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ceipts. In three other provinces, the
retiring officials were graciously perLook first at the chaos in China, mitted to take with them considerable around which all other difficulties re- funds from the treasury. And thus volve. That land is rotting, politically everywhere and always. and socially. It is an indescribable pan- The result is chronic bankruptcy at demonium. Famine, pestilence, civil Peking. Troops go unpaid for months. wars, and the alien enemy at the gates Sometimes they mutiny, as at Ichang have undermined its frail structure of and Wuchang, last summer, where they state. Corrupt politicians and foreign pillaged terribly. To check such outadventurers prey upon the weakened breaks, Hsu has raised money by 'dimembers. And the masses sink deeper verting' the educational appropriainto the sleep of opium, while the classes tions. For nine months teachers have burn with a new hatred of the foreigners gone penniless, and the schools have who contribute to the ruin.
been closed by a teachers' and students' Two governments wave their ban- strike. These funds being lamentably ners, one at Peking, the other in Can- inadequate, the Government has lately ton. And a third is struggling to be pressed the Chinese Eastern Railway for born at Hupeh. The Peking affair is a a twenty-five-year-old debt, and has alscream. Led by President Hsu Shih- lowed that company to pay up with a chang, a gentle philosopher and poet of bond issue, put out on such terms that renown, it is the vilest militarism in all only the Japanese would consider buythe world to-day. Honest, noble, and ing it, and they not for profit so much unworldly, Hsu was cleverly chosen by as for political reasons. At the same a bogus legislature made up of the time Hsu and his Cabinet have been henchmen of China's two mighty war making desperate economies in small lords, Chang Tso-lin and Tsao Kun, matters. Their auditors have found who are busy making money at the 1256 office-holders in Peking drawing country's expense. Hsu is not a party two or more salaries; the ministers are to their disgraceful ventures and treach- reorganizing their staffs downward, and eries. He protests much, and some some high officials have been invited to times manages to thwart them for a accept half-pay. All of which does not time, in lesser affairs. But, as they con- improve Hsu's credit at the banks, as trol the armies and collect taxes and we mark in his emergency loan of a play practical politics with veteran skill, million dollars last summer, on which Hsu disturbs them little.
he was obliged to pay 18 per cent interOnly three or four of China's eight- est. The only wonder is that the finaneen provinces even feign to obey Pe ciers did not demand 50 per cent. king. In reality these do not, for they The Cabinet and departments are are the domains of the three war lords befuddled and disorganized past all bewho created Hsu's régime. Hsu gets lief. They appeared at their worst in taxes and obedience from them only the recent radio dispute. Seemingly, when the war lords feel like contribut- the Government had granted three ing either, which is not often. Last wireless concessions to as many parties, July, Chang Tso-lin, being short of all overlapping and incompatible. The change, pocketed the salt revenues of fact was, though, that no Government Manchuria, where he rules. The tuchun granted any concession. The Ministry (military governor) of Shantung re- of the Navy entered into an agreement cently appropriated the post-office re- with the Mitsui Company in 1918.
The Ministry of War did likewise with Now all these worthies fear Sun, and the Marconi Company in 1919. And either oppose him, use his movement last January the Ministry of Communi- for their own ends, or else hold aloof, cations followed suit with the Federal under the pretense of favoring provinWireless Company, an American con- cial autonomy instead of a strong cencern. The first two agreements carried tral government. Many Europeans and plain monopoly rights, and it was this Japanese in the treaty ports dislike Sun fact that caused our State Department for reasons only a degree nicer. Some to protest. An investigation showed brand him as a Bolshevik and accuse that each ministry serenely ignored, or him of playing Lenin's game. else knew nothing about, what the This is absurd. Sun stands for the other two were doing; and neither Pres- simple democracy which Americans beident nor Cabinet checked up on the lieved in half a century ago. He thinks ridiculous performance. Which moves the ideals of Lincoln; and he is paying us to quote the old China trader's re- the price in much bloodshed and dubimark on Chinese politics: 'When you ous progress. The Canton armies have are through fighting for the Open Door been fighting steadily for many months, in China, you'll open it and find no- have scored brilliant victories in Kwangbody at home.'
si and the Yangtze districts, but still So shaky is this rag-doll government control little more of China than the of Peking that, before these lines are northern Government does. To be sure, printed, it may be a thing of the past. twice as many provinces have declared What follows it will depend chiefly for Sun as have sided with Hsu; but upon two men, Chang Tso-lin and Sun
with their favor goes no true control. Yat-sen.
Sun does not truly govern even his own The Canton government is a model province of Kwangtung, whose tuchun, of neatness and strength beside Hsu's. Chen Chiung-ming, is the commanderAnd its founder commands respect even
in-chief of the Constitutionalist army among his opponents. President Sun is recruited from five provinces. Chen pretty generally regarded as a patriot of levies taxes and hands over such funds high intelligence, and the vital force be- as he sees fit to the Canton Republic. hind the New China. For a decade he The Republic, as matters now stand, is has championed a genuine democracy, nearly as poor of purse as Peking; and and has drawn to his side many of the were Chen to reduce his bounty, Sun best minds. Unhappily, though, the would have nothing to fall back upon masses have not seen fit to follow the save the contributions of Chinese nabest minds a familiar habit of masses tionalists abroad, the very groups who everywhere. The ordinary Chinese has financed the revolution. There is no no interest in politics, which he looks reason for believing that Chen will with upon as a somewhat shady business, draw support; but it is important to less profitable than peddling opium, keep in mind that the Republic, with and less agreeable than gambling. The all its virtues and fine aspirations, owes people who count in politics are the its very existence to an enlightened hordes of small office-holders, who look tuchun, who may break with Sun alto it for a livelihood, the thousands of
most any day on some new political ispoppy farmers, who need political pro- sue. Such a break may come over the tection, and the corrupt mandarins issue of provincial autonomy, which and tuchuns, who subsist on likin, finds its most ardent champions in the squeeze,' and simple ‘appropriation.' five provinces that support Sun.
Provincial autonomy is a fact, and political intelligence believes that the many sincere thinkers wish to make it Chinese can rise much faster than Euthe basis of Chinese policy. Each ropeans have risen. You do not make tuchun dominates his province and is a men good citizens by building railways law unto himself, thanks to his control through their farms. You do not proof troops and taxes. As most provinces duce statesmen merely by installing are fully as large and as rich as France, telephones in the offices of senators. a tuchun is comparable to a pre-war Slow experiment by trial and error, still European potentate, but with the pow- slower education of millions, slow ers of an Asiatic despot. Several tu- crushing of superstitions, slow refinechuns have made millions by trafficking ment of tastes and desires - out of in opium. Others sell concessions. Not such stuff is citizenship made. And this a few have levied tribute on subject- process must work from the home and towns under one pretext or another. the village outward and upward. And all maintain their rule by force. The people who dwelt between DubTheir armies now number about 1,700,- lin and Constantinople when the Treaty 000, or an average of nearly 100,000 ac- of Utrecht was signed could not have tive soldiers under each tuchun. Nat- been organized into one successful urally the tuchuns tend to favor the State by the greatest of political gedivision of China into eighteen nations, niuses. Even to-day their descendants with themselves as lords and emperors. cannot create the United States of Why should anybody else approve? Europe, which is the only sure salvaSimply, because China is too huge, too tion for that wretched continent. Geoimmature politically, and too inchoate, graphical differences, many languages, to think and act as a unit.
race-prejudices, childish nationalistic The political realist has often noted fancies, and grave economic conflicts that this land should be thought of, not still keep the European masses ignoas an ordinary single country, but rather rant, provincial, and befuddled. How as a backward continent containing hopeless, then, to expect that the eightwidely differing races and economic een provinces of China, with their divisions, more or less like Europe of 350,000,000 mediæval folk, mostly desthe seventeenth or eighteenth century, titute of all the tools of civilization, can when there were no railroads, posts, combine under one government, which telegraphs, or sense of community. will work even as smoothly as a backChina as a whole is surely less of a po- ward European nation! litical entity than Europe was when the While this powerful argument for Treaty of Utrecht was signed. Yunnan provincial autonomy makes headway, has less in common with Manchuria the vast rim of China lapses deeper than Portugal then had with Sweden; and deeper into simple anarchy. Civil and the wider conflicts of interest be wars four violent — in the past six tween North and South are quite as months; famines unparalleled, pestiacute and as stubborn as any between lence, and the interminable border the popes and the emperors or the Haps- warfare lawlessly carried over into burgs and their many foes. Most im- Mongolia by the Russian reactionportant of all, the level of political in- aries under Semenoff and Ungern, have telligence in modern China is certainly shattered what frail web of law and lower than that of Western Europe order once hung over the western and three centuries ago. And nobody who northern fringes of the chaotic king. understands the origins and nature of dom. The river pirates are looting
junks and barges again. The robbers where he holds the most strategic posihave come down from the mountains. tion in all Asia. His is the rich land And in great hordes the hunghutze (pro- where Russia, China, and Japan meet fessional Manchu robbers) are maraud- in their struggle for existence. Maning across Manchuria. On the borders churia dominates Peking, Vladivostok, of Tibet bandits have baffled and beaten the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Amur the soldiers of the tuchuns. Out of River Valley, and Korea. It is the gateMongolia, but a few months past, the way from China to Siberia, from China rabble trailing the fanatical Living to Japan, and from Japan to Mongolia Buddha came within a day's march of and world-power. Chang sits at the the gates of Peking. Harbin, at the gate and collects toll, such as the traffic date of this writing, saw thousands of will bear. hunghutze drawing near. And for a The traffic bears a good deal, and the year, or longer, the Chinese Eastern proceeds have gone to Chang's head. Railway has been attacked and plun- He dreams of empire. Some observers dered almost daily by these same out- have imagined that he would be monlaws, whom the Chinese troops dare arch of all China; but Chang is too not defy, knowing that many of them shrewd for that; and if he were not, his are working for certain Japanese ad- shrewder Japanese backers would halt venturers and others for the Russian him. His vision is much more practicreactionaries, all clients of the mighty able, hence more dangerous. He sees tuchun, Chang Tso-lin.
a new Manchu-Mongol Empire, stretchThis red arc of ruin spans the two ing from the sea to the core of Asia. On thousand miles that lie between Vladi- Manchuria and Mongolia Chang would vostok and the frontier of Burma. It rebuild the throne of Jenghiz Khan,and has paralyzed trade on a thousand high- send the bill to the Japanese. He will ways and driven the boatmen from the sell to the Japanese, at their own terms, rivers. Even between large cities travel a thousand concessions; and on his is so hazardous that local officials forbid coronation day Japan will occupy foreigners to attempt it, and require na- peaceably a wedge twenty-four hundred tive merchants to take along armed miles long, giving them 'interior lines' guards in such numbers that only the dominating both Siberia and China. In most urgent mission can justify the short, what 'little Hsu' and his Ancost. It is the thirteenth century on fuites dreamed of doing ‘for China,' the miry roads of England; night, and a Chang would do for himself and his dark forest ahead.
Tokyo friends. The Japanese backed
the Anfuites, and lost. Now they are III
backing Chang, and hope to win. And
to-day the odds are strongly in their While China crumbles, a plan grows favor. in the north. If only half successful, it Three facts will convince you of all will shake the world before many years
this. One is Chang's military power, have gone. No outsider knows its de another is his management of the Petails, for they seethe in the cunning king Government, and the third is his brain of Chang Tso-lin, inspector-gen- long series of business deals with Japaneral of Manchuria, the power behind ese. It must shock the American readPeking, and the most sinister and stren- er to learn that this clever schemer now uous of the war lords. Chang rules rules an army of 300,000 well-equipped from Mukden of bloody memory, soldiers, over which the so-called Cen
VOL. 128 - NO. 6
tral Government exercises not the Government was able legally to de slightest control, although it is com- mand the payment of some 13,000,000 pelled to pay most of its upkeep. Since taels from that road; and the road Hsu demobilized some 300,000 of the could pay only with a bond issue whose Peking forces last summer, Chang has terms had to meet with the approval of become the overshadowing force; and the Peking Minister of Finance and the not alone because his is the largest Minister of Communications — both army in China. His strength flows Chang's trained Pekingese. The issue largely from three immense strategic was authorized in such a form that only advantages: adequate focd-supplies Japanese would consider underwriting within his own lines, the superior rail- it, and they for political purposes. way system of Manchuria, and the re- At the date of writing, strong efforts serves of munitions held ready by his are being made to block the issue. Japanese friends in Manchuria and Whether they succeed or not, Chang's Korea. To all this, add a double geo- intentions and methods remain clear. graphic advantage: Manchuria is quite If he is thwarted here, it will be only detached from the rest of China, hence for a while. Legally as well as factually, not surrounded by potentially hostile no man can launch an enterprise in provinces; and it is near the arsenals Manchuria or Mongolia save by Chang's and shipyards of Japan. Why should leave. And Chang sees fit to favor the not Chang dream of empire?
Japanese. Steadily since 1906 the And how can the frail Hsu resist Japanese have been pouring money Chang's demands? Dexterous, cunning, into his domain. They have financed and strong of will, the uncrowned king twenty-seven large corporations, mostof Manchuria manipulates his marion- ly banks and the rest mining companies, ettes at Peking without an effort. His lumber-mills, railways, and electrical technique is too elaborately celestial to plants. They show a gross authorized report here. Judge it by its fruits. capitalization of 71,525,000 yen, a sum Chang milks the treasury dry, plays off which means much more in that raw one clique against another, and traffics country of cheap land and coolie wages with the Japanese 'going and coming.' than twice as many dollars would mean Week by week he sells off China's as- to-day in our own country. Apart from sets and invests the proceeds in Chang. its arithmetical significance, the investAnd all so quietly and suavely, that no- ment acquires abnormal power from body quite knows what is happening the protection against non-Japanese until too late.
competition furnished by the Japanese Last July Chang seemed to be des- authorities, as well as by Chang himperately hard up. But of a sudden he self. handed over to his commissary general Manchuria being thoroughly in hand, $2,510,000 in honest cash, albeit Mex- Chang now prepares to absorb Monican. This oddly coincided with his golia. Circumstances played into his signing incorporation papers and con- hand last spring, when the Siberian cessions for a large Japanese develop- peasants and the Far Eastern Republic ment company in Mongolia; and it pre- drove Ungern's reactionary riff-raff all ceded by only a few days his shocking the way to Urga, in Mongolia. Ungern surrender of the Chinese Eastern Rail- carried on a variety of still obscure way, through a shady bond-issue vote. schemes, now to capture Chita, now Because of an old debt, conveniently to attack Peking through the Living overlooked for years, Chang's Peking Buddha. Chang saw in Peking's panic