Monday, August 25, 2008

The Monarchist Plot

A shiver of impotent rage passed over the country when the nature and acceptance of the Japanese Ultimatum became generally known. The Chinese, always an emotional people responding with quasi- feminine volubility to oppressive acts, cried aloud at the ignominy of the diplomacy which had so cruelly crucified them. One and all declared that the day of shame which had been so harshly imposed upon them would never be forgotten and that Japan would indeed pay bitterly for her policy of extortion.
Two movements were started at once: one to raise a National Salvation Fund to be applied towards strengthening the nation in any way the government might decide; the other, to boycott all Japanese articles of commerce. Both soon attained formidable proportions. The nation became deeply and fervently interested in the double-idea; and had Yuan Shih-kai possessed true political vision there is little doubt that by responding to this national call he might have ultimately been borne to the highest pinnacles of his ambitions without effort on his part. His oldest enemies now openly declared that henceforth he had only to work honourably and whole-heartedly in the nation's interest to find them supporting him, and to have every black mark set against his name wiped out.
In these circumstances what did he do? His actions form one of the most incredible and, let it be said, contemptible chapters of contemporary history.
In dealing with the origins of the Twenty-one Demands we have already discussed the hints the Japan Representative had officially made when presenting his now famous Memorandum. Briefly Yuan Shih-kai had been told in so many words that since he was already autocrat of all the Chinese, he had only to endorse the principle of Japanese guidance in his administration to find that his Throne would be as good as publicly and solidly established. Being saturated with the doleful diplomacy of Korea, and seeing in these proposals a mere trap, Yuan Shih-kai, as we have shown, had drawn back in apparent alarm. Nevertheless the words spoken had sunk in deep, for the simple and excellent reason that ever since the coup d'etat of the 4th November, 1913, the necessity of "consolidating" his position by something more permanent than a display of armed force had been a daily subject of conversation in the bosom of his family. The problem, as this misguided man saw it, was simply by means of an unrivalled display of cunning to profit by the Japanese suggestion, and at the same time to leave the Japanese in the lurch.
His eldest son, an individual of whom it has been said that he had absorbed every theory his foreign teachers had taught him without being capable of applying a single one, was the leader in this family intrigue. The unhappy victim of a brutal attempt to kill him during the Revolution, this eldest son had been for years semi-paralyzed: but brooding over his disaster had only fortified in him the resolve to succeed his father as legitimate Heir. Having saturated himself in Napoleonic literature, and being fully aware of how far a bold leader can go in times of emergency, he daily preached to his father the necessity of plucking the pear as soon as it was ripe. The older man, being more skilled and more cautious in statecraft than this youthful visionary, purposely rejected the idea so long as its execution seemed to him premature. But at last the point was reached when he was persuaded to give the monarchy advocates the free hand they solicited, being largely helped to this decision by the argument that almost anything in China could be accomplished under cover of the war,-- SO LONG AS VESTED FOREIGN INTERESTS WERE NOT JEOPARDIZED.
In accordance with this decision, very shortly after the 18th January, the dictator's lieutenants had begun to sound the leaders of public opinion regarding the feasibility of substituting for the nominal Republic a Constitutional Monarchy. Thus, in a highly characteristic way, all through the tortuous course of the Japanese negotiations, to which he was supposed to be devoting his sole attention in order to save his menaced fatherland, Yuan Shih- kai was assisting his henchmen to indoctrinate Peking officialdom with the idea that the salvation of the State depended more on restoring on a modified basis the old empire than in beating off the Japanese assault. It was his belief that if some scholar of national repute could be found, who would openly champion these ideas and urge them with such persuasiveness and authority that they became accepted as a Categorical Imperative, the game would be as good as won, the Foreign Powers being too deeply committed abroad to pay much attention to the Far East. The one man who could have produced that result in the way Yuan Shih-kai desired to see it, the brilliant reformer Liang Chi-chao, famous ever since 1898, however, obstinately refused to lend himself to such work; and, sooner than be involved in any way in the plot, threw up his post of Minister of Justice and retired to the neighbouring city of Tientsin from which centre he was destined to play a notable part.
This hitch occasioned a delay in the public propaganda, though not for long. Forced to turn to a man of secondary ability, Yuan Shih- kai now invoked the services of a scholar who had been known to be his secret agent in the Old Imperial Senate under the Manchus--a certain Yang Tu--whose constant appeals in that chamber had indeed been the means of forcing the Manchus to summon Yuan Shih-kai back to office to their rescue on the outbreak of the Wuchang rebellion in 1911. After very little discussion everything was arranged. In the person of this ex-Senator, whose whole appearance was curiously Machiavellian and decadent, the neo-imperialists at last found their champion.
Events now moved quickly enough. In the Eastern way, very few weeks after the Japanese Ultimatum, a society was founded called the Society for the Preservation of Peace and hundreds of affiliations opened in the provinces. Money was spent like water to secure adherents, and when the time was deemed ripe the now famous pamphlet of Yang Tu was published broadcast, being in everybody's hands during the idle summer month of August. This document is so remarkable as an illustration of the working of that type of Chinese mind which has assimilated some portion of the facts of the modern world and yet remains thoroughly reactionary and illogical, that special attention must be directed to it. Couched in the form of an argument between two individuals --one the inquirer, the other the expounder--it has something of the old Testament about it both in its blind faith and in its insistence on a few simple essentials. It embodies everything essential to an understanding of the old mentality of China which has not yet been completely destroyed. From a literary standpoint it has also much that is valuable because it is so naive; and although it is concerned with such a distant region of the world as China its treatment of modern political ideas is so bizarre and yet so acute that it will repay study.
It was not, however, for some time, that the significance of this pamphlet was generally understood. It was such an amazing departure from old precedents for the Peking Government to lend itself to public propaganda as a revolutionary weapon that the mind of the people refused to credit the fatal turn things were taking. But presently when it became known that the "Society for the Preservation of Peace" was actually housed in the Imperial City and in daily relations with the President's Palace; and that furthermore the Procurator-General of Peking, in response to innumerable memorials of denunciation, having attempted to proceed against the author and publishers of the pamphlet, as well as against the Society, had been forced to leave the capital under threats against his life, the document was accepted at its face- value. Almost with a gasp of incredulity China at last realized that Yuan Shih-kai had been seduced to the point of openly attempting to make himself Emperor. From those August days of 1915 until the 6th June of the succeeding year, when Fate had her own grim revenge, Peking was given up to one of the most amazing episodes that has ever been chronicled in the dramatic history of the capital. It was as if the old city walls, which had looked down on so much real drama, had determined to lend themselves to the staging of an unreal comedy. For from first to last the monarchy movement had something unreal about it, and might have been the scenario of some vast picture-play. It was acting pure and simple--acting done in the hope that the people might find it so admirable that they would acclaim it as real, and call the Dictator their King. But it is time to turn to the arguments of Yang Tu and allow a Chinese to picture the state of his country:


Mr. Ko : Since the establishment of the
Republic four years have passed, and upon the President depends the preservation of order at home and the maintenance of prestige abroad. I suppose that after improving her internal administration for ten or twenty years, China will become a rich and prosperous country, and will be able to stand in the front rank with western nations.
Mr. Hu: No! No! If China does not make any change in the form of government there is no hope for her becoming strong and rich; there is even no hope for her having a constitutional government. I say that China is doomed to perish.
Mr. Ko: Why so?
Mr. Hu: The republican form of government is responsible. The Chinese people are fond of good names, but they do not care much about the real welfare of the nation. No plan to save the country is possible. The formation of the Republic as a result of the first revolution has prevented that.
Mr. Ko: Why is it that there is no hope of China's becoming strong?
Mr. Hu: The people of a republic are accustomed to listen to the talk of equality and freedom which must affect the political and more especially the military administration. In normal circumstances both the military and student classes are required to lay great emphasis upon unquestioned obedience and respect for those who hold high titles. The German and Japanese troops observe strict discipline and obey the orders of their chiefs. That is why they are regarded as the best soldiers in the world. France and America are in a different position. They are rich but not strong. The sole difference is that Germany and Japan are ruled by monarchs while France and America are republics. Our conclusion therefore is that no republic can be strong.
But since the French and American peoples possess general education, they are in a position to assume responsibility for the good government of their nations which they keep in good order. On that account, although these republics are not strong in dealing with the Powers, they can maintain peace at home. China, however, is unlike these countries, for her standard of popular education is very low. Most of the Chinese soldiers declare as a commonplace; "We eat the imperial food and we must therefore serve the imperial master." But now the Imperial family is gone, and for it has been substituted an impersonal republic, of which they know nothing whatsoever. These soldiers are now law-abiding because they have awe-inspiring and respectful feelings for the man at the head of the state. But as the talk of equality and freedom has gradually influenced them, it has become a more difficult task to control them. As an example of this corrupt spirit, the commanders of the Southern troops formerly had to obey their subordinate officers and the subordinate officers had to obey their soldiers. Whenever there was an important question to be discussed, the soldiers demanded a voice and a share in the solution. These soldiers were called the republican army. Although the Northern troops have not yet become so degenerate, still they never hesitate to disobey the order of their superiors whenever they are ordered to proceed to distant localities. Now we have come to the point when we are deeply satisfied if the army of the Republic does not openly mutiny! We cannot expect any more from them save to hope that they will not mutiny and that they will be able to suppress internal disturbances. In the circumstances there is no use talking about resistance of a foreign invasion by these soldiers. As China, a republic, is situated between two countries, Japan and Russia, both of which have monarchical governments, how can we resist their aggression once diplomatic conversations begin? From this it is quite evident that there is nothing which can save China from destruction. Therefore I say there is no hope of China becoming strong.
Mr. Ko: But why is it that there is no hope of China ever becoming rich?
Mr. Hu: People may not believe that while France and America are rich China must remain poor. Nevertheless, the reason why France and America are rich is that they were allowed to work out their own salvation without foreign intervention for many years, and that at the same time they were free from internal disturbances. If any nation wishes to become rich, it must depend upon industries for its wealth. Now, what industries most fear is disorder and civil war. During the last two years order has been restored and many things have returned their former State, but our industrial condition is the same as under the Manchu Dynasty. Merchants who lost their capital during the troublous times and who are now poor have no way of retrieving their losses, while those who are rich are unwilling to invest their money in industrial undertakings, fearing that another civil war may break out at any moment, since they take the recent abortive second revolution as their warning. In future, we shall have disquietude every few years; that is whenever the president is changed. Then our industrial and commercial condition will be in a still worse condition. If our industries are not developed, how can we expect to be strong? Take Mexico as a warning. There is very little difference between that country and China, which certainly cannot be compared with France and America. Therefore I say there is no hope for China ever becoming rich.
Mr. Ko: Why is it that you say there is no hope for China having a Constitutional Government?
Mr. Hu: A true republic must be conducted by many people possessing general education, political experience and a certain political morality. Its president is invested with power by the people to manage the general affairs of the state. Should the people desire to elect Mr. A their president today and Mr. B tomorrow, it does not make much difference; for the policy of the country may be changed together with the change of the president without there being any danger of disorder of chaos following such change. We have a very different problem to solve in China. The majority of our people do not know what the republic is, nor do they know anything about a Constitution nor have they any true sense of equality and freedom. Having overthrown the Empire and established in its place a republic they believe that from now on they are subservient to no one, and they think they can do as they please. Ambitious men hold that any person may be president and if they cannot get the presidency by fair means of election they are prepared to fight for it with the assistance of troops and robbers. The second revolution is an illustration of this point. From the moment that the Emperor was deposed, the centralization of power in the government was destroyed; and no matter who may be at the head of the country, he cannot restore peace except by the re-establishment of the monarchy. So at the time when the republic was formed, those who had previously advocated Constitutional Government turned into monarchists. Although we have a Provisional Constitution now and we have all kinds of legislative organs, which give to the country an appearance of a constitutional government, China has a constitutional government in name only and is a monarchy in spirit. Had the government refrained from exercising monarchical power during the last four years, the people could not have enjoyed one day of peace. In short, China's republic must be governed by a monarchy through a constitutional government. If the constitutional government cannot govern the republic, the latter cannot remain. The question of constitutional government is therefore very important, but it will take ten or twenty years before it can be solved.
Look at the people of China today! They know that something terrible is going to come sooner or later. They dare not think of the future. The corrupt official lines his pocket with unrighteous money, preparing to flee to foreign countries or at least to the Foreign Settlements for safety. The cautious work quietly and do not desire to earn merit but merely try to avoid giving offence. The scholars and politicians are grandiloquent and discourse upon their subjects in a sublime vein, but they are no better than the corrupt officials. As for our President, he can remain at the head of the State for a few years. At most he may hold office for several terms,--or perhaps for his whole life. Then questions must arise as to who shall succeed him; how to elect his successor; how many rivals will there be; whether their policies will be different from his, etc., etc. He personally has no idea regarding the solution of these questions. Even if the president is a sagacious and capable man, he will not be able to make a policy for the country or fix a Constitution which will last for a hundred years. Because of this he is driven merely to adopt a policy so as to maintain peace in his own country and to keep the nation intact so long as he may live. In the circumstances such a president can be considered the best executive head we can have. Those who are worshippers of the constitutional government cannot do more than he does. Here we find the reason for the silence of the former advocates of a constitutional administration. They have realized that by the formation of the republic the fundamental problem of the country has been left unsolved. In this wise it happens that the situation is something like this. Whilst the country is governed by an able president, the people enjoy peace and prosperity. But once an incapable man assumes the presidency, chaos will become the order of the day, a state of affairs which will finally lead to the overthrow of the president himself and the destruction of the country. In such circumstances, how can you devise a general policy for the country which will last for a hundred years? I say that there is no hope for China establishing a truly constitutional government.
Mr. Ko: In your opinion there is no hope for China becoming strong and rich or for her acquiring a constitutional government. She has no choice save ultimately to disappear. And yet is there no plan possible whereby she may be saved?
Mr. Hu: If China wishes to save herself from ultimate disappearance from the face of the earth, first of all she must get rid of the republic. Should she desire wealth and strength, she must adopt a constitutional government. Should she want constitutional government she must first establish a monarchy.
Mr. Ko: How is it that should China desire wealth and strength she must first adopt the constitutional form of government?
Mr. Hu: Wealth and strength is the object of the country, and a constitutional government is the means to realizing this object. In the past able rulers could accomplish their purpose without a constitutional government. We refer to Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty and Emperor Tai Chung of the Tang Dynasty. However, when these able rulers died their system of administration died with them. This contention can be supported by numerous historical instances; but suffice to say that in China as well as in Europe, the lack of a constitutional government has been the cause of the weakness of most of the nations in ancient times. Japan was never known as a strong nation until she adopted a constitutional government. The reason is this: when there is no constitutional government, the country cannot continue to carry out a definite policy.
Within comparatively recent times there was born in Europe the constitutional form of government. European nations adopted it, and they became strong. The most dangerous fate that can confront a nation is that after the death of an able ruler the system of administration he has established disappears with him; but this the constitutional form of government is able to avert. Take for instance William I of Germany who is dead but whose country continues to this day strong and prosperous. It is because of constitutional government. The same is true of Japan, which has adopted constitutional government and which is becoming stronger and stronger every day. The change of her executive cannot affect her progress in respect of her strength. From this it is quite clear that constitutional government is a useful instrument for building up a country. It is a government with a set of fixed laws which guard the actions of both the people and the president none of whom can overstep the boundary as specified in the laws. No ruler, whether be he a good man or a bad man, can change one iota of the laws. The people reap the benefit of this in consequence. It is easy to make a country strong and rich but it is difficult to establish a constitutional government. When a constitutional government has been established, everything will take care of itself, prosperity following naturally enough. The adoption of a constitutional government at the present moment can be compared to the problem of a derailed train. It is hard to put the train back on the track, but once on the track it is very easy to move the train. What we should worry about is not how to make the country rich and prosperous, but how to form a genuine constitutional government. Therefore I say that if China desires to be strong and prosperous, she should first of all adopt the constitutional form of government.
Mr. Ko: I do not understand why it is that a monarchy should be established before the constitutional form of government can be formed?
Mr. Hu: Because if the present system continues there will be intermittent trouble. At every change of the president there will be riot and civil war. In order to avert the possibility of such aweful times place the president in a position which is permanent. It follows that the best thing is to make him Emperor. When that bone of contention is removed, the people will settle down to business and feel peace in their hearts, and devote their whole energy and time to the pursuit of their vocations. It is logical to assume that after the adoption of the monarchy they will concentrate their attention on securing a constitutional government which they know is the only salvation for their country. As for the Emperor, knowing that he derives his position from the change from a republic, and filled with the desire of pacifying the people, he cannot help sanctioning the formation of the constitutional form of government, which in addition, will insure to his offspring the continuation of the Throne. Should he adopt any other course, he will be exposed to great personal danger. If he is broadminded, he will further recognize the fact that if no constitutional form of government is introduced, his policy will perish after his death. Therefore I say that before the adoption of the constitutional form of government, a monarchy should be established. William I of Germany and the Emperor Meiji of Japan both tried the constitutional form of government and found it a success.
Mr. Ko: Please summarize your discussion.
Mr. Hu: In short, the country cannot be saved except through the establishment of a constitutional form of government. No constitutional government can be formed except through the establishment of a monarchy. The constitutional form of government has a set of fixed laws, and the monarchy has a definite head who cannot be changed, in which matters lies the source of national strength and wealth.
Mr. Ko: What you have said in regard to the adoption of the constitutional monarchy as a means of saving the country from dismemberment is quite true, but I would like to have your opinion on the relative advantages and disadvantages of a republic and a monarchy, assuming that China adopts the scheme of a monarchy.
Mr. Hu: I am only too glad to give you my humble opinion on this momentous question.
Mr. Ko: You have said that China would be devastated by contending armies of rival leaders trying to capture the presidency. At what precise moment will that occur?
Mr. Hu: The four hundred million people of China now rely upon the President alone for the protection of their lives and property. Upon him likewise falls the burden of preserving both peace and the balance of power in the Far East. There is no time in the history of China that the Head of the State has had to assume such a heavy responsibility for the protection of life and property and for the preservation of peace in Asia; and at no time in our history has the country been in greater danger than at the present moment. China can enjoy peace so long as His Excellency Yuan Shih- kai remains the President, and no longer. Should anything befall the President, every business activity will at once be suspended, shops will be closed, disquietude will prevail, people will become panic-stricken, the troops uncontrollable, and foreign warship will enter our harbours. European and American newspapers will be full of special dispatches about the complicated events in China, and martial law will be declared in every part of the country. All this will be due to the uncertainty regarding the succession to the presidency.
It will be seen from the first section of this long and extraordinary pamphlet how the author develops his argument. One of his major premises is the inherent unruliness of Republican soldiery,--the armies of republics not to be compared with the armed forces of monarchies,--and consequently constituting a perpetual menace to good government. Passing on from this, he lays down the proposition that China cannot hope to become rich so long as the fear of civil war is ever-present; and that without a proper universal education a republic is an impossibility. The exercise of monarchical power in such circumstances can only be called an inevitable development,--the one goal to be aimed at being the substitution of Constitutional Government for the dictatorial rule. The author deals at great length with the background to this idea, playing on popular fears to reinforce his casuistry. For although constitutional government is insisted upon as the sole solution, he speedily shows that this constitutionalism will depend more on the benevolence of the dictator than on the action of the people. And should his advice be not heeded, when Fortune wills that Yuan Shih-kai's rule shall end, chaos will ensue owing to the "uncertainty" regarding the succession.
Here the discussion reaches its climax--for the demand that salvation be sought by enthroning Yuan Shih-kai now becomes clear and unmistakable. Let the author speak for himself.
Mr. Ko: But it is provided in the Constitutional Compact that a president must be selected from among the three candidates whose names are now kept in a golden box locked in a stone room. Do you think this provision is not sufficient to avert the terrible times which you have just described?
Mr. Hu: The provision you have mentioned is useless. Can you find any person who is able to be at the head of the state besides His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai? The man who can succeed President Yuan must enjoy the implicit confidence of the people and must have extended his influence all over the country and be known both at home and abroad. He must be able to maintain order, and then no matter what the constitution provides, he will be unanimously elected President. He must also be able to assure himself that the two other candidates for the presidency have no hope for success in the presidential campaign. The provision in the constitution, as well as the golden casket in which the names of the three candidates are kept which you have mentioned, are nothing but nominal measures. Moreover there is no man in China who answers the description of a suitable successor which I have just given. Here arises a difficult problem; and what has been specified in the Constitutional Compact is a vain attempt to solve it. It is pertinent to ask why the law-makers should not have made the law in such a way that the people could exercise their free choice in the matter of the presidential successor? The answer is that there is reason to fear that a bad man may be elected president by manipulations carried out with a masterly hand, thereby jeopardizing the national welfare. This fear has influenced the constitution-makers to settle upon three candidates from among whom the president must be elected. Then it may be asked why not fix upon one man instead of upon three since you have already deprived the people of part of their freedom? The answer is that: there is not a single man whose qualifications are high enough to be the successor. As it is, three candidates of equal qualifications are put forward for the people to their selection. No matter how one may argue this important question from the legal point of view, there is the fact that the law makers fixed upon three candidates for the presidency, believing that we do not possess a suitable presidential successor. The vital question of the day setting aside all paper talk, is whether or not China has a suitable man to succeed President Yuan Shih-kai. Whether or not the constitutional compact can be actually carried out in future I do not know; but I do know that that instrument will eventually become ineffective.
Mr. Ko: I desire a true picture of the chaos which you have hinted will ensue in this country. Can you tell me anything along that line?
Mr. Hu: In a time of confusion, the soldiers play the most important part, virtuous and experienced and learned statesmen being unable to cope with the situation. The only qualification which a leader at such a time needs to possess is the control of the military, and the ability to suppress Parliament. Should such a person be made the president, he cannot long hold his enviable post in view of the fact that he cannot possess sufficient influence to control the troops of the whole country. The generals of equal rank and standing will not obey each other, while the soldiers and politicians, seeing a chance in these differences for their advancement, will stir up their feelings and incite one another to fight. They will fight hard among themselves. The rebels, who are now exiles in foreign lands, taking advantage of the chaos in China, will return in very little time to perpetrate the worst crimes known in human history. The royalists who are in retirement will likewise come out to fish in muddy waters. Persons who have the qualifications of leaders will be used as tools to fight for the self-aggrandizement of those who use them. I do not wish to mention names, but I can safely predict that more than ten different parties will arise at the psychological moment. Men who will never be satisfied until they become president, and those who know they cannot get the presidency but who are unwilling to serve others, will come out one after another. Confusion and disturbance will follow with great rapidity. Then foreign countries which have entertained wild ambitions, availing themselves of the distressful situation in China, will stir up ill-feelings among these parties and so increase the disturbances. When the proper time comes, various countries, unwilling to let a single country enjoy the privilege of controlling China, will resort to armed intervention. In consequence the eastern problem will end in a rupture of the international peace. Whether China will be turned at that time into a battleground for the Chinese people or for the foreign Powers I cannot tell you. It is too dreadful to think of the future which is enshrouded in a veil of mystery. However, I can tell you that the result of this awful turmoil will be either the slicing of China like a melon or the suppression of internal trouble with foreign assistance which will lead to dismemberment. As to the second result some explanation is necessary. After foreign countries have helped us to suppress internal disturbances, they will select a man of the type of Li Wang of Korea, who betrayed his country to Japan, and make him Emperor of China. Whether this man will be the deposed emperor or a member of the Imperial family or the leader of the rebel party, remains to be seen. In any event he will be a figurehead in whose hand will not be vested political, financial and military power, which will be controlled by foreigners. All the valuable mines, various kinds of industries and our abundant natural resources will likewise be developed by others. China will thus disappear as a nation.
In selecting a man of the Li Wang type, the aforesaid foreign countries will desire merely to facilitate the acquisition of China's territory. But there can be easily found such a man who bears remarkable resemblance to Li Wang, and who will be willing to make a treaty with the foreigners whereby he unpatriotically sells his country in exchange for a throne which he can never obtain or keep without outside assistance. His procedure will be something like this: He will make an alliance with a foreign nation by which the latter will be given the power to carry on foreign relations on behalf of his country. In the eyes of foreigners, China will have been destroyed, but the people will continue deceived and made to believe that their country is still in existence. This is the first step. The second step will be to imitate the example of Korea and make a treaty with a certain power, whereby China is annexed and the throne abolished. The imperial figure-head then flees to the foreign country where he enjoys an empty title. Should you then try to make him devise means for regaining the lost territory it will be too late. For China will have been entirely destroyed by that time. This is the second procedure in the annexation of Chinese territory. The reason why that foreign country desires to change the republic into the monarchy is to set one man on the throne and make him witness the whole process of annexation of his country, thereby simplifying the matter. When that time has come, the people will not be permitted to make any comment upon the form of government suitable for China, or upon the destruction of their country. The rebels who raised the standard of the republic have no principles and if they now find that some other tactics will help to increase their power they will adopt these tactics. China's republic is doomed, no matter what happens. If we do not change it ourselves, others will do it for us. Should we undertake the change ourselves we can save the nation: otherwise there is no hope for China to remain a nation. It is to be regretted that our people now assume an attitude of indifference, being reluctant to look forward to the future, and caring not what may happen to them and their country. They are doomed to become slaves after the loss of their national independence.
Mr. Ko: I am very much frightened by what you have said. You have stated that the adoption of a constitutional monarchy can avert such terrible consequences; but is there not likely to be disturbance during the change of the republic to monarchy, since such disturbance must always accompany the presidential election?
Mr. Hu: No comparison can be formed between these two things. There may be tumult during the change of the form of government, but it will be better in comparison with the chaos that will some day ensue in the republic. There is no executive head in the country when a republic endeavours to select a presidential successor. At such a time, the ambitious try to improve their future, while the patriotic are at a loss now to do anything which will assist in the maintenance of order. Those who are rebellious rise in revolt while those who are peace-loving are compelled by circumstances to join their rank and file. Should the form of government be transformed into a monarchical one, and should the time for change of the head of the state come, the successor having already been provided for, that will be well-known to the people. Those who are patriotic will exert their utmost to preserve peace, and as result the heir-apparent can peacefully step on the throne. There are persons who will contend for the office of the President, but not for the throne. Those who contend for the office of President do not commit any crime, but those who try to seize the throne are rebels. Who dares to contend for the Throne?
At the time of the change of the president in a republic, ambitious persons arise with the intention of capturing this most honourable office, but not so when the emperor is changed. Should there be a body of persons hostile to the heir-apparent, that body must be very small. Therefore I say that the enemies of a succeeding Emperor are a few, whilst there are many in the case of a presidential successor. This is the first difference.
Those who oppose the monarchy are republican enthusiasts or persons who desire to make use of the name of the republic for their own benefit. These persons will raise trouble even without the change of the government. They do not mind disturbing the peace of the country at the present time when the republic exists. It is almost certain that at the first unfurling of the imperial flags they will at once grasp such an opportune moment and try to satisfy their ambition. Should they rise in revolt at the time when the Emperor is changed the Government, supported by the loyal statesmen and officials, whose interests are bound up with the welfare of the imperial family and whose influence has spread far and wide, will be able to deal easily with any situation which may develop. Therefore I declare that the successor to the throne has more supporters while the presidential successor has few. This is the second difference between the republic and the constitutional monarchy.
Why certain persons will contend for the office of the President can be explained by the fact that there is not a single man in the country whose qualifications are above all the others. Succession to the throne is a question of blood-relation with the reigning Emperor, and not a question of qualifications. The high officials whose qualifications are unusually good are not subservient to others but they are obedient to the succeeding Emperor, because of their gratitude for what the imperial family has done for them, and because their well-being is closely associated with that of the imperial household. I can cite an historical incident to support my contention. Under the Manchu Dynasty, at one time General Chu Chung-tang was entrusted with the task of suppressing the Mohammedan rebellion. He appointed General Liu Sung San generalissimo. Upon the death of General Liu, Chu Chung-tang appointed his subordinate officers to lead the army, but the subordinate officers competed for power. Chu Chung-tang finally made the step-son of General Liu the Commander-in-Chief and the officers and soldiers all obeyed his order as they did his father's. But it may be mentioned that this young man was not more able than any of his father's subordinate commanders. Nevertheless prestige counted. He owed his success to his natural qualification, being a step-son to General Liu. So is the case with the emperor whose successor nobody dares openly to defy--to say nothing of actually disputing his right to the throne. This is the third difference between the republic and the monarchy.
I will not discuss the question: as to whether there being no righteous and able heir-apparent to succeed his Emperor-father, great danger may not confront the nation. However, in order to provide against any such case, I advocate that the formation of a constitutional government should go hand in hand with the establishment of the monarchy. At first it is difficult to establish and carry out a constitutional government, but once it is formed it will be comparatively easy. When the constitutional government has been established, the Emperor will have to seek his fame in such useful things as the defence of his country and the conquest of his enemy. Everything has to progress, and men possessing European education will be made use of by the reigning family. The first Emperor will certainly do all he can to capture the hearts of the people by means of adopting and carrying out in letter as well as in spirit constitutional government. The heir- apparent will pay attention to all new reforms and new things. Should he do so, the people will be able to console themselves by saying that they will always be the people of a constitutional monarchy even after the succession to the throne of the heir- apparent. When the time comes for the heir-apparent to mount the throne the people will extend to him their cordial welcome, and there will be no need to worry about internal disturbances.
Therefore, I conclude that the successor to the presidential chair has to prevent chaos by wielding the monarchical power, while the new emperor can avert internal disquietude forever by means of his constitutional government. This is the fourth difference between the republic and the monarchy. These four differences are accountable for the fact that there will not be as much disturbance at the time of the change of emperors as at the time when the president is changed.
Mr. Ko: I can understand what you have said with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of the republic and the monarchy, but there are many problems connected with the formation of a constitutional monarchy which we have to solve. Why is it that the attempt to introduce constitutional government during the last years of the Manchu Dynasty proved a failure?
Mr. Hu: The constitutional government of the Manchu Dynasty was one in name only, and as such the forerunner of the revolution of 1911. Towards the end of the Manchu Dynasty, the talk of starting a revolution to overthrow the imperial regime was in everybody's mouth, although the constitutional party endeavoured to accomplish something really useful. At that time His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai was the grand chancellor, and realizing the fact that nothing except the adoption of a constitutional government could save the throne of the Manchus, he assumed the leadership of the constitutional party, which surpassed in strength the revolutionary party as a result of his active support. The people's hearts completely turned to the constitutional party for salvation, while the revolutionary party lost that popular support which it had formerly enjoyed. Then it seemed that the imperial household would soon adopt the constitutional monarchy and the threatening revolution could be averted. Unfortunately, the elaborate plans of His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai regarding the adoption of the constitutional government were not carried out by the imperial household. A great change took place: His Excellency retired to his native province; and after losing this powerful leader the constitutional party was pitilessly shattered. A monarchist party suddenly made its appearance on the political arena to assist the imperial family, which pretended to do its very best for the development of a constitutional government, but secretly exerted itself to the utmost for the possession and retention of the real power. This double-dealing resulted in bringing about the revolution of 1911. For instance, when the people cried for the convening of a parliament, the imperial family said "No." The people also failed to secure the abolition of certain official organs for the imperialists. They lost confidence in the Reigning House, and simultaneously the revolutionary party raised its banner and gathered its supporters from every part of the country. As soon as the revolt started at Wuchang the troops all over the country joined in the movement to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty. The members of the Imperial Senate, most of whom were members of the constitutional party, could not help showing their sympathy with the revolutionists. At last the imperial household issued a proclamation containing Nineteen Articles--a veritable magna carta--but it was too late. The constitutional government which was about to be formed was thus laid aside. What the imperial family did was the mere organization of an advisory council. A famous foreign scholar aptly remarked: "A false constitutional government will eventually result in a true revolution." In trying to deceive the people by means of a false constitutional government the imperial house encompassed its own destruction. Once His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai stated in a memorial to the throne that there were only two alternatives: to give the people a constitutional government or to have them revolt. What happened afterwards is a matter of common knowledge. Therefore I say that the government which the imperial family attempted to form was not a constitutional government.
Mr. Ko: Thank you for your discussion of the attempt of the imperial household to establish a constitutional government; but how about the Provisional Constitution, the parliament and the cabinet in the first and second years of the Republic? The parliament was then so powerful that the government was absolutely at its mercy, thereby disturbing the peaceful condition of the country. The people have tasted much of the bitterness of constitutional government. Should you mention the name of constitutional government again they would be thoroughly frightened. Is that true?
Mr. Hu: During the first and second years of the Republic, in my many conversations with the members of the Kuo Ming Tang, I said that the republic could not form an efficient method of control, and that there would be an over centration of power through the adoption of monarchical methods of ruling, knowing as well as I did the standards of our people. When the members of the Kuo Ming Tang came to draw up the Provisional Constitution they purposely took precisely the opposite course of action and ignored my suggestion. It may, however, be mentioned that the Provisional Constitution made in Nanking was not so bad, but after the government was removed to Peking, the Kuo Ming Tang people tied the hand and foot of the government by means of the Cabinet System and other restrictions with the intention of weakening the power of the central administration in order that they might be able to start another revolution. From the dissolution of the Nanking government to the time of the second revolution they had this one object in view, namely to weaken the power of the central administration so that they could contend for the office of the president by raising further internal troubles in China. Those members of the Kuo Ming Tang who made the constitution know as well as I that China's republic must be governed through a monarchical administration; and therefore the unreasonable restrictions in the Provisional Constitution were purposely inserted.
Mr. Ko: What is the difference between the constitutional government which you have proposed and the constitutional government which the Manchu Dynasty intended to adopt?
Mr. Hu: The difference lies in the proper method of procedure and in honesty of purpose, which are imperative if constitutional government expects to be successful.
Mr. Ko: What do you mean by the proper method of procedure?
Mr. Hu: The Provisional Constitution made in Nanking, which was considered good, is not suitable for insertion in the future constitution, should a constitutional monarchy be established. In making a constitution for the future constitutional monarchy we have to consult the constitutions of the monarchies of the world. They can be divided into three classes which are represented by England, Prussia and Japan. England is advanced in its constitutional government, which has been in existence for thousands of years, and is the best of all in the world. The English king enjoys his empty title and the real power of the country is exercised by the parliament, which makes all the laws for the nation. As to Prussia, the constitutional monarchy was established when the people started a revolution. The ruler of Prussia was compelled to convene a parliament and submitted to that legal body a constitution. Prussia's constitution was made by its ruler together with the parliament. Its constitutional government is not so good as the English. As to the Japanese constitutional monarchy, the Emperor made a constitution and then convened a parliament. The constitutional power of the Japanese people is still less than that of the Prussian people. According to the standard of our people we cannot adopt the English constitution as our model, for it is too advanced. The best thing for us to do is to adopt part of the Prussian and part of the Japanese in our constitution-making. As our people are better educated now than ever before, it is decidedly unwise entirely to adopt the Japanese method, that is, for the Emperor to make a constitution without the approval of the parliament and then to convoke a legislative body. In the circumstances China should adopt the Prussian method as described above with some modifications, which will be very suitable to our conditions. As to the contents of the constitution we can copy such articles as those providing the right for the issue of urgent orders and appropriation of special funds, etc. from the Japanese Constitution, so that the power of the ruler can be increased without showing the slightest contempt for the legislative organ. I consider that this is the proper method of procedure for the formation of a constitutional monarchy for China.
Mr. Ko: Can I know something about the contents of our future constitution in advance?
Mr. Hu: If you want to know them in detail I recommend you to read the Constitutions of Prussia and Japan. But I can tell you this much. Needless to say that such stipulations as articles guaranteeing the rights of the people and the power of the parliament will surely be worked into the future constitution. These are found in almost every constitution in the world. But as the former Provisional Constitution has so provided that the power of the parliament is unlimited, while that of the president is very small the Chief Executive, besides conferring decorations and giving Orders of Merit, having almost nothing to do without the approval of the Senate, it is certain that nothing will be taken from that instrument for the future constitution. Nor will the makers of the future constitution take anything from the nineteen capitulations offered by the Manchu Government, which gave too much power to the legislative organ. According to the Nineteen Articles the Advisory Council was to draw up the constitution, which was to be ratified by the parliament; the Premier being elected by the parliament; whilst the use of the army and navy required the parliament's sanction; the making of treaties with foreign countries have likewise to be approved by the parliament, etc., etc. Such strict stipulations which are not even known in such an advanced country in matters constitutional as England were extorted from the imperial family by the advisory council. Therefore it is most unlikely that the makers of the future constitution will take any article from the nineteen capitulations of "confidence." They will use the Constitutions of Japan and Prussia as joint model and will always have in their mind the actual conditions of this country and the standard of the people. In short, they will copy some of the articles in the Japanese constitution, and adopt the Prussian method of procedure for the making of the constitution.
Mr. Ko: What do you mean by honesty?
Mr. Hu: It is a bad policy to deceive the people. Individually the people are simple, but they cannot be deceived collectively. The Manchu Government committed an irretrievable mistake by promising the people a constitutional government but never carrying out their promise. This attitude on the part of the then reigning house brought about the first revolution. As the standard of our people at the present time is not very high, they will be satisfied with less power if it is properly given to them. Should any one attempt to deceive them his cause will finally be lost. I do not know how much power the people and the parliament will get in the constitutional monarchy, but I would like to point out here that it is better to give them less power than to deceive them. If they are given less power, and if they want more, they will contend for it. Should the government deem it advisable to give them a little more, well and good. Should they be unfit for the possession of greater power, the government can issue a proclamation giving the reasons for not complying with their request, and they will not raise trouble knowing the true intention of the government. However, honesty is the most important element in the creation of a constitutional monarchy. It is easy and simple to practise it. The parliament must have the power to decide the laws and fix the budgets. Should its decision be too idealistic or contrary to the real welfare of the country, the Government can explain its faults and request it to reconsider its decision. Should the parliament return the same decision, the Government can dissolve it and convoke another parliament. In so doing the Government respects the parliament instead of despising it. But what the parliament has decided should be carried out strictly by the Government, and thus we will have a real constitutional Government. It is easy to talk but difficult to act, but China like all other countries has to go through the experimental stage and face all kinds of difficulties before a genuine constitutional government can be evolved. The beginning is difficult but once the difficulty is over everything will go on smoothly. I emphasize that it is better to give the people less power at the beginning than to deceive them. Be honest with them is my policy.
Mr. Ko: I thank you very much for what you have said. Your discussion is interesting and I can understand it well. The proper method of procedure and honesty of purpose which you have mentioned will tend to wipe out all former corruption.
Mr. Ko, or the stranger, then departed.
On this note the pamphleteer abruptly ends. Having discussed ad nauseam the inadequacy of all existing arrangements, even those made by Yuan Shih-kai himself, to secure a peaceful succession to the presidency; and having again insisted upon the evil part soldiery cannot fail to play, he introduces a new peril, the certainty that the foreign Powers will set up a puppet Emperor unless China solves this problem herself, the case of Korea being invoked as an example of the fate of divided nations. Fear of Japan and the precedent of Korea, being familiar phenomena, are given a capital in all this debate, being secondary only to the crucial business of ensuring the peaceful succession to the supreme office. The transparent manner in which the history of the first three years of the Republic is handled in order to drive home these arguments will be very apparent. A fit crown is put on the whole business by the final suggestion that the Constitutional Government of China under the new empire must be a mixture of the Prussian and Japanese systems, Yang Tu's last words being that it is best to be honest with the people! No more damning indictment of Yuan Shih-kai's regime could possibly have been penned.

The Origin Of The Twenty-one Demands

The key to this remarkable business was supplied by a cover sent anonymously to the writer during the course of these negotiations with no indication as to its origin. The documents which this envelope contained are so interesting that they merit attention at the hands of all students of history, explaining as they do the psychology of the Demands as well as throwing much light on the manner in which the world-war has been viewed in Japan.
The first document is purely introductory, but is none the less interesting. It is a fragment, or rather a precis of the momentous conversation which took place between Yuan Shih-kai and the Japanese Minister when the latter personally served the Demands on the Chief Executive and took the opportunity to use language unprecedented even in the diplomatic history of Peking.
The precis begins in a curious way. After saying that "the Japanese Minister tried to influence President Yuan Shih-kai with the following words," several long lines of asterisks suggest that after reflection the unknown chronicler had decided, for political reasons of the highest importance, to allow others to guess how the "conversation" opened. From the context it seems absolutely clear that the excised words have to deal with the possibility of the re-establishment of the Empire in China--a very important conclusion in view of what followed later in the year. Indeed there is no reason to doubt that the Japanese Envoy actually told Yuan Shih-kai that as he was already virtually Emperor it lay within his power to settle the whole business and to secure his position at one blow. In any case the precis begins with these illuminating sentences:
... Furthermore, the Chinese revolutionists are in close touch and have intimate relations with numerous irresponsible Japanese, some of whom have great influence and whose policy is for strong measures. Our Government has not been influenced by this policy, but if your Government does not quickly agree to these stipulations, it will be impossible to prevent some of our irresponsible people from inciting the Chinese revolutionists to create trouble in China.
The majority of the Japanese people are also opposed to President Yuan and Yuan's Government. They all declare that the President entertains anti-Japanese feeling and adopts the policy of "befriending the Far" and "antagonizing the Near" . Japanese public opinion is therefore exceedingly hostile.
Our Government has all along from first to last exerted its best efforts to help the Chinese Government, and if the Chinese Government will speedily agree to these stipulations it will have thus manifested its friendship for Japan.
The Japanese people will then be able to say that the President never entertained anti-Japanese feelings, or adopted the policy of "befriending the Far and antagonizing the Near." Will not this then be indeed a bona fide proof of our friendly relations?
The Japanese Government also will then be inclined to render assistance to President Yuan's Government whenever it is necessary ... .
We are admittedly living in a remarkable age which is making waste paper of our dearest principles. But in all the welter which the world war has made it would be difficult to find anything more extraordinary than these few paragraphs. Japan, through her official representative, boldly tears down the veil hiding her ambitions, and using the undoubted menace which Chinese revolutionary activities then held for the Peking Government, declares in so many words that unless President Yuan Shih-kai bows his head to the dictation of Tokio, the duel which began in Seoul twenty-five years ago would be openly resumed.
Immediately following the "conversation" is the principal document in the dossier. This is nothing less than an exhaustive Memorandum, divided into two sections, containing the policy advocated by the Japanese secret society, called the Black Dragon Society, which is said to have assumed that name on account of the members having studied the situation in the Heilungchiang province of Manchuria. The memorandum is the most remarkable document dealing with the Far East which has come to light since the famous Cassini Convention was published in 1896. Written presumably late in the autumn of 1914 and immediately presented to the Japanese Government, it may undoubtedly be called the fulminate which exploded the Japanese mine of the 18th January, 1915. It shows such sound knowledge of world-conditions, and is so scientific in its detachment that little doubt can exist that distinguished Japanese took part in its drafting. It can therefore be looked upon as a genuine expression of the highly educated Japanese mind, and as such cannot fail to arouse serious misgivings. The first part is a general review of the European War and the Chinese Question: the second is concerned with the Defensive Alliance between China and Japan which is looked upon as the one goal of all Japanese Diplomacy.


The present gigantic struggle in Europe has no parallel in history. Not only will the equilibrium of Europe be affected and its effect felt all over the globe, but its results will create a New Era in the political and social world. Therefore, whether or not the Imperial Japanese Government can settle the Far Eastern Question and bring to realization our great Imperial policy depends on our being able to skilfully avail ourselves of the world's general trend of affairs so as to extend our influence and to decide upon a course of action towards China which shall be practical in execution. If our authorities and people view the present European War with indifference and without deep concern, merely devoting their attention to the attack on Kiaochow, neglecting the larger issues of the war, they will have brought to nought our great Imperial policy, and committed a blunder greater than which it can not be conceived. We are constrained to submit this statement of policy for the consideration of our authorities, not because we are fond of argument but because we are deeply anxious for our national welfare.
No one at present can foretell the outcome of the European War. If the Allies meet with reverses and victory shall crown the arms of the Germans and Austrians, German militarism will undoubtedly dominate the European Continent and extend southward and eastward to other parts of the world. Should such a state of affairs happen to take place the consequences resulting therefrom will be indeed great and extensive. On this account we must devote our most serious attention to the subject. If, on the other hand, the Germans and Austrians should be crushed by the Allies, Germany will be deprived of her present status as a Federated State under a Kaiser. The Federation will be disintegrated into separate states, and Prussia will have to be content with the status of a second-rate Power. Austria and Hungary, on account of this defeat, will consequently be divided. What their final fate shall be, no one would now venture to predict. In the meantime Russia will annex Galicia and the Austrian Poland: France will repossess Alsace and Lorraine: Great Britain will occupy the German Colonies in Africa and the South Pacific; Servia and Montenegro will take Bosnia, Herzegovina and a certain portion of Austrian Territory; thus making such great changes in the map of Europe that even the Napoleonic War in 1815 could not find a parallel.
When these events take place, not only will Europe experience great changes, but we should not ignore the fact that they will occur also in China and in the South Pacific. After Russia has replaced Germany in the territories lost by Germany and Austria, she will hold a controlling influence in Europe, and, for a long time to come, will have nothing to fear from her western frontier. Immediately after the war she will make an effort to carry out her policy of expansion in the East and will not relax that effort until she has acquired a controlling influence in China. At the same time Great Britain will strengthen her position in the Yangtsze Valley and prohibit any other country from getting a footing there. France will do likewise in Yunnan province using it as her base of operations for further encroachments upon China and never hesitate to extend her advantages. We must therefore seriously study the situation remembering always that the combined action of Great Britain, Russia, and France will not only affect Europe but that we can even foresee that it will also affect China.
Whether this combined action on the part of England, France and Russia is to terminate at the end of the war or to continue to operate, we can not now predict. But after peace in Europe is restored, these Powers will certainly turn their attention to the expansion of their several spheres of interest in China, and, in the adjustment, their interests will most likely conflict with one another. If their interests do not conflict, they will work jointly to solve the Chinese Question. On this point we have not the least doubt. If England, France and Russia are actually to combine for the coercion of China, what course is to be adopted by the Imperial Japanese Government to meet the situation? What proper means shall we employ to maintain our influence and extend our interests within this ring of rivalry and competition? It is necessary that we bear in mind the final results of the European War and forestall the trend of events succeeding it so as to be able to decide upon a policy towards China and determine the action to be ultimately taken. If we remain passive, the Imperial Japanese Government's policy towards China will lose that subjective influence and our diplomacy will be checked forever by the combined force of the other Powers. The peace of the Far East will be thus endangered and even the existence of the Japanese Empire as a nation will no doubt be imperilled. It is therefore our first important duty at this moment to enquire of our Government what course is to be adopted to face that general situation after the war? What preparations are being made to meet the combined pressure of the Allies upon China? What policy has been followed to solve the Chinese Question? When the European War is terminated and peace restored we are not concerned so much with the question whether it be the Dual Monarchies or the Triple Entente which emerge victorious but whether, in anticipation of the future expansion of European influence in the Continents of Europe and Asia, the Imperial Japanese Government should or should not hesitate to employ force to check the movement before this occurrence. Now is the most opportune moment for Japan to quickly solve the Chinese Question. Such an opportunity will not occur for hundreds of years to come. Not only is it Japan's divine duty to act now, but present conditions in China favour the execution of such a plan. We should by all means decide and act at once. If our authorities do not avail themselves of this rare opportunity, great difficulty will surely be encountered in future in the settlement of this Chinese Question. Japan will be isolated from the European Powers after the war, and will be regarded by them with envy and jealousy just as Germany is now regarded. Is it not then a vital necessity for Japan to solve at this very moment the Chinese Question?
No one--not even those who care nothing for politics--can deny that there is in this document an astounding disclosure of the mental attitude of the Japanese not only towards their enemies but towards their friends as well. They trust nobody, befriend nobody, envy nobody; they content themselves with believing that the whole world may in the not distant future turn against them. The burden of their argument swings just as much against their British ally as against Germany and Austria; and the one and only matter which preoccupies Japanese who make it their business to think about such things is to secure that Japan shall forestall Europe in seizing control of China. It is admitted in so many words that it is too early to know who is to triumph in the gigantic European struggle; it is also admitted that Germany will forever be the enemy. At the same time it is expected, should the issue of the struggle be clearcut and decisive in favour of the Allies, that a new three-Power combination formed by England, France and Russia may be made to operate against Japan. Although the alliance with England, twice renewed since 1902, should occupy as important a place in the Far East as the Entente between England and France occupies in Europe, not one Japanese in a hundred knows or cares anything about such an arrangement; and even if he has knowledge of it, he coolly assigns to his country's major international commitment a minimum and constantly diminishing importance. In his view the British Alliance is nothing but a piece of paper which may be consumed in the great bonfire now shedding such a lurid light over the world. What is germane to the matter is his own plan, his own method of taking up arms in a sea of troubles. The second part of the Black Dragon Society's Memorandum, pursuing the argument logically and inexorably and disclosing traces of real political genius, makes this unalterably clear.
Having established clearly the attitude of Japan towards the world--and more particularly towards the rival political combinations now locked together in a terrible death-struggle, this second part of the Memorandum is concerned solely with China and can be broken into two convenient sections. The first section is constructive--the plan for the reconstruction of China is outlined in terms suited to the Japanese genius. This part begins with an illuminating piece of rhetoric.


It is a very important matter of policy whether the Japanese Government, in obedience to its divine mission, shall solve the Chinese Question in a heroic manner by making China voluntarily rely upon Japan. To force China to such a position there is nothing else for the Imperial Japanese Government to do but to take advantage of the present opportunity to seize the reigns of political and financial power and to enter by all means into a defensive alliance with her under secret terms as enumerated below:
The Secret Terms of the Defensive Alliance
The Imperial Japanese Government, with due respect for the Sovereignty and Integrity of China and with the object and hope of maintaining the peace of the Far East, undertakes to share the responsibility of co-operating with China to guard her against internal trouble and foreign invasion and China shall accord to Japan special facilities in the matter of China's National Defence, or the protection of Japan's special rights and privileges and for these objects the following treaty of Alliance is to be entered into between the two contracting parties:
1. When there is internal trouble in China or when she is at war with another nation or nations, Japan shall send her army to render assistance, to assume the responsibility of guarding Chinese territory and to maintain peace and order in China.
2. China agrees to recognize Japan's privileged position in South Manchuria and Inner Mongolia and to cede the sovereign rights of these regions to Japan to enable her to carry out a scheme of local defence on a permanent basis.
3. After the Japanese occupation of Kiaochow, Japan shall acquire all the rights and privileges hitherto enjoyed by the Germans in regard to railways, mines and all other interests, and after peace and order is restored in Tsingtao, the place shall be handed back to China to be opened as an International Treaty port.
4. For the maritime defence of China and Japan, China shall lease strategic harbours along the coast of the Fukien province to Japan to be converted into naval bases and grant to Japan in the said province all railway and mining rights.
5. For the reorganization of the Chinese army China shall entrust the training and drilling of the army to Japan.
6. For the unification of China's firearms and munitions of war, China shall adopt firearms of Japanese pattern, and at the same time establish arsenals in different strategic points.
7. With the object of creating and maintaining a Chinese Navy, China shall entrust the training of her navy to Japan.
8. With the object of reorganizing her finances and improving the methods of taxation, China shall entrust the work to Japan, and the latter shall elect competent financial experts who shall act as first-class advisers to the Chinese Government.
9. China shall engage Japanese educational experts as educational advisers and extensively establish schools in different parts of the country to teach Japanese so as to raise the educational standard of the country.
10. China shall first consult with and obtain the consent of Japan before she can enter into an agreement with another Power for making loans, the leasing of territory, or the cession of the same.
From the date of the signing of this Defensive Alliance, Japan and China shall work together hand-in-hand. Japan will assume the responsibility of safeguarding Chinese territory and maintaining the peace and order in China. This will relieve China of all future anxieties and enable her to proceed energetically with her reforms, and, with a sense of territorial security, she may wait for her national development and regeneration. Even after the present European War is over and peace is restored China will absolutely have nothing to fear in the future of having pressure brought against her by the foreign powers. It is only thus that permanent peace can be secured in the Far East.
But before concluding this Defensive Alliance, two points must first be ascertained and settled. Its bearing on the Chinese Government. Its bearing on those Powers having intimate relations with and great interests in China.
In considering its effect on the Chinese Government, Japan must try to foresee whether the position of China's present ruler Yuan Shih-kai shall be permanent or not; whether the present Government's policy will enjoy the confidence of a large section of the Chinese people; whether Yuan Shi-kai will readily agree to the Japanese Government's proposal to enter into a treaty of alliance with us. These are points to which we are bound to give a thorough consideration. Judging by the attitude hitherto adopted by Yuan Shi-kai we know he has always resorted to the policy of expediency in his diplomatic dealings, and although he may now outwardly show friendliness towards us, he will in fact rely upon the influence of the different Powers as the easiest check against us and refuse to accede to our demands. Take for a single instance, his conduct towards us since the Imperial Government declared war against Germany and his action will then be clear to all. Whether we can rely upon the ordinary friendly methods of diplomacy to gain our object or not it does not require much wisdom to decide. After the gigantic struggle in Europe is over, leaving aside America which will not press for advantage, China will not be able to obtain any loans from the other Powers. With a depleted treasury, without means to pay the officials and the army, with local bandits inciting the poverty-stricken populace to trouble, with the revolutionists waiting for opportunities to rise, should an insurrection actually occur while no outside assistance can be rendered to quell it we are certain it will be impossible for Yuan Shi-kai, single-handed, to restore order and consolidate the country. The result will be that the nation will be cut up into many parts beyond all hope of remedy. That this state of affairs will come is not difficult to foresee. When this occurs, shall we uphold Yuan's Government and assist him to suppress the internal insurrection with the certain assurance that we could influence him to agree to our demands, or shall we help the revolutionists to achieve a success and realize our object through them? This question must be definitely decided upon this very moment so that we may put it into practical execution. If we do not look into the future fate of China but go blindly to uphold Yuan's Government, to enter into a Defensive Alliance with China, hoping thus to secure a complete realization of our object by assisting him to suppress the revolutionists, it is obviously a wrong policy. Why? Because the majority of the Chinese people have lost all faith in the tottering Yuan Shi-kai who is discredited and attacked by the whole nation for having sold his country. If Japan gives Yuan the support, his Government, though in a very precarious state, may possibly avoid destruction. Yuan Shi-kai belongs to that school of politicians who are fond of employing craftiness and cunning. He may be friendly to us for a time, but he will certainly abandon us and again befriend the other Powers when the European war is at an end. Judging by his past we have no doubt as to what he will do in the future. For Japan to ignore the general sentiment of the Chinese people and support Yuan Shi-kai with the hope that we can settle with him the Chinese Question is a blunder indeed. Therefore in order to secure the permanent peace of the Far East, instead of supporting a Chinese Government which can neither be long continued in power nor assist in the attainment of our object, we should rather support the 400,000,000 Chinese people to renovate their corrupt Government, to change its present form, to maintain peace and order in the land and to usher into China a new era of prosperity so that China and Japan may in fact as well as in name be brought into the most intimate and vital relations with each other. China's era of prosperity is based on the China-Japanese Alliance and this Alliance is the foundational power for the repelling of the foreign aggression that is to be directed against the Far East at the conclusion of the European war. This Alliance is also the foundation-stone of the peace of the world. Japan therefore should take this as the last warning and immediately solve this question. Since the Imperial Japanese Government has considered it imperative to support the Chinese people, we should induce the Chinese revolutionists, the Imperialists and other Chinese malcontents to create trouble all over China. The whole country will be thrown into disorder and Yuan's Government will consequently be overthrown. We shall then select a man from amongst the most influential and most noted of the 400,000,000 of Chinese and help him to organize a new form of Government and to consolidate the whole country. In the meantime our army must assist in the restoration of peace and order in the country, and in the protection of the lives and properties of the people, so that they may gladly tender their allegiance to the new Government which will then naturally confide in and rely upon Japan. It is after the accomplishment of only these things that we shall without difficulty gain our object by the conclusion of a Defensive Alliance with China.
For us to incite the Chinese revolutionists and malcontents to rise in China we consider the present to be the most opportune moment. The reason why these men can not now carry on an active campaign is because they are insufficiently provided with funds. If the Imperial Government can take advantage of this fact to make them a loan and instruct them to rise simultaneously, great commotion and disorder will surely prevail all over China. We can intervene and easily adjust matters.
The progress of the European War warns Japan with greater urgency of the imperative necessity of solving this most vital of questions. The Imperial Government can not be considered as embarking on a rash project. This opportunity will not repeat itself for our benefit. We must avail ourselves of this chance and under no circumstances hesitate. Why should we wait for the spontaneous uprising of the revolutionists and malcontents? Why should we not think out and lay down a plan beforehand? When we examine into the form of Government in China, we must ask whether the existing Republic is well suited to the national temperament and well adapted to the thoughts and aspirations of the Chinese people. From the time the Republic of China was established up to the present moment, if what it has passed through is to be compared to what it ought to be in the matter of administration and unification, we find disappointment everywhere. Even the revolutionists themselves, the very ones who first advocated the Republican form of government, acknowledge that they have made a mistake. The retention of the Republican form of Government in China will be a great future obstacle in the way of a Chino- Japanese Alliance. And why must it be so? Because, in a Republic the fundamental principles of government as well as the social and moral aims of the people are distinctly different from that of a Constitutional Monarchy. Their laws and administration also conflict. If Japan act as a guide to China and China models herself after Japan, it will only then be possible for the two nations to solve by mutual effort the Far East Question without differences and disagreements. Therefore to start from the foundation for the purpose of reconstructing the Chinese Government, of establishing a Chino-Japanese Alliance, of maintaining the permanent peace of the Far East and of realizing the consummation of Japan's Imperial policy, we must take advantage of the present opportunity to alter China's Republican form of Government into a Constitutional Monarchy which shall necessarily be identical, in all its details, to the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan, and to no other. This is really the key and first principle to be firmly held for the actual reconstruction of the form of Government in China. If China changes her Republican form of Government to that of a Constitutional Monarchy, shall we, in the selection of a new ruler, restore the Emperor Hsuan T'ung to his throne or choose the most capable man from the Monarchists or select the most worthy member from among the revolutionists? We think, however, that it is advisable at present to leave this question to the exigency of the future when the matter is brought up for decision. But we must not lose sight of the fact that to actually put into execution this policy of a Chino-Japanese Alliance and the transformation of the Republic of China into a Constitutional Monarchy, is, in reality, the fundamental principle to be adopted for the reconstruction of China.
We shall now consider the bearing of this Defensive Alliance on the other Powers. Needless to say, Japan and China will in no way impair the rights and interests already acquired by the Powers. At this moment it is of paramount importance for Japan to come to a special understanding with Russia to define our respective spheres in Manchuria and Mongolia so that the two countries may co-operate with each other in the future. This means that Japan after the acquisition of sovereign rights in South Manchuria and Inner Mongolia will work together with Russia after her acquisition of sovereign rights in North Manchuria and Outer Mongolia to maintain the status quo, and endeavour by every effort to protect the peace of the Far East. Russia, since the outbreak of the European War, has not only laid aside all ill-feelings against Japan, but has adopted the same attitude as her Allies and shown warm friendship for us. No matter how we regard the Manchurian and Mongolian Questions in the future she is anxious that we find some way of settlement. Therefore we need not doubt but that Russia, in her attitude towards this Chinese Question, will be able to come to an understanding with us for mutual co-operation.
The British sphere of influence and interest in China is centred in Tibet and the Yangtsze Valley. Therefore if Japan can come to some satisfactory arrangement with China in regard to Tibet and also give certain privileges to Great Britain in the Yangtsze Valley, with an assurance to protect those privileges, no matter how powerful Great Britain might be, she will surely not oppose Japan's policy in regard to this Chinese Question. While this present European War is going on Great Britain has never asked Japan to render her assistance. That her strength will certainly not enable her to oppose us in the future need not be doubted in the least.
Since Great Britain and Russia will not oppose Japan's policy towards China, it can readily be seen what attitude France will adopt in regard to the subject. What Japan must now somewhat reckon with is America. But America in her attitude towards us regarding our policy towards China has already declared the principle of maintaining China's territorial integrity and equal opportunity and will be satisfied, if we do not impair America's already acquired rights and privileges. We think America will also have no cause for complaint. Nevertheless America has in the East a naval force which can be fairly relied upon, though not sufficiently strong to be feared. Therefore in Japan's attitude towards America there is nothing really for us to be afraid of.
Since China's condition is such on the one hand and the Powers' relation towards China is such on the other hand, Japan should avail herself in the meantime of the European War to definitely decide upon a policy towards China, the most important move being the transformation of the Chinese Government to be followed up by preparing for the conclusion of the Defensive Alliance. The precipitate action on the part of our present Cabinet in acceding to the request of Great Britain to declare war against Germany without having definitely settled our policy towards China has no real connection with our future negotiations with China or affect the political condition in the Far East. Consequently all intelligent Japanese, of every walk of life throughout the land, are very deeply concerned about the matter.
Our Imperial Government should now definitely change our dependent foreign policy which is being directed by others into an independent foreign policy which shall direct others, proclaiming the same with solemn sincerity to the world and carrying it out with determination. If we do so, even the gods and spirits will give way. These are important points in our policy towards China and the result depends on how we carry them out. Can our authorities firmly make up their mind to solve this Chinese Question by the actual carrying out of this fundamental principle? If they show irresolution while we have this heaven-conferred chance and merely depend on the good will of the other Powers, we shall eventually have greater pressure to be brought against the Far East after the European War is over, when the present equilibrium will be destroyed. That day will then be too late for us to repent of our folly. We are therefore impelled by force of circumstances to urge our authorities to a quicker sense of the situation and to come to a determination.
The first point which leaps out of this extraordinarily frank disquisition is that the origin of the Twenty-one Demands is at last disclosed. A perusal of the ten articles forming the basis of the Defensive alliance proposed by the Black Dragon Society, allows us to understand everything that occurred in Peking in the spring of 1915. As far back as November, 1914, it was generally rumoured in Peking that Japan had a surprise of an extraordinary nature in her diplomatic archives, and that it would be merely a matter of weeks before it was sprung. Comparing this elaborate memorandum of the Black Dragon Society with the original text of the Twenty-one Demands it is plain that the proposed plan, having been handed to Viscount Kato, had to be passed through the diplomatic filters again and again until all gritty matter had been removed, and an appearance of innocuousness given to it. It is for this reason that the defensive alliance finally emerges as five compact little "groups" of demands, with the vital things directly affecting Chinese sovereignty labelled desiderata, so that Japanese ambassadors abroad could leave very warm assurances at every Foreign Office that there was nothing in what Japan desired which in any way conflicted with the Treaty rights of the Powers in China. The air of mystery which surrounded the whole business from the 18th January to the 7th May--the day of the ultimatum--was due to the fact that Japan attempted to translate the conspiracy into terms of ordinary intercourse, only to find that in spite of the "filtering" the atmosphere of plotting could not be shaken off or the political threat adequately hidden. There is an arresting piece of psychology in this.
The conviction expressed in the first portion of the Memorandum that bankruptcy was the rock on which the Peking administration must sooner or later split, and that the moment which Japan must seize is the outbreak of insurrections, is also highly instructive in view of what happened later. Still more subtle is the manner in which the ultimate solution is left open: it is consistently admitted throughout the mass of reasoning that there is no means of knowing whether suasion or force will ultimately be necessary. Force, however, always beckons to Japan because that is the simplest formula. And since Japan is the self-appointed defender of the dumb four hundred millions, her influence will be thrown on the side of the populace in order "to usher into China a new era of prosperity" so that China and Japan may in fact as well as in name be brought into the most intimate and vital relations with each other.
The object of the subsidized insurrections is also clearly stated: it is to alter China's republican form of government into a Constitutional Monarchy which shall necessarily be identical in all its details to the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan and to no other. Who the new Emperor is to be is a point left in suspense, although we may here again recall that in 1912 in the midst of the revolution Japan privately sounded England regarding the advisability of lending the Manchus armed assistance, a proposal which was immediately vetoed. But there are other things: nothing is forgotten in the Memorandum. Russia is to be specially placated, England to be specially negotiated with, thus incidentally explaining Japan's recent attitude regarding the Yangtsze Railways. Japan, released from her dependent foreign policy, that is from a policy which is bound by conventions and treaties which others respect, can then carry out her own plans without fear of molestation.
And this brings us to the two last documents of the dossier--the method of subsidizing and arranging insurrections in China when and wherever necessary.
The first document is a detailed agreement between the Revolutionary Party and various Japanese merchants. Trained leaders are to be used in the provinces South of the Yellow River, and the matter of result is so systematized that the agreement specifies the amount of compensation to be paid for every Japanese killed on active service; it declares that the Japanese will deliver arms and ammunition in the districts of Jihchow in Shantung and Haichow in Kiangsu; and it ends by stating that the first instalment of cash, Yen 400,000, had been paid over in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The second document is an additional loan agreement between the interested parties creating a special "trading" corporation, perhaps satirically named "The Europe and Asia Trading Company," which in a consideration of a loan of half a million yen gives Japanese prior rights over all the mines of China.
In order to preserve the peace in the Far East, it is necessary for China and Japan to enter into an offensive and defensive alliance whereby in case of war with any other nation or nations Japan shall supply the military force while China shall be responsible for the finances. It is impossible for the present Chinese Government to work hand in hand with the Japanese Government nor does the Japanese Government desire to co-operate with the former. Consequently Japanese politicians and merchants who have the peace of the Far East at heart are anxious to assist China in her reconstruction. For this object the following Agreement is entered into by the two parties:
1. Before an uprising is started, Terao, Okura, Tseji Karoku and their associates shall provide the necessary funds, weapons and military force, but the funds so provided must not exceed 1,500,000 yen and rifles not to exceed 100,000 pieces.
2. Before the uprising takes place the loan shall be temporarily secured by 10,000,000 yen worth of bonds to be issued by Sun Wen . It shall however be secured afterwards by all the movable properties of the occupied territory.
3. The funds from the present loan and military force to be provided are for operations in the provinces South of the Yellow River viz: Yunnan, Kweichow, Hunan, Hupeh, Szechuan, Kiangsi, Anhuei, Kiangsu, Chekiang, Fukien, Kwangsi and Kwangtung. If it is intended to invade the Northern provinces North of the Yellow River, Tseji Karoku and his associates shall participate with the revolutionists in all deliberations connected with such operations.
4. The Japanese volunteer force shall be allowed from the date of their enrolment active service pay in accordance with the regulations of the Japanese army. After the occupation of a place, the two parties will settle the mode of rewarding the meritorious and compensating the family of the killed, adopting the most generous practice in vogue in China and Japan. In the case of the killed, compensation for each soldier shall, at the least, be more than 1,000 yen.
5. Wherever the revolutionary army might be located the Japanese military officers accompanying these expeditions shall have the right to advise a continuation or cessation of operations.
6. After the revolutionary army has occupied a region and strengthened its defences, all industrial undertakings and railway construction and the like, not mentioned in the Treaties with other foreign Powers, shall be worked with joint capital together with the Japanese.
7. On the establishment of a new Government in China, all Japan's demands on China shall be recognized by the new Government as settled and binding.
8. All Japanese Military Officers holding the rank of Captain or higher ranks engaged by the Chinese revolutionary army shall have the privilege of being continued in their employment with a limit as to date and shall have the right to ask to be thus employed.
9. The loan shall be paid over in three instalments. The first instalment will be 400,000 yen, the second instalment ... yen and the third instalment ... yen. After the first instalment is paid over, Okura who advances the loan shall have the right to appoint men to supervise the expenditure of the money.
10. The Japanese shall undertake to deliver all arms and ammunition in the Districts of Jih Chao and Haichow .
11. The payment of the first instalment of the loan shall be made not later than three days after the signing of this Agreement.
12. All the employed Japanese Military officers and Japanese volunteers are in duty bound to obey the orders of the Commander of the revolutionary army.
13. The Commander of the revolutionary army shall have the right to send back to Japan those Japanese military officers and Japanese volunteers who disobey his orders and their passage money shall not be paid if such decision meets with the approval of three or more of the Japanese who accompany the revolutionary force.
14. All the commissariat departments in the occupied territory must employ Japanese experts to co-operate in their management.
15. This Agreement takes effect immediately it is signed by the two parties.
The foregoing fifteen articles have been discussed several times between the two parties and signed by them in February. The first instalment of 400,000 yen has been paid according to the terms of this Agreement.
1. The Europe and Asia Trading Company undertakes to raise a loan of 500,000 yen. After the Agreement is signed and sealed by the contracting parties the Japanese Central Bank shall hand over 3/10 of the loan as the first instalment. When Chang Yao Ching and his associates arrive at their proper destination the sum of 150,000 yen shall be paid over as the second instalment. When final arrangements are made the third and last instalment of 200,000 yen shall be paid.
2. When money is to be paid out, the Europe and Asia Trading Company shall appoint supervisers. Responsible individuals of the contracting parties shall jointly affix their seals before money is drawn for expenditure.
3. The Europe and Asia Trading Company shall secure a volunteer force of 150 men, only retired officers of the Japanese army to be eligible.
4. On leaving Japan the travelling expenses and personal effects of the volunteers shall be borne by themselves. After reaching China, Chang Yao Ching and his associates shall give the volunteers the pay of officers of the subordinate grade according to the established regulations of the Japanese army.
5. If a volunteer is wounded while on duty Chang Yao Ching and his associates shall pay him a provisional compensation of not exceeding 1,000 yen. When wounded seriously a provisional compensation of 5,000 yen shall be paid as well as a life pension in accordance with the rules of the Japanese army. If a volunteer meets with an accident, thus losing his life, an indemnity of 50,000 yen shall be paid to his family.
6. If a volunteer is not qualified for duty Chang Yao-ching and his associates shall have the power to dismiss him. All volunteers are subject to the orders of Chang Yao-ching and his associates and to their command in the battlefields.
7. When volunteers are required to attack a certain selected place it shall be their duty to do so. But the necessary expenses for the undertaking shall be determined beforehand by both parties after investigating into existing conditions.
8. The volunteer force shall be organized after the model of the Japanese army. Two Japanese officers recommended by the Europe and Asia Trading Company shall be employed.
9. The Europe and Asia Trading Company shall have the power to dispose of the public properties in the places occupied by the volunteer force.
10. The Europe and Asia Trading Company shall have the first preference for working the mines in places occupied and protected by the volunteer force.
And here ends this extraordinary collection of papers. Is fiction mixed with fact--are these only "trial" drafts, or are they real documents signed, sealed, and delivered? The point seems unimportant. The thing of importance is the undoubted fact that assembled and treated in the way we have treated them they present a complete and arresting picture of the aims and ambitions of the ordinary Japanese; of their desire to push home the attack to the last gasp and so to secure the infeodation of China.