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Consular jurisdiction, extraterritoriality, concessions and foreign settlements in treaty ports, railway area concessions, railway treaty loans, and a number of other matters make China a rather unusual place in which to live and do business. Dr.V.K.Wellington Koo's “Status of Aliens in China" and Dr.M.T.Z. Tyau's "Treaty Obligations Between China and Other States” are both interesting reading to students of this subject and form very handy reference works for foreigners residing and doing business in China. It is probably true that these publications are written from the Chinese viewpoint on many of the points in controversy, but they are certainly reliable as regards information and, in addition, are good examples of the feeling of many of the educated Chinese concerning their present position and condition,
TRADING CENTERS. The order of importance of the several trade centers from the standpoint of imports, exports, and shipping is probably as follows: Shanghai, Hongkong, Hankow, Tientsin, and Canton. Dairen, of course, is a very important port, but the Japanese “sphere of influence" in all of South Manchuria puts this trade center in a class by itself. The same remarks apply to Tsingtau. Both these ports have unusually good harbor facilities.
It should be remembered that Peking is the political center of China, and particularly that this is the headquarters of the Ministry of Communications, the branch of the Chinese Government in control of the railways and the postal, electrical, and shipping departments. It can fairly be said that there is a growing tendency to control purchases for the various lines of the Government railways through the Ministry of Communications, and it is quite probable that in time all general contracts for materials and equipment for these lines will be handled from Peking.
Shanghai, at present, is the largest importing and exporting center, but Hankow may in time justify its title of the “Chicago of China, on account of its growing importance as an exporting center, and, particularly, its proximity to the source of supply of many of the exported products.
INDUSTRIAL CENTERS. At present the industrial centers are, in general, largely the same as the trade centers, but a forecast of future development is far beyond the scope of the writer's investigation. It seems natural to conclude, however, that this development will follow past precedents and that localities having the natural advantages of ample labor, fuel, and shipping materials (such as the neighborhood of the port of Chinwangtao) will see important developments in the future. Hankow, no doubt, will become one of the very important points, although this place will be somewhat handicapped by the fact that the Hupeh man is not nearly so robust and capable of standing hard work as the laborers from some other parts of China. Pukow, on the Yangtze River, is suggested as one of the points having considerable advantage from the standpoint of railway and shipping facilities.
III. GENERAL TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS.
PRIMITIVE MEANS OF TRAVEL.
It is probably true that the ordinary means of transportation in vogue to-day in China represent in general more primitive methods than those of any other country, not excepting India. The traveler on land can be conveyed by horse, sedan chair, cart, wheelbarrow, mule, litter, camel, jinrikisha (drawn by coolies), or he can walk.
Commodities are carried by wheelbarrows, carts, pack horses, mules, donkeys, oxen, camels, and, to a very surprising extent, by vehicles drawn or carried by human beings. One of the early objections to railways was that they would produce unemployment among the multitude of people employed in transportation pursuits, but even these classes seem now to appreciate that the railways increase the opportunity for this kind of labor—and at rather better wages than formerly prevailed. Persons interested in primitive transportation can certainly find a most interesting field of study from one end of China to the other.
A Chinese horse or mule-somewhat undersized-carries from 250 to 325 pounds, depending somewhat on the bulk. Camels carry probably 50 per cent more, but are used only in the north. Wheelbarrows carry from 250 to 400 pounds, but seldom make more than 16 miles a day and frequently less. Carts carry varying loads, depending on the number of coolies, mules, donkeys, or Chinese horses drawing them. The combinations of donkeys, coolies, mules, etc., that are seen from place to place drawing vehicles are never ending. At Kalgan the writer photographed, very much to the displeasure of the Mongol driver, à camel hitched to a cart-an unusual combination even for this part of China, which is most interesting from a transportation standpoint.
CHARACTER OF CHINESE HIGHWAYS.
China's reputation for bad roads and streets is quite deserved. In the south, where wheelbarrows are most used, the paths are uniformly bad. In the central and northern parts of the Republic, some even of the most important highways are bad almost beyond description, but in other places roads were seen that were quite passable. In the past, many of these highways were substantially built and probably well maintained, as is evidenced by the really good bridges. The writer noted especially the bridge at Kalgan, over the Yang River, a branch of the Han River. This bridge is undoubtedly very old but is in good condition. The mortar appears to be pure lime, with no sand or other materials as a filler. This bridge forms part of what has been for many centuries one of the most important caravan routes of the world. The traffic from Kalgan to Peking is now practically all carried by the Peking-Suiyuan Railway. The two principal caravan routes from Kalgan are, one to the northwest to Urga and one to the west to Suiyuan. The latter will be replaced by the Peking-Suiyuan Railway, upon the completion of the line
from Fengchen to Suiyuan, which is now under construction. There is no wheeled traffic over this old caravan road, everything being carried by pack animals.
In some of the cities of North China, the writer saw considerable work in progress in the streets. This was particularly the case in Peking, where some very substantial work was being carried out. A movement for the building of better roads appears to be getting under way, and one of the stimulating influences is the great delight manifested by the Chinese in running any kind of an automobile that they are able to acquire. There is a good deal of modern road-making machinery in China, particularly one make of British steam road roller, and there is likely to be a very considerable demand for highway building materials and machinery in the course of the next few years.
THE GREAT WALL. In connection with the above caravan road passing through Nankow Pass, it seems proper at this point to mention the Great Wall of China. The Peking-Suiyuan Railway follows the same gorge as the caravan road, and passes under the ridge of the West Hills only a few hundred feet from the gate where the caravan road passes through the wall. The wall in this vicinity is very substantially built, and although it is doubtless many years since repairs have been made, much of it is still in surprisingly good condition. All the mortar seems to have been pure lime, with
no sand or other filler.
With such a large population living along the seacoasts and navigable rivers, there has naturally grown up a very extensive coastal shipping business. A number of these companies have been very profitable. The principal ones are under the British, Japanese, Chinese, and French flags—this order representing their relativé prewar importance.
The carrying of Chinese products, as well as foreign goods, between treaty ports on the Chinese coast by ships under the flags of foreign nations is the only instance in the world in which such a considerable percentage of a large coastwise traffic is carried in foreign bottoms. In other countries this business is usually reserved exclusively for the ships of the country. In many instances the foreign control of Chinese shipping facilities has a very great influence in causing the business to go to the countries controlling the shipping.
RIVER AND CANAL CARRIERS.
The many navigable rivers, particularly the Yangtze, and the great number of canals (many of them small streams canalized) have, throughout historic times, borne a large volume of traffic. The Chinese junk, which is much the same to-day as it was centuries ago, seems capable of navigating all kinds of watercourses, from the high seas to canals through highly cultivated areas where the junks sometimes present the appearance of moving through grain fields on wheels. "A number of the same strong companies that carry on the coastal shipping also have fleets on the navigable rivers, particularly the Yangtze, and here again one finds the very unusual
arrangement of foreign bottoms carrying native products as well as foreign goods on this inland waterway. In all other important countries aliens are excluded from such business. That these coastal and inland water carriers are real competitors for business is shown by the low freight rates that the Shanghai-Nanking Railway has to grant to attract business between Shanghai and Chinkiang and Nanking.
Without question, it would be to the great advantage of China as a whole, and in the end to the interest of most of the holders of the treaty loans, if all future construction of transportation facilities were carried out as part of a comprehensive scheme for the entire country; and in the planning of such a complete system careful consideration should be given to the fullest possible utilization of these waterways. Particular attention should be given to this matter in connection with the proposed construction of competing railways that are not likely to pay.
DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE RAILWAYS.
The history of the Chinese railways dates back to 1863. Mr. P. H. Kent (British), in his carefully prepared book “Railway Enterprise in China," divides the development into three periods – first, from 1863 to 1878; second, from 1879 to the Chino-Japanese war in 1894; and third, from that time until the preparation of his book in 1907. Mr. M. Ć. Hsu (Chinese), in his equally well-prepared study “Railway Problems in China," divides the development into three different periods—first, from 1863 to the Chino-Japanese war in 1894; second, from 1895 to the Russo-Japanese war in 1904 (this period marked by the "Battle for Concessions”'); and third, from 1905 until the date of his book, 1915.
For students of Chinese railway history, the above-mentioned books will be found very interesting. The former probably provides the best presentation from a fair British standpoint and the latter the best from a fair Chinese viewpoint. Mr. Kent characterizes his divisions thus: First, “foreign attempts to persuade the Chinese to allow the introduction of railways;" second, movements emanating from Chinese interests;" and third, the "era of concessions with the features of foreign control." Thé principal feature of the second
”) period was the building of what is now the Peking-Mukden Railway between Tientsin and Shanhaikwan, but the Chinese interests had very substantial foreign direction and engineering assistanceprincipally British. This line was built very largely in connection with the development of the Kaiping coal field, now consolidated under the Kailan Mining Administration. Mr. Hsu's division seems best suited to a study of the Chinese railway markets and will accordingly be followed.
PERIOD FROM 1863 TO 1894.
All authorities agree that the first railway proposed in China was a line from Shanghai to Soochow, the proposal taking the form of a petition under date of July 20, 1863, from 27 foreign firms to Li
Hung Chang, then governor of Kiangsu. The petition met with decided disapproval and the project was finally dropped.
The next incident was a proposal for the construction of a comprehensive system of railways throughout China proper, prepared and presented to the Manchu Government in 1864 by Sir MacDonald Stephenson, a distinguished British engineer who had for about 20 years been prominently connected with the railways in India. The proposal was based on his view that “a comprehensive system decided on at the outset--all lines to be made in conformity with it—would avert the evils of the English want of such a system, where in many cases double capital has been laid out to perform work which one expenditure could have adequately provided for, seriously prejudicing the shareholders on both lines, and depriving the public of the full, economical advantage which under a sound, organized system would have obtained.” There was then, as now, no room for difference of opinion as to the correctness of his basis, though there might be some question as to the correctness of the locations of his system. The facts probably are that had his proposal been accepted and carried out, with China retaining actual control, under the guidance of effective foreign direction (as in the case of the Maritime Customs and the later Salt Gabelle Administration), the progress of China as a whole would have been much enhanced, and the nation would not be confronted with the unfortunate complications, in the shape of railway treaty loans, that now restrain its development.
Sir MacDonald Stephenson, by virtue of his credentials and high professional standing, was accorded an attentive hearing, but his proposals were never acted on by the Chinese authorities, whatever consideration they may have had. China thus failed to derive advantage from invaluable advice such as probably no other nation ever had at such an opportune time-proposals that would have benefited not only the railway situation but the entire industrial development of the country.
The first railway actually built in China was a line of 2-foot 6-inch gauge from Shanghai to Woosung, a distance of more than 12 miles. This line was first proposed in 1865, but because of a series of delays it was not finally completed until December, 1876. There is considerable difference of opinion regarding the circumstances in connection with the construction of this line, but, whatever the facts are, the result was that the Chinese authorities purchased the rights of Jardine, Matheson & Co. and other interested parties and, on final payment of purchase money on October 20, 1877, service was discontinued, the track was torn up, and the material and equipment were shipped to the island of Formosa, where apparently no use was made of them.
The next incident was the building in 1878 of 7 miles of a mule tramway in connection with the development of the Tangshan Colliery. This was the beginning of the most successful railway built thus far in China. The primary object of this tramway was to transport coal from these mines for the use of the China Merchants Steam Navigation Co., the director general of which was then a very able Chinese named Tong King Sing, who has not been given due credit for his efforts in advancing the industrial development of China. Li Hung Chang was then viceroy of Chihli, and instead of opposing the project he lent his powerful influence in favor of it. Tong King