China through European Eyes

AuthorGordon R. Taylor
Publication Date01 September 1951
DOI10.1177/002070205100600307
Date01 September 1951
SubjectArticle
CHINA THROUGH
EUROPEAN EYES
Gordon
R.
Taylor*
INCE
THE
OVERTHROW
of
Chiang
Kai-Shek,
China
has
been
revealed
to
Western
students
in
a
welter
of
fragmentary
glimpses
and
con-
tradictory
reports.
Moreover
most
of
the
few
first-hand
accounts
that
have
emerged
from
the
New China
have
been
written
with a
pre-
existing
ideological bias
either
for
or
against
the
Communism
of
Mao
Tse-Tung's
government.
It
is
interesting,
therefore, to encounter
an
instance
of
suspended
judgement
and
objective analysis,
in
a
new
book
written
by
three
non-
communist
Europeans
with
direct
experience
of
the New China.'
The
body
of
the
book
was
written
before
the
outbreak
of
the
Korean
War;
however,
an introduction
written
later
by
Kingsley
Martin
main-
tains
that
the
war
has
invalidated little,
if
anything,
of
what
the
authors
have
said.
It
is
interesting
to
analyse
the
reports
and
conclusions
of
Messrs.
Lindsay,
Guillain (now
foreign
editor
of
Le
Monde)
and
van
der
Sprenkel
(lecturer
in
Chinese
history
in
the
University
of
London)
in
the
light
of
what
can
be
learned from material
in
the
original
Chinese-
emanating
most
of
it, it
must
be
admitted,
from
interested
sources,
but
none
the
less
valuable
to the trained
observer.
At
the present
time
it
is
idle
to
aim
at
definitive conclusions
on
the
nature,
ideology
and
purpose
of
the
new
government
of
China;
the
evidence
is
not
yet
all
in.
But
in
the
light
of
what
we
know, it
is
hard
to
reach
a
conclusion
materially
different from
that
of
the
authors
of
New
China:
Three
Views.
CULTURAL
BACKGROUND
It
is
a
truism
to
say
that
China
is
a cultural
rather
than
a
political
entity
and
that
the
Chinese
people
constitute
a
civilization
rather
than
a
race.
Despite
occasional
lapses
into popular
Taoism and
Buddhism
every
Chinese
dynasty
since
the
Ch'in,
225-206
B.C.,
has
been
obliged
to
espouse
the
moral
and
political philosophy
ascribed
to
Confucius
and
Mencius,
and
in
more recent
centuries
that
of
Chu
Hsi
also,
in
order
to
win
the
support
of
the
literati,
from
whose
ranks
alone
the
officials
were
recruited.
In
the
days
before
the
Revolution
of
1910
the
late Doctor
Sun
Yat-Sen
and
his
followers appealed
to
the
Classics
to
arouse
the
Chinese
people
against the
Manchu
Emperors. There
was
more
than
latent
Chinese
nationalism
implied in
the
revolutionary
slogan:
Fan
*Canadian
authority
on
Chinese
language,
history
and
culture.
'New
China: Three
Views.
By
Michael
Lindsay,
Robert
Guillain,
and
Otto
van
der
Sprenkel.
1950.
(London:
Turnstile
Press. xv,
241
pp.
9s.
6d.)

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