W. Reginald Wheeler
China and the World War




When the American Republic joined the Allies in the Great War, President Wilson summarized its ideal and purpose in so doing by the sentence: "The World must be made safe for Democracy." The Allied Nations have generally accepted this expression of their ideal and purpose. When President Wilson's words were cabled to the Orient they produced a profound impression there. At once observers pointed out that the President had not limited the application of this ideal to Europe or to America alone, but that it was all-inclusive and was to apply to Asia as well. At once came a realization of the greatness of the ideal and of its possibilities as a solution for the problems of the Orient. Further, the view was widely expressed that these Asiatic problems must be solved if the cause of the Allies was to be permanently successful.

Many considerations seemed to point to that conclusion. This is a world-war and nothing less than a world-peace would seem to be adequate. From this world-peace, Asia cannot be excluded. Half of the world's population is in Asia; in India, Asiatic Russia, .in China, and Japan. China is the largest and oldest nation in the world; its future cannot be ignored. A recent writer(26) has pointed out that after the war there will be three great groups of world-races: the Anglo-Saxons, the Slavs and the Mongolians. The first group has far outdistanced the other two in political development and progress; it has bravely taken the stand that its ideals of democracy and liberty shall be permitted to become world-wide. In the Orient , the Chinese people have thrown off the restraints of an alien autocratic dynasty, and are groping unsteadily towards the light of democracy in the form of a republic. Russia has only recently taken a similar step; in both lands there is confusion and disorder; but both peoples are on the right road, and if given time and sympathetic support, they will reach their goal. America and the Allied nations have expressed their faith in Russia, and have pledged themselves to stand by her; they will certainly do no less for China. In Japan, as well, liberal tendencies are appearing; the country is at the cross-roads of its history; on the one hand, facing an imperialistic course that cannot but mean danger and aggression upon its neighbours; on the other hand, halting before the decision to align itself with the international tendencies of the age in a fair and friendly national policy toward all the world. These aspirations and tendencies in Asia must be considered in the Peace Conference. The writer makes bold to say that unless this is done, the consequences from the standpoint of a maintenance of the world-peace will be disastrous.

Before the great war two political storm-centres were recognized in the world: the Balkans in the Near East and China in the Far East.(27) In both "legitimate interests" of the various nations clashed and this clash in Europe was the immediate occasion of the outbreak of the great war. It is hoped that the Allied peace terms will permanently remove the causes of future conflict in the Balkans at the close of the war; they should aim at no less satisfactory a solution of the problems in China.

A future outbreak in the Far East might come in one of two ways: either as a result of international friction in China; or through a war between China and Japan which would involve the other powers. The story of the growth of the competitive spheres of interest in China; the attempted check to their rivalry and enforcement of the status quo by an agreement as to the principle of the "open door" and equal opportunity; the upsetting of this situation by encroachments of Russia and Japan; has already been told. At the close of the great war there will be a renewed competition for China's trade and control of her natural resources and the means of transportation and production. Japan has tried to forestall the other powers by its action in the Twenty-one Demands and the Cheng-chiatung affair. Japanese and British interests as a result definitely clash. Russia, France and Belgium are also involved. If no clearly recognized principle of justice and equity is to be enforced, there seems grave probability of the growth of friction and dissension which may lead to future armed conflict.

The second line which future hostilities might take would be in a clash between China and Japan which would eventually involve the other nations. The lack of friendship and mutual trust between the Chinese and the Japanese is a disturbing factor in the Orient. These feelings of ill-will and distrust have been the outgrowth of a lack of justice and fair play in their relations with each other. At present Japan has the ascendancy, and China is no match for her in military power or national strength; but if China goes forward in development, as it would seem she must, an armed struggle in the future seems inevitable. Russia and Great Britain are both involved in defensive alliances with Japan, but they, as well as all the other great nations, have relations with and interests in China, and it would seem they might eventually be dragged into such a conflict.

Such possibilities are not pleasant to contemplate; the common-sense view would seem to be not to ignore them, but to take action at the close of the war to prevent their development. The solution would seem to lie along the line taken in the adjusting of the international difficulties of Europe.

With the principles of this adjustment, China is in sympathy and although hampered by internal difficulties, she has made what contributions she could to the Allied cause. When the war broke out, Germany's commercial interests were strongly entrenched throughout China; Germany's trade was increasing rapidly; German interests were being aggressively and successfully pushed. An effort had been made to secure the adoption in the higher schools of China of German as the only foreign language to be taught there; and this effort very nearly succeeded. Germany had seized and fortified an important military and naval base on the Chinese coast; by a widespread campaign of propaganda, German victories in the war were magnified and Germany's future importance was impressed upon the Chinese. As a result, during the first two years of the war, the Chinese were, in general, mildly pro-German. The change of sentiment expressed by the severance of diplomatic relations and the declaration of war was great indeed, and already has had important effects in frustrating Germany's hope of dominance in the Far East. German and Austrian property and banks have been taken into custody and their ships turned over to the Allies; German and Austrian subjects have been registered and interned. In the summer of 1918, arrangements were made in compliance with the request of Great Britain and her Allies to transport all enemy aliens to Australia. This step aroused such violent threats of reprisals by Germany that the Allies, led by Japan and Great Britain, requested China not to carry it out. The desire of Germany to keep her nationals in China, reveals her estimate of the importance of her interests there, and it is no small thing from the standpoint of the future power of Germany that these interests have been virtually rendered non-existent.(28)

In the second place, China has sent large forces of labour battalions to France to carry on work behind the lines and thus relieve soldiers for the front. They number about one hundred and seventy-five thousand and they have performed very efficient service.(29)

In a military way, Chinese troops are co-operating with the Allied force which has entered Siberia and will help to safeguard the long boundaries stretching from the coast into inner Russia.

Finally, China is one of the great storehouses of the world's food supply; large shipments of rice and eggs and other staples have been made to the Allies, and these shipments will increase as the war continues.

On August 19th, announcement was made that the Chinese Government had received a thirty million dollar contract for building ships for the Allies in the shipyards at Shanghai.

Concerning China's future contribution to the Allies, if a prolongation of the war should make this necessary, Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo, the Chinese Minister, speaking on Oct. 1st, China Day of the fourth Liberty Loan Campaign, in New York, said as follows:

"It is practical to say that with a fair supply of equipment in ships, not only labour battalions, but fighting soldiers, not only thousands of them but millions of them, can be dispatched to Europe. It is equally practical to say that with a fair amount of capital the natural resources of China, the resources of coal and iron, of copper and zinc, of antimony and tungsten --- all essential articles of war,--- can be developed and utilized to untold advantage. Even production of foodstuffs can be so increased as to make China the world's great granary for the sustenance of the Entente troops."

After China entered the war, the Allies granted a temporary suspension of the payment of the Boxer Indemnity and an increase in the tariff rates to an effective 5 per cent. But the Chinese feel that the only ultimate solution for their national difficulties is a recognition by the other powers of their rights as a sovereign nation, with all that this implies in the coming world-situation. Their deepest hope is that the principles for which the Allies are fighting will be applied to the Orient. Thus a prominent Chinese lawyer and scholar, Dr. M. T. Z. Tyau, in 1917, expressed the national attitude:

"For the great powers to welcome China into their charmed circle in one breath and in the next, deny her what are her proper attributes and prerogatives as an independent sovereign state is ingenious and disingenuous. The status of membership in the Family of Nations having been acknowledged, it is but just that all her sovereign rights should be completely restored to her. Unless this is done, it seems that this terrible war will have been fought in vain. We are. however, not despondent and we remain confident that at the post-bellum peace conference full justice will be done to her rightful claims, because out of this ordeal of fire there will evolve a world in which, as Lord Grey said on March 22, 1915, all nations will be 'free to live their independent lives, working out their form of government for themselves, and their own national development, whether they be great nations or small states --- in full liberty.'"

Dr. Koo, the Chinese minister to the United States, in an address in New York last year, expressed the national hope of the present time, and paid a tribute to the example America had set in its relations to China which might be prophetic of future relations with the world at large. He said:

"In the first place, the people of the Far East feel that in any reconstruction which may take place after the war, the Far East should be included; that the problems of the Far East should receive due consideration. . . . In the second place, the reflective minds of the Far East feel that not only the problems of the Far East should be given full consideration, but also the voices of the Far East should be freely heard at the council board of nations. . . . There is, in the third place, yet another thought which is quickening the hearts of a very large portion of the people in the Far East, particularly of the people in China, and that is, that in any reconstruction to take place hereafter, the base of the foundation should be built upon justice, international justice. The people of the Far East in general feel that every act of aggression, wherever arising, should be a matter of concern, not only of the victim and oppressed, but should also be of serious interest to the world at large; for every act of aggression or oppression, unchecked and uncondemned, is sure to react to the detriment of the international society.

"Here between China and the United States, for instance, we have a concrete example of how two nations, always basing their mutual intercourse on justice, could get along in cordial relationship and in perfect understanding; more than a century of trade intercourse, eighty-seven years of missionary work, seven decades of diplomatic relations and nearly half a century of educational co-operation, have all been characterized by a sustained feeling of friendliness and cordiality, so that Chinese and Americans, wherever they meet, can always talk to each other without hidden thoughts and with perfect confidence in the good will of each toward the other. There is no suspicion or friction between them. The two countries are living in a happy state of friendship that grows from day to day. What two countries have done can be accomplished by the world at large."(30)

The problems which China will face at the end of the war will be many and various. Most of them come as a result of the attempts to adjust a civilization and political organization, which have come down practically unchanged from past centuries, to the new national and international life of the twentieth century. Three problems especially are serious: those related to the political, the economic, and the educational conditions of the country.

The development of the Republic since 1911 has already been treated in some detail. At present (October, 1918) the country is divided into a progressive South with headquarters at Canton; a conservative North with Peking as its capital; and a more or less neutral centre situated along the Yangtze Valley, with Nanking as its chief city. Until September the administration was in the control of the Northerners and the neutrals, with Tuan Chi-jui, as Premier, representing the first group, and Feng Kwo-chang, from Nanking, as President, representing the second. On September 4th, Hsu Shih-chang, a representative of the Northern party, was elected President to succeed Feng Kwo-chang, by a Parliament which was convened on August 12th in Peking. The South has protested against the Parliament and the election and on October 6th formally declared its opposition to the President.

The development of this unsatisfactory situation followed the dissolution of Parliament, on June 12th, 1917. Later a national council was organized by the Northerners which revised and passed laws for a new parliamentary organization and election. These new laws were promulgated in February, 1918, and elections were held in the spring and summer. On August 12th, the new parliament was convened at Peking. The membership of the former assembly had been 870; that of the new one was reduced to 573 (274 Senators and 405 representatives). It was composed largely of former officials and their friends and relatives, although there was a sprinkling of returned students. The two speakers elected, Liang Shih-yi of the Senate, and Wang Yih-tang of the House, had both held important positions under Yuan Shih-kai; the former as his chief Secretary and Acting Minister of Finance; and the latter as military adviser and military governor of Kirin. Liang especially was associated with the movement to restore the Monarchy. On September 4th, in accordance with the new election law, Parliament elected a president to succeed Feng Kwo-chang, who had followed Li Yuan-hung, who in turn had taken office at the death of Yuan Shih-kai. The new President's term of office began October 10th, when the first presidential term dating from 1913 was held legally to have expired. Five provinces of the south and southwest abstained from any participation in the preceding events, as has already been indicated.

The new president has held various positions of importance under the Manchus, being Viceroy of Manchuria in 1907, President of the Privy Council under Prince Ching, and one of the two guardians of the Boy Emperor. He was Secretary of State of the Republic under Yuan Shih-kai in 1915, and was a close friend, being called one of the four "sworn brothers," of Yuan. At the time of his election to the presidency he did not hold an official position, and although he was the candidate of the military party, he was not a military leader; so it was hoped he would prove acceptable to the Southern Republicans. After his election he sent out a circular telegram calling on all those with administrative experience to come forward to assist in solving the difficulties confronting the country, the chief of which he enumerated as the unfinished state of the constitution, the emptiness of the treasury, internal strife and brigandage, and the certainty that after the European war, China would be the centre of a vigorous commercial contest.

The hope that the new President would command the support of the South has not been realized and the South is ranged solidly against him. Ever since the dissolution of the National Assembly, and the coup d'état of Chang Hsun in July, 1917, the South has been in a state of revolt, its two chief demands being the reconvening of the dissolved Parliament and the return to the Provisional Constitution until a permanent one can be finally drafted. Among the Southern leaders are some of the ablest Chinese. The Administrative Council includes Sun Yat-sen, the first Provisional President of the Republic; Wu Ting-fang, former Minister to America; Tang Shao-yi, former Premier; Lu Yung-ting, formerly military Governor of Kwang-tung; and Tsen Chun-hsuan, President of the Board of Communications. Members of the former Parliament had gathered at Canton and on August 8th both houses had a quorum and set about completing the permanent Constitution, and drafting new election and parliamentary-organization laws. C. T. Wang, formerly vice-president of the Senate, and chairman of the committee for drafting the permanent constitution, which had practically finished its work before the dissolution of Parliament in June, 1917, is acting chairman of the new Senate.

Fig. 9.
Chinese Labor Battalions Ready for Embarkation to France. 175,000 Chinese have been sent to France for work behind the lines. This detachment started from Tsingtao, formerly a German stronghold in China.

Aside from this direct issue between the North and the South, the chief menace to a national unity has been the independent control of the various provincial governors over large bodies of troops who are loyal to them rather than to the central government, and through whose support the governors can carry out individual policies regardless of their effect upon the welfare of the nation as a whole. The leaders in the Northern Government have also adopted a reckless course of borrowing capital from Japan in order to gain support for their military operations against the South. As security, they have apparently mortgaged some of China's native resources. Further, their recent attempt to revive the opium trade has called forth a protest from the United States and Great Britain.(31) But despite these deficiencies and dissensions, there are grounds for hope for the future. The Chinese have shown themselves much more restrained than the Russians in their attempt to set up a democracy and should gradually achieve national unity and efficiency, even though allied mediation and assistance may become a temporary necessity to this end.

Economically, China is in a low stage of development. She has not passed from the agricultural and commercial levels to the industrial and manufacturing stages, and poverty is general and oppressive. The standards of sanitation and public health are among the lowest in the world. There is a decided lack of means of transportation by road or by rail. There is no exact system of coinage, and the country is on a silver basis, and is subject to its many fluctuations.(32) The governmental resources, such as the maritime tariff and the salt customs, are under the control of foreigners, and cannot be increased without their consent. Further, the payment of the Boxer indemnity has taken much of these revenues. The only course open to the government has been to borrow, and this action has saddled upon it heavy foreign debts. With these loans has often come control over rights within the country. Since the beginning of the war, Japan alone has loaned to China over $100,000,000,(33) thereby, in the view of the Chinese, increasing its hold on the country. On the other hand, when compared to the enormous war debts which the other nations will face at the close of the present struggle, China will be comparatively well off, its total foreign debt in 1917, exclusive of railroad debt, being about $750,000,000,(34) or less than $2.00 per capita. Already attempts are being made to improve the hygienic condition of the cities, and to build up modern industries. Commerce is growing rapidly.(35) The Allies have granted a temporary suspension of the Boxer indemnity and an increase in the tariff; and a four-power group, consisting of America, Great Britain, France and Japan, is contemplating, tinder certain conditions, a loan of $50,000,000.(36)

In the third place, the educational problem is a serious one. A comparatively small percentage of the Chinese can read or write their own language. The old system of education was classical and literary, and was open in fact only to a limited number; the new system will be practical and democratic, available for the many. In 1906, the first step was taken in this direction; but the new educational movement is too young to have attained its fullest success. Missionary institutions, staffed and financed largely by foreigners, have had a large share in the awakening of the people to the new learning, and still contribute much to the solving of the problem. The Central Ministry of Education has advised the teaching in all the schools of one form of the Chinese language --- mandarin,- instead of the various dialects now prevalent. As in Japan, English is the best known foreign tongue, and is becoming the general language of the educated class, as French was once in universal use in Europe. A republic cannot exist without sufficient means of transportation, general education, and a strong sentiment of national patriotism, and all these requisites are to be gained only by a solution of the educational, economic and political problems of the nation.

The Chinese are among the first to admit that it will take a full generation to solve these problems, and to bring their nation within measurable distance of the present stage of civilization in other countries; but they believe they can solve them, if given time, and if freed from the menace of foreign attack or invasion of their rights, whether military, political or economic. They hope that the Peace Conference will guarantee them safety and freedom to work out their destiny unafraid. In brief, the Chinese feel that if the Allies will apply to the Orient the principles for which they are fighting in the present war, the future of their Republic will be secured.

Opposed to the out-and-out application of such principles to China, there have been suggested two alternatives, both of which are based on the assumption that the sovereign rights of the Chinese should be taken from them and given over to the foreign control, either of one, or of a group, of nations, which would undertake the development and control of China's resources and powers. A temporary supervision of her finances might be justified, but in general these alternatives do not seem to be in line with the international tendencies of the day; they would open the way for an imperialism which in turn might lead to new discords and international rivalries, as already indicated in an earlier portion of this chapter. The challenge is a direct one to the Chinese to prove by their unity and efficiency that this course should not be taken.

Instead of a further subtraction of the sovereign rights of the Chinese, the better course would seem to be in their gradual restoration---with possibly temporary assistance and regulation in an economic way, somewhat along the lines indicated by Dr. Wellington Koo, the Chinese Minister, in his speech before the National Conference on Foreign Relations of the United States held at Long Beach, N. Y., May 31st, 1917:

"What then is China's relation to the world's future? The answer really depends upon what policy the other nations adopt toward China, and what treatment they accord her. To be more definite, it depends upon whether they continue to permit themselves or any one of them, to commit one assault after another on her sovereignty; or seeing the injustice of these acts, acknowledge her right of existence and extend sympathy and support to her plans for progress. It depends upon whether they continue to keep the shackles of extra-territoriality, treaty tariffs, leased ports, railway zones and the like around her body; or, recognizing the unwisdom of such a policy, aid her to remove them and restore to her full liberty of development. It depends upon whether they remain indifferent to attempts on the part of some of them to revive the doctrine of the spheres of influence and to close the open door within her borders; or appreciating the ultimate consequences of such a course and the desirability of keeping the Chinese market open to international trade on a footing of equality, help China batter down this pernicious doctrine of spheres of influence, foil these selfish attempts, and maintain the principle of equal opportunity for the trade of all nations in all parts of China. It depends upon whether they permit any nation to wrest away her rich resources and immense man-power from her own possession, and utilize the one as means of aggrandizement and mould the other into instruments of conquest; or realizing the possibilities of danger to the peace of the Orient and the world, aid China to conserve these resources of wealth and power in her own hands and develop them, not as selfish means for aggression, but as instruments for the common purposes of peace. In short, it all depends upon whether they continue, in regard to China, to pursue a selfish policy of obstruction, interference and aggression, hoping thereby to get a share in whatever spoils may come; or whether they realize that such a course is sure to lead to conflicts, rivalry and antagonism, a disturbance of the peace of the nations; and that the best guarantee for the open-door policy, for the principle of equal opportunity and impartial trade for all, and for the devotion of her wonderful resources of wealth and power to peaceful purposes, lies in a strong and powerful China; and upon whether, realizing all this, they accord her that respect for her rights which they demand of her for their own rights, and conscientiously assist her to attain the end which is to be desired as much in the common interest of the world as for the sake of her own welfare." (37)

An out-and-out application of the principles of the Allies, as expressed especially by recent pronouncements of their statesmen, would seem to be the only course consistent with this point of view. The latest statements of the aims of the Allies were made by President Wilson on July 4, and on September 27th, 1918. On July 4th, he named four principles. The first was:

"The destruction of every arbitrary power anywhere that can separately, secretly, and of its single choice disturb the peace of the world; or, if it cannot at present be destroyed, at the least its reduction to virtual impotence."

Ever since the establishment of the Republic, China has been afraid of an attack by a foreign power; she has endeavoured to build up her military power; over half of her present income goes to the support of her military forces. If China could be assured, by a joint agreement of the nations, that the peace of the Far East could not be "separately and secretly disturbed" by any power, it could turn with a free mind to a solution of all of its internal problems of adjustment to the present century. The money which is now being spent to maintain its army could be invested in much needed industrial development and improvement, and the progress of the whole country would be greatly accelerated.

The second principle enunciated by President Wilson was:

"The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interests or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery."

This principle would have a most vital effect upon China's future. Nearly every settlement, of territory, of sovereignty, or of economic arrangement, with a foreign power, in the past, with the exception of those concluded with the United States, has been made upon the basis of the "material interest or advantage" of that power, and not "upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement" by China. Practically every settlement has been made on an exactly opposite principle to that expressed by President Wilson. As a result, the present treaty-relations between China and the other powers are distinctly disadvantageous to the former. A typical Chinese view of the resulting inconsistencies appeared in Millard's Review of August 24th, 1918, written by Chuan Chao:

"Among the nations China has been least understood and most criticized. She tried to adapt herself to the western civilization by adopting the republican form of government. But the world Powers say that she is unfit because in the period of her reconstruction, as in that of France and of the United States after their revolutions, there is disorder. She attempted to live up to the open-door policy of John Hay. But the United States recognizes the special interests of Japan in China, especially in the places where her possessions are contiguous. After the foreign Powers have prevented her from developing her resources except according to their dictation, they blame her for industrial backwardness. After they have almost deprived her of tariff revenue, denied her the right of tariff legislation, forced her to lay heavy internal taxes on necessities, and burdened her with war loans for wars forced upon her, they blame her for financial insolvency. After they have negatived her territorial jurisdiction in the extraterritorial areas by lending these for the refuge of revolutionists, hot-beds of intrigue and sources of vice, they blame her for governmental inefficiency. After they have forced her to raze all fortifications between the capital and the sea, leased the important ports for their naval stations and stationed troops constantly on Chinese soil, they blame her for military impotency. As a friendly neighbour, she was presented a series of twenty-one demands. As a neutral, her territory was invaded in spite of her protest. As an ally of the Entente, her alliance has been utilized for the consolidation of one of her ally's position in China."

This viewpoint is perhaps open to criticism, as many of the treaty agreements mentioned were the result of infringements by China of the rights of other nations. But there seems to be little question of the necessity of revising the treaties if justice is to be done. This course has been strongly advocated by both Chinese and American and British economists and writers. Thus Dr. M. T. Z. Tyau, writing in 1917, names two reasons for this revision; first because of the vagueness of the wording of the present treaties which have caused and will cause serious misunderstanding; and secondly, because most of the obligations were contracted half a century ago, so that they now "fetter the free growth and the natural development of the new Republic, to the serious menace of even its self-preservation. . . . If peace in the Far East, as well as the rest of the world, is to be preserved, the contracting parties will have to treat one another with equal respect ,and consideration. The injustices, the inequalities., the inconsistencies of the past, must be abolished, and rational bases of mutual intercourse substituted."(38) Dr. Wu Ting-fang, writing in a similar vein, said:

"We have heard the public pronouncements of the statesmen of the powers, that after the war, justice and equality will rule among the nations. We believe in them, and have great hopes of them. We expect that in carrying them out into practice in China, one of the first things that will be done will be a reasonable and equitable revision of our treaties."(39) Doctor S. K. Hornbeck, speaking before the National Conference on Foreign Relations of the United States, June 1st, 1917, said: "Various of the old far-eastern agreements should, by international agreement, be legislated out of existence. There should be a cleaning of the old slate, with its entries of individualism. There should be new agreements, entered into by all the interested powers, drafted on the principle of fair play for all, with full respect for the rights of all, and establishing effective limitations upon the hitherto assumed right of each state, because independent, to act independently and with a view to its own peculiar and selfish interests." Mr. B. L. Putnam-Weale, a British writer, has asserted that "the entire politico-economic relationship between the Republic and the world, must be remodelled at the earliest possible opportunity; every agreement which has been made since the Treaties of 1860 being carefully and completely revised."(40)

Finally, the friendship between China and Japan would be increased if their economic relations were governed by the principle of voluntary mutual agreement. There has been growing up a cloud of suspicion and distrust between the two countries which only a recognition of such a principle can clear away. If this principle were recognized and upheld, an important step forward would be taken toward making the peace of the Orient secure.

President Wilson's third principle was:

"The consent of all nations to be governed in a conduct toward each other by the same principles of honour and of respect for the common law of civilized society that govern the individual citizens of all modern States in their relations with one another; to the end that all promises and covenants may be sacredly observed, no private plots or conspiracies hatched, no selfish injuries wrought with impunity, and a mutual trust established upon the handsome foundation of a mutual respect for right."

Fig. 11.
A. Y. Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo, Chinese Minister to America, after receiving an Honorary Degree from Columbia University in 1917. Dr. Koo is a graduate of Columbia University and has received the degree of Dr. of Philosophy from that institution. He is the youngest member of the Diplomatic Corps at Washington. On his left is Professor John Bassett Moore of Columbia University.

The present situation in China is analogous in a lesser degree to that in Russia; both countries offer supreme opportunities for exploitation, or for disinterested assistance. Like Russia, China needs help. She needs help in every phase of her new life. She looks to the Occident for that help; and if this principle were applied, she would not look in vain. The definite assistance which other countries, and especially America, could give China, was outlined by C. T. Wang, formerly Vice President of the Senate, in a speech made in 1917. This speech was delivered before the Lansing-Ishii Agreement was concluded. Mr. Wang suggested political, financial and industrial assistance. His remarks were made just after the attempted restoration of the Manchus, when there seemed to be doubt as to the ability of the Republic to survive without external assistance. Mr. Wang said:

"In this vital struggle, where shall America, the champion of democracy, stand? We entirely agree with Mr. Millard (an eminent journalist) in his views expressed through the editorial columns in the last issue of his paper, which we will reproduce here for emphasis:

"'A primary requisite is that, as between reversion to an archaic monarchy, or the retention of a military oligarchy, or a graduated advance toward genuine republicanism, the influence of the United States ought to be thrown definitely to bring about the latter alternative. If this leads to quasi-interference in Chinese politics, then that responsibility must be faced. It is becoming rather ridiculous, at a time when America is engaged in a world-war, when the whole life of the American people is being readjusted to meet these war conditions, and with the avowed principal object of saving democratic principle of government from being smothered by autocratic militarism, that the power and influence of the United States should be applied in one place abroad, and should not be applied in another place abroad; that direct American assistance should be accorded to some nations that are trying to cast off the yoke of autocracy, and be denied to other nations that are making the same effort.'

"Besides political assistance America is also in an excellent position to aid China financially --- of which she stands so much in need.

"A third way in which America can help China is to bring into China a sufficient number of experts who can aid China to establish and develop large industrial plants and factories and to train and bring up a large force of native industrial and technical leaders.

"We beg to advance these three ways for America to aid China. The political assistance aims to renew the open door policy and to influence the Entente Powers to maintain the same principles of liberty, constitutionalism and democracy in China as they are fighting to maintain on the battlefield of Europe. The financial aid is to be directed at the industrial, commercial and other productive development of the country. The introduction of industrial and technical experts has for its objective the improved methods of administration of existing revenue-producing organs of the government, the establishment of other productive organizations, and the training of Chinese youths in sufficient numbers to direct, maintain and develop such organizations."(41)

The final principle before the Allies was:

"The establishment of an organization of peace which shall make it certain that the combined power of free nations will check every invasion of right, and serve to make peace and justice the more secure, by affording a definite tribunal of opinion to which all must submit, and by which every international readjustment that cannot be amicably agreed upon by the peoples directly concerned, shall be sanctioned."

Both China and Japan desire inclusion in the membership of this "league of nations." If they are not thus included, a new international alignment may occur, which would have potential possibilities for a new outbreak of hostilities. The question has been put directly to Japan as to the possibilities of an alliance with Germany, after the war, and Premier Terauchi answered that this were possible only if Japan found herself isolated from the rest of the powers. In a written interview published in the Outlook (New York) of May 1st, 1918, in reply to the question of Mr. Mason, a representative of the Outlook, "What are the chances for an alliance between Japan and Germany?" Count Terauchi replied: "That will depend entirely on how the present war may end. It is impossible to predict the changes which the conclusion of the war may bring. If the exigencies of international relationships demand it, Japan, being unable to maintain a position of total isolation, may be induced to seek an ally in Germany. But, as far as I can judge from the existing conditions of affairs, I see no such danger. In other words, I believe that Japan's relations with the Entente Allies will continue unaltered after the present war."

This statement of the Premier has been generally criticized by the Japanese press, and on Sept. 30th he was succeeded by Kei Hara, a commoner, and the leader of the Seiyukai Party (constitutionalists), but it indicates a possibility which might develop in the Orient if the nations there are not included in a world-organization. If such a world-league and a tribunal of world opinion were set up, it would at once prevent any new acts of aggression against either Japan or China. Such a solution would be a welcome one. China especially is pacific, and its ideals are in line with those of such an organization. Dr. W. C. Dennis, the new American Legal Adviser to the Chinese Government, in August, voiced the approval of the Chinese of such a proposed league. After discussing its possibilities and its drawbacks, he said:

"The proposed plan, if practicable, is of the greatest possible interest to those nations which, like the United States and China, have, taking their history as a whole, consciously sought the victories of peace rather than those of war. It is in accordance with the genius of their institutions and the desires of their peoples."(42)

On September 27th, 1918, President Wilson again expressed the attitude of the American Government toward Peace. His main emphasis was upon the necessity of absolute justice regardless of whom this principle might affect; upon the necessity of absolute publicity of all treaties and agreements; and a decided opposition to any special alliances or economic combinations within the league itself. All these conditions have a peculiar applicability to the situation in the Orient, especially in reference to China. At times there seems to be a tendency on the part of the American and European public to be indifferent to the fate of the Orientals, but President Wilson's first condition was that "impartial justice which is meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no favourites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the several peoples concerned." Further, there has seemed to be a disposition on the part of people in the Occidental world to allow Japan, or any other nation or group of nations, to make any terms which they could with China, but President Wilson's second principle would rule this out, as "no special or separate interest of any single nation or any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the settlement which is not consistent with the common interests of all." The principle of the "open door" and "equal opportunity" would be enforced by the third and fourth requirements of this Allied peace program; namely, that "there can be no leagues or alliance or special covenants and understandings within the general and common family by the league of nations; or specifically there can be no special, selfish economic combinations within the league and no employment of any form of economic boycott or exclusion except as the power of economic penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world may be vested in the league of nations itself as a means of discipline and control." Finally, there are to be no more secret agreements, as "all international agreements and treaties of every kind must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world." This point alone would free the relations of China and Japan from much of the suspicion which is gathered about the secret negotiations following the Twenty-one Demands, the Sino-Japanese Military Agreement, and frequent accusations of the Chinese press that their officials were about to "sell China" to Japan.

Summarizing his principles in the form of questions, President Wilson, on Sept. 27th, said, "Shall strong nations be free to wrong weak nations and make them subject to their purpose and interest? Shall there be a common standard of right and privilege for all peoples and nations, or shall the wrong do as they will and the weak suffer without regrets? " As if in answer to these questions comes the cry of Kang Yu-wei and his countrymen from the other side of the world: "There is no such thing as an army of righteousness which will come to the assistance of weak nations!"(43) The issue for the Orient as well as the Occident seems to be clear-cut. The President has said: "These issues must be settled --- by no arrangement or compromise or adjustment of interests, but definitely and once for all and with a full and unequivocal acceptance of the principle that the interest of the weakest is as sacred as the interest of the strongest."

No human being can view the incalculable loss of human life and wealth that is being wrought by the Great War, and remain unmoved. "For what purpose is this waste?" Only in the achievement of some such principles as given above can any such loss be reconciled. These principles must be no less than worldwide in their application; they should extend not only to the free peoples of Europe and America, but also to the newborn democracies of the Mongol and the Slav. Especially do they concern the vast republic across the Pacific, whose future relations with the rest of the world are so full of potential possibilities for discord or for peace. The importance of these relations was summarized twenty years ago by John Hay in two sentences: "The storm-centre of the world has gradually shifted to China. . . . Whoever understands that mighty Empire socially, politically, economically, religiously, has a key to world-politics for the next five centuries." Against the background of the great democratic upheavals in the East that are just beginning to take concrete shape and expression, and of the costly cataclysm in the West which seems at last to be nearing its concluding phases, these statements have a new meaning, both as a warning and a prophecy, concerning the new age which is to come.

Appendix One

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