Contemporary Politics in the Far East

Contemporary Politics in the Far East

Contemporary Politics in the Far East

Contemporary Politics in the Far East

Excerpt

Twenty years ago the oldest, the largest, the most populous country in the world--a huge continental empire long accustomed to esteem itself the sole repository of national strength and substance--was defeated in war and invaded by the armed forces of a little insular neighbor. In the treaty which followed, the partitioning of China was begun.

Japan's success in dealing with China encouraged European governments to press demands for territorial and other privileges, and there ensued the "scramble for concessions" which marked the years 1894-1898. One after another the leading European powers acquired material "compensations" and staked out "spheres of influence" at China's expense.

In 1899 the Government of the United States, departing from the theoretical dictates and traditions of American foreign policy, asserted its practical interest in what was occurring in the Far East by coming forward as the champion of the "open door" policy.

Writing just after the issuing of Secretary Hay's "open door" notes and just on the eve of the Boxer uprising, Dr. Paul S. Reinsch, then a professor at the University of Wisconsin, and now American Minister to China, said: "The suddenness with which the entire perspective of the political world has been changed by recent developments in China is unprecedented. That country, without question, has become the focal point of international politics. Vast interests are there under contention--even the very composition of the world civilization of the future is at stake upon the issue. Rarely have statesmen been under a graver responsibility than are the ministers in whose hands are the threads of Chinese politics, for they are in a position to determine the future course of history in such . . .

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