CHINA: A REPUBLIC
 TO preserve the life of the oldest of nations, the time had come when in China men must shorten their
hair and women lengthen their feet.
Both of these old fashions, of queues and of bound feet, were symbols—the one of a political,
the other of a domestic form of slavery. China's vital needs were a keener sense of personality in
the individual, more cohesion in the body-politic, and a living faith in the unity of law and its
Creator. In order to survive, the commonwealth must take on the features of a modern state. Race
pride must become patriotism. Without these changes, China could not live.
Would the necessary transformation come through evolution, or by revolution? After aeon-old
adherence to civic order, would this new freedom to man and woman be abused, or would it tend to a
China's back must be turned upon other things, besides the three-century-old badge of conquest
imposed by the Manchus on the head of the males and the token of social slavery fastened by
immemorial fashion upon the feet of women, if a modern society, able to compete with western
 or even with its next-door neighbor, Japan, were to be built up.
All true progress, through adoption of what is apparently new, springs from a deeper insight and
clearer apprehension of what is old and tried. This is the truth underlying the myth of the "Golden
Age," which stagnant nations locate in the past. Returning to pre-ancient principles, the Chinese
must drop medieval forms of ancestor worship, study birth control, in plants, animals, and men, and
make selection of the better elements for the improvement of life in all its forms. They must seek
for quality, instead of quantity or numbers, in the household, the country's population, the soil,
and the products of the earth, air, and sea. The powers of nature must be tamed and harnessed to the
service of man and the newer inventions and material forces of the West must be adopted. China must
face the logic of facts in that industrial revolution which has affected every civilized nation. She
must seek for unity, bury her interminable intestine quarrels, strip the military province governors
of their power, and win the confidence, even as she now has the sympathy, of foreign nations.
To effect these beneficent results, the putting on of a new mind is of far more importance than
wealth of material. It was the changed mental attitude and interior intellectual preparation, even
more than the external impact, that made the
 New Japan. China has the capacity. Her need is of the new spirit and outlook.
In attempting to interpret the past and forecast the future, we must look first at agriculture and
the soil; for these together form the foundation of all wealth. Yet although the Chinese have been
"farmers for forty centuries" they have neglected two relatively modern and vitally progressive
ideas. The first is the proper selection of seeds. The second is the combating and control of both
parasites and the diseases of plants and animals.
In very recent years these principles in the modern colleges on the soil of China have been grasped
and put into effect. They open a new era of Chinese agriculture, improving while increasing the
yield. With afforestation of the bare hills and proper engineering for the guidance of her rivers
and water flow, the famines, that have so long afflicted and desolated China, will have become the
forgotten episodes of history—recalled only by the inquiring scholar. China is not
over-populated, except in the river valleys. The opening of her mines and underground resources, and
the establishment of manufactures will re-distribute, beneficially, the whole nation. There are too
many farmers and not enough diversified industries.
The China that has been thus far able to survive all changes and persist through the ages is the
resultant of many minds and the human toil of
 mind and body of pre-ancient time, of the recorded centuries, and of recent years, when altruistic
aliens in China's harvest field gave mind, life, and health to "bind the same sheaf." The creation
of modern China is the work of innumerable men and women, known and unknown. To neither alien nor
native is the credit wholly due, either for accomplishment or for hope. Philosophy and education
turn sight into insight, interpret phenomena, save man from stagnation, prevent society from
relapse, and keep the lamp of promise brightly burning.
Besides illustrating the principle that all true progress springs from a deeper apprehension of what
is old and tried, it is well for both native and alien to note that China herself has in large
measure furnished, in the person of her own philosophers, the new mind which fits the common-wealth
for wholesome change. Given the needed stimulus from without, the reinforced Chinese need hardly go
very far beyond their own resources for mental equipment. Confucius did indeed teach a system, of
thought and of conduct, expressed chiefly in etiquette, that has most admirably formed the culture
of a fourth of the human race. In its various interpretations and representations, it has aided
Korea, Japan, and the nations of eastern Asia in their onward march.
Beside that reconstruction of Chinese thought which was noticed in Chapter XII, the new man
 with the new mind appeared in the sixteenth century (1472-1528), in the person of Wang Yang Ming,
who elaborated a philosophy, not of forms and ceremonies only, or a culture based wholly on things
human and earthly. Wang, cultivating the intuitional method, taught men to look within and find the
Source of all power. Those who would study Wang's system of thought in his writings, must read his
but those who wish to see it developed in a body of culture, interpreted in action and its fruit
visible in signal results, must turn to modern Japanese history. The makers of the New Japan, in the
nineteenth century, probably without a single exception, were disciples of Wang Yang Ming (in
Wang suffered the usual fate of seers and prophets, even to detraction, punishment, and exile, but
was restored to honor; his teaching won favor and large acceptance, and after his death he was
canonized. His vision and teachings have had much to do with the recasting of modern Chinese
thought, the making of China's new mind, the overthrow of popular superstition, the galvanizing into
life of deadly official inertia, and the creation of the New China. In deepest truth, a plastic mind
was vitally necessary to meet the new problems confronting so old a society, because of the clash
with western ideas and methods.
 The frequent seizures of China's territory, after aggressive wars, so appalling to the Chinese,
followed logically a dogma which was rejected by the United States, even from colonial beginnings.
This arose from the doctrine of Church and State, begun by Charlemagne and the pope in A.D. 800, which developed into the conceptions of "Christendom" and "heathendom"; by which, in
the fifteenth century, the world was divided by the papacy into halves and given to Spain and
By further logical evolution, the doctrine in statecraft of "the balance of power" was elaborated.
Under this ruling idea, the conscience of Christendom was debauched. More than one "nation of
shopkeepers," in its lust for land and gold, virtually eliminated the eighth commandment from
politics—whenever a weak nation was confronted by one with superior power. "Under all
diplomacy, there must be a solid substratum of force," became the guiding motto not only of Sir
Rutherford Alcock, the British minister to Japan in 1863 and in China from 1865 to 1871, but of
others. Such a doctrine was totally opposed by so successful a diplomatist as Townsend Harris.
In view of the historic facts patent to the world during and after the Boxer uprising and the
subsequent diplomacy, the Government at Washington, in 1908, notified Peking that it would cancel
all claims for further indemnity and return what had
 been already paid, provided that the money thus released should be used for the education of Chinese
youth in the United States.
This beneficent arrangement—the logical following out of the time-honored conviction and
policy of the American people—again challenged the dogmas and reversed the record of the Old
World, even though "Christian." Whereas, papal, imperial, and royal Europe—the Holy Roman
Empire, with Pope, King, Czar, and Kaiser—made it a dogma, of both Church and State, that
Asiatic and uncivilized nations existed to be exploited or conquered, the creed and practice of the
United States, from the beginning, has been that these people were to be helped, healed, taught, and
uplifted. President Washington declared that the blessings which we as a nation enjoyed were to be
shared by others.
Under this arrangement, about twelve hundred Chinese, young men and women, have been educated, of
are in American colleges. They are chosen after competitive examinations—nearly all the girls
being daughters of Christian pastors.
It is now time to look at China as a republic.
Is it a name only? Or, has there been a real transformation?
When at the inevitable fall of the Ta Tsing, or Great Bright dynasty of Manchu emperors, China
 became a republic, the movement, as in Japan's revolution of 1868, was largely one of students and
"intellectuals," the mass of the people being but slightly enlightened or interested. New Japan
arose out of an agglomeration of feudal units. China, that had abolished feudalism over two thousand
years before, was a conglomerate of many countries, races, provinces, and communities, with few
elements of political cohesion or powers of articulation, though the social and cultural bond was
strong. The Chinese were illy fitted either to become a true nation or to form a modern government.
Though the name of a republic might be chosen and even the American idea of a striped
flag—significant of federal union and the equality of each province, large or small, in the
national legislature—yet for the multitudinous units of local freedom, there were few elements
of vital political union. One thinks rather of a boneless giant or a monstrous jellyfish—an
organism with only the smallest degree of articulation. There existed an enormous mass of population
below and the few agitators and leaders above, but the great middle term of a politically
intelligent public, which only education and experience could slowly supply, was lacking.
The most formidable obstacle to concentration, unity, or harmony, however, lay in the racial,
mental, and economic diversity between the North and South—such as Americans with civil
 war memories ought to be able to understand with some degree of sympathetic clearness. The men of
the two sections are as different, in origin and temperament, as may well be conceived, even though
called by one name and nominally of one race. One thinks of the Celto-Frankish and Teutonic peoples
and their age-old wars. The southern Chinese, in origin, are largely of Malay descent, interested in
the sea and accustomed to spread into other countries. The Northern Chinese are of Tartar and Manchu
descent and men of interior land interests. In physical appearance, in mental processes, and in
economic interests, the men of these sections are almost as two nations. The bond of the Chinese
empire or republic is not political, but is almost wholly social and one of culture.
A full understanding of this fundamental fact furnishes a key to the events following the death of
the young emperor in 1908 and that of the famous empress dowager soon after, and the regency of the
reactionary Prince Chun. The unfulfilled promises, of a representative government and a modern
constitution, provoked open rebellion, which was led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen, a southern Chinese, a
Christian and a man of cosmopolitan culture. Opposed to him, in the north, arose Li Hung Chang's
pupil and successor, Yuan Shi Kai, of whom we heard in Korea.
Again, as in the Japan of 1868, the southerners
 were, in the main, men of progressive mind, students, or those who had been abroad or under foreign
teachers. The northerners, as a rule, were the conservatives, holding to the old monarchical forms
and traditional ideas. In a large sense, here was a struggle of democracy and new ideas against
aristocracy and tradition. There were great economic factors, also, which influenced the
estrangement of these two sections.
The revolution, which started in 1910, in Canton, spread rapidly through the southern provinces and
there was some fighting in 1911; in which year a republic was proclaimed, with Wu Ting Fang, former
Chinese minister at Washing-ton, leading. Sun Yat Sen, after Yuan Shi Kai had declined the offer,
was provisionally made president. In February, 1912, the boy-emperor abdicated, the monarchists
acknowledged the Republic, and a Senate and House of Representatives were formed. When the members
of this Congress met in Peking, in 1913, most of them were clad in foreign costume. The People's
Party (Kuo-wing Tang) and the southern Chinese dominated the situation. In a joint session of the
two houses, Yuan Shi Kai was elected president and Li Yuan Hung vice-president.
To foreign observers familiar with Yuan's career in Korea, such a choice was ominous for republican
government. Having a military education, never out of Asia, and saturated with imperialism,
 Yuan could not brook the interference of a legislature. His methods for ridding himself of critics,
rivals, and enemies were those of the firing squad and the executioner's axe.
He filled the offices with his friends and tools and when the Congress made protest, Yuan, on
November 4, 1913, ordered the People's Party, after branding its members as rebels, to be dissolved.
This left the Congress without a quorum and the southern provinces without representation. Yuan and
the northerners were now in supreme power.
At Canton the discredited legislators formed a government under the leadership of Sun Yat Sen.
Later, Li Yuan Hung was chosen president.
China was now in civil war. Roughly speaking, the North was militaristic and the South republican.
Yuan, having abolished the Congress, now surpassing the example, his model, of the Tai Wen Kun of
Korea, aspired to the throne. On December 12, 1915, he proclaimed a monarchy and fixed the date of
his coronation for the following February.
The death of Yuan Shi Kai, on June 15, 1916, simplified the situation, but one more attempt was made
to restore the Manchu monarchy, on July 1, 1917, the boy-emperor reigning only six days. The
marching of provincial armies towards Peking caused a change and the Congress again assembled on the
basis of the constitution of 1912,
 and in August proceeded to form a new constitution; but the age-old quarrels of North and South
continued. In August of the next year, 1918, Hsu Shi Chang was chosen president to serve until 1923.
Just when wise men saw national bankruptcy approaching and no outlet to their troubles, the
armistice in Europe seemed to open a way to unity. At Shanghai, in the foreign settlement, the
northerners and southerners met, hoping to agree; but after months of debate, failed. Meanwhile
Japan profited by the situation to strengthen her power in China in every way. Political
disintegration increased. The Anfu club was pro-Japanese and strongly militaristic in sentiment. The
Chili group trusted more to a peaceful policy. Both were in the North, but in 1920, the two factions
came to blows in Peking. The Anfu men, being beaten, fled for shelter to the Japanese legation. The
Chili faction was now uppermost.
In the south also, the splitting process, on account of quarrels which were largely over
distribution of spoil, went on. The game seemed to be one for money and power, patriotism being more
of a theory than of actual practice. The armies were personal, rather than national, or even
provincial, though in total these bodies of mercenaries numbered over a million. Thus China's
resources were wasted.
Through all these turnings and over-turnings, Japan hoped and waited for a united China in full
 sovereignty; for such a happy condition of things would add greatly to the prosperity of the island
empire, which had become an industrial nation, depending in the main on China for raw materials. If
Japanese gold has been, as so often alleged, used politically in China, it has been to secure some
sort of stable government. For no other nation has been so wounded with that weapon which the
Chinese are past masters in wielding—the boycott. In no instance did Japan, in pride,
prestige, and prosperity, suffer more than when, after the publication of the twenty-one demands,
the Chinese boycott was applied so vigorously that the government in Tokyo withdrew the Fifth or
most infamous group.
On May 7, 1915, the Japanese ultimatum concerning Kiauchau was served. After four months of delay,
China, hoping for help from some or all of the Occidental nations, which did not come, yielded and
signed the agreement. Though the attitude of the United States restrained the aggressive spirit of
Japan, the Lansing-Ishii agreement recognized Japan's "special interests" in China.
In reality, this was another blunder, significant of the temporary reversal of American policy. It
meant the shutting of the "open door." It paralleled the mistake of a former administration in
giving Japan "a free hand in Asia"—which resulted in hauling down the stars and stripes in
Korea, calling home the American legation, and
 leaving our interests to the mercies of the Prussianized militarists of Japan, who promptly made
conquest and extinguished the sovereignty of Korea, a nation with a noble history. It is not at, all
improbable that if the Washington government had remained firm in upholding our treaty with Korea,
Japan would not have broken hers, and embarked on her bumptious career in Asia.
Happily the results of the Washington Conference of 1921 were to ignore and abolish the "special
interests" of any one nation in China, to reaffirm the doctrine of the "Open Door" and, implicitly,
to end European conquest in Asia. In May, 1922, the Japanese signed the Shantung agreement.
Again in 1922, civil war broke out, in the conflicts between the armies of General Wu Pei,
representing the Peking Government, and General Chang Tso Lin, whose retreat beyond the Great Wall
and reported purpose were to found an independent republic in Manchuria and Mongolia.
China's vital problem is to establish on a sure and lasting basis the supremacy of one central
government over the constitutionally limited sovereignty of the provinces, without destroying, but
rather confirming the powers of both in harmony. This, the only system of federal government that
can operate over a vast territory, has been demonstrated to be possible in the United States of
America. To this living model, true patriots in
 China look with ever brightening hope, while wrestling manfully with the problem. At two
conventions, one political and the other religious, held in China in the early summer of 1922,
living issues were discussed with insight, ability, and invincible faith in a better China to come.
In the one case federal union of all the provinces, after the American model, in the other the
formation of one Chinese Christian church, independent of foreign control was the theme. In both
conventions was the conviction that in great China as in the case of other nations, large and small,
"Union makes strength"—the secret of long life for nations.
Meanwhile, as in the same field in which grow wheat and tares, the forces of education, enlightened
economics, altruism and Christianity are energizing, along with those of waste and hate—some
for the barn and others for the burning—in the shaping of a new China. There are those still
toiling, even as nearly a century ago did the American pioneer educators. In the time of the
fullness of their labors, the author of this book talked with many of them, as neighbors, friends,
and fellow workers. They cherished the hope, as do those who still toil in altruism, that "the
regeneration of China will be accomplished like the operation of leaven in meal, without shattering
So the Master taught.
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