels to take a step which will
undo all his meritorious services to the country and shatter the
unique reputation he has enjoyed.

The unrolling of these dramatic events was the signal for the
greatest subterranean activity on the part of the Japanese, who
were now everywhere seen rubbing their hands and congratulating
themselves on the course history was taking. General Tanaka, Vice-
Chief of the Japanese General Staff, who had been on an extensive
tour of inspection in China, SO PLANNED AS TO INCLUDE EVERY
ARSENAL NORTH OF THE YANGTSZE had arrived at the psychological
moment in Peking and was now deeply engaged through Japanese
field-officers in the employ of the Chinese Government, in pulling
every string and in trying to commit the leaders of this
unedifying plot in such a way as to make them puppets of Japan.
The Japanese press, seizing on the American Note of the 5th June
as an excuse, had been belabouring the United States for some days
for its "interference" in Chinese affairs, and also for having
ignored Japan's "special position" in China, which according to
these publicists demanded that no Power take any action in the Far
East, or give any advice, without first consulting Japan. That a
stern correction will have to be offered to this presumption as
soon as the development of the war permits it is certain. But not
only Japanese military officers and journalists were endlessly
busy: so-called Japanese advisers to the Chinese Government had
done their utmost to assist the confusion. Thus Dr. Ariga, the
Constitutional expert, when called in at the last moment for
advice by President Li Yuan-hung had flatly contradicted Dr.
Morrison, who with an Englishman's love of justice and
constitutionalism had insisted that there was only one thing for
the President to do--to be bound by legality to the last no matter
what it might cost him. Dr. Ariga had falsely stated that the
issue was a question of expediency, thus deliberately assisting
the forces of disruption. This is perhaps only what was to be
expected of a man who had advised Yuan Shih-kai to make himself
Emperor--knowing full well that he could never succeed and that
indeed the whole enterprise from the point of view of Japan was an
elaborate trap.

The provincial response to the action taken on the 13th June
became what every one had expected: the Southwestern group of
provinces, with their military headquarters at Canton, began
openly concerting measures to resist not the authority of the
President, who was recognized as a just man surrounded by evil-
minded persons who never hesitated to betray him, but to destroy
the usurping generals and the corrupt camarilla behind them;
whilst the Yangtsze provinces, with their headquarters at Nanking,
which had hitherto been pledged to "neutrality," began secretly
exchanging views with the genuinely Republican South. The group of
Tientsin generals and "politicals," confused by these
developments, remained inactive; and this was no doubt responsible
for the mad coup attempted by the semi-illiterate General Chang
Hsun. In the small hours of July 1st General Chang Hsun, relying
on the disorganization in the capital which we have dealt with in
our preceding account, entered the Imperial City with his troops
by prearrangement with the Imperial Family and at 4 o'clock on the
morning of the 1st July the Manchu boy-emperor Hsuan Tung, who
lost the Throne on the 12th February, 1912, was enthroned before a
small assembly of Manchu nobles, courtiers and sycophantic
Chinese. The capital woke up to find military patrols everywhere
and to hear incredulously that the old order had returned. The
police, obeying instructions, promptly visited all shops and
dwelling-houses and ordered every one to fly the Dragon Flag. In
the afternoon of the same day the following Restoration Edict was
issued, its statements being a tissue of falsehoods, the alleged
memorial from President Li Yuan Hung, which follows the principal
document, being a bare-faced forgery, whilst no single name
inserted in the text save that of Chang Hsun had any right to be
there. There is also every reason to believe that the Manchu court
party was itself coerced, terror being felt from the beginning
regarding the consequences of this mad act which was largely
possible because Peking is a Manchu city.


Issued the 13th day of the 5th Moon of the 9th year of Hsuan Tung.

While yet in our boyhood the inheritance of the great domain was
unfortunately placed in our possession; and since we were then all
alone, we were unable to weather the numerous difficulties. Upon
the outbreak of the uprising in the year of Hsin Hai, (1911) Our
Empress, Hsiao Ting Chin, owing to her Most High Virtue and Most
Deep Benevolence was unwilling to allow the people to suffer, and
courageously placed in the hands of the late Imperial Councillor,
Yuan Shih-kai, the great dominion which our forefathers had built
up, and with it the lives of the millions of Our People, with
orders to establish a provisional government.

The power of State was thus voluntarily given to the whole country
with the hope that disputes might disappear, disturbances might
stop and the people enabled to live in peace. But ever since the
form of State was changed into a Republic, continuous strife has
prevailed and several wars have taken place. Forcible seizure,
excessive taxation and bribery have been of everyday occurrence.
Although the annual revenue has increased to 400 millions this
amount is still insufficient to meet the needs. The total amount
of foreign obligations has reached a figure of more than ten
thousand millions yet more loans are being contracted. The people
within the seas are shocked by this state of affairs and interest
in life has forsaken them. The step reluctantly taken by Our
Empress Hsiao Ting Chin for the purpose of giving respite to the
people has resulted untowardly in increasing the burdens of Our
People. This indeed Our Empress Hsiao Ting Chin was unable to
foresee, and the result must have made her Spirit in Heaven to
weep sorely. And it is owing to this that we have been praying to
Heaven day and night in the close confines of the palace,
meditating and weeping in silent suffering.

Recently party strife has resulted in war and the country has
remained too long in an unsettled condition. The Republic has
fallen to pieces and means of remedy have been exhausted.

Chang Hsun, Feng Kuo-chang and Lu Yung-ting have jointly
memorialized the Throne stating that the minds of people are
disturbed and they are longing to see the old regime restored, and
asking that the throne be reoccupied in order to comfort the

Chu Hung-chi and others have also memorialized us stating that the
country is in imminent danger and that the people have lost their
faith in the Republic, and asking that we ascend the Throne in
obedience to the mandate of Heaven and man.

Li Yuan Hung has also memorialized the throne, returning the great
power of State to us in order to benefit the country and save the

A persual of the said memorials, which are worded in earnest
terms, has filled our heart with regret and fear. On the one hand
We, being yet in Our boyhood, are afraid to assume the great
responsibilities for the existence of the country but on the other
hand We are unwilling to turn our head away from the welfare of
the millions simply because the step might affect Our own safety.

After weighing the two sides and considering the mandates of
Heaven and man, we have decided reluctantly to comply with the
prayers, and have again occupied the Court to attend to the
affairs of State after resuming possession of the great power on
the 13th day of the 5th moon of the 9th year of Hsuan Tung.

A new beginning will be made with our people. Hereafter the
principles of morality and the sacred religion shall be our
constitution in spirit, and order, righteousness, honesty and
conscience will be practised to rebind the minds of the people who
are now without bonds. People high and low will be uniformly
treated with sincerity, and will not depend on obedience of law
alone as the means of co-operation. Administration and orders will
be based on conscientious realization and no one will be allowed
to treat the form of State as material for experiment. At this
time of exhaustion when its vitality is being wasted to the last
drop and the existence of the country is hanging in the balance,
we, as if treading on thin ice over deep waters, dare not in the
slightest degree indulge in license on the principle that the
Sovereign is entitled to enjoyment. It is our wish therefore that
all officials, be they high or low, should purify their hearts and
cleanse themselves of all forms of old corruption, constantly
keeping in mind the real interests of the people. Every bit of
vitality of the people they shall be able to preserve shall go to
strengthen the life of the country for whatever it is worth. Only
by doing so can the danger be averted and Heaven moved by our


Herewith we promulgate the following principal things, which we
must either introduce as reforms or abolish as undesirable in

1. We shall obey the edict of Emperor Teh Tsung Chin (Kuang Hsu),
namely, that the sovereign power shall be controlled by the Court
(state) but the detailed administration shall be subject to public
opinion. The country shall be called The Empire of Ta Ching; and
the methods of other constitutional monarchies shall be carefully

2. The allowance for the Imperial House shall be the same as
before, namely, $4,000,000 per year. The sum shall be paid
annually and not a single cent is to be added.

3. We shall strictly obey the instructions of our forefathers to
the extent that no member of the imperial family shall be allowed
to interfere with administrative affairs.

4. The line of demarcation between Man (Manchu) and Han (Chinese)
shall be positively obliterated. All Manchurian and Mongolian
posts which have already been abolished shall not be restored. As
to intermarrige and change of customs the officials concerned are
hereby commanded to submit their views on the points concerning
them respectively.

5. All treaties and loan agreements, money for which has already
been paid, formally concluded and signed with any eastern and
western countries before this 13th day of the 5th Moon of the 9th
year of Hsuan Tung, shall continue to be valid.

6. The stamp duty which was introduced by the Republic is hereby
abolished so that the people may be relieved of their burdens. As
to other petty taxes and contributions the Viceroys and Governors
of the provinces are hereby commanded to make investigations and
report on the same for their abolition.

7. The criminal code of the Republic is unsuited to this country.
It is hereby abolished. For the time being the provisional
criminal code as adopted in the first year of Hsuan Tung shall be

8. The evil custom of political parties is hereby forbidden. Old

Book of the day: