A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

About a year after the revolutionary overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, Ching Chun Wang, a Chinese railway official and representative of the emergent republic, makes a case for international recognition.
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The Chinese millions have given the world the greatest revolution of modern times in the most civilized manner known to history. We have emancipated ourselves from the imperial yoke, not by brute force but by sheer reasoning and unparalleled toleration. Within the amazingly short period of four months, and without shedding over one hundredth part of the blood that has been shed in other similar revolutions, we have transformed our immense country from an empire of four thousand years' standing into a modern democracy. After having set this new standard of sanity in revolutions, we have organized ourselves into the newest republic, following up-to-date patterns. Now we come forward with hands and hearts open to join the sisterhood of nations, and all we ask is that the world will permit us to join its company. We are born into the world as a nation, and we wish to be registered as a part of the world. We ask for recognition of our Republic because it is an accomplished fact. Neither our modesty nor our sense of self-respect will ever allow us to make another request if any party can show us that the Chinese Republic is not a fact.

The recognition of a new nation by the family of nations should more or less resemble the announcement or registration of a newly born child. If the baby is actually born with the functions of a human being, it is the duty of the family and the court, if that court is worth having, to acknowledge the fact. So it should be with the recognition of a new government.

If it is born and bona fide in existence, it is incumbent upon the civilized nations to acknowledge and admit its birth. Of course, the family of nations, as the family of some barbarous tribes, can ignore or even nullify the birth of a newly born; but I feel that we have got beyond that stage of barbarity. The law of nations, as in the case of the law of the state, has reached or should reach such a state of perfection that a being should not only have the right to exist after it is born, but also the right to be born when it is bone fide conceived. We are thankful that the United States has taken the initiative from the beginning of our Revolution in preventing foreign powers from interfering, thus enabling us to be properly conceived and born; but since we are born we must now ask for recognition.

Of course there are certain usages to be fulfilled in order to be recognized. But China has fulfilled these requirements long ago. So many undeniable evidences exist, and so many indisputable arguments have already been produced, in respect to international law, that it will be time wasted to emphasize this point here. Suffice it to say, that facts and the concurrence of best opinion testify that China deserves recognition. Indeed, the Chinese people, as well as many others, would be most happy to know in what respect China has not fulfilled the requirements to deserve recognition. The only reason we have heard up to this time is that given by England and Russia, namely, that China must make a new treaty to give practical independence to Tibet and Mongolia before she can expect recognition from these two countries. Now let us ask, how could the making of a new treaty, or the granting of independence to Tibet and Mongolia, better qualify China as a nation? It seems a pity that such a retrogressive step should be taken, and that the recognition of a new government should be made an excuse for fraudulent bargaining.

China to-day is a nation, and the Chinese Republic is a fact. If any nation or individual thinks that China is not a nation and the Chinese republic is not a fact, it is their duty to give us the evidence. Or, if they do not think that the republican form of government is good enough for recognition, then they must point out that they have something better in mind. As one of the most potent factors to prevent a nation from recognizing a new government is the fear of offending, or the desire to help, the old government, prolonged delay of recognition of the Chinese Republic may mean that the Powers hope, or fear, that the dissolved Manchu Dynasty, with all its corruption, will reappear. But we must see that there is no more dynasty left. Even the Prince Regent and the Dowager Empress have forsaken it. The Emperor himself has retired into private life with satisfaction. In short, the monarchy is dead -absolutely dead. Then they may say that the dead may be raised from the grave, as in the story of Jesus of old; but they must also remember that those who were raised by Jesus were good, and not such obnoxious and decomposed bones as the Manchu Dynasty.

Another reason given in some quarters for withholding recognition of the Chinese Republic, is that the government of the Republic is called 'provisional.' It is really amusing to see how people, or even statesmen, sometimes balk at some single word, which has little or no substantial meaning, sacrificing thereby results of universal benefit. The word 'provisional' was adopted in Nanking really without much consideration. If anything, it was due to the modesty of our leaders, who thought that, during the period of transition from imperialism to democracy, to call the government 'provisional' might be more becoming, if not more expedient. To illustrate further that the word 'provisional' has no substantial significance, we may recall that, during this current year, this word has become so popular that it is indiscriminately prefixed to pretty nearly everything. Thus, people say 'provisional' theatre, 'provisional' restaurant, and even 'provisional' enjoyment. What should be considered is the fact, and not the name. A government, although called 'provisional,' may be fully deserving of recognition, while another government may be called substantial, solid, or whatever else you like, and yet far less deserve the characterization. It certainly seems rather unfortunate that on account of the modesty of our leaders in adopting the word 'provisional' the deserved recognition should be withheld.

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