China To-Day and To-Morrow


By KING-CHAU MUI, Chinese Consul-General in Honolulu

Broadcast from station KHBC, Hilo, Hawaii, July 7, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 639-640.

TODAY, July the seventh, China is commemorating her seventh anniversary of war of resistance. It is seven years since Japan has launched a continued large-scale aggression in China, and more than twelve years since she began invading Manchuria in September, 1931.

From the outset, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has told the world that the strategy of China's war of resistance consists of "trading space for time." Without a doubt, we have lost many important cities and territories, but we have gained seven years of time. One can best understand the meaning of "trading space for time," when one considers the rapidity of the German blitzkrieg offensive, which overcame Denmark, Holland, Luxemburgh, Belgium and France in only two months.

China has fought for seven full years. Although she has fighting under the most unfavorable conditions, she has put up effective resistance. With meager equipment and little air support, the Chinese army has withstood the ravages of the enemy, upset his war timetable and pinned down one third of his best troops on the morasses of China. Today China is no longer fighting alone; she is now fighting shoulder to shoulder with all freedom-loving peoples of the world. Though there is still tough fighting ahead, we feel with supreme confidence that the day of final reckoning is evidently fast approaching.

The China of today is not the same China of seven years ago. By dint of necessity, she has had to modify her outlook and readjust her life. The changes which have taken place manifold: some, brought about by the exigencies of the war, will disappear at the war's termination; others have taken root, will continue to develop and will affect post-war China. The most important changes in the latter may be classified under three categories—political, social, and economic.

First of all, China has finally achieved her political unity. The authority of the National Government at Chungking is acknowledged as supreme throughout the length and breadth of the land. In fact, the nation is politically united in a degree seldom seen in its long history. Although there is still some difficulty on the Kuomintang and Communist relation, it will be ironed out by political means. There will be more internal strife in China now or hereafter.

I think there are three important factors which will prevent any civil war reappearing in China: first, all the Chinese armies—with the exception of a few Communist divisions—Slave been nationalized; second, public finance has been centralized ; third, a new democratic constitution is drafted, and its adoption will hasten the completion of national unity.

A new constitution means the development of a democratic government in China after the war. On September 18, 1943, President Chiang Kai-shek reiterated his earlier statement endorsed by the 11th plenary session of the Kuomintang Party that within a year after the war ends, a

national congress will be convened to adopt a permanent constitution and to set a date on which the constitution will go into effect. A draft of this new constitution had already been published for public comment and criticism.

The establishment of a democratic government in China will end the period of political tutelage which had been prescribed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Republic, as necessary to train and prepare the citizens to exercise the rights of election, recall, initiative, and referendum.

Much progress has been made to lead China on the road towards democracy. The People's Political Council, over two-thirds of whose members are chosen by the regional representative bodies, has been in session at Chungking once or twice a year since 1938, to deliberate on policies and programmes which the Government, except in cases of emergency, is required to submit to it for approval before putting them into effect. It is interesting to note that there are 14 women representatives in the People's Political Council, the same number as sit in the British House of Commons, which has more than twice as many members.

At the same time, a system of local self-government has been established in nearly all provinces of free China. These self-governments will be the foundation upon which a democratic China is being built. A strong and democratic China, with her peace-loving people as a nation, would certainly constitute an important stabilizing force to insure security in the Far East.

In the way of social change: millions of civilians, refusing to submit to Japanese domination, have migrated from the coastal provinces to the vast hinterland; this westward movement has broken down the barriers of provincialism. Differences in customs and habits are also disappearing after direct contact between the inhabitants of the seaboard and the natives of the interior.

In the pre-war days, there was marked contrast in the culture and education of the average man in the interior and those living in the coastal provinces. The reason was that the inhabitants in the coastal provinces have had contact with Western culture for over a century. This contact has brought about interaction of two cultures, and as a result, the cultural progress of the people in the coastal provinces was far more advanced than that of the hinterland. After the outbreak of the present war, the influx of refugees with new ideas from the coastal provinces has brought about in the hinterland what had been accomplished earlier by contact with Western economic-scientific civilization. In the process, the local inhabitants of interior China have doubtless learned much in the way of technical knowledge which help to raise their standard of living equal to that of the coastal provinces.

With the ever-increasing development of communications, together with the knowledge of the rich resources of western China, assimilation of the Chinese race and culture will be hastened and will bring about homogeneity, which is necessary for permanent internal unity.

In the way of economic reconstruction, much can be said on the subject. After this war, China will put on a drive for industrialization. The whole of China, government and people, has realized the importance of industrialization and is united in exerting itself to the utmost towards an early realization in this direction. At present, there is quite a number of bureaus at Chungking planning China's post-war reconstruction. Realizing the lack of trained personnel for her gigantic program of industrialization, China has sent thousands of young men abroad to be trained in the various fields of engineering and management. About 70 per cent of Chinese students pursuing higher studies in the universities in China or abroad, is studying science and technology, in contrast to the large number of students of a decade ago who preferred to devote their energy to law and philosophy.

China has an overwhelming advantage in her program of < reconstruction, because she does not need to start her industrial development from scratch and slowly like the Western countries. She could at once utilize the most modern equipment and up-to-date industrial and scientific techniques. Chinese engineers have already been sent abroad in large numbers to train technologically.

It is a foregone conclusion that the industrial growth of China will benefit not only China herself, but also the rest of the world. A general improvement in the standard of economic living will in turn mean a higher purchasing power of the Chinese people. With her 450 million population, China will provide a large market for capital goods such as ships, locomotives, machines, and other technical instruments, and such consumer goods that China herself is not able to manufacture.

However, the immediate task of China in defeating her enemies is yet to be realized. She is still fighting for her life. The outcome of her heroic struggle is not an isolated one. The fate of the whole world is at stake. The Chinese people will not lay down their arms until our common enemies have been crushed and surrendered. The destiny of China is one and the same as that of the United Nations. So is China's policy. China has dedicated herself to help and to cooperate with the United Nations in building a free and new world. China will not fail her allies. At the same time that China is fighting the enemy vigorously and courageously at the front, she has already begun to lay plans for a large-scale industrial development for post-war reconstruction. The changes which have taken place will help to build a new China of tomorrow. It will be China very different from the China of yesterday or even of today.