Page 9, 11th December 1936

11th December 1936
Page 9
Page 9, 11th December 1936 — BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP

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German-Japanese Menace to Chiang Kai-Shek's Achievement

From Our Special Correspondent in China Russia is ready for immediate action against Japan and her natural " ally" is China. Japan's human flow into Siberia and Mongolia is regarded with extreme gravity by the Soviet Union, and military experts declare that a tangle between the two countries would probably find Japan in sore straits.

The Sino-Russo-Japanese triangle owes its formation to Japan's latest moves towards inner Mongolia, where the vast hidden armies of Chinese Communism have presented an obstacle which, it seems, Japan cannot easily surmount. Suggestions that carte blanche be granted to Japan to sweep Communism from China have been met with polite refusal but firm. In fact, the Chinese Government has made it plain that she herself considers that further Japanese encroachment on her hereditary territory must stop.

General Chiang Kcti-Shek, China's strong man, who has for many years been associated with the suppression of Communism in China, may now be forced to throw in his hand with Russia. Such an alliance, whether willingly entered into or not, would strengthen the Soviet enormously from a military strategic angle in the event of a clash with Japan.

The ,Republic, it is obvious to all beholders, has come to stay: the National Government at Nanking has made good— and there is no visible nor even desirable alternative to either.

Tension Ended

For the first time this Central Government of Nanking is truly national: by consummate statesmanship Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek has at last succeeded in obtaining the adhesion of the troublesome southern province, Kwang-tung, whose particularism had hitherto rendered a union of all China abortive.

So far from developing into another fratricidal war, the conflict between Nanking and Canton. which looked so threatening in July and August of this year, has been resolved into a harmonious and loyal subordination and collaboration between Central and Provincial Governments.

True, Nanking's writ does not run in certain northern parts of the country : in the North-East Japan is in occupation; in the North-West "Communists." The latter, from all accounts, are now very well equipped and must be reckoned with as a military factor of importance along the line, where Russian and Japanese forces meet.

As is well known, Irkutsk, the capital of Siberia, is nowadays the great military centre for Russia against Japan : Vladivostock is too much exposed to aerial attacks from the Japanese home base, to have much value in an attack of Russia on Japan. But with Russia impregnably entrenched in Siberia, her flank covered by China, Tokyo is at the mercy of Russian aeroplanes. Hence the steady Japanese push towards mid-Siberia: first into Manchukuo, then into the five northern provinces of China proper, finally into Inner Mongolia.

This latter push is rendered impossible by the threat of China's "Communist " armies: hence the sudden demand of Japan, that China should allow Japan to stamp out for her "Communism" in China.

China Through With Being Bullied

But China is unexpectedly firm, though polite, on this point : if there is to be any stamping out of Communism in China, the Chinese Government will attend to it unaided, thank you so much all the same.

Notwithstanding a great number of scares worked up by Japan in various parts of China during September over murders, or suicides. of Japanese (one never knows which). China not only has refused to be bullied into condonation of further inroads into her sovereignty, but has actually declared that this sort of thing must stop, and in fact that, even if Japan is left with what she got away with (Manchukuo), there can not be any question of allowing the four northern provinces to go the way of Manchukuo.

The great chiefs of these parts, including a Mongolian Prince, have been recently to Nanking. to convey in person their felicitations to Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek and to

assure him of the fidelity of their people to his government.

In a famous interview between the Japanese envoy and the Marshal, a fortnight ago, the latter said that he felt sure that all existing difficulties between China and Japan could be smoothed out by diplomatic negotiations and that there should be no threat of war on either side: there was a point, however, beyond which he could not yield. This point had been reached, in fact rather over-reached. Is, then, China prepared for war—does the Marshal really believe that China is a military match for Japan?

England and France

Assuredly not: but competent people say that Russia is. Russia today in Siberia is ready for immediate action, if Japan forces the issue. Worse still for Japan, England and France have just told Japan that France will certainly back her ally and that England's benevolent neutrality will be reserved fest. China--in token of which a tallish export credit for British goods (mainly heavy industry) has just been opened to the Chinese Government. The Japanese army-chiefs, perhaps, are prepared to gamble even against such heavy odds: but it is not certain that they will carry the day.

For the moment it looks as if Japanese and Russian encroachments on China just about cancelled each other. out and that a consolidated China under Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek would utilise the opportunity of getting back under her proper control territories which had been staked out as foreign claims, not so much against China, as against each other by the rival claimants.

Economically, no doubt, Japanese capital will be given ample scope to exploit the iron mines of Hopei and plant up the province in cotton--but administratively, the Marshal insists, Hopei must revert to what it always was, an integral part of China.

It would be a happy ending to a tragedy that has dragged on too long already. It would also be a triumph indeed for the policy which Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek has steadfastly pursued, both against those Chinese extremists who would hand over their country to Russia, and against those who would sell her to Japan; the policy of a man who would modernise China without wanting " to imitate the superficialities of the West nor rollow the doctrine of might of imperialistic nations," as he has just told us in his moving Message to the Nation," issued on his birthday. and who unflinchingly works, through good report and evil, by success as well as by failure. to re-establish China to her rightful place amongst the great Powers of the world by fostering " our national traits of self-reliance, selfconsciousness, temperance and self-improvement."

(Editorial Comment on Page 8)

A CHRISTMAS NOVENA. -Attention is drawn to an advertisement notice, on another page, regarding a Novena for Christmas by the Rev. G. St. Laurence Mason, a retired priest now living in Dublin. Fr. Mason is celebrating the novena Masses during the coming Christmastide.

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