Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/823

This page needs to be proofread.


ways blumld be open l>otli to foreign ami native steamers. The railway from Tientsin to Peking, a distance of 73 miles, has been completed, and Avas opened to public traffic on June 30, 1897. The Shaughai-Woosung railway (12 miles) has been completed, and Avas o])ened to public traffic in August 1898. A small railway was constructed from the K'ai-p'ing mines for convey- ance of coal to Hokau, situated on the Petang, a river ten miles north of the Peiho, and was subsequently extended to deep water on the Petang. A continuation has been completed from Petang, vid Taku, to Tientsin and Lin-si, and is being carried on to Shan-hai-kwan.

In the northern, central, and southern provinces concessions have been granted for railways extending, in all, over 3,000 miles, the necessary outlay amounting to over 24,000,000/. Of these projects the most important is that of a line to connect Peking with Han-kau in the Yangtse valley, and eventually to be prolonged to Canton.

The imperial Chinese telegraphs are being rapidly extended all over the Empire. There is a line between Peking and Tientsin, one which connects the capital with the princijial places in Manchuria up to the Russian frontier on the Amur and the Ussuri ; while Newchwang, Chifu, Shanghai, Yangchow, Suchau, all the seven treaty ports on the Yangtze, Canton, ^Vuchau, Lungchau, and all the principal cities in the Empire are now connected with each other and with the capital. The line from Canton, westerly has penetrated to Y'^unnan-fu, the capital of Y'unnan province, and beyond it to Manwyne, near the borders of Burmah, Shanghai is also in communication with Fuchau, Amoy, Kashing, Shaoshing, !N'ingpo,&c. Lines have been constructed between Fuchau and Canton, and between Taku, Port Arthur, and Soul, the capital of Korea ; and the line along the Y'angtze Valley has been extended to Chungking in Szechuen province. By an arrange- ment recently made with the Russian telegraph authorities the Chinese and Siberian lines in the Amur Valley were joined in the latter part of 1892, so that there is now direct overland communication between Peking and Europe. The postal work of the Empire is carried on, under the Iiliuister of War, by means of post-carts and runners. In the eighteen provinces are 8,000 offices for post-carts, and scattered over the whole of the Chinese territories are 2,040 offices for runners. There are also numerous private postal couriers, and during the winter a service bc^tweeu the office of the Foreign Customs &t Peking and' the outports. The Chinese Imperial Post Office was opened on February 2, 1897, the management being confided to the Inspector General of the Imperial Maritime Customs. China has also notified the Swiss Government of her intention of joining the Universal Postal Union.

Money, Weights, and Measures. Money.

The sole official coinage and the monetary unit of China is the copper cash, of which about 1,600 — 1,700 = 1 liaikwan tael, and about 22 = 1 penny. The silver sycee is the usual medium of exchange. Large payments are made b}* weight of silver bullion, the standard being the Liang or tael, which varies at different places. The haikwan (or customs) tael, being one tael weight of pure silver, was equal in October, 1897, to 2.'?. 11^^/., or 6 71 haikwan taels to a pound sterling.

By an Imperial decree, issued during 1890, the silver dollar coined at the new Canton mint is made current all over the Empire. It is of the same value as the Mexican and United States silver dollars, and as the Japanese

H n 2