Courtesy Reuters

Japan's War on Chinese Higher Education

BEHIND the front lines of combat in China looms another struggle which, though not sanguine nor even spectacular, may prove epoch-making in Far Eastern history.

China's coastal cities, beginning as centers of trade and shipping, have been her points of contact with the West. Gradually and inevitably modern schools and industries were established in those localities, and these played a great rôle in China's progress towards modernization. Nanking, and ports like Shanghai, Canton and Tientsin, became the heart and nerve centers whence radiated the impulses and directives that shaped the country's political, economic and educational systems. If years ago China had anticipated that she would ever be the object of a large-scale Japanese attack she might have planned differently. As it is, most of her administrative, economic and educational centers are on the front line of warfare.

Just how important the rôle of higher education is in the development of China's nationalism may be partly gauged by Japan's determination to destroy it. In 1931-33 when the Japanese attacked China they no sooner occupied a Chinese city than they immediately took over the schools and saw to it that all "disturbing" elements were cleared out and "friendly" instruction given. In the present war, Japanese planes have been going out of their way to destroy Chinese higher educational institutions. The most flagrant examples have been the destruction of Nankai University, the Woman's Normal College and the Hopei Technical Institute at Tientsin, and the Central University at Nanking. In Shanghai three universities, Tung Chi, Che Chih, Fu Tan, and the Commercial College, were destroyed. The University of Shanghai, an American-supported institution, has been partly wrecked. In Southern China, Amoy University in Amoy and Chung Shan University in Canton have been bombed from the air.

In resisting Japan's undeclared war against her, China is prepared, if necessary, to sacrifice her coastal cities. In consequence, she has already taken steps to move her centers of higher education. Temporary university districts have been set up

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