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100 years ago: Opportunity in China

02 November 2011

November 3rd, 1911.

THE latest development in the Chinese rebellion is of a most surprising nature. In the name of the infant Emperor an edict has been made, granting a Constitution and excluding the Manchu nobles from participation in the Govern­ment. In language that is character­istically childlike and bland, the people of China are asked to attribute the faults of the present administration to the inexperience of their ruler, the Son of Heaven, and his consequent inability to deal with the problems of Chinese politics. For all the mismanagement of the State, for all the crimes that have been com­mitted in his name, the poor little Emperor is made to profess himself responsible. If only the people will endeavour to under­stand him and credit him with a sincere regard for their interests, he assures them of his intention to reform the laws and carry out the principles of the Constitution.

IN ANOTHER column, under the heading “The Situation in China”, there will be found an account of the meeting of the North China and Shantung Mission, and a report of a remarkable speech de­livered by Lord William Cecil. His lordship’s words deserve the most serious at­tention of Church­men, to whom there is presented a golden oppor­tunity for helping to Chris­tian­ize a nation now awaking from the bad dream of Confucian­ism, and alive to impressions from any quarter. It is for the Catholic Church to intervene at this critical moment, and to tinge with Chris­tian thought the Chinese mind. For if China does not become Chris­tian, she will become definitely anti-Christian. . .

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