The Role of Free China in the Free World
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Apr 1961, p. 334-344
Tsiang, Ambassador Tingfu F., Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
The speaker addresses the Empire Club of Canada as representative of the people and Government of the Island of Taiwan, who find themselves "on the very front line of the world-wide fight against international Communism," which fact has "conditioned much of our life and work." A description of that life, work, government, economic conditions, education, etc. Details of Government activities and programmes, especially with regard to agriculture and industrialization. Differences between the economic development in Taiwan and that of Mainland China under Communism. A detailed discussion of life in Communist China. Some comments on the possibility of admitting Chinese Communists to the United Nations. The Taiwanese dedicated to the freedom of the Chinese people.
Date of Original
27 Apr 1961
Language of Item
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Full Text
An Address by AMBASSADOR TINGFU F. TSIANG Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations
Thursday, April 27th, 1961
CHAIRMAN: The President, Alexander Stark, Q.C.

MR. STARK: Our guest today is the distinguished Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador, a post which he has occupied for the past fourteen years. The duties of this post, he has fulfilled with great distinction.

His Excellency was born in 1895 in the Province of Hunan, China. When he was 17 years of age, he came to the United States, studying in Park Academy, in Oberlin College, and finally in Columbia University, where he received his Doctor's Degree in History. Upon his return to China, he became a Professor of History.

For several years he was editor of the Chinese Social and Political Science Review, and later, with others, he established a liberal, independent, weekly magazine called The Independent Critic, which during the pre-war period was the most influential political journal in China.

In 1935 when General Chiang Kai-shek became Prime Minister of China, our guest was invited to be Director of Political Affairs in the Cabinet, and he played a leading role in drawing up the successive wartime budgets of the country. His responsibilities continued to increase, and in 1945 he was appointed Director General in charge of post-war relief and rehabilitation in China. In 1945 he commenced the important task of representing his country in the Security Council of the United Nations and he is still representing China in this most important post.

Our guest has taken this day from his important duties in New York to speak to The Empire Club of Canada at its closing meeting for this season, and we are most grateful to him for carrying out these arrangements at a time when his duties are very onerous.

His Excellency will now address us on the subject, "The Role of Free China in the Free World".

MR. TSIANG: I must first of all confess that I know very little about Canada. I visited your country only once before, and that was some seventeen years ago. On that occasion, I learned some important things about the great city of Toronto. The young man who guided me around, assured me that the Royal York Hotel was the biggest hotel in the Empire, that the University of Toronto was the biggest university in the Empire, and that a certain building in the city was the tallest building in the Empire. Since I knew nothing that contradicted what the young man had assured me, I told him I accepted his word on all three points.

On my previous visit here, I made one very important discovery-at least it was a discovery so far as I was concerned, but of course it may be common knowledge to you. I found that the Toronto Museum had one of the finest collections of Chinese art in the whole world. If you are interested in Chinese art and its history, visit your Museum.

During the last seventeen years, my education on matters Canadian has continued under very felicitous auspices. In the performance of my duty as the Representative of China in the United Nations, I have met a number of important and interesting Canadians. In the early years, I came to know and admire Mr. Pearson, General McNaughton, and Mr. Paul Martin. In more recent years, I have been privileged to know Mr. Greene, Mr. Nesbitt, and Mr. Ritchie. I can summarize my impressions in one sentence; Canada, as represented by these men, is a country with goodwill for all the countries of the world, and with malice towards none. You are genuine practitioners of peaceful and friendly co-existence with all other peoples. I am happy to be here to speak to a group of people who are seriously trying to make a contribution to make the world better for all of us.

My Government and people, situated for the time being on the Island of Taiwan, find ourselves on the very front line of the world-wide fight against international Communism. This fact has conditioned much of our life and work.

We belong to that category of people who are afflicted with overpopulation and, at the same time, economic underdevelopment. With us, the quick raising of the standard of living is of the utmost urgency. It would be untrue to say that the people in underdeveloped countries have no regard for principles and ideals. At the same time, it would be unrealistic to ignore the fact that the people in such countries desire most of all more and better food, clothing, housing, schooling, and medical care. For this reason, in the post-war period, my Government has given its first attention to economic development. We have striven to show that the Chinese people can make economic progress faster under conditions of freedom than under Communism. I believe we have demonstrated this beyond any possible doubt. I further believe that this demonstration has validity not only for China but for the other countries of Asia as well.

In our programme of economic development, we have given priority to agriculture. In this field, we have pursued three lines of activity. In the first place, we have carried out an agrarian reform assuring to the farmer, ownership of the land he cultivates, thus relieving him of the burden of land rent. We did this by restricting the area a landlord could own, and by arranging for the tenant to buy the land through annual payments over a period of ten years. For the sake of the many landlords who could not wait for payments spread over ten years, my Government denationalized a number of industries and paid the landlords in industrial stocks. Under this scheme, the farmers have been making their annual payments to the Government. What actually happened was that the land-owning class transferred its assets from the land to industries. This agrarian reform will be completed in two years' time, for by then the farmers will have completed their annual payments. This reform has given considerable material relief to the farmers. It has also stimulated their interest in farming and heightened their morale. Today, Taiwan is a land of prosperous and contented farmers.

The second line of activity pursued by my Government in the field of agriculture has been the extension of the benefits of modern science to the farming population. Before coming to the Island, the Government had already organized the Central Agricultural Research Institute. The scientists in that Institute had done considerable experimentation in the improvement of rice, wheat, and cotton; in the study of soil; in the insecticides and irrigation; and in the breeding of farm animals. Before the war with Japan began, the Institute was ready to extend to the farmers some of the results of its experimental work. The war caused a postponement. When we came to the Island, the scientists of the Institute followed the Government, ready to operate on a full scale.

We have been able to give to the farmers of Taiwan new varieties of rice which increase the yield by 11 to 13 percent. We have also brought to the Island better breeds of hogs, buffaloes, chickens, turkeys, and sheep. We have taught the farmers how to fight animal and plant diseases. We have analyzed the soil and taught the farmers the proper chemical fertilizers to use. We have helped the farmers to build better irrigation facilities.

Let me call your attention to one fact: mechanization of agriculture in the Far East is extremely difficult; firstly, because mechanization calls for capital which is usually unavailable; and, secondly, because the small size of the farms hampers mechanization. The disadvantages of mechanization are not encountered in passing on the benefits of science to agriculture, for in this field capital expenditure is limited and some of the needs of the farmers are immediately met. I call your attention to this because, in my mind, our experience may have a validity for all the underdeveloped and thickly-populated countries of Asia. Whether in the long run we should go onto mechanize is a question on which I do not wish to dogmatize, but I am certain that the improvement of agriculture in Asia should start with the extension of modern science to agriculture, rather than with mechanization.

Our third line of activity in this field is the organization of the farmers into associations. At the present moment, 93 percent of the farmers on the Island of Taiwan have joined farmers associations. These are really co-operatives organized for the purpose of self help and mutual help. For example, the independent farmer finds it difficult to construct proper storage facilities for his crops. The association constructs such storages and rents space to the independent farmer.

The farmer finds it difficult to borrow from the banks because the banks know little about the credit standing of individual farmers. The associations know the credit standing of their members well. They borrow from the banks and then, in turn, lend to the independent members. They also accept deposits from their members.

In extending the benefits of science to the farmers, the associations have proved a valuable medium. Extension workers first contact the leaders of the associations who, in turn, help to pass on this knowledge to their fellow members.

These associations have enormous importance in the daily lives of the farmers in Taiwan. I think that the ultimate results exceed the economic benefits because through these associations, the farmers acquire valuable experience in managing common affairs and in evolving a group of leaders among themselves. In other words, these associations are good schools in self-government.

The economic results of the three lines of activity that I have described are considerable. For example, take the production of rice, which is the primary product of the Island. In 1946, the first post-war year, the rice crop amounted to nearly 900,000 tons. Today, the annual crop of rice on the Island of Taiwan is almost 2,000,000 tons.

We are exporting hogs and various forms of pork. In 1946, the Island had 640,000 hogs; today, it has 2,400,000. With the exception of the Japanese farmer, no farmer in all Asia is as well off as the farmer on Taiwan.

All underdeveloped countries cry for industrialization. We, on the Island of Taiwan, are not an exception. In this respect, we started almost from scratch because the Island of Taiwan during the fifty years of Japanese administration, from 1895 to 1945, had developed no industries.

Formerly, the Island imported all its cotton yarn and cloth from Japan. Today, in textiles, Taiwan is not only self-sufficient, but even has a surplus for export.

We have built on the Island an aluminum industry, utilizing raw materials imported from Southeast Asia. We import crude oil from the Persian Gulf and provide ourselves with all the finished petroleum products we need. We have built up a glass industry. We have taken up artificial fibres. We are self-sufficient in electrical appliances and even export some.

In the industrial field, one enterprise deserves special attention. The Island is unfortunate in not having large supplies of coal. It is fortunate in possessing considerable water resources. We have therefore pushed hydro-electric power. Much of our industrial success depends on cheap hydro-electric power. With the single exception of Norway, Taiwan power is the cheapest in the world. We have more than doubled our electric generating capacity in the last ten years. In the next ten years, we hope to double it again. In 1960, the Taiwan Power Company, which is a government enterprise, produced 3,628,000,000 kilowatt hours, almost seven times that it produced in 1946.

The index figure for industrial production on Taiwan is very significant. Our statisticians use 1953 as the basic year since it was in 1953 that we started our first four-year economic development plan. If in 1953, industrial production stood at 100, in 1959, it would be 188; and in 1946, only 20.

Ten years ago, the exports of Taiwan were 85 percent agricultural and only 15 per cent industrial. Today it is 50 per cent for each category.

In order to complete my presentation of economic development on Taiwan, I should ask you to keep in mind two facts. First, we have had to spend a disproportionately large percentage of our national income to support our military forces. The burden of military expenditure has been a drag on economic development. Secondly, in economic development, we owe much to the economic and' technical aid of the United States.

Let me pause at this point to call your attention to the differences between our economic development and that of the Mainland under Communism. Whereas they have collectivized the land, we have individualized land ownership. It is our firm belief that the farmer who cultivates his own land, on his own account, is the most efficient producer. In the second place, we have emphasized the development of light rather than heavy industries, and, for this reason, the economic development of the Island of Taiwan has immediately raised the standard of living. In the third place, we practise on the Island what you might call a mixed economy. Some of the industries are government owned, such as railways and electric power. Many fields are left to private industries. The present tendency is for the field of private enterprise to expand. This is, of course, the opposite of what the Communists are doing on the Mainland.

The differences can be traced to ideology, but even more is involved. After all, we Chinese people are not an ideologically-minded people. We are practical. We, on the Island of Taiwan, looking at the problems of the Mainland, find that one of the basic mistakes made by the Chinese Communists has been their effort to emulate the Soviet Union. We believe that China, for practical reasons, cannot emulate the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, in its early five-year plans, purposely and deliberately squeezed agriculture and the farming population in order to develop heavy industries as rapidly as possible. Even if this objective should be considered desirable on the ground of national defence, we believe it is not a possible objective for China. The average size of Russian farms in 1917 was thirty acres, whereas the average size of Chinese farms was between four and five acres. Russia under the Czars always had an agricultural surplus for export. The Russian farmers may have had a standard of living lower than that of Canada or the United States, but they were, on the whole, well off. The Government of the Soviet Union could tighten the belts of the Russian farmer. In China there was no agricultural surplus. The farming population lived on the minimum of necessities. The farmer's belt was as tight as possible. It could not be tightened further without injuring his health and destroying his spirit as a producer. This, I believe, is the root of all the trouble on the Mainland of China. This is why the population on the Mainland today faces famine.

To be sure, the capital for industrialization of a country like China must, sooner or later, be derived largely from agriculture. My point is that we must create an agricultural surplus before we try to tap it. I believe that in economic development, my Government on the Island of Taiwan has found the proper road of ascent.

Communism is un-Chinese in origin and in nature. The Chinese Communists, after adopting an alien ideology and imposing it on the Chinese people have, in practice, surpassed the Russians in their extremism. The French socialist author, Suzanne Labin, in her book, The Anthill, concludes that Mao has executed and confined to forced labour camps more human beings than Stalin, both in absolute numbers and in percentages. Brainwashing has been more extensively practised in China than it has ever been in the Soviet Union. While professing to worship modern science and technology, the Chinese Communists have put an enormous number of people to work on works projects which are in defiance of all science and technology. Three years ago, in their zeal to push what they called the "leap forward" campaign, they ordered people both in the city and in the country to set up backyard furnaces to smelt iron and forge steel. This was a gigantic fiasco. The process was not only enormously costly; its products, iron and steel, were found to be so far below standard as to be, in many cases, useless. There are on the Mainland technicians who surely must have warned the Communists against so foolhardy a venture, but the Communists thought that the enthusiasm generated by ideology could set at naught the course of nature.

The most serious experiment of the Chinese Communists has been the institution of the people's communes. Even the Russians now laugh at this concept. They dismiss it as a bit of leftist deviation, or "infantilism". The commune collectivizes everything--land, houses, cattle, even people. It imposes a military pattern on the daily lives of the people. According to the scheme as originally conceived, men and women must live in dormitories, and children in nurseries. They must eat in common mess halls. They march to work at the bugle call and also quit at the sound of the bugle. It was thought that under this scheme the people would be deprived not only of their last thread of private property, but even of their last bit of privacy in life. The scheme has brought the people on the Mainland of my country to the verge of starvation. The Communists are trying now to maintain life until the next harvest by buying grain from abroad and by lowering rations to the minimum level at which life can linger. Some will die of hunger; the majority of the people on the Mainland suffer from malnutrition. At no moment during its ten years in power has the Communist regime been so much hated as in this year, 1961.

Yet at this moment, there are those who are proposing that the Chinese Communists should be admitted to the United Nations. Following their participation in the war in Korea in 1950, the Chinese Communists were branded by the United Nations as aggressors. Aggression is the chief international crime under the Charter of the United Nations. It does not seem right to us that an unrepentant, unreformed aggressor should be seated in the United Nations.

Although certain publicists continue to speculate on the differences between Peiping and Moscow, in all essentials, the Communist axis works together. On all world-wide issues (e.g., the Congo, Algeria, Cuba, and Laos), Peiping works toward the same objectives as Moscow. In connection with the Congo, the Soviets are doing their utmost to force Mr. Dag Hammarskjold out of the United Nations, and, by proposing that the executive duties of the United Nations be entrusted to a committee, they are really trying to destroy the United Nations. If the Chinese Communists should be admitted to the United Nations, they would no doubt add their power to this wrecking operation.

Some people think that it is better to have the Chinese Communists in rather than out of the United Nations because, they say, by admitting them the United Nations might make them more responsible. This idea of the United Nations as a reformatory is an illusion. I have seen no signs that the policy of the Soviet Union has been changed in the least by virtue of the Soviet's membership in the United Nations.

Then, they tell us, Chinese Communism is a fact. It rules over 600,000,000 people. How can the United Nations ignore this fact?

It is true the Communists have enslaved 600,000,000 Chinese people on the Mainland of China. It is not true that they represent the Chinese people or speak the sentiments of the Chinese people or work towards objectives towards which the Chinese people would have them work.

The admission of the Chinese Communists to the United Nations would have only one political effect; it would enhance the prestige of the Peiping regime abroad and at home. At this moment, the domestic prestige of the Chinese Communists is at its lowest ebb. Is it to the advantage of the world to give a moral and political uplift to the Peiping regime? Under prevailing conditions, the Peiping regime is a constant threat to the neighbours of China from India to Burma, to Thailand, to Laos, to Vietnam, and to the Philippines. These countries bordering on China have all wondered when the "giant to the north" will strike at them. The admission of the Chinese Communists to the United Nations would kill the, will to resist on the part of all Southeast Asian countries. Is this to the advantage of the cause of freedom?

On our part, we are dedicated to the freedom of the Chinese people. Let me hasten to assure you that we are not warmongers nor speculators. We know what is required to land armed forces on the Mainland and to conduct there a vast campaign. We believe the fate of China will and should be determined by the Chinese people themselves. If our people on the Mainland should-rise in rebellion, as did the people of Hungary in 1956, we on the Island of Taiwan would go to the aid of our kinsmen. If we fight at all, we will fight not against our people on the Mainland, but side by side with them, against their oppressors. Within these limits, we have tried to make ourselves ever-ready and ever-willing.

The free nations of the world, I hope, will understand that the National Government of the Republic of China, located for the time being on the Island of Taiwan, has an important contribution to make towards the cause of world freedom both in showing the Chinese people a better life and in maintaining a military force on the side of freedom. In this world-wide struggle against international Communism, we hope that those in the rear will support those at the front.

THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. Ian Baxter.

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The Role of Free China in the Free World

The speaker addresses the Empire Club of Canada as representative of the people and Government of the Island of Taiwan, who find themselves "on the very front line of the world-wide fight against international Communism," which fact has "conditioned much of our life and work." A description of that life, work, government, economic conditions, education, etc. Details of Government activities and programmes, especially with regard to agriculture and industrialization. Differences between the economic development in Taiwan and that of Mainland China under Communism. A detailed discussion of life in Communist China. Some comments on the possibility of admitting Chinese Communists to the United Nations. The Taiwanese dedicated to the freedom of the Chinese people.