Edward Harper Parker.

China, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day online

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and mercy — Maxims — The First Emperor's Procrustes bed —
Basis of successive dynastic laws — ^The Marcus Aurelius of China —
Son's responsibility for father — Simplification and mildness always
advance a step — List of punishments — Tartar rule in North China —
Comparison with the Germanic tribes — Introduction of foreign
religions — 1,400 years of clumsy classification — Appeals and con-
science — Instances of crown cases reserved — The ratio decidendi —
The Emperor and the Pope on Infallibility or Supra legea aumua —
History of law continued backwards from the Manchus — Ancient
obiter dicta still in force — Fierce treason laws — The Emperor K'ang-hi
— Jurisprudence falls off with advent of Europeans — Sir George
Staunton and the Chinese code — A Chinese Doctors' Commons — The
Ming dynasty and back again to the Mongols and other Tartars —
The T'ang dynasty and the Han dynasty are the two leading houses
for jurisprudence — Legal reform in the twentieth centtiry after
" Boxer " wars — Executive, legislative, and judicial functions first
separated — Independence of judges — Parliament — Wu T'ing-fang,
Foreign Secretary and Codifier of Law — Shen Kia-pen, native law
specialist — Practical justice still leaves much to be desired

Pages 307-342



Bone inscriptions, Shang dynasty 1770-1190 B.C., and most ancient
forms of writing — Literary revolution of 827 B.C. — Script originally
regarded as " names " only — Bronze specimen in London dating
several centuries later — Connected thoughts begin — Laborious
writing art — Fan origin of " books " — Confucius' history — 1,000
"names" increase to 3,000 "ideas" — Perishable materials — Feudal
China forcibly united — Writing simplified — Destruction of conten-
tious literature and cranks — Revival of literature, simplification
carried further — Sounds, rhymes, and tones distinguished for 9,000
words — Writing materials — Sir Aurel Stein's discoveries — No foreign
ideas ever affected Chinese script — Absurd to connect with Babylon
— All men the same — Presumption that they all used their organs
the same way — "History" is simply "Events" — Reason for
perishable materials — Caesar and Sz-ma Ts'ien of equal literary
merit — Chinese script good for any language.

All languages equally easy — Chinese differences only suggest diffi-
culty — No Chinese talk exactly alike — Learners must stick to one
dialect till mastered — Irish and Scotch accents as illustrations —
Monosyllabic and tonic languages — Digraphs and diphthongs — All
languages " piled up " in practically the same resulting way —
No Chinese Malaprops — No " grammar " in Chinese — ^Who knows
what " parsing " means ? — A rose by any other name — Universal
Chinese ignorance diminishing — Women's day coming — Different
sorts of style — No snobbery in Chinese conversation — A man's a
man for a' that — Dialects and brogues — Forms of " mandarin " —
Talk takes a back seat — Litera scripta manet — 400 syllables for 40,000


characters — 75 per cent, of them useless — Limit of " learning " —
A European may be as sound a " harmless drudge " as the most
learned Chinaman — Do not stuff your memory — Japanese get along
with fifty syllables — " Thickenings " in Welsh and Japanese —
Super-refinement of tones — Ancient Chinese provable from Corean,
Japanese, and Annamese — Cantonese the oldest and most highly
developed — Tartar corruption of Chinese, and Teutono-GaUic cor-
ruption of Latin — The French have, like the Pekingese, lost their
" entering tone " — Influence of Indian priests on Chinese language
— A " tip " for would-be students — Pekingese and Cantonese alone
repay study except for missionaries and "locals" — Question of
romanising Chinese — Welsh once more . , Pages 343-364



Rush of literature on the Revolution — The " Awakening of China " —
Li Hung-chang and Chinese struggles against foreign aggression —
Corean, Burman, and Tibetan questions — Count Cassini and the
Siberian railway — Admiral Lang and the Chinese fleet — Japanese
war and loss of Formosa — Li Hung-chang's diplomatic pilgrimage —
Germany out in the cold — The Kiao Chou intrigue and violence —
General scramble in consequence — The Emperor's fiasco — " Boxer "
desperation — The old Dowager a genuine reformer — Yuan Shi-
k'ai's good work at Peking and Tientsin — Preparations for a Con-
stitution — Efforts at reform by the Yangtsze viceroys — Russo-
Japanese war gives breathing time to China — Great Britain and
Tibet — Fair dealing with both China and Russia as finale — Death
of Dowager and Emperor — The Dalai Lama at Peking — The Regent
and the new Dowager — Palace intrigue and dismissal of Yiian Shi-
k'ai — Provincial councils and provincial armies begin to feel their
helms — Struggle for central or for provincial control — Likin bungling
and the moribund Mackay treaty of 1902 — Sympathy for Boy
Emperor changes to despair as to obtaining constitutional rights —
National Assembly of 1910 — Revolution of 1911 — Sun Yat-sen
hurries back to China — Manchu appeal to Yiian Shi-k'ai, who takes
char'ge at Peking — Anarchy in the provinces — Emperor announces
Magna Charta to his ancestors' spirits — Manchu princes removed
from high office — Regent resigns seals of office — " Pigtails " sacrificed
— Solar-lunar calendar mooted — Dowager leaves ParUament to decide
— Abdication of 12th February — Old Dowager's brother secures a
plank from the wreck — Yiian Shi-k'ai as Plenipo. — Republic created
not self-made — Sun Yat-sen President; Li Yiian-hung Vice-
president — New era introduced — Yiian dishes Sun, and is formally
elected President — Looting by Yiian's troops at Peking and Paoting
— New Constitution of fifty-six Articles — Its defects — United
League and Popular Party intrigues — T'ang Shao-i as Premier —
Hwang Hingand Sun Yat-sen placated with high but harmless office
— Li Yiian-hung Chief of the Staff — The Five Races — Intermarriage
and squeezed feet — Advisory Council in heu of Parliament — Petty
revolts and intrigue — Northerners get the pull over Southerners
— Foreign loans — National flag — The opium curse — Difficulties
with Tibet and Outer Mongolia, Turkestan, etc. — T'ang Shao-i
bolts and escapes assassination — Dictatorship bruited — Party


wrangling — Hwang Hing and Sun Yat-sen venture to Peking —
Death of new Dowager — Parliament to meet — Yiian suspected
re assassination of Sung Kiao-j6n — Hwang Hing joins in revolt
against Yiian's pretensions — Chang Hiin and his " pigtailed "
army to the rescue — Yiian's "Pride's Purge" and coup d'etat —
Chang Hiin propitiated with a Military Governorship ; declares
independence, but is bought out and given a high-sounding
sinecure — General confidence in Yiian — K'ang Yu-wei placated —
Vice-president Li Yiian-hung coaxed to Peking and is " snuffed out "
for two years — Parliament gives way to Advisory Council — Useful
work in China during 1914 — Hopes for China — How if Yiian die ? —
Yiian worships Heaven in state — European war once more gives
China breathing space — Projects for new Constitution — Japan
ejects Germany — The Press orJy half alive to Japan's future danger
— The Peace Association and uncanny rumours — Discrediting of
republican principles — Professor Goodnow's officious interference —
Dr. Morrison and M. Ariga — Bogus petitions — Suspicious attitude
of Yiian's scapegrace son — Liang K'i-ch'ao " smells a rat " — German
intrigues — Yiian Shi-k'ai seems hypnotised — Advisory Council recom-
mends monarchy — More bogus petitions in support — The idea of a
constitutional monarchy not unreasonable — Suggestion of popular
vote — Warning by Japan, Britain, and Russia to " go slow " —
France and Italy follow suit — General foreign and native confidence
in Yiian, but not as Emperor, only as constitutional ruler — Atti-
tude of America, Germany, and Austria — Adulatory addresses and
thimble-rigging — Yiian offered the imperial crown — Rats leave the
labouring ship — Absurd showering of princely and noble titles as
bribes— Effort to secure the " Four Intimates " — Eunuchs and
pretty girls at an end for palace uses — Duke Confucius collapses —
New era of Great Constitution — Ominous revolt in YiinNan — Japan
quickly shows her hand against German intrigue — Spread of revolt
to the other provinces — Yiian has to " climb down " — ^The fire-
eating ex- viceroy Shum — Sun Yat-sen, T'angShao-i, Liang K'i-ch'ao,
Wu T'ing-fang all hostile — Risk of South China faUing asunder —
Yiian's mad moratorium — Hurried summoning of ParUament —
Yiian falls sick and dies of uraemia and mortification — Li Yiian-
hung succeeds — Twan K'i-jwei Premier — Deaths of Hwang Hing
and Ts'ai Ao — Hopes for China through general conciliation

Pages 365-38G

Glossary Pagrea 387-394

Index Pagre* 395-419


Ricci AND Paul Zi (costume or Mma Dynasty), from


Pere Hoang ..... Frontispiece


1. Rough sketch of Chinese Empire showing propor-

tion OF Eighteen Provinces .... 1

2. Rough sketch-map to illustrate the size of each

province ........ 5

3. Rough sketch-map illustrating the spread of

Chinese from (1) Yellow River Valleys ; (2)
Head Waters of Yang-tsze ; (3) Yueh Valleys 14

4. Rough sketch-map to illustrate the ethnology

OF China AND the Chinese expansion . . .16

6. Sketch-map to illustrate convergence of all boads
UPON THE Pamir Region ; also to show certain
main ROUTES FROM the West .... 48

6. Rough map to illustrate the main directions taken

BY the early land AND SEA TRADE WITH ChINA . 50

7. Sketch-map showing most of the names mentioned

IN Chinese navigation . . . . .58

8. Map showing the sea routes known to the Chinese


9. Sketch-map to illustrate Chinese land and sea


10. Map to show Chinese knowledge of Africa . . 76

11. Map to illustrate the utmost extent of Chinese

rule and the trade routes into China from all
SIDES ......... 84

12. Map to illustrate the Eastern Island trade sphere 92




13. Map IIXUSTRATINQ SiBEBIA . . . . .138

14. Map showing the position of all ports and marts

OPEN TO foreign TRADE . . . . .174

15. Map illustrating population in 1894 and revenue

IN 1898 . . .' . . . . .204

16. Rough MAP TO illustrate chapter ON Salt . . 244

17. General MAP or China (after Bretsohneider) At end




If we desire to obtain accurate notions touching
the poHtical and commercial capacities of China,
we must first endeavour to reaUse what her
territory is Hke. It has been the native practice
in modern times to style " China Proper " by
the collective name " Eighteen Provinces." As
a matter of fact, since frontier questions with
European Powers became acute, the " East
Three Provinces " (Manchuria) and the " New
Territory " of Turkestan have been so reorgan-
ised that there are now practically twenty-two
directly governed provinces ; and Formosa
formed in a modified degree yet another new
one, until, some twenty years ago, the Japanese
insisted upon its cession. It will be more con-
venient to ignore these recent changes, and to
consider first the compact and thickly populated
territory lying between the various deserts or
steppes and the sea — in other words, the " Eigh-
teen Provinces," which are, or were until
recently, surrounded to the north, west, and
south by tributary or independent states, and
to the east by the Pacific Ocean. The natural
boundaries of China Proper, as thus limited,
have always been much the same— that is,


2 GEOGRAPHY [chap, i

deserts or steppes beyond mountain chains have
prevented the rapid expansion of cultivators in
any direction except along the valleys of rivers
which run eastwards into the sea. If the poli-
tical boundaries have in our times, as often
before, been pushed into the desert or upon the
plateau, that does not seriously affect the one
salient feature of the vast Chinese Dominion,
which is that, out of an irregular triangle cover-
ing an area of 5,000,000 square miles and sup-
porting a total population of 400,000,000 souls,
one corner embracing barely one-third of the
total surface consists of regulation provinces,
ruled under one uniform system, and containing
nine-tenths of the population ; whilst the rest of
the triangle, so far as it has not, either de Jacto
or de jure, seceded from Chinese control, con-
sists of poorly watered desert or plateau, thinly
peopled by races forming majorities over the
Chinese settlers. It was only when, as in the
case of Manchuria and the New Territory of
Turkestan, the Chinese element became in some
way predominant or equal, that political
measures were taken to assimilate an " outer "

The Eighteen Provinces thus form a roughly
circular mass occupying nearly one-third of the
dominion's surface. But, if we bisect this mass
from north to south, we shall find that the
western half has a general tendency to be moun-
tainous, whilst the eastern half has a corres-
ponding tendency to be flat. We shall find,
moreover, that out of a total population of be-
tween 300,000,000 and 400,000,000, the eastern
half contains three-quarters, whilst the moun-
tainous half only contains one-quarter. As we
proceed with our inquiry, we shall discover,
besides, that, taken as a whole, the western half
is barely self-supporting, and contributes even in

B.C. 2000-A.D. 1600] COMMERCIAL ASPECT 3

theory very little to the Central Government at
Peking, whilst the eastern half can support
itself, feed the Central Government, and also
assist the impecunious west, always supposing
that war and revolution do not queer the normal
pitch. The wealthy province of Sz Ch'wan
rather interferes with the truthful harmony of
this sweeping arrangement ; but none the less
the broad facts are as stated, for it is only the
eastern half of Sz Ch'wan that pays a surplus ;
in fact of very recent years the western half has
been constituted a separate government for
many exceptional purposes.

We have now got under our eyes a material
upon which to work, and it is thus evident from
a commercial point of view that the interests
of Great Britain lie almost entirely upon the
coasts, upon the embouchures of three or four
great rivers, upon the valleys of those rivers and
their tributaries, and upon the head waters of
the Yang-tsze in Sz Ch'wan. In other words,
geographical considerations indicate the eastern
half of China Proper as the most accessible and
the most valuable field for our commercial
development ; and, if this region be kept open
to us, we can, without great violence to our
feelings, relegate to a second place Manchuria,
Tibet, and Yiin Nan, in the first of which the
legitimate competition of Japan and Russia is
likely to be most keen, whilst India and China
have joint interests in the tea trade of Tibet,
and France through Tonquin has as much to do
with Yiin Nan as we have through Burma.

Familiar though the names of Chinese pro-
vinces are to those who have passed a lifetime in
the Far East, I am aware that the general reader
is apt to get confused if too many strange names
be thrust upon his attention at once. I there-
fore give here a simple map with a list of the

4 GEOGRAPHY [chap, i

Eighteen Provinces in order to illustrate my
remarks (see next page).

When we Europeans approach China, which
is usually done by sea, we are unconsciously im-
pressed with the notion that, the farther inland
we go, the more we leave " civilisation " behind
us. But it must not be forgotten that, from
the native point of view, the coasts are the ends
of the earth, and the places where least of the
true Celestial spirit is to be found. All the solid
part of Chinese tradition and history seems to
show that the original inhabitants of the Central
Kingdom (who have never possessed any national
or ethnological designation in the sense of
"German," "Turk," "Russian," etc.) were
first heard of as Jiioving from the north and
west down the valley of the Hwang Ho (Yellow
River), the lower half or mouth of which has
shifted from time to time, som.etimes leaving the
mountain mass known as the Shan Tung Pro-
montory to the south, and sometimes to the
north. The old capitals of the kings were all in
the valleys of the Yellow River or in those of its
tributaries, such as the River Wei in Shen Si.
Hence all the legends of even the mythical
emperors are centred between Si-an Fu and
Peking, near which place (Tientsin) the Yellow
River once entered the sea. In fact, the trade
area now belonging to the single port of Tientsin
nearly covers the whole of semi-historical China.
Even so far north as Kalgan there are ancient
remains of what appear to be signal towers or
tombs dating as far back as B.C. 200. On this
undoubted fact — that some of the earliest known
Chinese advanced from the north and north-west
—many ingenious theories have been pro-
pounded, connecting them with Babylonia, the
Accadians, Persians, Hindoos, and what not.
By assuming errors in ancient Chinese records
















Name of

An Hwei

Cheh Kiang


Fuh Kien .
Ho Nan
Hu Nan

Hu PSh
Kan Suh

Kiang Si
Kiang Su

Kwang Si .
Kwang Tung

Translated Meaning,


Cheh River

Direct Rule

River South
Lake South

Lake North

River West
River (and) Su

Broad West
Broad East

Archaic Name

(as separate


Kwei Chou . Noble Tract

Shan Si . Mountain West
Shan Tung . Mountain East

Shen Si

Sz Ch'wan .

Yiin Nan

Sheng King



Shen West
Four Streams
Cloud South


Happy Forest

Black Dragon


Min I
Ch'u I

Ngoh {

(no general

Wu I
I Yiieh







Part of oldEaang Nan; i.e.
An(king) andHwei(chou)

The Kiang (Yang-tsze)
once had a mouth here

Peking never under Vice-

Established (I think)
about A.D. 700

South of the (Hwang) Ho

South of the (Timg-t'ing)

North of the (Tung-t'ing)

Kan (chou) and Suh (chou)

West (reach of the) Kiang

The Yang-tsze about Soo-

The west and east parts of
Kwang Nan, or the old
Annam seat of power

Perhaps a euphonic form
of the old " Kwei State,"
or Devil Country

Chih Li used once to fall
within the parts east of
the (Hang) Mountain

West of Shen (an old
state practically mean-
ing " the Pass ")

Once called " Three
Streams "

South of the Sz Ch'wan
Mists, or the Misty
Range (Yiin Ling)

Also called Feng-t'ien

The ancient M a n c h u
cradle : possibly from the
old Chinese-Corean Kilin

Also called Tsitsihar

Sin Kiang . New Domain



T'ai Wan

Terrace Bay

(no general

Formosa (now Japanese)

It wiU be noticed that there are two Yiieh and two Kiang. The
Chinese characters alone can express the distinctions to the eye.

6 GEOGRAPHY [chap, i

here and there, by rigidly adhering to our own
Scriptural texts, and by indulging our imagina-
tion a little, we might perhaps even trace the
first Chinaman back to the Tower of Babel, or,
for the matter of that, to the North Pole. I can
only state the moderate impressions which the
perusal of original Chinese history has left upon
me. A capable and settled political race is first
heard of in possession of lands along the Yellow
River : it is occupied in fighting for its existence
with the horse-riding nomads to the north, who
raid the stores of wealth accumulated upon culti-
vated lands by industrious workmen, and who
disappear, when pursued, into their trackless
deserts. It is continually being reinforced by
other bodies of its own kind coming from the

The next great historical advance seems to be
south-west into modern Sz Ch'wan (" Four
Streams "), and then through the two great lake
regions down south by way of the navigable
Kan river of Kiang Si, and the Yiian and Siang
rivers of Hu Nan into the region of Canton,
which, as will be seen from our sketch map,
belongs to an entirely different catchment area.
But the valley of the Yang-tsze, as a whole, and
the provinces south of it and at its mouth, do
not appear to have become properly assimilated,
either politically or industrially, before the com-
mencement of our Western era. Moreover, the
portions of all the seaboard provinces lying very
near to the coasts seem to have been out of hand
up to a very recent date — say 500 years ago ;
so that we must picture in our minds the Chinese
race spreading like a fan from the southern bend
of the Yellow River towards the Upper Yang-tsze
and the coasts, its political force becoming
weaker and weaker as it approaches those coasts
and the Indo-Tibetan highlands. Hence we


find that, whereas throughout the whole of
interior China one tongue is now spoken — subject
to more or less serious variations in dialect,
never of an incongruous or impossible kind — in
the coast provinces south of the Yellow River,
and in those alone, are spoken dialects so excep-
tional as to rise almost to the distinction of
separate languages ; but only so in the sense
that Swedish, Danish, German, and Dutch are
languages foreign to one another ; that is,
though words differ in sound, they are easily
traceable to one indefinable or elastic original.
Thus we Europeans, approaching China from the
sea, are at once confronted with a practical
difficulty which is not nearly as much felt by
the Chinese themselves approaching the extremi-
ties from the heart, and one of the chief obstacles
to our success is this confusion of tongues, which
unduly localises every European's efforts.

I have above divided the Eighteen Provinces
into the eastern and western halves. In a very
rough way the eastern half may be stated to be
rich, -and densely populated by pure Chinese ;
the western half to be poor, and thinly populated
by mixed races, often exceeding the Chinese in
numbers. In the northern portion of the eastern
half there is probably not now left a single
individual of aboriginal race, though up to about
a thousand years ago certain unidentified " bar-
barian " tribes were still mentioned along the
southern (Hwai River) bed of the Hwang Ho.
In the southern portion of the eastern half there
are still a few independent or semi-independent
tribes, known as Yao or Miao, occupying the
border mountains which separate Kwang Tung
on the south from the Hu Nan and Kiang Si on
the north. But these tribes give very little
trouble, and possess no political importance of
any kind. In the mountains of Fuh Kien I have

8 GEOGRAPHY [chap, i

myself come across remnants of strange aborigi-
nal tribes, and even in Cheh Kiang there are a
few. Still, in a general way, and ignoring trifles,
it may be truthfully stated that the wealthy,
populous, eastern half of China Proper contains
none but pure Chinese, or aborigines so closely
assimilated as to be indistinguishable from
Chinese ; and in all cases these aborigines are of
the monosyllabic and tonic tongues so character-
istic of China.

On the other hand, the western half of the
Eighteen Provinces is largely foreign. The
miserably poor province of Kwang Si contains
many obscure tribes, usually grouped under the
main heads of Shan (Siamese) or Miao (no
ethnological clue as yet). Not only so, but there
are still many aboriginal officials, responsible,
however, not to the Central Government direct,
but to local Chinese prefects or magistrates. In
the adjoining province of Kwei Chou there are
also a good many Miao tribes, som.e groups of
which I saw myself when there ; they are in
appearance not unlike the Kachyns of the

Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day → online text (page 3 of 35)