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THE POWERS AND CHINA.

i, The German Note insisting upon the surrender of the high oificers responsible for the organisation of the anti-foreign movement in China has forced the Chinese Government to show its hand and it has, at the same time, caused the Powers to disclose more or less fully their intentions. The conditions laid down in the note are flatly refused by China. Even Li Hung Chang, who is both facile and conciliatory, declares that it is impossible for his country to accept them. The Court, which probably still means the Empress Dowager, has apparently resolved to oppose the allies to the bitter end rather than submit to such humiliating terms. The anti-foreign policy is to be maintained. Tung Fu-hsiang, who at the head of his Kansu "braves," was a prominent leader of the attacks upon

the foreign colony in Pekin, has been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese forces, and has announced his intention of opposing iSount yon Weldersee tooth and nail. Prince Tuan, instead of being surrendered, has been promoted to a seat on the Grand Council of the Empire) and a notorious anti-foreign official has been appointed to the Shanghai Taotaiship > Wnile Li Hung Chang and Prince Ching have been endeavouring to effect a- compromise with the Powers, the energetic Empress and her reactionary supporters have been busy preparing for a prolonged conflict with the foreignetss We have learnt from time to time of the despatch of reinforcements to swell the ranks of Her Majesty's army, and unless our reports_ have been entirely misleading she should by this time bave formidable bodies of troops between her new capital and Pekin. More men will I probably be coming up all the time, and ■ tho allies will find it no easy task to j penetrate into the heart of China in pursuit of the Imperial Court. Precisely ! whdre that Court now is remains a mys tery, but there seems every probability of Si-ngon-fu, in the province of Shensi, being the objective of its journey. The Empire can bo ruiled from that place as easily as from Pekin, and tho mere cap lure of the latter city will avail the allies little so long as the Dowager and her faction retain their hold upon the officials. The hatred of foreigners throughout the Kmpire seems lo have reached the dimensions of a religious crusade, and it is difficult to say what price the Powers may have to pay if they insist upon adhering to the strict letter of the German Note. There is method behind the seeming madness of the Chinese Government in pitting itself against Europe, the United States, and Japan. The Dowager wishes to fr«e herself from the perpetual dictation of the otitside world, and she has, no doubt a more or less distinct conception of the difficulties that even western military prowess will experience in any attempt to subdue China. Her advisers, too, especially the astute Li Hung* Chang, realise the mutual enmities of the temporarily allied Powers, and hope that if the task of subjugating China prove too arduous the smouldering jealousies will burst into flames and China be emancipated by the destruction of the present concert of the Powers. China has many a bribe she can offer to this Government or that Government as the case may be, and t her helplessness in face of the forces now arraj r ed against her is more apparent than real. The United States Government is already weakening in its desire for punishment of the native offenders. It refuses to join in insisting upon the German demands, and its Minister has been authorised to negotiate with Li Hung Chang for the Emperor's restoration to power, in the vain hope that China will then spontaneously punish the instigators of the recent outrages. Meanwhile, it is reported, the American contingent at Pekin is being considerably reduced. The American Government is, no doubt, prompted to • act in this way by the approaching Presidential election. The Republicans have been accused of Imperialism, Jingoism, pro-British sentiment, and other sins particularly obnoxious to a certain class of American voters, and it is almost inevitable that American policy in China should be somewhat weak until the elections are over. Russia has been playing steadily for her own hand, and there is much significance in the news that she has seized Chin-wan Tao, near Shan-hai-kuan. This place was among the ports thrown open to foreign trade in 1898, and in the following year the Russian Government presented 'a demand for a branch, line to connect her MatichUrian-Port Arthur railway with Pekin, by way of Shan-hai-kuan. The British Government opposed strongly the Russian proposal, and nothing cama of it at the time, but it is a somewhat startling coincidence that while Russia's energies are evidently devoted to securing her railways and influence in Manchuria rather than to fhe punishment of the common enemies of the Powers, she should occupy an important post on the .projected branch line. Great Britain and France appear to be supporting the German Note, but so far little has been made known as to the attitude of Japan, although it has been hinted that Russia has won her over by promised concessions 'in' Korea. The international position, it may thus be seen, is Tery complicated, and China's defiance may make united action even more difficult than before.

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THE POWERS AND CHINA. Evening Post, Volume LX, Issue 74, 25 September 1900

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