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battles for the Buddhist priest and the Taoist geoman
Young China is beginning to query about the moral issues of life both in himself and in society at large; the why's and the whither's begin to present themselves to him for the first time. Rev. G. A. Bunbury in south China tells of opportunities "to speak to students who are beginning to reflect on the cause of moral evil and to find the ethical theory of the Chinese classics unsatisfactory because inadequate." Here lies another great challenge to the Christian Church to take hold of its supreme task in China with redoubled energy.
On the whole and in the large China seems to be facing its future with fine moral enthusiasm. One of the first official acts of President Yuan Shi Kai was to appoint Shao Ying special commissioner to give his full time to the opium reform aiming to complete that reform in a year's time. The board of the interior gave official support to the program in a bulletin of March 20.
But when we turn to view the moral temper with which the powers are meeting China there is no cause for congratulation. Take this instance for example. On September 16 last, a consignment of seven chests of opium valued at 20,000 taels, the property of a Chinese purchaser who had paid full customs charges at Shanghai for it, transported to Anking, not a treaty port, in a vessel of the China merchants service, and stored in a Chinese-owned hulk, was seized by the order of the provincial Tutuh (governor) and publicly burned by the police. Here was a matter that from beginning to end was certainly wholly the affair of the Chinese both as to the legality of the seizure and of any claims for damages. Yet Great Britain in the person of its senior consul-general Sir Everard Fraser must needs proceed in an armed British gunboat, overriding the proper channels for such inquiry through Peking, to that same non-treaty port and demand an explanation of the Tutuh, the outcome of which is yet to be known. It looks as if some British were determined to put the "foreign dirt" into the very pipes of the Chinese and watch them while they smoked it. The transaction reminds
me of the action of the British consul in Foochow in 1911, who under pressure of the wholesalers who found their stock accumulating with no Chinese retail buyers because of the stringency of the administration of the reform measures, wrote as follows to the head of the bureau of foreign affairs"I have to request your excellency kindly send telegraphic instruction to all local authorities that they issue an explicit proclamation for the general information of the public with a view to promoting the sale of this drug."
The National Review published in Shanghai says of this last Anking affair in a leader entitled "A New Opium War:" "We can imagine no act short of actual war more unfriendly to the Chinese government than this, which is so malign in its effect that it might almost have been calculated deliberately with a view to initiating an insidious attempt to wreck the Republic. Such a result would highly delight Great Britain's ally, but would it in the least degree benefit Great Britain?"
One is tempted to agree with an American banker's view of the situation. Mr. Warner M. Van Norden of New York, is reported in a recent interview, speaking of the foreign forces at work in China and rating them in order of efficiency of organization, to put first, "a small but brainy coterie of Britishers who with the aid of certain British government representatives are working to nullify the popular antiopium movement, and firmly to establish again their nefarious traffic. In point of ability displayed in their tactics, and in the money involved in the outcome, no project in China is worthy to be compared with it."
Put with this front of the West toward China in one of it greatest moral struggles, the dollar diplomacy of the powers which for so many months has obscured and obstructed the course of real statesmanship, and we have very little of which to be proud in the moral clothes that we seem to be wearing in the eyes of New China. The National Review rejoicing in the break of the grip of the sextuple syndicate by the successful loan negotiated through the International Financial Syndicate says; "The whole conduct of this fight has demonstrated that what the six powers desire in this
country is not an open door, or an equal opportunity for all, but a door closed to all but their favorites, and no opportunity whatever for anybody else."
3. Turning again to the more hopeful Chinese aspect of the outlook we find the element of self consciousness or developing nationality presenting many grounds for cheer. One sees it especially in the enthusiasm and independence of the Protestant Christian Church, its sense of responsibility for the future of its own country. A growing spirit of unity also is most easily discernible here. Another half hour could be profitably spent on this inspiring theme. It is another side of the marvelous challenge which China is presenting to Christian Missions today.
Patriotism too, of a personal, selfdevoting sort is not to be sought even in times of peace in vain. General Chang KueiTi was charged with disciplining the troops concerned in the mutinous outbreak at Tung Chow. Among those court-martialed and condemned to death was a young lieutenant, a so-called “grandson" of the general of whom the older man was very fond. The general himself signed the death warrant and then went into mourning for several days so that an unfounded rumor became rife that he had committed suicide. One who knows the grip of the family and the clan feeling in China cannot but wonder when he sees the sense of loyalty to one's country looming larger in a Chinese conscience.
4. Of self-control, the fourth element in our review, the Chinese are showing large measures as they grapple with the stupendous tasks before them. Of course some of it is close to the oriental feeling of fatalism. "We must eat three meals a day. What's the difference?" But to New China it does make a difference; and if she can keep herself from becoming heady and bombastic she will do well and keep the sympathy of all her friends. The leaders certainly have not shown any of these distinctively student tendencies. Their spirit is reflected in the words of a high official to a representative of a London journal recently. "China does not ask Europe for mercy; she asks for justice and a little patience. We are in a little disarray it is true,
because the principle of authority is being restated in a new and strange language. We only ask what Europe cannot gainsay, namely time to set our house in order. Remember we have many mansions and there is much to do."
A last element in this selfcontrol or poise of the present day Chinese is something that he shares with the Chinese of all ages-his faith in "Li." "Li" is the conforming of one's individual conduct, or the ordering of social action in accord with the great moral laws of the universe. With the most ordinary coolie or boatman you can "kiang li," that is, "talk li," get at the reasonable moral conformity of any particular act or event. To the inmost rational moral nature of the universe; the highest affairs of state are administered with the same moral faith. The oughtness of things is with the Confucian an articulate living reality. That is why the present leaders and statesmen of China, although they know that the western governments do not pretend in international affairs to live up to their own highest ethical standards, and though they know they are faced by a dubious future, seem unperturbed. They feel that their own conduct of affairs, their programs and ambitions, have "li." The ultimate outcome is assured, "the stars in their courses" are fighting on their side. Their concern is only to make sure that they do not transgress "li." It is a moral faith that is unmatched in the non-Christian world.
From these glimpses of the splendid moral stamina in the Chinese people are we surprised to find that not a few of the old Confucians who have thrown in their fortunes energetically with the new day, intelligent, keen eyed men, with a knowledge of the world of affairs, regard the present as a mere episode in their nation's history. They still hold the westerners as their ethical inferiors-moral barbarians. For a time they will give themselves to learning western military science, western industry, western political science, modern science and modern education; and having made herself secure through these, by which the west has gained its mastery, China will resume its throne among the nations of the world, and rule not only its own affairs but in the affairs of the nations according to the supreme moral laws
of the universe. It is for us, peoples of a more advanced civilization and a more fundamental religious faith, to show them that the ethical bases for such a society and such a position in the brotherhood of nations must rest on deeper foundations than any in Confucius' noble system, and bring them to discover for themselves the one foundation that has been laid, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.