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And, in another place, that
The idea that evils are to be borne, or at most resisted quietly, has largely passed away, and in its place has arisen the belief that only through positive heroic action can the troublesome problems of national life be solved.
At a time when the masses of the Chinese people are submitting, with traditional apathy, to being harried, plundered and slaughtered by the forces of that Republic which delivered them from Manchu tyranny, the irony of this infectious idealism is apparent. Fascinated by the spectacle of the splendid enthusiasms and iconoclastic zeal of Young China, Professor Reinsch, like many others, forgets the vast gulf which, in this land, divides words from deeds-the making, from the keeping, of laws. And so he believes in the vision of a national army, efficiently organised and regularly paid-a vision as chimerical as the scheme for refunding China's national debt by patriotic subscriptions, or the Nanking Amazons' demand for female suffrage.
In expressing this opinion, I have no desire to convey the idea that the Chinese are utterly deficient in military virtues, or that, properly led and regularly paid, the Chinese soldier is incapable of bravery, endurance, and discipline. The experience and opinions of British officers and military critics is practically unanimous in recognising that in physique, intelligence, and courage of a stolid kind, the peasantry of several provinces provides excellent material; but just as it requires something more than intelligence and enthusiasm to make an efficient administrator, so something more than able-bodied and adaptable men are needed to make a nation in arms. The qualities lacking alike in Chinese administrators and soldiers are essentially moral qualities. This is what Gordon meant when, fifteen years after his unique experiences as a successful organiser and leader of Chinese troops, he recorded (in a memorandum prepared for the Government at Peking) his deliberate opinion that they could never be successfully pitted against European armies. He who had witnessed much desperate fighting between Imperialists and rebels-much the same kind of fighting as was seen at Wuchang in November last-realised, nevertheless, that the race as a whole, and particularly its leaders, are lacking in the moral qualities and Berserker instincts that distinguish a fighting race. When, in 1874, he warned China against going to war with Russia, he amplified his advice by recommending that for the future she should avoid incurring useless expenditure on warships and guns, because her possession of these things would probably arouse the cupidity of aggressors and she would be despoiledadvice of which China has since had cause to appreciate the
wisdom. Gordon knew the Chinese soldiers of the South, even as the British officers of the Wei Hai-wei regiment learned to know and to appreciate the hardy hill-men of Shantung; but while appreciating their several good qualities, and recognising the possibility of their development in good hands, he failed to see in the Chinese dragon any signs of the fierce and formidable beast which has since been evoked to trouble the peace of the West. He knew that large purchases of armaments and paper schemes of reorganisation do not make a national army, and that fiscal reform (then, as now, a task beyond the unaided. resources of China's rulers) must precede military efficiency. This indeed was the opinion formed by the most competent observers among the military attachés who witnessed the last manœuvres, held in the autumn of 1908; and it has been justified by the complete lack of discipline and organisation revealed since the collapse of the Manchus. It would be difficult to say how much of the Chinese army remains at the present moment of the 240,000 men who figured on the roster of the thirty-six divisions of the Lu Chün last autumn. At the outset, divisions, brigades, regiments and battalions became hopelessly entangledsheep without shepherds. Units were sent to the front and wandered back to their headquarters; some were disbanded, others disbanded themselves; some declared for the Republic, some for the Imperial cause, others for Yuan Shih-k'ai or Li Yuan-hung, or General Chang, or General Li, their choice depending generally on prospects of pay; but to all, as time went on, came realisation of the fact that every body of armed men might with impunity hold lootable cities and citizens at their mercy. And with this knowledge, the army and the military police have become, in many places, a disorganised and predatory rabble. The craze for loot has proved stronger than any appeal of patriotism or discipline.
The tendency to exaggerate the military forces and efficiency of China in recent years may be traced to a variety of causes.1 Of these, the most important lay originally in the deliberate policy of Chinese diplomats and officials, a policy clearly intended to create and maintain the idea of China feverishly arming on a gigantic scale, with a view to the intimidation of possible aggressors. With the dramatic conversion of the Empress Dowager to reform in 1902, and the appearance on the scene of a new class of military officers educated in Japan, serving in their turn as instructors, it was not difficult to increase the foreign-drilled forces of the Empire, actually and prospectively,
1 The population of China has been similarly exaggerated. It is continually stated to be 400 millions, though the first and only attempt at a systematic census (1910) has shown it to be about 320 millions.
so as to give colour to the belief that the Chinese military administration was rapidly approaching the European standard. Fired by enthusiasm for Japan's victories over a great European Power, Chinese patriots and officials spoke cheerfully of the enrolment of a standing army of two million men within the next few years, and European publicists, fascinated by the vision of the awakening giant, took up the text and illuminated it with much fervour. 2 'Putnam Weale,' writing in 1905, while admitting the absence of competent leaders and healthy finance, expressed belief in the wholesale reorganisation and re-armament of the Chinese army,' and foretold that in five years China would possess an effective peace-footing force of 360,000 men, and by 1915 would be able to put a million and a half into the field. In ten or fifteen years,' he said, 'Japan's forces would be so outnumbered that she would not dare to attack her big neighbour.' Four years before, Sir Robert Hart, anxious to make for China friends of the Mammon of political unrighteousness in the matter of the Boxer indemnity, had drawn an even more sensational picture of the awakened giant. 'In fifty years' time,' he declared, there will be millions of Boxers in serried ranks and war's panoply at the call of the Chinese Government.' This picture appealed forcibly to the Wagnerian imagination of the Kaiser, who saw, in the coming invasion of Mongol hordes, a Heaven-sent opportunity for the War Lord to lead the embattled hosts of a European coalition, with Germany at its head. Small wonder if the man in the street became impressed with the reality of the Yellow Peril."
Since her war with Japan, and particularly since the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese agreement which foreshadows the partition of China's northern territories, Russia has professed increasing anxiety in regard to China's military preparations, and to the increasing numbers of Chinese colonists in Mongolia. Her apprehensions of the Yellow Peril are, no doubt, to some extent sincere; the Ministry of War at St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1910 recommended vetoing China's proposed construction of the Chinchow-Tsitsihar-Aigun Railway, as well as the alternative Kiachta-Urga scheme, on the ground that China would derive therefrom strategical advantages seriously menacing
The Reshaping of the Far East, vol. ii. Macmillan. 1905.
• These from the Land of Sinim. Chapman and Hall. 1901.
Since this was written Putnam Weale' in the Daily Telegraph predicts new developments of the Yellow Peril: he sees, in the near future, China militant lodging peremptory ultimatums' at the Foreign Offices of Portugal and Holland, and Chinese squadrons, cleared for action, in the harbours of their Eastern dependencies.' One wonders whether Admiral Sah will be in command of these squadrons, and to whom he will apply for rice, coal, and
Russia's position. How far these fears were shared by the Council of Ministers it were hard to say; but there has been ample evidence of a chronic condition of nervousness existing amongst the Russian military authorities in Siberia and Manchuria, nervousness of the unreasoning kind which led to the Blagoveschenk massacre of helpless Chinese in 1900, and to the Dogger Bank panic in October 1904; caused, no doubt, by the instinctive idea that what one Asiatic race had done another may do. On the other hand, it must be borne in mind that Russia's forward policy in Manchuria after 1900 was persistently justified to the world by alleged fears of dangers from Hunghutzŭs, and her present attitude in regard to Chinese loans seems to point to a recrudescence of that policy, facilitated by her understanding with Japan. It is improbable that either country really believes in the possibility of Chinese aggression, and their concerted objections to the Four Nations' loans may therefore safely be ascribed to a desire to prevent the creation of foreign interests in Manchuria, rather than to any genuine fear of Chinese armaments.
Of Russia's foreign policy, ever influenced by the imaginative impulses and emotions of the personal equation, it is difficult to speak with any degree of certainty, but of Japan it may safely be asserted that no real apprehensions exist in that country with regard to China's alleged development of military strength. With eyes and ears wide open in every province, Japan's trained experts, military and commercial, can be under no delusions. In the long run, Japan, more than any other Power, stands to profit by China's internal dissensions and helplessness; her policy in Manchuria has steadily reflected recognition of this obvious truth. At the same time, so long as maintenance of the integrity of China remains the ostensible purpose of the AngloJapanese Alliance, and so long as Japanese finances remain in their present condition, it behoves her to walk warily before the world: Russia, therefore, is induced to take the lead in proclaiming the right of China's nearest neighbours to supervise her borrowing activities and to limit her armaments.
Considering Russia's professed anxieties in the light of the actual situation at Peking and in the provinces, her diplomacy assumes a somewhat elementary aspect. Let us consider briefly the significance of that situation. The newly-elected President of the Chinese Republic, himself a declared Monarchist by conviction, has recently suffered the humiliation of seeing the capital looted by the very troops whose discipline and organisation have been continually cited as the best proof of China's military progress, the men whose unswerving loyalty to Yuan Shih-k'ai had been assumed by nearly every European writer. The looters,
having vanished with their plunder, some semblance of order was restored at Peking, not by the foreign-drilled troops of the Lu Chün, but by the tribute-eating Manchu regiments whom the experts professed to despise. The spectacle of the President of the Republic suppressing the lawlessness of Chinese mutineers by the aid of Manchus and Bannermen is in itself sufficiently indicative of the chaotic condition of China; but another and even more significant sight was seen when, on the occasion of Yuan's returning the British Minister's congratulatory visit, the streets from his residence to the Legation were guarded (at his request) by British troops, no Chinese being allowed to stand outside their houses. Yuan subsequently expressed his gratitude to the Foreign Ministers for their action in organising patrols of European troops to reassure the plundered and terror-stricken citizens. Significant, too, of the opinion in which foreign and Chinese troops respectively are held by the average mandarin, is the fact that the Legation quarter has become a common sanctuary and treasure-house for the highest officials, Manchus and Chinese alike, seeking the protection of the foreigner against the Yellow Peril of their own creation. In the same way, Hongkong and the foreign settlements at Shanghai have become a safe place of refuge for thousands of Chinese who, when order is restored, will join once more in the patriot's agitation for the restoration of China's sovereign rights' in the Settlements, and the abolition of extra-territoriality.
It is difficult to form any concise opinion of the fighting qualities, organisation and moral of the Chinese Army from the accounts given, principally by writers resident in Peking, of the fighting between Imperialists and Republicans since last October, partly because these accounts are usually of Chinese origin, and partly because of the observers' bias of foregone conclusions. Descriptions by eye-witnesses of the fighting at Nanking and Wuchang, published for the most part in the North China Daily News, are more illuminating. But to get a comprehensive idea of the actual situation and to appreciate its bearing on the question of China's possible development of military efficiency, one must follow the accounts, published week by week in that paper, from missionaries and other correspondents resident in the interior. These writers naturally present the scene from many different points of view, and their conclusions vary from sympathetic optimism to the deepest pessimism; but the general impression which they create is, that the Chinese army of the present and immediate future constitutes a serious menace to China's own well-being, but little or none to her external foes. In the sense that China's weakness and disorder are a source of danger to the world, her undisciplined