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First Lady of the East Speaks to the West; Madame Chiang Kai-shek declares that "East and West have tried to be self-sufficient. Neither has succeeded. Each must acknowledge now that the other has something to teach." First Lady of the East|
By MAYLING SOONG CHIANG (Madame Chiang Kai-shek)CHUNGKING [By Wireless). ();
April 19, 1942,
SINCE China was opened to the world relations between East and West may he divided into three stages. In the first the weapon of the West toward China was always force. By the pointing of a gun at her the West made her suffer humiliation after humiliation. All her port cities were opened, in an actual as well as a metaphorical sense, at the point of the bayonet. The result was what one might have expected. China resolved to have as little to do with the West as possible. She was forced to trade but she did so reluctantly and reduced social and diplomatic contacts to a minimum. Withdrawing to her own ivory pagoda, she decided to let the crude world go on its power-worshipping path. She scorned to demean herself by learning the ways of the west.
This policy was not effective. It left China behind in modern scientific and industrial development, thereby causing her to get out of step with the changing world. In the meantime the west established self-governing cities in China on their own model in violation of China's sovereign rights, but, as a face-saving gesture, shrouded them under the thin veil of foreign settlements and concessions. The West also instituted a vicious legal device known as extra-territoriality, which removed foreigners from the jurisdiction of Chinese Courts.
Nor did the West keep their hands off our material resources. The richest of our mines passed under foreign control. The foreigners administered our Customs, Salt Revenue, Railways, in fact took over management of virtually all our public utilities, while even the control of foreign exchange was vested in them. In every respect, the policy of the West seemed to be to get as much as possible from us by force and to give nothing in return that it would withhold.
The superiority complex was a cardinal point in the creed of the Western Powers in their dealings with all things Chinese and this was insisted upon in season and out. Knowledge of Chinese literature and philosophy was, however, making some progress among Western scholars. It was recognized that China had, culturally, a great contribution to make to the world. Accomplished literature of all nations translated some of the greatest works of Chinese writers and made them accessible to the Western world. This, though a move in the right direction, failed to correct the misconception which the West have formed of China and which was based their unquestioning belief in their own superiority. However much they might respect China culturally, they seem to be constitutionally unable to regard her as an equal. The development of trade made it necessary for nations to conclude political and economic agreements with each other and China was forced to be a party to many of them. It is significant, however, that in practically all these treaties, China was inferentially considered as an inferior, not as an equal. This arrogant belief in innate Western ascendancy was largely fostered by the treaty port Taipans (foreign heads of banks and other business houses) whose prejudiced knowledge of China was restricted to associations with their subservient Chinese compradors and the ignorant gossip gleaned in their club bars. Needless to say this die-hard attitude did infinite mischief to China and to her relationship with the world.
I didn't get free access to the webpage in New York times' pay webpage, but get this from a diary of Indian journalist, D F Karaka.
DF Karacka wrote: "These were hard words, but, my God, how true they were."
[ Last edited by 468259058 at 2011-6-5 05:23 PM ]