Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Xiamen 4th of July, 1891

Bill Brown ... Xiamen University
With the U.S.'s increased presence in Xiamen (former Amoy), and 4th of July only a few months away, I was startled this afternoon, while working on my book about Xiamen history, to come across this article about a 4th of July celebration in Xiamen in 1891. What is really amazing are the Fujian governor's prescient remarks about the role of the U.S. and China in the coming 20th century. With a little revision, they still hold true--as do the hopes for our two countries peaceful cooperation. Bill

Amoy 4th of July, 1891--a Toast to America & China
[Chinese Recorder, Vol. 23, January, 1892 p. 18]
"China's Power.—At the celebration of the Fourth of July at Amoy, China, by the Americans, the governor of the province was invited to the banquet, and made a remarkable speech, which shows his intelligence, and suggests some things worthy of consideration.

"Tsin Chin-chung was called upon to respond to the toast, 'The Emperor of China.' In part he said: 'China, having followed its own principles of advancement during more than 5000 years, is now compelled to change and move along European channels. It has begun to own steamships and railways. Its telegraph now covers every province. It has mills, forges and foundries like those of Essen, of Sheffield and of Pittsburgh. China is to-day learning that lesson in education which Europe has obliged her to learn,—the art of killing, the science of armies and navies. Woe, then, to the world if the scholar, profiting by her lesson, should apply it in turn. With its freedom from debt, its inexhaustible resources and its teeming millions, this empire might be the menace, if not the destroyer, of Christendom. No matter what happens, it needs no prophetic gift to know that the 20th century will see at the forefront of the nations of the world,—China in the East and America in the West. Well may we pray that, for the welfare of humanity, their purposes will be as peaceful and upright as to-day.'"

1 comment:

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