Tides from the West: A Chinese Autobiography

Tides from the West: A Chinese Autobiography

Tides from the West: A Chinese Autobiography

Tides from the West: A Chinese Autobiography

Excerpt

This volume will try to tell the story of what has happened in China during the last hundred years, from the cession of Hongkong in 1842 to the blitzkrieg of Pearl Harbor in 1941, with emphasis on the latter half of that period. A century is a long time, but of China's more than four thousand years of history it is but a small fraction, less than one fortieth. Yet the change China has gone through in that brief span is unprecedented in her long life. And now more rapid changes on a still larger scale are about to take place. Since the first exchange of gunfire at Marco Polo Bridge the attention of the world has been drawn to China. The heroic resistance at Shanghai, Taierchuan, and Changsha has evoked sympathy and admiration in the hearts of millions of China's friends throughout the world. The part China is destined to play in the affairs of nations will be of great interest to the world in the period before us. She has been appraised somewhat too high by her well-wishers and somewhat too low by those who do not know her. In either case the interest is there and the fact remains that she has fought almost singlehanded, for eight long, suffering years, a strong enemy sustained by religious-patriotic fanaticism, superior weapons, and efficient organization.

Neither by her friends nor by her own efforts could China be lifted overnight to the level of modern industrialized democracies; nor could she be exterminated by her enemies in a few years or even a few centuries. In the time ahead of us she will become a focus of attention for the world, since future peace--at least one of the major factors of peace--will depend much on a prosperous and strong China.

How is this great country to be made prosperous an strong? The problem must be solved by herself alone. Effective co-operation of friendly Powers will accelerate her success, but she alone must bear the responsibility of making herself worthy to be a leading partner of peace in the world.

China is a nation neither of angels nor of incompetents; she is a nation of common mortals with feelings, ideas, love and hate, hopes and despair, beauty and ugliness, accomplishments and . . .

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