Mingchien Joshua Bau.

The foreign relations of China: a history and a survey online

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withdrawal of Japan's civil administration and Japa-
nese troops along the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway, except
a contingent at Chilian, which, as we have seen, was
illegal. The only fact in common between this il
agreement and the other valid agreements for which the
two advances had been received was that they were con-
cluded and signed on the same day — September 24, 1918.
Beyond this, there was no relation between these agree-
ments. 33 Hence, inasmuch as the two advances of twenty
million yen each were made in connection with the other
agreements, that of September 24, 1918, respecting the
control of the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway, still remains
invalid and therefore does not confer upon Japan any
title or right of possession and control with respect to
the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway.

Summarizing the conclusions we have so far reached
relating to tin- issues of the Shantung question, it can In-
held that, while admitting the ground for an honest
difference "t opinion relative to her right to attack Kiao-
chow, Japan had no right to land In r troops ;it Lungkow,
march through ( hinese neutral territory and seize the
German Kiaochow-Chinan Railway and the adjoining
mines, in violation of China's neutrality ami sovereignty;


that China's declaration of war did abrogate the lease
convention of March 6, 1898, and thus automatically
regained the former German concessions arising out of
the convention and entitled her to the custody and the
possession of the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway and the
adjoining mines, pending the final settlement at the
Peace negotiation; and that Japan's possession of Ger-
man rights in Shantung was not validated by the consent
relative to Japan's settlement with Germany as to the
disposal of the German rights in Shantung as embodied
in Article 1 of the Treaty of May 25, 1915, respecting
the Province of Shantung, which consent, as we have
seen, was extorted under the duress of an ultimatum;
nor was it justified by the agreement of September 24,
1918, respecting adjustment of questions concerning
Shantung, which, as we recall, was contracted for an
illegal consideration, that is, the withdrawal of Japa-
nese troops from the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway and of
the Japanese civil administration from Shantung, both
of which were illegally established. In view of these
conclusions, we cannot but be constrained to reach the
conclusion that Japan has held the leased territory of
Kiaochow as against the rights of China since China's
declaration of war on August 24, 1917, and that she
has acquired the German rights in the Kiaochow-Chinan
Railway and the adjoining mines in violation of China's
neutrality and sovereignty and in defiance of her re-
peated protests. Hence Japan is under legal and moral
obligation to return to China the leased territory of Kiao-
chow and to place in the custody and possession of the
Chinese Government the German Kiaochow-Chinan Rail-
way and the adjoining mines, subject, however, if
necessary, to some form of proper compensation.

In view of these conclusions, wc affirm that the
Shantung decision as rendered at the Paris Peace Con-
ference by the Council of Three on April 30, 1919, was


unjust. The Council awarded Japan all the German
rights in Shantung, and, in addition, the right to officer
the railway police along the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway,
and to establish a permanent concession in Tsingtao.

Articles 156, 157, 158, of the Treaty of Peace with
Germany, embodying this decision, read:

"Germany renounces, in favor of Japan, all her rights,
title and privileges — particularly those concerning the
territory of Kiaochow, railways, mines and submarine
cables — which she acquired in virtue of the treaty con-
cluded by her with China on March 6, 1898, and of all
other arrangements relative to the Province of Shantung.

"All German rights in the Tsingtao-Tsinanfu Railway,
including its branch lines together with its subsidiary
property of all kinds, stations, shops, fixed and rolling
stock, mines, plant and material for the exploitation of
the mines, are and remain acquired by Japan, together
with all rights and privileges, attaching thereto.

"The German state submarine cables from Tsingtao
to Shanghai and from Tsingtao to Chefoo, with all the
rights, privileges and properties attaching thereto, are
similarly acquired by Japan, free and clear of all charges
and encumbrances. (Art. 156.)

"The movable and immovable property owned by the
German state in the territory of Kiaochow, as well as
all the rights which Germany might claim in consequence
of the works or improvements made or of the expenses
incurred by her, directly or indirectly in connection with
this territory, are and remain acquired by Japan, free
and clear of all charges and encumbrances. I Vrt. 157.)

"< iermany shall hand over to Japan within three months
from the coming into force of the present treaty the
archiv ters, plans, title deeds and documents of

every kind, wherever they may be, relating to the admin-
istration, whether civil, military, financial, judicial or
other, of the territory of Kiaochow.

"Within the same period Germany shall give particu-
lars to Japan of all treaties, arrangements or agreements


relating to the rights, title or privileges referred to in the
two preceding articles." (Art. 158.)

It will be seen that the rights conferred upon Japan
were not those belonging to Germany, but those legiti-
mately belonging to China, as we hold that the German
rights had automatically reverted to China upon the dec-
laration of war on August 14, 1917. Hence the Council
of Three has awarded to Japan the rights, not of Ger-
many, but of China, — not of an enemy, but of an ally or
associate in the war. As the Chinese Peace Delegation
at Paris put it : "It appears clear that the Council has
been bestowing to Japan rights, not of Germany, but of
China; not of the enemy, but of an ally. A more power-
ful ally has reaped benefits at the expense, not of the
common enemy, but of a weaker ally." 35

What is worse, the Council of Three has awarded these
legitimate rights of China to Japan — a state that has per-
petuated the crime of violation of China's neutrality and
sovereignty. Instead of requiring the offending state to
restore the former German rights to the rightful sover-
eign owner, which should be the dictates of reason and
conscience, the Council condoned and encouraged Japan's
conduct by awarding her the German rights in Shan-
tung. The inconsistency is all the more glaring when it
is seen that, in the case of Germany, her violation of
Belgian neutrality was so severely condemned and pen-
alized, but in the case of Japan, for her violation of
China's neutrality, especially in view of the absence of
any ground of military necessity, she was not only not
penalized, but on the contrary, awarded the rights, not
of Germany, but of China, — a friendly ally and loyal
associate in the war. 30

It may, however, be contend d that, unjust as the
Shantung decision might be, the Allied Powers were
bound by the secret agreements of February and March,
1917, to award the German rights in Shantung to Japan. 37


It must, nevertheless, be observed that these secret agree-
ments were made prior to the acceptance of Mr. Wilson's
peace terms as set forth in his address to the United
States Congress, January 8, 1918, and in his subsequent
lies, and hence were abrogated by the subsequent
acceptance of his principles of peace. To this effect,
testimony was put on record before the Senate Commit-
tee on Foreign Relations as follows :

". . . On looking over the addresses of President Wil-
son and the statement made by Secretary Lansing to the
German Government with regard to the bases of peace, I
found this (reading) :

'The unqualified acceptance by the present
German Government and by a large majority of
the German Reichstag of the terms laid down by
the President of the United States of America in
his address to the Congress of the United States
on the 8th of January, 1918, and in his subse-
quent addresses, justifies the President in mak-
ing a frank and direct statement of his decision
with regard to the communications of the Ger-
man Government of the 8th and 12th of October,
"Now as to the subsequent addresses, although there
is nothing directly bearing upon the question of the four-
teen point- mentioned in the address of January 18, one
of the subsequent addresses was that on the 4th of July
at Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon in which he

'No half-way decision is conceivable, Tl
are the ends for which the associated p :oples of

the world are fighting and which must be COn-
led them before there can be peace. 1
"Then he mentions, one, 'the destruction of any arbi-
trary power anywhere/ and so on, and two is the one to
which I want to call attention (reading):

'The settlement of every question, whether of

itory, of sovereignty, of economic arrange-
ment, 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 interest or advantage of
any other nation or people which may desire a
different settlement for the sake of its own ex-
terior influence or mastery.'
"I think it was in this memorandum to the President
that I mentioned this point. 1 cannot say positively that
it was in that or some other connection that I called
attention to this statement and said that my understand-
ing was that all the powers who entered into the agree-
ment for the negotiation of peace after the armistice of
November 11 practically accepted the bases of peace as
laid down by the American Government and that this
was one of the bases of peace, and that no except inn,
no reservation, had been made to this by any of the
Powers, by Great Britain, France, or Japan, although
Great Britain did make reservations with regard to some
other things, and that therefore it seemed to me that
any prior arrangement such as these secret treaties be-
tween Great Britain and Japan and between France and
Japan ought not to he held any longer in force because
they were really abrogated by the acceptance of these
bases of peace." 38

It may be further contended that the Shantung deci-
sion in favor of Japan was necessary to prevent Japan's
leaving the Paris Peace Conference, and thus to save the
League of Nations just on the eve of formation. In
fact, that was the opinion of Mr. Wilson, and probably
the real reason for his decision. 39 It must, however, be
considered that the fear of Japan's withdrawal from
the Conference or refusal to sign the Treaty was not
well founded. It is unlikely that Japan would exclude
herself from the League for the loss of the former
German rights in Shantung. Secretary Lansing testified
before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that
he believed Japan would have signed the Treaty even
though the decision should have been against her, the
main consideration being membership in the League: 40


"Senator Johnson of California. Would the Japa-
nese signatures to the League of Nations have been ob-
tained if you had not made the Shantung agreement?

"Secretary Lansing. I think so.

"Senator Johnson of California. You do?

"Secretary Lansing. I think so.

"Senator Johnson of California. So that even
though Shantung had not been delivered to Japan, the
League of Nations would not have been injured?

"Secretary Lansing. I do not think so.

"Senator Johnson of California. And you would
have had the same signatories that you have now?

"Secretary Lansing. Yes ; one more, China.

"Senator Johnson of California. One more, China.
So that the result of the Shantung decision was simply
to lose China's signature rather than to gain Japan's?

"Secretary Lansing. That is my personal view, but
I may be wrong about it."

Granted for argument's sake that there was real dan-
ger of Japan's leaving the Conference or refusing to
become a member of the League, it is manifest that the
decision was rendered on the ground of expediency rather
than that of intrinsic justice. While it is admitted that
expediency, when not involving questions of morality,
may become a guiding principle of statesmanship, it must
be maintained, nevertheless, that when moral issues are
involved, expediency must be subordinated to morality.
In other words, in statesmanship, as in life, morality
must reign supreme, notwithstanding the considerations
of expediency.

Passing from the injustice of the Shantung decision,
we now come to consider Japan's policy in relation to

Shantung itself. In the statement made by Mr. Wilson,
August 6, 1919,* 1 the policy of Japan relative to Shan-
tung was said to be as follows :

"The policy of Japan is to hand hack- the Shantung
Peninsula in full sovereignty to China, retaining only the


economic privileges granted to Germany, rind the right
to establish a settlement under the usual conditions at

" i he owners of the railway will use special police only
to insure security for traffic. They will be used for
no other purpose.

"The police force will be composed of Chinese, and
such Japanese instructors as the directors of the rail-
way may select will be appointed by the Chinese Gov-

Taking this as the policy of Japan, it will be noticed
that she presumed to have in her possession the sover-
eignty of Shantung which she had in no way acquired,
and which was expressly reserved in the lease conven-
tion of March 6, 1898. Whatever sovereignty is now
in her possession must have been acquired in violation
of China's neutrality and sovereignty. And yet Japan
pledges to return Shantung to China in full sovereignty.
That is, Japan proposes to return something to China
which by right is not hers but China's.

Probably what she means by the sovereignty of Shan-
tung is the leased territory of Kiaochow, which she pro-
posed to return, and, in fact, pledged to do so. If so
(as we have seen), inasmuch as China's declaration of
war, on August 14, 1917, abrogated the lease convention
of March 6, 1898, and hence recovered to herself the
rights of the leased territory, Japan is proposing to return
something to China which by right belongs to China,
and which Japan has held, ever since the day of China's
declaration of war, in contravention of the sovereign
rights of China.

It will be further noticed that the second part of
Japan's policy is to retain all German economic conces-
sions in Shantung, including the Kiaochow-Chinan Rail-
way and the adjoining mines. It is needless to point
out again that these economic concessions have been
seized and retained by Japan in violation of China's


neutrality and in defiance of China's repeated protests,
and that since China's declaration of war they should
have been in the custody and possesison of China, pend-
ing final settlement with Germany at the Peace negotia-
tion, and that Japan is under moral and legal obliga-
tions to restore the same to China. And yet Japan pro-
poses to retain these ill-gotten concessions.

Again, Japan plans to establish a railway police along
tin- Kiaochow-Chinan Railway officered by the Japanese,
though manned by the Chinese, basing her right to do so
on the Agreement of September 24, 1918, respecting ad-
justment of questions concerning Shantung. As has been
already shown, the agreement in question is void or void-
able, because of its illegal consideration. Besides, the
right of police is in excess of the former German rights
in Shantung. In the agreement of March 21, 1900, re-
specting the Kiaochow-Chinan Railway regulations, 42 it
was specifically stipulated (Art. 16) :

"If troops are needed, outside of the hundred li (fifty
kilometer) zone, they shall be dispatched by the Gov-
ernor of the Province of Shantung. No foreign troops
may be employed for this purpose."

In the subsequent convention of November 28, 1905, 4S
Germany engaged to withdraw her troops from Kiaochow
and Kaomi to Tsingtao (Arts. 1 and 2) ; and to leave
the neutral zone and railway therein to the police of the
Chinese Government. In view of the limitations of the
German rights in Shantung, therefore, Japan's claim to
establish the railway police along the Kiaochow-Chinan
Railway is in of the German rights and in viola-

tion of China's sovereignty.

The political significance of the Shantung question can-
not be overestimated. This question represents the his-
toric issue of the struggle between the Chinese nation
and the foreign Powers, the territorial sover-

eignty. Ever since her opening, China was confronted


with the greatest prohlem of all her history — that is, how
tu preserve her territorial integrity and political inde-
pendence in the face of foreign aggression. She at-
tempted to solve this great prohlem by the Boxer Uprising
in 1900, which only plunged her into the depths of humil-
iation. Failing in this, she brought to pass the Chinese
Revolution of 1911, aiming to take hold of the reins of
government and thus to establish a strong and stable
government for her own protection. Now this Shan-
tung question represents foreign aggression or encroach-
ment on the territorial sovereignty of China, which she
aims to uphold under the aegis of the Republic. Hence
in resisting Japan's aggression in Shantung, China is sim-
ply following the tradition of her historical development.
To win in the Shantung question is to succeed in the
assertion and maintenance of her territorial sovereignty.
To fail is to acknowledge servitude. Hence, the Shan-
tung question will become the battle cry of Chinese na-
tionalism, and hence the Chinese people, determined as
they are to preserve their territory and sovereignty, will
never yield in the Shantung affair.

Again, this Shantung question represents the conflict
of Japan's policies in China and China's policy for her-
self. As we recall, Japan aims to exploit the natural
resources of China, and to establish her position of para-
mount influence. She also aims to control and domi-
nate China — by strengthening her influence around and
in Peking through her dominance in Manchuria and Shan-
tung. On the other hand, China strives for self-preserva-
tion — for her independence and sovereignty. She aims
to preserve what she has, and in addition to recover her
lost or delegated rights of sovereignty. Hence the Shan-
tung question represents the conflict of the policies of
the two nations.

Further, the Shantung question involves the sanctity
of international law, the maintenance of which consti-
tuted one of the objects of the World War. It raises


the question as to whether the nations are to observe the
principles of international law or are to relapse into
anarchy. If they mean to uphold the sanctity of inter-
national law, they must right the wrong done in the
Shantung decision. Hence, the successful and right solu-
tion of the Shantung question means the vindication of
the sanctity of international law.

Finally, the Shantung question represents the moral
issue of might versus right. By virtue of her military
and naval forces, Japan has acquired the German rights
in Shantung in evident violation of China's neutrality
and sovereignty. On the other hand, because of the
insufficient backing of force, China has failed to recover
the rights which should have properly belonged to her.
If Japan wins eventually in the Shantung question, it
means an unfortunate reaffirmation of the principle of
"might makes right." On the other hand, if China wins,
it is a successful vindication of the principle of "Right
makes might."

As to remedies for the Shantung question, there are
three. First, Japan may change her policy and so suc-
cessfully solve the question. But this is scarcely to be
expected, at least in the immediate future. She will stand
by the agreement of September 24, 1918, and the Treaty
of May 25, 1915, or stiil better, the original Twenty-one
Demands. She will also stand by the Shantung decision
as embodied in Articles 156, 157, 158 of the Treaty of
Peace with Germany, which gives a legal sanction to
her position in Shantung. It is therefore reasonable to
expect that, in the absence of other adequate remedies,
Japan will not likely yield in tin- Shantung question in
any substantial way, unless and until she changes her
policy toward China as a whole.

The second remedy is the League of Nations or Con-
ference "f Powers. Will the League or Conference
reconsider the question and right tin- wrong of the Shan-
tung decision? — That is the question which few will dare


to answer. Be it as it may, it is within reason to believe,
however, that the League or Conference will have to take
into consideration the pride and honor of Japan, for the
maintenance of which Japan will do all in her powrr to
prevent a reconsideration of the question. It is also rea-
sonable to expect that in case of a renewal of the Anglo-
Japanese Alliance, unless Great Britain in the Conference
or League is released from the obligation, she will be
obligated to support Japan in the Council and the Assem-
bly, which means that, in the case of the League, China
cannot get a unanimous report or recommendation from
the Council or a report or recommendation from the
Assembly concurred in by all the members represented on
the Council and a majority of the other members, exclu-
sive in each case of the parties to the dispute, which is
requisite to give the report or recommendation the sanc-
tion of the League, in case one party chooses to comply

The third remedy is that China should become strong
herself, and so cause Japan to respect her rights. This
seems to be the shortest, as well as the noblest, way to a
solution of the question. For Japan's action in Shan-
lung is based on the inability of China to uphold her
rights. As soon as Japan sees that China is able to do
so, rather than run the gauntlet of a conflict with her,
Japan will yield. Further, Japan's policies toward China,
it will be remembered, are partly founded on China's
weakness. The minute China becomes strong, the raison
d'etre of some of Japan's policies will be eliminated, and
she will surely change her attitude and policy in conse-
quence. Hence, in the absence of a voluntary change of
policy on the part of Japan and adequate action by the
League of Nations or Conference of Powers, the remedy
will lie in the rise of a strong China.

The basis of solution of the Shantung question is sim-
ple. Giving due recognition to Japan's service and sac-
rifice in th.e capture of Kiaochow, and paying due regard


to the sovereignty of China, the principle of the solution
should be, on the one hand, that Japan may receive, if
necessary, some form of compensation agreeable to
China, and, on the other, that, in full recognition of
China's sovereignty, Japan should restore to China all
German concessions in Shantung, including the Kiao-
chow-Chinan Railway, the adjoining mines, and the
leased territory, subject, however, to the proviso that
these concessions should not be mortgaged or alienated
by China in any way to any other foreign Power. Thus
Japan would receive her share of reward and China
would maintain her territorial sovereignty and recover
her rights.


After the foregoing was written, the Shantung Ques-
tion entered upon a new stage of development, which
deserves our attention. On September 7, 1921, the Japa-
nese Government submitted to the Chinese Government
nine proposals as the terms of settlement for the dis-
pute. 45 On October 5, 1921, the Chinese Government
made reply, 40 in general rejecting the proposals.

In the first proposal, the leasehold of Kiaochow and
the rights originally granted to Germany with regard
to the fifty kilometer zone were to be restored to China.
This is simply a reiteration of the pledge of restoration
made in the exchange of notes, May 25, 1915. In the
eyes of the Chinese, this proposal carries no more v.
than one to restore to China what by rights belon
lur. For China regards the leasehold of Kiaochow as
having been abrogated by her declaration of war against
German on August 14, I'M 5, and as one which .should

Online LibraryMingchien Joshua BauThe foreign relations of China: a history and a survey → online text (page 35 of 39)