China Under the Search-Light by William Arthur Cornaby

By William Arthur Cornaby

A London-born Wesleyan Methodist missionary, William Arthur Cornaby (1860-1921) spent over thirty years in China, the place he edited The chinese language Christian evaluation, and, from 1905, the Ta Tung Pao, a weekly journal particular at chinese language officers and students. His many books on chinese language tradition and civilisation, together with A String of chinese language Peach-Stones (1895) and Rambles in principal China (1896), offer particular sketches of chinese language rural existence and customs. The later China less than the Search-Light, first released in 1901, makes use of Western clich?s approximately China as some degree of departure to supply a extra nuanced realizing of the underlying evidence and difficulties particular to chinese language society. during this booklet, Cornaby discusses modern subject matters equivalent to overcrowding in Shanghai, mandarins, and Buddhism. He additionally scrutinises newspapers, novels, and aesthetic traditions, supplying an ordinary creation to chinese language tradition as perceived through a nineteenth-century British missionary.

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Which latter is the case among the populations of China. It is not claimed that the literal compression of overcrowding is in itself alone responsible for the peculiar form of solidarity to be found in China. That phenomenon seems to have been brought about by three kinds of compression. First there has been through the ages a social compression 31 32 CHINA UNDER THE SEARCH-LIGHT together of larger or smaller communities for common defence. Then there has been the political compression together of family groups by the adoption of the policy advocated by Confucius.

But being of a thoughtful turn of mind, it is not the comicality of the scene before him, but the peril of it all to the world in years to come which impresses him. He can well believe that the Chinese are likely to overrun the world in time, that " twenty millions or more of Boxers . . will make residence in China impossible for foreigners . . " And he shudders for his grandchildren, whom he pictures as swept away by such tremendous centrifugal forces. And all this seems easily feasible. But the question arises as to whether the opening up of China will not rather mean the birth of a centripetal force, which will check OVEBCBOWDING 17 the tendency toward emigration (except among inhabitants of China's coasts), especially among a people who are naturally home-staying, and who are not addicted, as their proverb has it, to "reject the near for the distant " when the means of livelihood are to be found close at hand.

Our (Confucian) religion well knows Heaven's will; it looks on all under heaven as one family, great rulers as elder branches in their parents' clan, great ministers as chief officers of this clan, and the people at large as brothers of the same parents; and it holds that all things should be enjoyed in common. — King Hsien-ho, at the World's Parliament of Religions. 30 CHAPTEE III SOLIDARITY THE communistic basis of Chinese life seems closely related to the subject of the previous chapter. For let any kind of yielding and cohesive substances be compressed together, and the result will be either one solid lump, or a number of smaller lumps fitting into one another.

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