Sih-Gung Cheng.

Modern China, a political study online

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1906. At the present time, all candidates must be possessed
of a diploma or certificate before they can appear before
examiners, and the subjects set for examination are no
longer classics and philosophy but modern history, geo-
graphy, law, and science. There are two kinds of examina-
tion, one for candidates who aspire to posts of high grades
and the other for those who content themselves with
junior clerkships or junior positions in the provinces. The
qualifications for these two kinds of examination are also

It is beyond the scope of the present work to inquire
into the question whether Examination is the best means
of enrolling capable administrators, but it should be men-
tioned that while China has very elaborate rules and regu-
lations in regard to the entrance into her Civil Service,
many persons in Peking and in the provinces are appointed

Political Outlook 301

to responsible and lucrative posts without having passed an
examination. They obtain their positions through their
personal or family connexions with Cabinet Ministers or
provincial governors and are called upon to perform
administrative work without having shown their qualifica-
tions. Those who have been successful in examination,
but who have no personal influence, are often unable to
find employment, and are thus denied a chance to demon-
strate their capabilities. It may be true that personal
discretion in the question of appointment brings into the
service persons who are competent for a post but whose
ability cannot be tested by an examination, such as far-
sightedness in planning and promptitude in decision., but
a safeguard should always be taken against an abuse of the
power of discretion.

It should be the rule that all the persons appointed
must first pass an examination so as to ensure that they
possess a certain amount of training. An exception might
be allowed for those who are competent for certain posts,
but whose qualifications are not discernible in an exam-
ination. To enforce the rule, and to prevent Cabinet
Ministers and provincial governors from misusing their
power when it is necessary for them to make an exception,
it will be essential to have an independent judiciary and
a critical legislature to exercise their functions without
being afraid of offending executive officials. Moreover, as
all appointments involve expenditure, it will be necessary
to vest the control over finance in the hands of members
of Parliament before there can be any effective safeguard
against the favouritism and nepotism which are characteristic
of Chinese bureaucrats. In fact, the corruption of Chinese
officials, which is all the more marked when compared with

3 02 Conclusion

the integrity and honesty of the Chinese business man,
will be much diminished if Parliament is authorized to
verify the accounts of all departments passed by the Audit

It will be argued by my critics that as the people of
China are not yet well-educated enough to choose proper
representatives and to control them when they are chosen,
it will be impossible to elect a Parliament that can be
entrusted with a control over Executive ofhcials. Thife is
true, but that difficulty only occurs at this elementary
stage of representative government, and will surely not
last. At present, there is no alternative to that system.
The autocracy has been destroyed and there is no person
in China so powerful and so capable as to be able to restore
it. Even if it is possible to find such a person, he will not
solve the difficulties of China. His influence and achieve-
ments will not survive his death, and the country will go
back to the same condition as that in which he found it,
when he ceases to rule. The history of China has been
full of examples of such great men who introduce reforms
by their own genius but fail to produce any permanent
effect on the people. Unless personal rule is replaced by
the establishment of representative government, there is
no guarantee that the Chinese will progress at all times
irrespectively of the character of those who happen to be
at the head of their Government.

Representative government may be only successful at
once when the conditions requisite for it are already in
existence, but it is equally certain that after it is introduced,
it will foster the growth of those conditions, even if they
do not exist in advance. The constant call on the people
to exercise their right to vote, and the liability of the

Political Outlook 303

executive to Parliamentary censure, will not fail to incite
public interest in politics and to put an end to public
indifference to government. The Chinese at large may not
be sufficiently interested in, and critical of, their Govern-
ment at present, but they will gradually remove these
defects when they have had a few years' experience of
representative government.

The trouble with them during the past seven years is not
that they have shown themselves incapable of representative
government, but that they have not made up their minds
regarding the system of government they will adopt and
preserve. Among them there are many who are at one
time advocates of representative government and at another
supporters of autocratic rule. They have no fixed intention
and often contradict their former principles. No system
of government is possible if it is not believed in, and
supported with perseverance and consistency.

The duty of Chinese patriots is not to change the system
of their government when they And it difficult to work or
unsuitable to the conditions of the people. Every system
has its difficulties and drawbacks, and no change will get
rid of them. The government of a country is a serious
business, and its system should not be subject to constant
alterations which would undermine its stability. The
representative government which has been introduced
should be preserved, and its unsuitability to the people
will soon disappear if the plans I suggested, such as the
devolution of enumerated powers on provincial authorities
and the restriction on parliamentary powers, are adopted
so as to give more opportunities to the people of educating
themselves in politics and of preventing their representatives
from misusing their mandate. With so intelligent a people

304 Conclusion

as the Chinese nothing will fail to be accomplished, provided
they are determined and persistent enough to do it.

It may be suggested that, as the representative system of
government is possible under a Constitutional Monarchy
as well as under a Republic, it will be better for the Chinese
to have an Emperor at the head of that system than to
have a President, in view of the novelty, so alien to their
tradition, of an elective chief of State. So far as expediency
is concerned, I have no preference for a Republic, but I am
opposed to any attempt to restore the Monarchy, when
once it is destroyed. The form of government, like its
system, should not be subject to unnecessary change, and
good citizens should always support any existing form of
government under which they may live.

Revolution is violent in its inception and serious in its
consequences, and it should not be resorted to when it
can be avoided. China has already witnessed too many
revolutions during the past seven years, and it will be
a hindrance to her progress and a disturbance to her tran-
quillity if another revolution attempts to alter the Repub-
lican form of government for the sake of restoring a
Monarchy which will not necessarily produce better results.
Moreover, the only argument that has been advanced in
favour of a restoration, an argument based on the fact
that the Emperor, by virtue of mysterious existence and
heavenly pretence, is in a better position to command
obedience than a President, is now no longer valid. The
divine theory of the Throne has been discredited and
repudiated, and the institution of the Empire will not
revive the mystical, historical, and theocratical reverence
and belief. Further, there is no person in China com-
manding sufficient respect and support from politicians and

Political Outlook 305

military leaders to put himself on the Throne, and any
attempt to occupy it by intrigue and bribery, as in the
case of Yiian Shih-k'ai, would always be opposed by the
intelligent section of the population. So far as one can see,
there is no hope for the return of the Manchus or for any
other person to wear the Imperial Crown, and provided
China is made immune from the menace of Japan, which
would destroy her existing form of government, she will
pass through all her internal difficulties and firmly establish
her Republican government to the satisfaction of both
Chinese and foreigners.

§ 2. Foreign Policy

In discussing the foreign relations of China for the next
ten or twenty years, it will be necessary to realize the
changes that have taken place (i) in the attitude of the
Chinese towards foreigners, (2) in the general policy pursued
by the Western Powers towards her, and (3) in the relative
positions occupied by the different States in the Far East.

(i) At the outset, it should be said that although China
has not increased her military strength during the last
twenty years, she has nevertheless witnessed a marvellous
rise of national sentiment. Many Chinese of this generation
are imbued with Western ideas of patriotism and nationality
and are determined to sacrifice their life and comfort on
the altar of their fatherland for the sake of maintaining its
independence. Unlike their ancestors, they do not despise
or hate all foreigners alike, but discriminate among them.
They believe in the disinterestedness of the United States
and in the sense of justice and fair-play maintained by
Great Britain. To France, they are indebted for the
inspiration resulting in the destruction of inefficient

1832.13 ^

3o6 Conclusion

despotism ; and they now look to her for guidance in solving
their constitutional difficulties. Of Japan, they are generally
distrustful and suspicious. They are openly hostile to her
when she attempts to bring pressure to bear on the Chinese

(2) Of American and European countries it may be said
that they have no territorial ambition in the Far East and
would refuse to trouble themselves with more possessions.
They recognize the legitimate national aspirations of the
Chinese and would support them in their efforts to realize
them, as they do with other races. For themselves, they
only want to develop their trade and to see the Chinese
organizing themselves in such a way as to be able to con-
sume more of their manufactured articles. The partition
of China, which was much advertised at the beginning of
this century, is now no longer possible, and, provided internal
disruption is averted, the break-up of China is now a dream
of the past.

(3) The critical point of the foreign relations of China
is centred on her relations with Japan. First, it should be
remarked that the ambition of Japan is to get rid of all the
existing preferential rights and privileges enjoyed by
Western Powers in China and to prevent her statesmen
from coming under the influence of any European or
American Government. ' Asia for the Asiatics ' has been
adopted as a motto by Japanese diplomatists, some of
whom have even gone so far as openly to declare in favour
of a Monroe Doctrine for the Far East. Moreover, the
success of their arms in the war with Russia has filled
the minds of many Japanese with a sense of pride and
superiority, which in time has been developed into a will
to conquer and subjugate the Chinese, who are militarily

Foreign Policy 307

inferior. The desire to control the supply of raw materials
from China and the need of finding uninhabited land for
the settlement of their surplus population have also turned
their thoughts to the annexation of the Chinese Republic
and its incorporation in the Japanese Empire.

To prove the accuracy of my statement artd to dispel
any suspicion of patriotic bias which might cause me to
be over-anxious about the Japanese, it will be interesting
to listen to the following description by an impartial
Englishman :

' Japan's predominance in Eastern Asia has become the
foundation of the national policy. " Nibbling at China "
is no longer the propaganda of the military party alone :
that policy has come to be universally accepted as leading
directly to the realization of the nation's destiny. Korea,
Manchuria, Mongolia, and, finally, the Middle Kingdom itself
— this is the order of conquest in the minds of the Japanese,
not only among the dreamers or the professional militarists,
but among the rank and file of the people also.' ^

Numerous schemes of conquest and annexations have
been prepared by Japanese politicians and publicists, but
I content myself with quoting two authors whose views
correspond very closely with the policy pursued by Japan
during the last four years. The first scheme is put forth
by Mr. Uchida,^ a member of the House of Peers, who was
instrumental in bringing about the downfall of Korea by
his intrigues with the Korean Government :

' Two points are most important in connexion with the
solution of the Chinese question : (a) To cause the sove-
reignty over South Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia to

^ MacLaren, The Political History oj Japan during the Meiji Era, -p. 375.
" In a pamphlet written for private circulation, but now published by
the Chinese.

X 2

3o8 Conclusion

be entirely transferred to Japan, and (b) to hold the power
of supervision and direction over China's finance.

' South Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia, under the
sovereignty of the Imperial Government, should be made
the base from which to control China proper. As to China
proper, we should at first hold the real power of direction
and make the control of its foreign policy and the manage-
ment of its internal, financial, and military affairs our goal.
To take all these matters into our hands at once would
cause anxiety to the world, but the acquisition of the
sovereignty over the two regions mentioned and of the
power of direction would enable us to extend our influence
by making a good use of them and finally attain our goal.

' After the acquisition of the power to supervise China's
finance, we must decrease her army and armaments. In
case of trouble arising from the disbandment of troops,
Japan would be responsible for the dispatch of a force to
suppress it. In that case, she would obtain the power of
training the Chinese army and of interfering with the
internal administration through the control of revenue.'

A more ingenious writer, Mr. Suniyama, has put forth
the following suggestions,^ which in point of time anticipate
the secret military alliance concluded between China and
Japan in 1918. According to him there are three periods
in the conclusion of a Sino-Japanese Alliance.

' In the first period, Japan should conclude a special
convention with China by which the former would render
military assistance to the latter in case her territorial and,
sovereign rights are encroached upon. In return Japan
would demand these privileges : (i) the appointment of
Japanese financial advisers by the Chinese Central and
provincial Governments ; (2) the appointment of Japanese
advisers to train the army and police forces in South Man-
churia and Shantung ; (3) the establishment of a Chinese

^ In a published pamphlet under the title of ' Policy for Swallowing
up China '.

Foreign Policy 309

fleet in Fukien with Japanese officers ; and (4) the unifica-
tion of Japanese and Chinese firearms and armament.

' In the second period Japan and China should conclude
a defensive and offensive alliance. The Chinese army and
navy should be trained and reformed by Japanese officers,
and all plans relating to defence and military operations
should be placed in the hands of the chief commander of
the Allied armies, who will be Japanese.

' In the third period, an Eastern Asiatic Federal Empire
should be established with Japan as its leader. The control
of Foreign politics and military affairs should be in the
hands of the Federal Government and internal affairs
jointly administered by Japan and China.' ^

In pursuance of the Imperialistic and jingoistic aims
outlined in the above quotations, the Government of
Tokyo, as detailed in the previous chapter, has forced on
China the acceptance of the demands which confer on
Japan preponderating influence in South Manchuria, East
Mongolia, and other coastal provinces. She has taken
advantage of the political differences between the North
and the South and has supplied loans and arms to both
sides, so as to prolong their struggle and to enable herself
to fish in troubled waters. Finally, she has bribed certain
undesirable elements in the country, placed them in power,
and supported them with money to cover their adminis-
trative expense. So long as she makes the Government at
Peking docile to her, she can exact from it all the con-
cessions and privileges which she desires without openly
committing any act of aggression.

Left alone, the Chinese will be too feeble to overcome
the overwhelming pressure of Japan or to escape the traps

^ 'Siberia will be Included in the Federation, If it becomes independent
of Russia,' says Mr. Suniyama.

3 10 Conclusion

laid by her financiers and diplomatists. They may resort
to passive resistance as a means of self-defence, as they
have boycotted Japanese goods, but that will not be effective
enough to preserve their independence. With the sub-
jugation of China by Japan, the latter will be possessed of
the fertile land and rich mineral deposits on the Far-Eastern
Continent. She may develop them more rapidly than
China, but the access to them will be denied to European
and American nations. The door of China will no longer
be open, and the West may find it impossible to compete
economically with Japan when she is able to supplement
the advantage of her cheap labour with that of an abundant
supply of raw materials. Further, there is the danger of
the militarization of China by Japan, and that might lead
to the destruction of Europe by an Asiatic invasion. It
is therefore important that the relations between China
and Japan should not be viewed as affecting those two
countries only, but should be considered as concerning the
future of civilization.

On moral grounds America and Europe cannot afford to
be indifferent to the aggression of Japan. They have pledged
themselves to the defence of the principles of justice for
all peoples, and have recognized their right to lead an
independent life and to develop themselves in their own
way. Moreover, Great Britain, France, and the United
States, in their treaties and exchanges of notes with Japan,
have specifically undertaken to maintain the territorial
integrity and political independence of China ; and it will
be inconsistent with their traditional honour in keeping their
treaty obligations if they tolerate such an unreasonable and
indefensible aggression as the absorption of China by Japan.

Taking all these things into consideration, it is incumbent

Foreign Policy 311

on the American and the European Powers to come to the
rescue of China. China is and will always be reasonable and
considerate, and she does not expect them to do anything
which she has no right to claim or which is beyond their
power. But she considers herself entitled, for reasons
explained in Chapter 9, § i, to the restoration of Kiaochow
Bay and to the cancelling of the Tsinanfu-Shunteh and the
Kaomi-Hsuchow railways agreements with Japan, so as to
prevent the province of Shantung from becoming a second
South Manchuria, which will soon be the base of the
Japanese Colonial Empire in Northern China. Further, she
believes that the treaties and the exchange of notes, which
would probably not have been forced on her had Europe
not been preoccupied in the war, and the acceptance of
which has already conferred on Japan many rights and
privileges inconsistent with the policy of the open door and
equal opportunity for the commerce of all nations, should
be cancelled, or at least revised, so as not to grant Japan any
strong foothold from which she could realize her ambition
of subjugating China. These tv\'o questions — the restora-
tion of Kiaochow and the abrogation of the treaties of
191 5 — have been brought to the notice of the Peace Con-
ference in Paris by the Chinese Delegation, and although
the first question has not been solved to the satisfaction of
the Chinese and the second has not been touched at all, it
is hoped that they will be considered by the Powers inter-
ested in China on another occasion.^

For the future, there are a few broad principles which
Great Britain, France, and the United States should observe
in their diplomatic and financial dealings with China.

^ Probably the Executive Council of the League of Nations will
consider them, as Mr. Wilson hoped.

312 Conclusion

First, they should realize that the principle of balance of
power, which has guided their diplomacy in the past, is now
not only discredited on moral grounds but has become so
unreal as to be detrimental to their own interests. The
acquisition of leased territory and the delimitation of spheres
of interest were intended to check and balance the influence
of different Powers, so as not to let any one of them dominate,
another ; but events have proved that while all the Powers
hold similar concessions and privileges with the purpose of
maintaining the balance, one Power alone has, by virtue of
its propinquity to China and of its willingness to resort to
diplomatic intrigues, succeeded in making use of its con-
cessions and privileges to dominate all other States combined.
China may have no serious objection to the occupation of
Wei-hai-wei and Kwang-chou-wan by Great Britain and
France, who only use them as coaling stations and for no
other purpose ; but so long as they are there, Japan has an
excuse for remaining in her leased territory in South Man-
churia, and gradually extends her influence. Similarly, while
the claims of Great Britain and France for preferential
rights in the Yangtze Valley and in the Southern Provinces
respectively have failed to bring them any special advantages,
Japan, by her claims for special treatment in Manchuria, in
East Mongolia, in Shantung, and in Fukien,has been enabled
to build up her influence to such an extent as to exclude
other Powers from economic activities in those regions. The
power is no longer balanced, although the name remains.
Moreover, the extinction of Russia and Germany, who had
territorial ambitions in China when the principle of the
balance of power was first adopted for the Far East, should
make it superfluous for the European States to check and
balance each other. The thing they should do at once is

Foreign Policy 313

openly to confess the ineffectiveness of the principle, to
restore to China the territory held by them in lease, and
to renounce their claims for preferential treatment in their
respective spheres of interest. Having done that, they
should help China to demand from Japan the restoration
of her leased territory, the Liaotung Peninsula, and the
abolition of Japan's spheres of interest. These two steps
would at once prove the goodwill and disinterestedness of
Great Britain and France and deprive Japan of the means
of annexing China.

The second point which is worthy of the serious atten-
tion of Great Britain, France, and the United States is that
in their dealings with China they should discard as far as
possible the idea of internationalization or international
co-operation. That principle is impracticable because it
is impossible to get all the treaty States of China to agree
on vital problems, and its evil effect has already been seen
in the case of the Chinese tariff, which requires the unanimous
consent of thirteen States for any alteration and which
enables any single State, however unimportant in its relations
with China, to defy the goodwill of other States. But the
most fundamental objection to internationalization is that,
as Japan must be a party to such an arrangement, it will give
her the opportunity of defying the goodwill of the Western
States and vetoing any proposal made by them but not
acceptable to herself. The result will be either a deadlock
or the surrender of the Western Powers to the dictation of
Japan. It should now be evident to the British and the
French financiers who, together with their Russian, German,

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