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THE EFFECT OF THE REVOLUTION UPON THE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES
By Ching-Chun Wang, Ph.D., Assistant-Director of the PekingMukden Railway, Delegate from the Republic of China to the recent International Congress of Chambers of Commerce
The Chinese people, heretofore silent and submissive, rose up so suddenly and simultaneously last year, that even careful observers were totally surprised. What was even more unexpected was the incredible brevity and unparalleled bloodlessness of the Revolution. In less than onethird of a year, they have removed a monarchial system which had been regarded as unremovable, and introduced a democratic government which has stood the test during the most dangerous period of the last eleven months. They have done all this with a moderation and sanity which have never been paralleled, thus setting a new standard in the fighting and winning of revolutions by peaceful methods.
What is going to be the effect of this upheaval upon the relations between the two largest nations on the Pacific? This question concerns us especially, for upon it largely depends the greatness of the one, the stability of the other, and the prosperity of both.
In order to ascertain this effect, we may first of all examine what this great change means. It has been repeatedly
said that one of the most certain results of the Revolution will be the increase of China's foreign trade. In spite of all sorts of drawbacks, this trade has already reached the enormous proportion of 870 million taels' in 1910, as against 455 million ten years ago. In other words, even behind closed doors, this trade has increased almost 100 per cent during the short space of a decade. Enormous as this
1 A tael equals about 75 cents in American money.
foreign trade may appear, it only represents two taels, or one dollar and a half per capita per year, which may easily be increased to five billion taels, if every Chinese consumes only one-half as much as each of his eastern neighbors, the Japanese. Therefore, we can see from all available signs that there is not the least doubt that this phenomenal increase of foreign trade will soon take place.
Side by side with commerce, China's industries will advance. She will bend every effort to utilize the enormous latent power of the millions and millions of her laborers for the development of her unlimited resources. When we recall that each one of these millions of the so-called coolies, who now idles his time away and proves to be a burden to society, on account of lack of productive occupation, has in him not only the power of making a comfortable living for himself and his family, but of adding a considerable share to the sum total of the wealth of the nation, if he is only given a fair chance to work, we may then have some idea of what these teeming millions mean. As the United States is gifted by nature with the inexhaustible power of Niagara and other falls, so China is no less blessed by God in having an equal, if not more precious amount of power in her immense industrious population. What China is now trying to do is to turn these millions to account, so that the misery and sufferings of which we have heard so much, may be changed into happiness and content, not by charity from outside but by making use of the worth of these sufferers themselves. The railroads-thousands and thousands of miles of themmust soon be built. Following the railway, the mines, which are not only extraordinarily rich but almost numberless, must be opened. Industries will in turn spring up. Forests will be developed and agriculture modernized. In short, China will be completely transformed.
Side by side with this material development, moral and religious advancement will also engage our attention. Indeed, from what the writer has seen and heard, he feels justified in saying that more effort will be devoted to the elevation of the moral and ethical standards of the people from now on than ever before, and that the belief in a single
Deity will be more rigorously revived, and eventually adopted as the dominating, if not the only, belief in China. This may sound impossible; but we must remember that the Chinese are a practical people, and that they are already beginning to see that there is no other religion which is more enlightening and practical than true Christianity. Moreover, true Christianity, more than any other religion, agrees with Confucianism. As a matter of fact, these two doctrines can well be moulded together so as to be mutually helpful. Christianity supplies the part which Confucius has omitted, while Confucianism, in China at least, could render Christianity not only easier to understand, but more up to date in every day life. The idea of God has been repeatedly, though vaguely, emphasized in the teachings which constitute Confucianism. Again and again, we find passages in the ancient books which refer to the Almighty as being omnipotent and omnipresent. By careful interpretation and with due notice of the difference in the religious temperament of the Chinese and in the characteristics of expression in the Far East, the true lovers of God could take advantage of the present change to Christianize China while the scientists and engineers are "materializing" her.
We said a moment ago true Christianity, because, like everything else, Christianity could be made to mean different things to suit various occasions, according to the degree of man's emotions or other circumstances. The apparently mechanical worship taking place all day and all over the streets in Russia does not seem to be the same thing as that shown by some of the reverent prayers offered in some of the churches elsewhere, and yet both are called Christianity. The heartless religious massacres of the middle ages, of which more than one sect were guilty, do not appear to be much more justifiable than the massacres recently reported to be taking place in Constantinople, and yet we understand they all were inspired by religious devotion and for Christian purposes. Therefore, we say true Christianity, for we do not need any more Christian superstitions in China than we need any other kind of superstitions. True Christianity must be that which only aims at the promotion of filial piety to God
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 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