The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
NOW the storm that has raged along the Pacific coast of China--from Hong-kong to Tientsin, and up the Yangtse Valley, penetrating the almost impregnable gorges to the province of Szechuan--is subsiding into a drizzle; the causes, immediate and remote, that led to the unfortunate incident at Shanghai and set the whole nation aflame and the entire world pondering over a solution, are gradually emerging; and its effects, present and future, national and international, are approaching a stage which does not absolutely defy estimate and prophesy. We are in a position, then, to obtain a comprehensive view of the whole affair. For the last two months the march of events has been so rapid and yet so zigzag as to present an impression at once of progress and retrogression. From the maze of news reports the public has extracted little but confusion and uncertainty. Yet if one is able to grasp the fundamentals and quit roaming the by-paths of the mysterious oriental labyrinth the Chinese situation is not inexplicable. These fundamentals we shall first attempt to summarize. In the light of the findings, an estimate can probably be made of the bearings of the Shanghai affair upon the national aspirations of the Chinese and upon the international relationship of the world. Finally, we shall discuss the projected Customs Conference and the Extra-Territoriality Commission, upon the result of which depends so much of China's fate, America's prestige, and world peace.
In the present world it is impossible to achieve isolation, either by force or by peace. Thus, in the company of everything that is undesirable and perhaps wretched, industrialism, with its wake of quantity production at the expense of those who have to live and labor, is able to blaze the trail from Manchester to Shanghai. In the West exploitation has had to diminish, for the West has had enough of it--almost a hundred years. But East of Suez capital has found good soil. Through all the dust that has been stirred up by the killing of demonstrating students, through the flames that have been fanned ablaze by Chinese nationalism, we may see, indistinctly but certainly, the grim struggle between capital and labor, with the British and the Japanese bearing the full share of responsibility for capital--this time.
The conditions in the Shanghai Cotton Mills are deplorable. It was for the amelioration of these conditions and the increase of wages that the workers in certain Japanese-owned mills had struck. The strikers were arrested and later sentenced to imprisonment by the Mixed Court. The issue involved, therefore, comes to this: Has the worker the right to strike with a view to bettering his position? If he has it elsewhere, he ought to have it in China and above all in Shanghai, in the opinion of labor the world over, even in England. Mr. Brockway, General Secretary of the Independent Labor Party in England, said in a letter published in the London Times on June 15, 1925: "One step is both urgent and easy--the enforcement in the Treaty Ports of modern labor legislation. Where European flags fly, and European guns are responsible for keeping order, we ought to insist that capital shall observe European standards of humanity."
It is certainly no European standard of humanity to pay skilled labor 30 to 60 cents a day and unskilled from 7 to 50,[i] fully allowing for the difference in the standard of living. More pathetic is the picture of children of both sexes, between the ages of 10 and 14, toiling for a few pennies a day--and a day in these cotton mills means either twelve or fourteen hours. Even an innocuous Anti-Child Labor Law was blocked by the Shanghai ratepayers through the lack of a quorum, the Japanese intentionally abstaining from attending the meeting. Legislation along the lines of a Workman's Compensation Act is remoter than a dream.
Such a state of affairs may be concealed for a certain length of time, but not indefinitely. And its disclosure has called forth the sympathetic attitude of labor everywhere. Mr. A. B. Swales, Chairman of the General Council of the British Trades Union Congress, lodged a vigorous protest with Premier Baldwin against the use of British armed forces for the suppression of "the legitimate aspirations of the Shanghai workers."[ii] Fifty labor delegates of forty-two nations, attending the International Labor Conference at Geneva, on June 5, 1925, sent a telegram to the Chinese laborers, expressing their sympathy because of the Shanghai incident.[iii] More was expected of the American Federation of Labor, and more it did. In a letter addressed to President Coolidge, and published on July 13, Mr. William Green, President of the Federation, asked for the convening by the United States of an International Conference "to make plans to abolish extra-territorial rights in China." Further, he said: "Because of the fact that present political provocations have paralleled the coming of trade unions in Chinese industrial development, and the struggle of Chinese wage earners for industrial justice and civil rights is projected into the international problem, it is most important and necessary for fully balanced consideration of the whole question that representatives of wage earners participate in this inquiry. We urge that the initiative be taken by the Government of the United States in calling an economic conference to consider the Chinese situation, and that this provision for labor representation be incorporated in the conference invitation extended to the countries. Ratification of the Washington treaties by France makes a strategical opportunity for such action."
The significance of the attitude of the labor unions of the West can hardly be over-estimated. It is a sign of a world union of the proletariat. It goes far deeper than the mere rubles that have gone to Shanghai from Moscow for the support of the idle strikers; for, be it founded or otherwise, the accusations of Russian malice and motive enters into the latter transaction. Capital, in penetrating the East, carries with it the "superiority complex"; but labor comes only in the interest of its class and on terms of equality. Such a belief is substantiated by the words and deeds of the Laborites in the English Parliament. George Lansbury and Johnston did not heckle the Government just for fun; and Ramsay MacDonald came out with a direct statement that it was the Government's business not only to protect life but to secure a remedy for the serious political problems of China.
No incident that reaches the proportions of the Shanghai affair can be explained comprehensively unless all the phases are paraded before us; and the struggle against the tyranny of capitalism is only one of the phases.
Before proceeding further, it will simplify matters if we minimize the "inspired" news reports of Bolshevik complications and dismiss the idea of the alarmists that the present uprising is another Boxer Rebellion, an anti-foreign and anti-Christian movement. True may it be that the Bolsheviks have been aiding the labor unions of China and fomenting trouble; that they have a hold on certain radical elements of the students; that they have openly subscribed to the strike fund of Shanghai. But to link the agile Karakhan's activities directly to the Shanghai affair is not susceptible to proof, and is an insult to the initiative and patriotism of "Young China." Recall the student movements that have occurred during the last decade and their effectiveness in directing not only public opinion but also governmental policies. In the students we find the momentum; and there we may end the search, for nothing is behind the scene. This is no denial that many in China are prone to accept Russian sympathy as well as material assistance. "When a fellow needs a friend," he will take any who will sympathize with and assist him, be he communist or autocrat. In the words of General Feng Yu Hsiang: "The Bolshevik propaganda is blazed out to scare the Western public. I term it nonsense. When we appeal for justice and the Western Powers answer us with gunboats, it is natural that my countrymen will welcome any kind of allies."
This picture of helplessness is rather pathetic; it is, however, all too true. It is said that China can never become communistic herself, although she lends herself, at times, and through necessity, to the ends of communism. As to that, only time will tell the tale.
Just as many conscientiously believe in the presence of a red trail across the Siberian plains and through the Great Wall there even are some who have succumbed to the scare of a repetition of what happened in 1900. But the direction of the boycott against only British and Japanese goods is enough evidence that China has since learned to discriminate between friends and enemies. Her outspoken friendship for the United States and the latter's sympathetic response less than a month after the outbreak dissipates once and for all the idea that China still looks askance upon all white men alike and holds all of them responsible for the wanton acts of the subjects of certain nations.
Events of recent years seem to indicate that an anti-Christian movement is on foot; but these events are far more part of China's rising nationalism than a result of religious feeling. How can there be religious persecution in a country where Buddhism, Taoism, Mohammedanism, and Confucianism have flourished side by side for centuries? If there is any nation in the world that can pride herself on her religious tolerance, it is China. It is not Christianity to which many of China's intelligentsia are opposed, it is hypocrisy. Christian individuals and nations have not even attempted justification of acts that a heathen would not imagine doing. China needs no anti-Christian leaders or followers; she has enough of mercenary, haughty, and religionless Christians in the Treaty Ports to offset the arduous and self-sacrificing missionaries in the interior. Whatever the situation may be, it is certain that the Chinese people are demanding the punishment of Everson, who gave the order of "shoot to kill," not because he is a Christian. Religion has as much to do with the theory of relativity as with the Shanghai affair.
"The present situation is due to a complicated series of causes out of which one outstanding feature emerges--the growing power of the nationalist movement in China," said Lloyd George. Chamberlain admitted in Parliament the existence of an underlying cause, and he no doubt also meant nationalism. Nationalism means advocacy of national interest, unity and independence. More concretely and for China it means the revision of "unequal" treaties. For this every youth in China strives; for well he knows that it is already a difficult task for old China to rejuvenate herself without a burdensome yoke, hampering at every turn. At her very throat is Shanghai--an ever-tightening international grip. Many sore spots have to be eased before China can return to normal; the sorest of all, and needing immediate attention, is Shanghai itself--a city that manifests all that is undesirable in extra-territoriality.
Shanghai, speaking of only the International Settlement, has a population of approximately one million; out of this number about 22,000 are foreigners. But it has been, and still is, governed by a Municipal Council consisting of members of British, American and Japanese nationality, elected by foreign ratepayers. Three-fourths of the population, therefore, are paying taxes without a voice in the government of the municipality. It was not until very recently that an Advisory Committee of Chinese members was set up; the name itself, however, clearly indicates its power, or rather, its lack of power. During the recent strike the Advisory Committee resigned. Litigations of any kind in the Settlement go to the Mixed Court, which is only "Mixed" in name, for to all intents and purposes it is foreign controlled. It was this Court that sentenced the strikers to imprisonment. Its justice can be doubted on two grounds. The Court in the first place is a machinery of and for the capitalists; secondly, it is the representative of the foreign oppressor, cloaked in the robe of a judge who is by reason and inclination against the native oppressed. During the trial of the "rioters" of the recent Shanghai strike the Court was guarded by armored cars and machine guns, and a cordon of Sikh police was thrown around the premises. There will be no justice if there is intimidation of the judge; will there be justice if there is intimidation of the judged and the public that is outside the walls of the courtroom? This Court, the Municipal Council, and above all the general attitude that is most prevalent in the foreign colony of Shanghai that China and the Chinese are only to be exploited and bullied but not to be associated with--all these have constantly been pricking China's pride, swelling China's hatred, hastening the progress of China's nationalism. However elastic Chinese temperament may be, it has its limitations, and it needs some outlet when it reaches fever point. The mine had long been set in place; the Sikh policemen on May 30 merely switched on the control pursuant to their master's orders.
People on the American side of the Pacific can hardly picture to themselves the city of Shanghai and its International Settlement; for such a parallel situation is not to be found elsewhere in the world. But if we can imagine Great Britain, Japan, Italy, and Germany appropriating for themselves a strip of New York City from river to river, between Wall Street and Times Square, and calling it their own, with Long Island as their residential section,--flying above it their own flags, policing it with their own soldiers and establishing there their own courts--we will understand why China calls it a grievance.
The West is only beginning to learn that power can be generated from agencies other than battleships, tanks, and bombing planes; Japan has learned it through her own Twenty-one Demands and all the infamy that was done at the Paris Peace Conference. Although, if responsibility were to be fixed, Japan would bear an unpleasantly large portion, the Shanghai trouble having started from mills owned by her nationals, she has throughout the course of the incident been riding the fence, with a slight inclination toward professing sympathy for China. Considering her traditional imperialistic and aggressive policy towards her continental neighbor, this is decidedly the most passive attitude Japan has ever shown. She desires no increase of China's hatred; she covets England's China trade--this is the whole secret in a nutshell. She has been pulling celestial chestnuts out of the fire for others to share; she has many a time burned her claws; it is time for Great Britain to do some pulling and to get burned. There is no other explanation for the action of a well-known Japanese publicist like Mr. Kawakami in championing China's cause,[iv] or for the Japanese Government's unhesitating response to America's desire for customs and extraterritoriality conferences.
The power that is generated from nationalism is at once vague and definite. It is definite when there is an occasion. It is the power of nationalism that has united the north and south at a time when civil wars are imminent; it is the power of nationalism that has converted a local industrial unrest into a national antiimperialistic movement; it is the power of nationalism that has tied up practically all shipping in the ports along the China coast; it is the power of nationalism that (as this is written) has been sustaining the general strike of 35,000 men at Shanghai for almost ten weeks and without signs of weakening; and it is the power of nationalism that is pressing for a justifiable settlement of the Shanghai affair and an equitable revision of unequal treaties. There is the reason for China's unwavering stand. It is the concourse of all contributory causes that has set the whole nation aflame and will keep it aflame until the victory of justice.
We have seen the causes--remote and immediate--of the Shanghai affair, and incidently the effect upon China as a nation. The international aspect is more complicated than it seems. And what enters most, though it seems subtlest, is the Russo-British relationship. With the exception, perhaps, of American questions, all questions of an international character revolve on this axis.
The most menacing to British interests in China is not the competitor but the agitator, and the latter is Russia. Be it from the motive of genuine friendship or self-aggrandizement, Russia wants two things and decides to get them at all costs. First, she wishes China to fall in line with Russia regarding the theory of Government and State. Secondly, she wishes equality in China with all the other foreign nations. The first project would probably fail; for China lacks all the essentials that would help the establishment of Communism; and, above all, the lack of private capital that could be appropriated. Furthermore, the veneration of private ownership is too deeply intrenched to be uprooted. The flocking of radicals to the red flag is less an acceptance of the Bolshevik standard than the manifestation of dissatisfaction over prevailing conditions due to actions of the capitalistic nations. As to the second, Russia might meet with success. Russia has given up all her privileges; she wants others to give them up too. This attitude coincides with the national aspiration of China. Karakhan is, therefore, bound to have a following. What can be more repugnant than this to Great Britain?
At the very start of the trouble at Shanghai the British focused their attention on Russia and the Russians. The Dosser Case, the wholesale arrest of Russian communists and a Soviet colonel following the burning of the Nikka Cotton Mills, the guarding of the Russian Consulate at Shanghai, and other acts--warranted or unwarranted--indicate the Britisher's desire to stamp out Russian propaganda when the occasion comes.
While Shanghai was in the grip of the general strike and boycott, Moscow and London were flaying each other so severely that the tension was brought almost to a breaking point. The following words of Leon Trotsky hit the "imperialistic" nations --England in particular: "What is the use of sending to the East and to the West secret agents with Moscow gold in one pocket and poison and dynamite in the other, when such agents cannot accomplish a thousandth part of the revolutionary educational work done by foreign capitalists and by the foreign press in China."[v]
The most sensitive or the most guilty as a rule will answer a blow directed against the group of which he forms a part. Baldwin and Chamberlain did everything short of actually severing diplomatic relations with Russia. This might have happened had not France and Japan been so non-committal. However we may discredit the talk of a triple alliance of England, France, and Japan, it is clear that England does not wish to play a lone hand, in spite of the fact that she has been doing so almost from the beginning. The rejection and suppression by Baldwin of the report of the Diplomatic Committee of Investigation, of which M. de Martel, the French Minister at Peking, was the chairman, was too big a stone to swallow. And the theory that the Moroccan War was due to Soviet agents apparently did not serve successfully as an anti-dose. Japan, as we have remarked, has decided to observe from the fence. And the United States, the traditional friend of China, finds no cause to change her course.
The policy of the United States Government and the attitude of her nationals in China certainly need to be viewed in perspective, for looking at them from close range we see nothing but incompatibilities. In the silence of official Washington, at the beginning of the Shanghai affair, we distantly heard the landing of American marines, the activities of American nationals --Viola Smith, Assistant U. S. Trade Commissioner, was organizing a women's defense corps; Stirling Fessenden, an American, was the Chairman (and still is) of the Municipal Council that was said to be responsible for the shooting; and Thomas F. Millard, in a warning tone, sent the following despatch: "Washington should prepare to meet an extension of anti-foreignism throughout China with its attendant peril to missionaries and residents outside of the ports." Most surprising of all, the American Association in China on June 25 sent the following resolution to the State Department: "The American Association in China urges upon the American Government energetic coöperation with the other Powers and the adoption of the strongest attitude and representation to the Chinese Government to suppress the present state of lawlessness directed against foreigners which, in our opinion, is due primarily to long-existing unsettled political conditions and aggravated by Soviet propaganda; and that China shall be held strictly responsible for losses of life, property and business incident to the present situation. Absolute observance of existing treaties is essential, until modified through the orderly processes provided by the Washington Conference."[vi]
But on the American side of the Pacific we could at once see that public opinion was, as always, in sympathy with China. And what is more, American sympathy does not stop short at lip service. The Government of the United States proceeded to action along the same path that John Hay had once trod. Before his departure for the Orient to take up his post in China, the new Minister, John V. A. MacMurray, reiterated unequivocably the American policy of "optimism and tolerance." Senator Borah, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, in the early stage of the Shanghai affair had scented "doctored" accounts, a fact which has since been more or less verified and which tends in a way to explain the incompatibility of the American attitude in China and that in this country. On June 10, a brief declaration was made by him openly, advising foreigners to keep out of China. Most significant of all is the statement issued by him a week later. He is opposed to intervention by United States; he is in favor of the withdrawal of extra-territorial privileges. In his own words: "I see no reason why the United States should be drawn into any controversy or conflict with Chinese authorities or the Chinese people. Doubtless the situation, as you say, is serious, but not serious by reason of any acts or policies of the United States, and it is not to be presumed that we will be drawn into controversies of other powers. The United States has not evinced any imperialistic designs in China, and I venture to believe the American people as a whole would like to see the national rights and interests of China fully respected. Personally I would favor the withdrawal of extra-territorial rights in China as speedily as practicable, and a policy adopted by all which would respect the territorial integrity and national rights of a great people."
This statement, indirectly at least, settles the policy of the United States. Although Congressman Porter, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, made no public statement, his past actions can be interpreted in no other way than friendliness to China. The return of the remaining part of the Boxer Indemnity was largely due to his efforts. And his spirit of coöperation with and assistance to China at the two International Opium Conferences held at Geneva last winter speaks louder than words.
In such a political atmosphere at Washington, and with the Washington Conference in the close background, Secretary Kellogg has had no choice as to the policy he should take towards China with respect to the Shanghai affair. The only question has been how to compromise American friendship, British hostility and stubbornness, and Chinese nationalism. As to France and Japan, they had become neutral before the United States entered the arena. What little opposition was later encountered in bringing about the consent of these two Powers to the calling of the Customs Conference and the Extra-Territoriality Commission was due on the one hand to misunderstandings in Paris and on the other to the desire of Tokio to camouflage her readiness in leaving Great Britain behind.
Before we proceed further, let us attempt some explanations for the divergence between the American point of view in China and in Washington. It has already been suggested that there have been certain agencies working towards misrepresentation. On the one hand they misrepresent America in China, and on the other they misrepresent China in America. Almost two months after the first shooting, on July 22, 1925, the following appeared in the Washington Post: "In the midst of the acute trouble in China and while the American attitude was a matter of speculation on all sides, President Coolidge was represented, in dispatches purporting to come from Washington, as placing the blame for the Shanghai shooting squarely on the shoulders of the defenseless Chinese students and hinting at America's readiness to join the powers in military punitive measures against the Chinese. Secretary Kellogg was reported as indorsing a plan whereby the powers would hold a united front to permit foreign business to prosper. Washington officials are described by the Sino-Japanese News, in a dispatch printed June 16, as not aware of any such plan as the Washington Post printed exclusively relative to a prospective plan of Secretary Kellogg to bring about a conference on Chinese customs and a commission to study the extra-territoriality question."
Secondly, the American attitude in China is due to commercial as well as racial solidarity between the British and the Americans --and other foreigners for that matter. They have one interest, and that is exploitation. Referring to the American Chamber of Commerce at Hankow, Senator Borah said it was part and parcel of the "imperialistic combine that would oppress and exploit the Chinese people." "They are perfectly willing," said Senator Borah, "to continue in connection with others these exploitations, and they care very little if they drag the American people into war and sacrifice thousands of our people. Any one who is familiar with what has been going on in China for the last ten years and the manner in which foreigners have disregarded and bruised the Chinese interests will have no doubt as to what is the real cause of the trouble in China at the present time. So far as I am concerned they are not going to hide the cause of the trouble. These interests, including the American Chamber of Commerce in China, are the real cause of this trouble. I venture to say that if the foreign interests in China will respect the rights of the Chinese people and deal with them in justice, if they would even give them the rights and respect the rights as they were defined in the Disarmament Conference, there would be no trouble in China with foreign powers."[vii]
In quite an early stage of the Shanghai affair, Minister Sze manoeuvred with a view to counteracting the British attempt to drag America into the whirlpool on her side. He requested that America should only act "concurrently" with the other Powers and for the protection of American property and life. This was no innovation; it was the policy of the United States during the Boxer Uprising. The next move consisted in overtures to America to assume the rôle of mediator. Finally, the Minister pressed for the carrying out of the Washington Treaties under American leadership.
The success of American diplomacy in this matter lies in bringing to the front the Customs and Extra-Territoriality Conferences and relegating the incident of the Shanghai shooting itself to the background. As affairs now stand, the Powers interested have agreed to a Conference on Customs Tariff and a Commission to investigate and report on Extra-Territoriality in China, and to leave the fixing of responsibility for the Shanghai incident to a judicial inquiry. This, on the one hand, saves the British from unceremoniously losing "prestige"--in China, they call it "face." On the other, it sidetracks Chinese fury. The whole nation, and perhaps it is not too much to say the whole world, is now watchfully waiting . . . for the results that are to be forthcoming from the Conference, Commission, and Inquiry.
As a conclusion, a brief presentation of the facts with respect to the Customs Conference and Extra-Territoriality Commission seems not inopportune. Through a series of treaties beginning in 1842, after the Opium War, China is under the obligation that all imports, regardless of the principle of reciprocity or protection, are subject only to a maximum duty of 5 percent ad valorem. Due to the constant and continuous rise of prices and the few occasions when the tariff schedules were subjected to revision, China is in fact receiving about three percent. At the Washington Conference, a Resolution was passed, reading: "That the customs schedule of duties on imports into China adopted by the Tariff Revision Commission at Shanghai on December 19, 1918, shall forthwith be revised so that the rates of duty shall be equivalent to 5 percent effective, as provided for in the several commercial treaties to which China is a party." Part of the Second Article of the Nine-Power Customs Treaty read: "Immediate steps shall be taken, through a Special Conference, to prepare the way for the speedy abolition of likin and for the fulfillment of the other conditions laid down in Article VIII of the Treaty of September 5, 1902, between Great Britain and China, in Articles IV and V of the Treaty of October 8, 1903, between the United States and China, and in Article I of the Supplementary Treaty of October 8, 1903, between Japan and China, with a view to levying the surtaxes provided for in those articles."
Due to the inaction of the French Government, it had been impossible to effect such a revision. In July, however, M. Briand, having made a pledge at the international bargain counter that the Treaty would be ratified if the Gold Franc Case was settled as he desired, succeeded in pushing it through the Chamber. The Conference is now scheduled for the fall. The pathetic condition of China's finances needs no description; the cause is found in her diminutive revenues. Even if the results turn out to be all favorable to China, she will still have a Customs Tariff which is comparable to a toadstool at the foot of the wall that encircles the United States.
No emphasis has so far ever been laid on the fact that the Chinese Customs service is directed and manned by foreigners, except positions that no foreigner will take in China. The British Inspector General holds his position by agreement, but why all the foreign Customs Commissioners? The Chinese are often assailed for dishonesty; but there is the other side of the story. An inherent evil in an institution, be it "squeeze" or something else, is not really an argument against that institution's moral character. The perpetuation of a foreign Customs Service for China is dangerous to herself as well as detrimental to the sense of fairness and justice. It thrusts back the day of customs autonomy in China; it is a landmark of foreign domination; and it is an obstacle to good international understanding.
At the Washington Conference, another Resolution was passed stipulating that a Commission should be established, with the interested Powers represented on it, to deal with the question of extra-territoriality. The relevant part of the Resolution reads: "That the Governments of the Powers above named shall establish a Commission (to which each of such Governments shall appoint one member) to inquire into the present practice of extra-territorial jurisdiction in China, and into the laws and the judicial system and the methods of judicial administration of China, with a view to reporting to the Governments of the several Powers above named their findings of fact in regard to these matters, and their recommendations as to such means as they may find suitable to improve the existing conditions of the administration of justice in China, and to assist and further the efforts of the Chinese Government to effect such legislation and judicial reforms as would warrant the several Powers in relinquishing, either progressively or otherwise, their respective rights of extra-territoriality."
It seems that the abolition of the extra-territorial rights at present may even cause China trouble; but at the same time the spirit of the Washington Resolution would entirely be lost if the Powers should, without justification, delay indefinitely the relinquishment of those same special rights which have been relinquished by them in Turkey. The Commission could, after investigation, stipulate a definite period of time--be it three or five years, according to the findings of the Committee as to the present status of the Chinese judiciary system--at the end of which period extra-territorial rights would be given up. The Governments concerned should give such a report the most favorable consideration, in the same spirit that prompted them to accept the Washington Resolution. China's nationalistic aspirations would be satisfied and justice and protection would be insured to the nationals of the Powers concerned. Germany, Austria, and Russia have given up extra-territoriality; we have not yet heard complaints of injustice to their nationals. The system itself has its inherent undesirability both to the Chinese and foreigners; the sooner it goes the better.
Side-tracks lead nowhere; side-tracking Chinese fury may seem good tactics momentarily but it is not a permanent way of appeasing the ever-growing spirit of Chinese nationalism. We have studied the Shanghai affair and have learned that beneath the industrial unrest and the student agitation lies a deeper cause--the nationalistic movement. Such a movement cannot be satisfied with merely a 2 ½ percent customs increase nor with the constitution of a powerless Extra-territoriality Commission. It desires more, and more it will get. Nationalism, as I have said, means for China the general revision of all unequal treaties, which exist by virtue of neither the code of Western ethics, which reveres justice and fair play, nor the principle of reciprocity recognized by international law. For the twenty-five years that have just passed the United States has led the world in pursuing a policy of disinterestedness in China and helpfulness towards her; for the twenty-five years that are yet to come it is to be hoped that she will not only continue her traditional policy but also actively assist China in bringing about the realization of her legitimate national aspirations. This is the one and only means that will forestall consequences that are too grave and would be too regrettable for prediction or even imagination.
[i] Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 1925.
[ii] Evening Star, Washington, D. C., June 6, 1925.
[iii] New York Times, June 6, 1925.
[iv] Baltimore Sun, July 10, 1925.
[v] New York Times, June 7, 1925.
[vi] Christian Science Monitor, June 25, 1925.
[vii] Washington Post, June 28, 1925.