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and good fellowship among men. Anything that conflicts with this, to the writer at least, is not true Christianity. Therefore, we say true Christianity harmonizes, rather than conflicts, with Confucianism. The former attitude, harbored by some, of implacable hostility to all religions, ethics and philosophy other than Christian, and the persistent ignoring of the virtuous traditions and elevating customs which have acquired the dignity of venerable antiquity, is injurious to true Christianity itself; for such an attitude of disparaging one, deriding another and sneering at everything else that is found in the country, incurs the risk of defeating the very object which Christianity itself aims to attain. Indeed, such dogmatic efforts are liable to disintegrate the present social fabric and bring about the collapse of the existing morality without, or at least before, firmly establishing a proper substitute. Therefore, it is only by an enlightened method, that Christianity may be made to bear its proper share of fruit of blessing in the regeneration of China, while by continued dogmatism, we can only reap thorny disputes.
I have spent so much time on the question of religion for I believe that in the regeneration of China, material as well as moral and spiritual advancement must go side by side. What has saved China from disintegration during all these centuries and enabled her to stand the test of age is not material prosperity alone, much less military prowess, but her sacred inheritance of integrity in business, her unparalleled love of home and her tradition of avoiding going to extremes. In acquiring what is good in the western civilization, we shall endeavor to keep what is good in the civilization of our own.
Therefore, what we are aiming at now is to remove all defects in law or custom, to do away with all that dwarfs knowledge or stifles the freedom of thought, as well as to clean away all unworthy elements in pride of race. We want to remove all these obstructions to progress, and change the past supercilious contempt for Western learning and Western help into enthusiastic eagerness and genuine respect. In short, we want to make a complete "house-cleaning" so that we may be able to enjoy our own inheritance as well as to contribute our share to the world. Instead of simply hearing people say it was our forefathers that first made gunpowder, invented printing, discovered the compass, and made many other useful inventions years ago, we want to do something ourselves. Many may have reasonably wondered why the Chinese should have stopped contributing to the material advancement of the world after their early and marvelous start, and some others may have even ridiculed us for being unable to keep up the record made by our forefathers, as shown by the absence of further important material contributions to civilization. We admit this failure with regret, but we must point out that it has not been due to our lack of capability but to its strangulation and wrong application. We have made little material advancement, because we have been applying our mind and energy entirely to the study of certain fossilized classics and the writing of a certain stereotyped system of essays. Think of what America could expect if she should make all her students study nothing but Shakespeare and use the ability of quoting passages from Cicero or Caesar as the criterion for selecting her officials! And yet, with few exceptions, that has been actually what China has been doing during the last one thousand years. Even our severest critics will understand why we have failed to advance materially as much as we should, when they know that we have been led by a false system to apply our intellects and energy in such a remorsefully wrong way.
Some may ask, why has China not found out earlier that she was in the wrong channel. The only excuse she can offer is that her self-sufficiency and comparatively high level of development, reached a thousand years ago, led her to feel that she could get along well without any more feverish struggles for material advancement. We are an original race, unmodified and unstrengthened during thousands of years by the introduction of any foreign blood. We have been separated and segregated from all of the growing portions of humanity during all those ages, and left to act and react upon ourselves. As a res
As a result, we have obtained a great fixedness in our own characteristics. We are said to be lacking in the faculty of true discrimination; but if we
were it is because we have long been deprived of all opportunity to compare or contrast ourselves with equals, much less with superiors. We refused to learn from others, because for centuries we had been in contact with few who could teach us. We are, you may say, too closely bred and rendered near-sighted by continually gazing upon ourselves. Our faculties have been over-developed, wrongly developed, and at the same time, perhaps, under-developed. We acknowledge all our shortcomings of the past; but we cannot yet admit that today our faculties are either too weak or too decadent. To the contrary, we have waked up and are determined to go forward and learn from all others. We may appear a little awkward in the beginning in adapting ourselves to western methods, but we feel certain that we can make progress and finally catch up. All that we need is a little time to readjust ourselves to the new order of things. With a reasonable amount of help from our friends, and taking advantage of our inheritance, we feel we shall soon be able, not only to take care of ourselves, but to contribute to the world as our forefathers did of old; and our only plea is that we may be permitted to work out our own salvation.
What China has already accomplished only proves that she is able to, and will accomplish more. Within the short space of six years, and under almost insurmountable difficulties from both economic drawbacks within, and diplomatic hindrances without, she has practically wiped out the devilish habit of opium smoking, so evil in its effects and so difficult to eradicate, that it makes all other kinds of habitual vice seem insignificant. She has made unexpected progress in the abolition of the time-honored and universal fashion of foot-binding, and has almost completed the removal of the queue. Moreover, in the incredibly short time of fortyeight hours, she has accomplished the well-nigh impossible feat of changing her calendar of many hundreds of years standing. She has done all this quietly, modestly, and in a
? Consult also the author's article on "How China is Fighting Against Opium” in The World Today of July, 1910.
3 Also see the author's article on “The Abolition of the Queue" in the Atlantic Monthly of June, 1911.
business way. What China wants now is simply a chance to enable her intellectual, moral and material inheritance, which God has given to her and preserved for her during all these ages, to improve her own condition as well as to contribute the share which she owes others in solving the problems which are now disturbing the stability of mankind.
The Chinese have been known universally for their superiority as individuals and their weakness as a collective body. Writers say that the backwardness of China herself has been due to the lack of cohesion among the Chinese. Indeed, most of the struggles which China had heretofore were fought, not by China as a whole, but by three or four of her provinces. Once the Chinese millions unite, their collective strength will be increased in proportion to their individual superiority. If the recent Revolution has done nothing else, it has created a unanimity of sentiment and a feeling of one ness among the Chinese people. When the cause of the Revolution was understood, the northerner and the southerner, the man from the east as well as the man from the west, all rushed to the revolutionary camps, eager to fight shoulder to shoulder and ready to fall side by side. Indeed, as remarked by some correspondents, such united sentiment has never been seen in China before. When the time came for a compromise, these men were just as ready to lay aside all personal considerations for the safety of the country as they were ready to lay down their lives during the Revolution. The unparalleled self-denial exemplified by ex-President Sun and others in removing all misunderstanding and in bringing about a closer union between the north and the south, are but typical of the feeling of the thinking class. Indeed, it is the unprecedented oneness of sentiment of the Chinese people that has brought the Revolution to such a speedy and bloodless end; this unison of feeling is bound to grow and prove instrumental in the regeneration of the country.
Therefore, the recent change has brought China to a point where she can, and will, no longer remain the Rip Van Winkle of the Far East. During the coming generation, she will, to use the common expression, have either to make or to break. We may see that selfishness has already led some of the powers to think that the awakening of China is not to their advantage. They believe it is to their interest that China should sleep always and remain ignorant eternally, so that they may satisfy their insatiable lust for grabbing other people's land and property. Indeed, some have already begun to take an unfair advantage of our situation to plunder, and have advanced arguments to justify their nefarious rascality in the eyes of the world. It is hardly necessary to comment seriously upon the validity of their arguments, since Satan never has any difficulty in quoting the Scripture, when he finds it handy for his devilish schemes. Therefore, we hear that Russia bases her claim to outer Mongolia upon her recent discovery, as the Russian press says, of an old document, somewhere in Siberia, which shows that Mongolia should be taken away from China. To a less degree, England also seems to think that by some divine right, she has a claim on Tibet, etc. But as said by many impartial observers and well-wishers of mankind, these arguments however plausible they may appear, and like poetry, however elegant they may seem to their authors, are not only false and unsound, but do not even contain enough substance of reason to disguise or conceal their real underlying motives of outrageous robbery.
Some of these vultures have been lurking around us for many years, and are now becoming more impatient than ever before, for they fear that now may be their last chance. On the other hand, after having emancipated themselves by both right and blood from the imperialism of the Manchu Court, the Chinese people are not likely to suffer the imperialism of the Russians or any other people. If we should inherit the foreign debts and enormous indemnities, much of which was iniquitously imposed upon the dissolved Manchu government, as the powers seem to take it for granted that we do, then by all laws of mankind, we feel we should also inherit the territories which were not only indisputably under the Manchu government, but have been rightfully inherited
* See Nineteenth Century Review of October, 1912.