Current and Postwar Reconstruction of China


By C. T. FENG, Chinese Consul-General, San Francisco

Delivered at the Chinese National Reconstruction Forum at the University of California, Berkeley, January 3, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 223-224.

IT is with pleasure, respect and a feeling of hope that I congratulate the members of the Chinese National Reconstruction Forum.

My pleasure is incident to contemplation of an effort to aid China. Respect arises from recognition of your self-imposed obligation—today an obligation that warfare has imposed upon all free men. Hope springs from knowledge that the serious labor of any conscientious forum lightens contemporary burdens and frequently discerns safe pathways for tomorrow.

History deals lavishly with the importance of the forum. History, simply described, is a record of man's experience with life.

Throughout history it is repeatedly disclosed that the forum has been instrumental in clarifying issues, that it has produced concrete forms for expressing the ideals of men—as in the Declaration of Independence—and that it has formulated procedures surviving the ravages of Time.

With uniformity history has disclosed that people have never cried out in protest against hardships arising from la-

bors essential to progress. Tales of adventure and discovery and tales of territorial development wherever they describe man's upward climb, are tales replete with incident of human fortitude and individual courage. In the history of the United States, the story of the Winning of the West remains a saga of vision, endurance and persistent struggle against the resistance of natural forces of a virgin continent.

To build a better life and start anew, hardy men and women, with their bare hands, built this Empire of the West.

However, with equal uniformity history has disclosed that man has always gone to war against the hardship of injustice, against all attempts at disestablishment of that which he deemed essential to his spiritual life and since the dawn of civilization—against invasion of his soil and his home.

Side by side and changeless through the Ages, these two kindred braveries of mankind constitute indelible record of the indestructible fibre of the human will.

Man has always struggled to progress—always has hated and fought any invasion of human rights.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen, who devoted his life to the welfare of China and who is known as the George Washington of China by reason of his creation of the Republic in 1911, said:

"To know is difficult—to act is easy".

Assuming the titanic task of guiding the China of today, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, recognized military genius and world statesman, by his personal effort as director of the domestic economy and reconstruction of China, has demonstrated the soundness of his plan of national cooperation—a well designed formula that has united four hundred and fifty million people.

Translating into action her own precept of "Plan your work and work your plan" America has so coordinated her capacities of organization, production and distribution that she has won first position as the world's greatest industrial nation.

Great Britain's familiar "Carry On", evolved at the council table and condensing into two words the wills of many millions, has been one of the greatest morale builders in the history of language.

Into forums, through the years, have poured the questions of some bewildered world—out from the pooled thought of

best minds of the nations of the earth must always come answers understandable to those who carry the load of civilization's plodding tread.

Planned in some forum, tomorrow's teamwork among peoples, engaging as it will cooperative effort by all awakened to the oneness of their ideals, will bear rich fruit sustaining reciprocal advances.

As a result of forum planning and analysis, that competition for national gain so long a cause of war, will largely be replaced by competition to set a better standard for the good of all.

From America, her friend, there is much that China may learn.

To America, from a friend, there is much that China can give.

America possesses industrial knowledge essential to China's material development.

China has unlimited manpower with which to carry out any plan calling for its utilization.

The excellent quality of the technical knowledge held by America is already known to the world.

Chinese students have long since proved their capacity to absorb all forms of special knowledge. Chinese technicians have demonstrated that they can put to practical use all forms of special knowledge.

The yet untouched natural resources of China merelyawait that moment when they will be released to service of the world at large.

China, as a market of tomorrow, is without a rival on the globe—four hundred and fifty million people—friendly, eager to work, eager to learn, willing to buy and, thereafter, to make a part of their own lives consumer of goods of other lands.

To the end that these things shall come to pass, it is mandatory that students interested in reconstruction acquaint themselves with what China is doing at this time.

Although continuously engaged in warfare against aggression, China has developed and is now operating a program of physical and sociological improvement without precedent in history.

The reconstruction phase of China's effort is of vital concern to the rest of the world.

During postwar reconstruction the heavy demand of China upon America's production will so absorb existing American production capacities that readjustments within the United States will be greatly assisted. Furnishing the machinery and material required by China to develop a continent will reproduce a market condition the world has not seen since America furnished machinery and equipment to develop its territory west of the Mississippi River.

In the field of communications alone, it is already known that China, during first stages of her postwar reconstruction, will build 100,000 miles of railways, 1,000,000 miles of macadam highways, improve existing canals and build new canals, engage in river conservancy and in the expansion of existing telegraph and telephone systems.

China is committed to a policy of development of commercial harbor construction, to the construction of moderncities with public utilities and has planned wide water power developments.

Construction of large-scale iron, steel and cement works, development of mineral resources and agricultural development, large-scale irrigation work in Mongolia and Sinkiang and the reforestration of Central China, present a market already in tangible form.

Additional areas of absorption of outside production are represented by colonization plans for Manchuria, Sinkiang, Kokonor and Tibet, in each of which development must and will accompany colonization.

That China is firmly committed to a policy of reconstruction is shown by her activities in the period subsequent to Japan's attack upon her people.

War with a strong aggressor nation is a crucial test for any nation. First difficulty disclosed by the war with Japan was our insufficient modernization. Japan thought a quick victory would conquer China. But the enemy underestimated China's capacity and the spirit of the Chinese people. Simultaneously engaged in resistance and reconstruction China has demonstrated her power.

With her reconstruction designed to serve both the needs of a war of resistance and future needs of her people, China's reconstruction now goes forward with increasing momentum and greater assurance of its continuity in a postwar world.

A new industrial and economic order, now building in Southwestern China under emergency pressure, may easily prove to be the creation of a region comparable in raw materials and industrial productivity with that region of the United States situated west of Chicago.

In the six provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Kweichow, Hunan, Szechuan and Yunnan is an area larger than the combined territories of Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. On this ground, prior to Japanese aggression, lived 150,000,000 people. Driven by the Japanese from their homes along the seaboard and now residing on this ground is an additional 40,000,000 people.

Beneath the tread of this population of almost 200,000,000 people is almost unlimited coal and a wealth of salt, manganese, gold, lead, zinc, tungsten and antimony.

History of Chicago district provides record that the proximity of such natural resources, manpower, transportation and machinery, can build an industrial empire overnight.

Postwar reconstruction of China constitutes a major segment of the job of postwar reconstruction of the world.

Light thrown upon the manifold and intricately interwoven details of such a task must come from the specialist and from the student of public administration, finance, economics, civil, chemical and mechanical engineering and from specialists and students versed in a wide range of essential subjects which must be applied.

It is within such a body as this Forum that the potential of our success lies latent.

It is from such a body as this Forum that much of our hope must come.

The sacrifice and suffering of these who have carried the burden this far—the story of those who preferred to die so that their children could remain free—the simple record of humble lives made sacred by unselfish act—these must be your heritage and your guide.

The inspiration derived from contemplation of China's courage and accomplishments should go far in making your work something looked upon as a great privilege.

To the Chinese National Reconstruction Forum such inspiration will have deep meaning.

Here may well be created some plan that will operate to erase warfare from the future history of mankind.