- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 25 Nov 1943, p. 149-160
- Shun, Doctor Liu Shih, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- China's long and arduous fight with Japan. A consideration of the various aspects of the kind of mental make-up and discipline which has been responsible for the evolution of Japan's wild schemes of aggression and which has convinced the Chinese people of the impossibility of curbing her unbridled ambition except by force. The myth of the Mikado. The Japanese tradition of Bushido. The samurai and their place in Japanese society. Consequences of these Japanese beliefs. The blueprint for the present Japanese adventure of aggression. Contrasts in the Chinese philosophy. A brief history of Japanese aggression against China. China's aspirations for the post-war world: five main points. China's ardent desire to see not only the unconditional surrender but the complete disarmament of our common enemies at the end of the war. China's hopes that the reign of law and justice will be brought back to the war-torn world, that states will cease to employ force as an instrument of national policy, and that they will all agree to and carry out in earnest the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes. China's hopes that within the family of nations will prevail the spirit of universal brotherhood and mutual benefaction as expounded in both the Confucian and Christian teachings. The necessity for territorial readjustments to be made in accordance with the "freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned," the wise criterion adopted in the Atlantic Charter for all territorial changes. China's hopes that the post-war world will be one in which all nations will enjoy freedom and equality. The striking similarity between the Three Principles of the People propounded by Dr. Sun Yatsen, Father of the Chinese Republic, and the Four Freedoms enunciated by President Roosevelt.
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- 25 Nov 1943
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- CHINA AND THE POST-WAR WORLD
AN ADDRESS BY DOCTOR LIU SHIH SHUN,
Minister Plenipotentiary to Canada for the Republic of China.
Chairman: The President, Mr. W. Eason Humphreys
Thursday, November 25, 1943
MR. HUMPHREYS: A Chinese gentleman living in our community has kindly consented to open our proceedings today by singing the Chinese National Anthem. Let us do honour to our great Ally by standing while Mr. George Chow renders the National Anthem of his country. With much respect and pleasure, I have the honour to present to you the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of China, the Honourable Dr. Liu Shih Shun.
The Republic of China honoured Canada greatly when, as her representative, she sent such a distinguished and scholarly Minister, a Chinese gentleman whose wide understanding has been derived not only from Chinese but also North American Universities.
I feel we should on this occasion dispense with the biographical details of our guest's distinguished career, for these are so well known. Instead, let us do honour to him and his country by re-focussing in our minds these important facts we should never forget:
These are, that China has been fighting for freedom for thirty-two years; she has been at war with aggression for Nearly Ten Years while the nations now united with her have experienced war against aggression for only about half that time. We shall do well to remember these facts about our great Ally, especially when we listen to the address we are now to hear, the subject of which is "China and the Post-war World."
DR. Liu SHIH SHUN: It is a great pleasure to return here and address another meeting of this interesting Club. First of all, I wish to take this opportunity of telling you how very much I have enjoyed my stay in your great country since my arrival in Ottawa last year. During the comparatively short period that has elapsed, much has happened, and the atmosphere of friendship and cordiality which has permeated my contacts with your Government and your people has rendered my task a most pleasant and fascinating one. There is abundant evidence that the bonds of union between our two countries have swiftly been increased and strengthened. I can assure you that the Chinese people, in more ways than one, owe a debt of stupendous magnitude to Canada and the Canadians.
Closely associated with, and doubtless directly attributable to, Canada's remarkable contributions to our common cause is the steady rise of her position in the brilliant constellation of world Powers. The glorious feats of arms achieved by the Canadian forces on land, at sea and in the air, the astoundingly rapid strides made in Canadian war production, and the successful and unsurpassed operation of the Canadian wartime economy--to mention a few of the most outstanding Canadian accomplishments--have been an inspiration to all the United Nations and have justified the growing importance of Canada's place in the family of nations.
Like Canada, China has been engaged in a long and arduous struggle; but unlike Canada, China has been fighting against odds of an incomparably overwhelming nature and her people have suffered hardships and afflictions which are not only unheard of but probably undreamed of. Being a peace-loving nation, being deplorably ill-equipped for war, and being confident that the democratic Powers would one day surely come to her aid and check the Japanese plan of world conquest, China strove hard to endure in the most pathetically philosophical manner the repeated provocations and insults of the brutal Japanese during a period of six years which elapsed between the rape of Manchuria on September 18th, 1931, and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 7th, 1937. No one can deny that China's patience was most sorely tried throughout this long period. Had it not been for the Confucian virtues of forbearance and forgiveness, which constitute, among other things, the Chinese people's invaluable heritage, and had it not been for the unshakeable confidence they had in the ultimate restraining influence of freedom-loving peoples the world over, the encounter would have opened long before July 7th, 1937.
On that day, the point was reached--the point which our Generalissimo aptly called the limit of our endurance,--where, in spite of our unpreparedness and in spite of the then still hesitant attitude of our friends in giving us the expected assistance, we were forced to take up arms in self-defence. We were brought face to face with a foe who sought our complete destruction and who was determined not to relax his effort until his aggressive design on China and on the whole world should be carried out. For us it became a matter of life and death; and unless we were willing to subject ourselves to Japanese domination and yield mute obedience to Japanese overlordship, than which no submission would be more abject, no humiliation more ignominous, and no doom more certain, the only course open to us was that of resolute resistance.
At an early stage of the crisis it was made manifest to the Chinese people that, while a peaceful settlement of the age-long disputes with the Japanese was a "con summation devoutly to be wished," the final clash was soon destined to become inevitable. This belief was sustained by a knowledge and an experience based on years of close contact with the Island Empire. Its elucidation is perhaps essential to a clear understanding not only of the dogged determination of the Chinese people to accept the Japanese challenge even in the face of insurmountable difficulties but also of what is uppermost in their minds today with regard to problems of the post-war world. It should therefore be profitable, I take it, to pause for a moment to consider the various aspects of the kind of mental make-up and discipline which has been responsible for the evolution of Japan's wild schemes of aggression and which has convinced the Chinese people of the impossibility of curbing her unbridled ambition except by force.
One of the most deep-seated and best known traditions in Japanese feudal history is of course the myth of the Mikado. The central theme of this myth is woven around the belief that the Emperor is a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess and that even the whole of the Japanese nation can lay claim to a more or less divine origin. For this reason, he is regarded as the most sancrosanct of a celestial group of living creatures, and to him his people owe unbounded obedience and reverence. It is also strongly believed that on his shoulders rests the responsibility for the salvation of the wretched world through the extension of his empire and his rule. For the execution of this sacred mission, the Japanese people are prepared to give their all, not even excluding their very lives.
Another Japanese tradition of long standing is known in modern times as Bushido, which is identical with a deep-rooted conception having its origins in the early feudal system of Japan. Under that system, a group of military lords known as daimyo became the dominant figures in the social order. Among them there developed constant feuds, and naturally it was invariably those daimyo who wielded the strongest power that finally got the upper hand. For waging these battles for ascendancy, the rival feudal lords recruited and made use of a hereditary class of professional warriors called samurai, to whom they accorded the highest social positions. Unlike the Chinese soldier, who was for a long time and until quite recently the object of public contempt, the Japanese warrior early acquired a place in society superior to that enjoyed by any other profession.
The result was the exaltation of the militarist faith, whose symbol was the sword of the samurai. It was this faith which exorted the Japanese warrior to sacrifice his life and even the lives of all the members of his family whenever it was required by the interests of his lord. As pointed out by a Japanese scholar, the code of Bushido "taught that the sword of the samurai was his honour, which was dearer to him than his life." In explaining the emphasis Japan has laid on militarism, the same Japanese scholar said, "From the ninth to the nineteenth century, Japan was ruled by the sword. The power of the state was the military power. The ruling classes were the military classes. The shogun ruled the lords because he could defeat them in battle. The daimyo ruled their territories by the power of the sword; and any samurai could slay at will any heimin (commoner). The samurai never travelled abroad unarmed."
In these circumstances, is it any wonder that there should have developed the strictest subservience to the will of the strong? And that is exactly what happened in Japan during a full millenium. During all this period, the life of Japan was regimented to such an extent that all he could do was to follow unhesitatingly what was commanded of him from above. Blind obedience to the superior and blind reverence for authority were so deeply engrafted upon the Japanese mind that they became an unbreakable habit, a habit which has left an indelible mark on the life and thought of the Japanese nation today. In sharp contrast with the time-honoured teachings of Chinese philosophy, which encouraged a subordinate's criticism of, and even rebellion against, a superior's misconduct, the Japanese militarist code inculcated the absolute obedience of the subordinate.
It is the combination of all the forces just described -the myth of the Mikado, the teachings of Bushido, the glorification of the sword, and the emphasis on slavish obedience-which produced the large number of grandiose projects of world conquest preceding the notorious Tanaka Memorial, the blueprint for the present Japanese adventure of aggression. Being the closest neighbour of the Island Empire, China knows by heart the various schemes of Japanese imperialism which have been hatched down through the years and which are specimens of the unmistakable handwriting on the wall.
Here I can merely enumerate a few names and give you the barest idea of what each stands for. Among the first exponents of Japanese expansionism was Hideyoshi, who lived more than three hundred years ago and whose ambition was to conquer in succession Korea, China, the Philippines, the Liuchiu Islands and India. The programme mapped out by Hideyoshi was not actually carried out, but he has become the idol of the Japanese nation these three hundred and fifty years.
Another notorious follower of the imperialist creed was Yoshida Shoin, one of the most outstanding leaders of the movement which in 1868 overthrew the Shogunate and restored the Imperial authority. Yoshida and his associates advoted for Japan a program of foreign conquest including the seizure of Formosa, Korea, Manchuria, Saghalien, Kamchatka and eastern Siberia.
By far the most breath-taking scheme of aggression is that known as the Tanaka Memorial, which has already been referred to. Permit me to quote, even at the risk of repetition, a few of the most boldfaced suggestions from this ominous document, whose authenticity should no longer be doubted as it was a few years ago "Japan cannot remove the difficulties in Eastern Asia unless she adopts the policy of 'Blood and Iron' . . . In the future if we want to control China we must first crush the United States, just as in the past we had to fight in the Russo-Japanese War. But in order to conquer China, we must first conquer Manchuria and Mongolia. In order to conquer the world, we must first conquer China. If we succeed in conquering China, the rest of the Asiatic countries and the South Seas countries will fear and surrender to us. Then the world will realize that Eastern Asia is ours and will not dare to violate our rights. . . . Having China's entire resources at our disposal, we shall proceed to conquer India, the Archipelago, Asia Minor, Central Asia and even Europe." Not long ago, we heard of the death of Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Japanese combined fleet, who wrote on December 24th, 1940, almost a year before the Pearl Harbor Incident, that he would not be content with the mere capture of Guam and the Philippines and the occupation of Hawaii and San Francisco, and that he looked forward to dictating peace to the United States at the White House in Washington. This is an authentic echo of the voice of Hideyoshi and Yoshida, but what a keen disappointment it is to our Japanese foes that the death of Yamamoto has forever deprived him of what must have been to him the soothing satisfaction of indulging in his most fantastic dream!
Having clarified the mental background and the more marked manifestations of Japan's lust for expansion, I am now ready to proceed with a discussion of China's aspirations in the post-war world. These may be resolved into five main points.
First, it is China's ardent desire to see not only the unconditional surrender but the complete disarmament of our common enemies at the end of the war. Just as no opportunity should be given for a negotiated peace, so should there be no consideration whatever for any Axis armament beyond the lowest minimum absolutely necessary for the maintenance of internal order. From what has been learned about militaristic foundations of the Japanese Empire, it is perfectly clear that there can be no lasting world peace unless that country is rendered permanently incapable of disturbing it again. This can be done only by destroying the malicious war machine of Japan and by making her military, caste totally disabled and impotent. The disarmament of aggressor nations called for by the Atlantic Charter must be carried out to the letter. The lesson must be emphatically driven home that military oppression does not pay and that the only reasonable method of human intercourse, either domestically or internationally, is that of fair play and mutual understanding.
Secondly, China hopes that the reign of law and justice will be brought back to the war-torn world, that states will cease to employ force as an instrument of national policy, and that they will all agree to and carry out in earnest the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes. To accomplish these ends, there should be established a strongly organized community of nations, which should have a tribunal clothed with compulsory jurisdiction over their disputes and which, unlike the League of Nations, should be provided with a powerful police force and thus enabled to apply effective sanctions against the delinquent member states who are unscrupulous enough to disturb again the peace of the world. It is only through the strengthening of international organization, coupled with the enforcement of disarmament, particularly amongst the present aggressor states, as envisaged in the Atlantic Charter, that future aggression on the part of any state can be prevented.
In this connection, we should all rejoice at the joint statement issued after the recent Moscow Conference, which shows the determination of the principal United Nations to co-ordinate their efforts not only in bringing the war to a successful conclusion but in maintaining an effective international organization after the war. It is undoubtedly the fruit of farsighted statesmanship on the part of the leaders of the nations participating in the conference.
Third, China hopes that within the family of nations will prevail the spirit of universal brotherhood and mutual benefaction as expounded in both the Confucian and Christian teachings. We believe that, when the war is over, all nations will have to co-operate with one another in order to make the world a more decent place to live in. We are certain that each nation, no matter how small or how humble it may be, will have a part to play in enhancing the well-being of the totality of mankind.
So far as China is concerned, she is busy laying plans for post-war reconstruction, in which the Generalissimo is personally interested and which have been stressed by him in his recent treatise on China's Destiny. A special committee has been created by the People's Political Council to study the ways and means of carrying out national reconstruction after the war. A resolution was also adopted by that body on the encouragement of foreign investment in China's industrial development.. In performing the gigantic task of industrialization which confronts them, the Chinese people will be in need not only of foreign capital but of foreign materials, foreign machinery and other foreign products as well as foreign technical personnel. This opens up unlimited possibilities for the development of trade and for intimate co-operation in other fields between China and all her friends.
Fourth, territorial readjustments will have to be made in accordance with the "freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned", the wise criterion adopted in the Atlantic Charter for all territorial changes. So far as concerns the territories of China occupied by Japan since the invasion of Manchuria, there is no doubt that they should all be restored. Besides, all territories which were snatched away from China as a result of wars previous to the present and which are purely Chinese should also revert to Chinese sovereignty. To this category would belong, for instance, Formosa and the Liuchiu Islands. Formosa was a Chinese province before it was annexed by Japan. Its inhabitants are still predominantly Chinese in spite of Japan's unceasing efforts at colonization, and these inhabitants have continually clamoured for reunion with China. It is only reasonable that such territories as these should be brought back under Chinese rule.
In certain other cases, where future territorial changes are involved, China has reiterated her intention to adopt an attitude of magnanimous self-denial, although the areas concerned have had with her close racial and political ties. A case in point is that of Korea, for whose revival the Chinese Government has definitely pledged its support.
Fifth, China hopes that the post-war world will be one in which all nations will enjoy freedom and equality.
Speaking of freedom, I would like to point out to you the striking similarity between the Three Principles of the People propounded by Dr. Sun Yatsen, Father of the Chinese Republic, and the Four Freedoms enunciated by President Roosevelt. Dr. Sun's three principles are those of nationhood, democracy and livelihood. Freedom from fear is the first requisite for the acquisition of nationhood. Freedom of speech and freedom of worship are cornerstones of democracy. In order to ensure a comfortable livelihood, freedom from want is doubtless essential. Therefore, what has been advocated by the two statesmen who belong to widely different countries and civilizations is fundamentally the same; and when both the Three Principles of the People and the Four Freedoms are fully put into practice, we shall live in a really happy and prosperous world.
As to equality, it is of course an important condition of both nationhood and freedom from fear. There is nothing more fearful than inequality, and it is only when nothing stand in the relationship of perfect equality one with another that national sovereignty and independence can be said to be complete. So it is hoped that in the postwar world all the nations will attain full equality. To prepare ourselves for that, we should do away with all unfair discriminations based on national or racial lines of distinction and especially discard all prepossessions which are devoid of scientific foundation.
These, in brief, are the desiderata of China in regard to the world order which is to be set up after the termination of the present war. They have sprung, not from ulterior motives of self-aggrandizement, but rather from a firm resolve to see and bring about the establishment of lasting peace throughout the world. This purity of purpose is nowhere more clearly attested to than in the repeated statements of our Generalissimo, in which he has emphatically renounced for China a position of leadership in post-war Asia and unmistakably indicated that China feels keenly the responsibilities rather than the rights involved in her future relations with her neighbours.
True, in addition to the natural desire to welcome back the reign of normal conditions, there is a deeper reason for China's solicitous longing for peace. This is to be found in no less a cause than that of democracy, a cause for which we of the United Nations are relentlessly fighting, a cause which is closest to the heart of China and a cause which Japan has ceaselessly sought to imperil and impair. Without peace China can never hope to achieve the democratic programme grounded in the traditions of our historic past and ably worked out by the Father of our Republic, Dr. Sun Yatsen, in his monumental treatise on The Three Principles of The People. Without the total defeat of Japan, whose sword of Damocles has been a constant menace to the construction of a constitutional fabric in China and whose special interest it has been to keep China permanently in the quagmire of disunity and misrule, we can never hope to realize the dream of our Founding Fathers and establish a true democracy, both in form and in substance, to which their lifelong labours were devoted.
You all recall, I have no doubt, the famous saying of President Lincoln: "I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." I like to associate these wise words with another saying, also a wise one, emanating from your great Prime Minister, Mr. Mackenzie King, to the effect that prosperity, like peace, is indivisible. Just as the world cannot endure permanently half slave and half free, so it cannot maintain its existence half prosperous and half miserable. For the total happiness of mankind, we must exert our total effort.
[Owing to the non-arrival of the speaker who was to have addressed the Club on December 22nd, 1943, it was necessary to improvise two speakers from among the head table guests; Mr. Wilson Woodside and Mr. Smith Ross. Mr. Woodside gave an interesting account from the standpoint of a newspaper correspondent of a visit he had recently paid to New York, where he had interviewed a number of prominent U.S. radio commentators. Mr. Ross talked of a visit he had recently made to Great Britain on a mission connected with the war.]