The Vigil of a Nation
The Vigil of a Nation
At no time in the history of Sino-American relationships has true and deep understanding of China's land and people, historical back. ground, and present problems been more imperatively required. The war will come to an end soon, and China's role in Asia and in world co-operation will be newly determined. China will launch a gigantic program of industrialization and reconstruction, under the same government which had started the work with such good promise before the war broke out in 1937. American co-operation will be needed and intensely desired. Yet the American people as a whole know little about the people with whom they are expected to co-operate and to whom they will quite probably be lending money and material assistance. Unfortunately, too, this mutual understanding has been shadowed in the past year by a cloud of confusing criticism, tending to make the Americans worried about China and unnecessarily alarmed about the government, although deep sympathy and friendliness are always there. At no time has the situation been so tragic as now when we near the end of the war and Allied victory.
Having no faith in propaganda, but troubled by reports about the condition of my country, I went back for an extended journey, covering seven provinces. I am now writing this record of my experiences and impressions as a Chinese who saw the country from the inside after seven years of war. It is essentially a book about a journey, but it is my hope that such inside pictures, presented fairly, will contribute toward a better insight into the Chinese people and their problems. I believe the knowledge thus gained will be deeper and more intimate than from a volume of economic and political essays. One cannot begin to discuss the problems of a foreign country until one has some pictures of the land and its people. The problems of inflation, of the Army, of social and educational standards, and above all of the much heralded "civil war" will be described as I saw them, as a Chinese who is a member neither of the Kuomintang nor of the Chinese Communist party, but who sees them as problems of China's emerging unity as a nation.
This is what I saw and what I felt. Because I could have no illusions about any country after seven years of war and two years of blockade, I was not disillusioned. And because I had observed China's progress . . .