Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/267

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THE CHINAMAN AND THE FOREIGN DEVILS

Chinaman believes with moderation, and the gods he has bear lightly upon him. The coolie propitiates his Joss, but when the wooden god fails to respond in a satisfactory manner the devotee does not scruple to maltreat him. Recently the great viceroy, Yuan Shih Kai, ordered certain temples in Taotingfu to be cleared of their idols to make room for police stations, and the images were thrown into the river. To the worshipers it was a joke on the gods. "They are having their first bath!" said one, and the crowd laughed with sacrilegious glee. This is not the stuff of which the religious fanatic is made.

The opinion that the hatred of the foreigners arises from opposition to progress is based upon better grounds. The Chinaman has opposed it, has resisted it with an inertia as of the everlasting hills, but from his point of view he has been justified. One phase of western progress is the development and use of labor-saving appliances; but the introduction of such machinery into a Chinese community means calamity. Their economic conditions are adjusted with delicacy so great that it is only by incessant toil that the laborer can earn enough to keep himself and his family from starvation, and the foreign contrivance which will accomplish fifty men's work in one day may entail famine upon forty-nine and their dependants. From their standpoint the argument against machinery is forcible. We have excluded the Chinese coolie from this country merely because he is able to do more work and better work, and is willing to do it for less pay, than our white laborers, though the danger of starvation to the class with which the Chinese workman competed was not immediate, but extremely remote. There seems to be a suggestion in this that possibly the Chinaman is entitled to object, on his part, to the presence of the foreigner and his machinery. His right to the recognition of his objection is, of course, not to be considered by any power, because he is not yet strong enough to enforce it. There are indications that some day he may be.

But even the question of domestic policy does not suffice to account for the intense hostility which the alien has met everywhere in China, manifested in repeated uprisings and the infuriate cruelty of mobs, and which is too universal and obstinate to be attributable to mere prejudice. The Chinaman is wholly rational—rational enough to perceive, after due deliberation, the benefits to accrue from the adoption of those products of western inventiveness which do not threaten his livelihood, as may be inferred from the existence of modern arsenals in full operation, from the rapidity with which railroad and telegraphic communication is being established throughout the realm, and from the evident purpose to learn more of the arts, peaceful and other, which have been developed in Europe and America. It is to be assumed that a people gifted with much good sense and a sobriety of mind beyond the ordinary will not cherish a race-hatred so deep-seated, persistent and uncompromising without good and ample reason. The reason in this