Billeder på siden

The old trade routes followed the lines of least physical resistance through the mountain ranges, usually in or near the beds of water courses. The railways thus far constructed or under construction have, with certain modifications, followed the old trade routes. Generally speaking, this will probably be advisable in future railway construction, though thorough scientific investigation may open up some new fields for industrial development that even the ingenious Chinese have not yet discovered.

It is practically certain that with the development of Shansi's mineral wealth and industrial possibilities one narrow-guage railway will be entirely inadequate to care for the traffic. Other outlets must, therefore, be sought. The central trunk line connecting with the extension of the Peking Kalgan line will, to a certain extent, relieve the pressure. Further than that, it will doubtless be necessary to construct a line from the rich central plain in a southeasterly direction to northern Honan, following a well-known and important trade-route, and the coal and iron fields of Luan and Tsechow might well find an outlet to Shuntêfu or Changtêfu to the east. Moreover, for the fullest industrial development it will be necessary to build a number of branch lines or "spurs," especially to tap the richer coal fields.

The Yellow River, which forms the western and southern boundaries of Shansi, cannot be considered an asset in any solution of the provinces transportation problem. Some cargo boats go down the river, but, at any rate along those reaches, none return up-stream. When the boats reach the northern border of Honan they are broken up and the lumber sold. Within the province itself there are no navigable streams. Occasionally small scows appear in the Fên, the largest of these streams, for the transport of flour and coal; but the river is frequently drained of its entire stream to supply the irrigating ditches of the fertile mid-Shansi plain. In summing up our consideration of this transportation problem we should say that the most hopeful suggestion for the industrial future of Shansi lies in the extension of the railway system.

The question of afforestation should receive some atten

tion. It is probable that more than three-fourths of the area of the province was at one time covered with forest. The desiccation of the province in recent periods owing to deforestation has been marked, and this was to a large extent responsible for the terrible famine of 1877-78 which claimed the lives of between five and six million people in Shansi alone. Edwards of Taiyuanfu computed the rainfall for an entire year at sixteen inches. The average is probably a little higher than that. Atwood projected a theory that the rainfall increases and diminishes in a cycle covering twenty-four years, perhaps gathering data to support an idea he received from native sources. This, however, has nothing to do with the question of afforestation. An arboretum at Taikuhsien contains about twenty varieties of forest trees than can be successfully cultivated in Shansi soil. In the roofs of temples and other large buildings are found timbers that indicate something of the size and distribution of the forests in the past; while in the back blocks in both the eastern and western ranges of hills are yet to be found the disappearing remnants of the former extensive woodlands. Early and careful attention to the work of reforestation would provide needed building material for the future and would, at the same time, affect favorably the rainfall and so bear upon the problem of developing the agricultural resources. In the last years of the late dynasty certain governors of the province gave this question their attention, but the measures they proposed were never carried out.

An important problem in the industrial future of Shansi is the development of agricultural resources. In soil, climate and diversity of products the province has been singularly favored by nature. The wonderful loess formation covers the entire province, and because of that fact many of the hills are cultivable to their very summits. The climate while similar to that of the same latitude in America, is not subject to such extremes. But it is in diversity of products that Shansi's claim to agricultural wealth and importance lies. The following are some of them: field products; wheat (both spring and winter), millet (4 or 5 varieties), Kaoling, oats (both summer and autumn), rice, buckwheat,

barley, maize, and beans. Other field products are hemp, cotton, flax (in the extreme northeast), indigo, tobacco, and willows for basket weaving. The hills, especially in the northwest, yield large quantities of licorice and ginger, and a crude silk is produced in the districts bordering the Yellow River. Among the products of the gardens are potatoes (superior quality), yams, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, melons (4 or 5 varieties), and practically all the products of American and European gardens. Among the fruits produced are apples, pears, persimmons, grapes (some six varieties), peaches, plums, dates, mulberries, cherries, walnuts (the finest in China), and strawberries, the last named introduced by foreigners.

The most important cereals produced in Shansi are wheat and millet. The normal land valuation is probably determined by wheat, just as it is fixed by rice in south China. The agricultural problem is made acute just now in Shansi by the necessity of finding the best substitute for the poppy formerly so extensively cultivated. The poppy demanded the richest irrigable lands and sapped the vitality of the soil. In the four years since its cultivation was prohibited much of the land has returned to wheat as the spring crop and millet as the autumn crop, with the result not only that the price of flour has fallen in the wheat-producing districts, but also that millions of bushels of both the above mentioned cereals have been shipped via the Chengting-Taiyuan railway to supply the markets of Chihli and Honan. Though opium is the most profitable crop, financially, the farmer of North China has ever grown, its contribution to general prosperity was negligible, and it has been interesting to observe that since the prohibition of its cultivation and the substitution of wheat and millet as staple crops, though the immediate financial return for them is much less the general prosperity, as guaged by two excellent criteria, the amount of building and repairing done, and the number of theatrical performances held in the villages, is much greater. Opium, because immediately a more profitable crop gave to the land a fictitious valuation. This was from 30 to 60 per cent above the normal valuation as fixed by wheat. The economic

readjustment necessary now that opium may no longer be produced constitutes the crux of the agricultural problem in Shansi. Careful study must be given to the question of the best substitute for the poppy.

Shansi was formerly one of the leading provinces in the production of opium. The easily irrigated fields alongside the watercourses, and where the mountain streams flowed out upon the plains, were covered with patches of poppy. The local markets cared for much of it, but a good deal was shipped out to Peking and Tientsin, or over the Luanfu road to Honan. In 1909 the edict calling for the gradual cessation of poppy growing took effect in Shansi. In the spring of that year I traveled several hundred miles in central Shansi, in five separate prefectures or departments, and along mountain streams where the year before the poppy had been extensively grown. Everywhere I made careful investigations, and I found that no opium was being planted anywhere. In the following spring, 1910, in the ChiaoCh'êng and Wên-Shui districts, the former in the Taiyuan, the latter in the Fênchow prefectures, near the markettown of K'ai-Chia-Chên, the farmers attempted to resume the cultivation of the poppy. The then governor of the province, His Excellency Ting Pao-ch'üan, finding that the local officials were powerless to cope with the situation, sent a wellknown scholar and orator to plead with the people. This amicable method was unsuccessful, and the eloquent advocate was hustled out of the district. Then the governor sent troops to uproot the poppy plants and repress the rebellion of the people. A sharp fight followed in which about twenty farmers were killed, a good many others wounded, and several soldiers suffered severe wounds. However, the authorities triumphed, and the farmers abandoned the attempt to grow the poppy. This test case had been followed with keen interest throughout the entire province and its outcome had a salutary influence everywhere. For the sternness of his repressive measures Governor Ting lost his official head, a result that he himself probably anticipated. He has since been living in retirement in the city of Shanghai. The influence of the K'ai-Chia-Chên affair was carried

over into the next year, 1911. The impression has been given in an earlier address in this conference (Hon. J. O. P. Bland, "The Suppression of the Opium Traffic") that the Chinese did not fully keep their agreement with Great Britain in the matter of opium growing in 1911. I can speak only for Shansi, but my personal observation there includes the valleys of the Fên, Hsaio, K'ai, Wu-na, Liu Chih, and Yü Tao Rivers, as well as the district surrounding the great spring at Chin Ssu and the fertile valleys of the Pei Chwan in the extreme west of the province. All these were districts where formerly the poppy was extensively cultivated. No poppies were grown there in 1911. Careful inquiry in all sections of the province has elicited the information that everywhere the edict was enforced in 1911 as it had been in 1909 and 1910.

In the spring of this year, 1912, the people of Shansi took advantage of disturbed conditions in the country at large and sought to recoup themselves for the losses of the past three years by extensively planting the poppy. When I left the province about the first of May the poppy plants were just pushing their way through the surface of the ground. The province has, since the first of November 1911, been under a military government, headed by a Tutuh, Yen Hsi-shan. This provisional government will continue until after the general elections in January 1913. Early in the year General Yen put out a mandate forbidding the planting of the poppy, and threatening with punishment according to military law those who disregarded the mandate. This manifesto was in some districts preceded, in other districts accompanied or followed by strong proclamations on the part of the local officials. The people, however, disregarded the military governor's orders and continued to water their poppy fields. In June, just before the poppy could yield its harvest, General Yen sent a special deputy, with military escort, into the Chiao-Ch'êng district, not far from where the rioting had occurred in 1910. The farmers attacked this deputy, killed him, and wounded many members of his escort, at the same time burning the deputy's official residence. Troops were sent by Governor Yen, the

« ForrigeFortsæt »