ROOTS LAYS CHINA'S TROUBLES TO OPIUM, MILITARISM, BOLSHEVISM, AND IGNORANCE
Hankow Bishop Says Imperial Tradition Is Strong--Spirit of Inquiry Noted
"The student leaders to China have an their main aim a strong and free country," declared the Right Reverend Logan Holt Roots '91, Bishop of Hankow, in a statement to the CRIMSON yesterday.
"The student movement in China has many unjustifiable features; but while the stirring of hatred of foreigners is often accomplished by misrepresentation and falsehood, the end in view is primarily justice and freedom.
And the dislike of foreigners is natural; for in China the 'White Peril' is regarded with far more alarm than is the 'Yellow Peril' here. But the Yellow Peril is far more real now, because of the folly of the United States immigration policy which is driving the yellow races together as opponents of the white."
Bishop Roots, who has been a missionary in China for thirty years, returned to America last June and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University. He is returning to the Orient next month.
Bolsheviki Playing Minor Role
He stated that from what he had seen before he left China, and from what he has seen since he has been in America, that the Bolsheviki are playing a minor part in the Communistic revolution.
"The spirit of the revolution is probably not that of Communism anyway," stated the Bishop, "For you know how much the Chinese like to use high-sounding phrases. The work Communism serves as a banner in this revolution, but I don't believe that the revolutionists intend to put into practice the Communistic principles.
"It is extremely doubtful that they could if they tried to, for the Chinese by nature are a self-complacent people, and the form of land-owning differs from that in Russia. Eighty percent of the Chinese are farmers, but they own their own fields rather than having them village owned as in Russia.
"And it has been hard enough to change the form of government to that of a republic in the first place. Even now the average Chinese government official works as though he served an Emperor. The imperial tradition is so strong in China that it will take many years to break it. Revolution Due to Militarism
"The present revolution is due to four separate factors. The first is the militarism in China. Theoretically the military class is not a recognized part of society, and the military spirit is not in evidence, but at present the military men are in control.
"Second is opium, third Bolshevik medling, and fourth the vast ignorance of most of the Chinese.
"Through the ages the people of China have looked to the class of scholars, the comparatively few educated men, as the main pillar of society. They have followed the lead of these men, and until recent years that lead has always been a conservative one. The scholars always studied alone, and absorbed the old literature and philosophy of the Empire. Naturally they became saturated with the past, and thus reactionary leaders of society.
"But now, since contact with other nations has brought a modernization into the educational system, exactly the reverse is true. The scholars are as a body radical in the extreme, and yet, through the strength of tradition, they hold their former place in the esteem of the people.
Spirit of inquiry Noted
"Many indefensible features mar their present movement. A very wicket thing is the willingness of the student leaders to excite mob feeling, and exhort them to violence, rather than lead them in the exercise of reason.
"But on the whole the change from conservative to radical is a good one, for it opens more opportunity for the spread of Christianity in the Orient. Indifference and self-complacency are the largest obstacles a missionary has to overcome. The new spirit of radicalism may include opposition to Christianity, but even that is a great help to our cause; for interest in religion, whether it be evidenced by opposition or not, causes more people to join the ranks of the Christians in China than does indifference. The real characteristic of the student movement is they spirit of inquiry.
"Speaking of Christianity brings me to the often advanced argument that Communism is primarily a Christian principle. In the New Testament there is a passage in which the disciples are told to go and share their goods with the poor.
No Fears for China's Unity
"But in the Bible, the spirit is: 'What I have, you shall have;' while unfortunately the apparent motto of Communism is: 'What you have, I shall have.'
"In spite of the frequent revolutions, in spite of the fact that the Communists have seized Canton, in spite of the tremendous size of China, I have no fear that China will break up into small countries. All the leaders of revolutions are not declaring the independence of their various provinces, but are trying to gain control of China. There are 21 provinces in China now; in my diocese, which is composed of one and a half provinces, there are more people than in France and England put together. Yet linguistically, culturally, and racially the people are homogeneous, and so China will remain a unit."
Bishop Roots said that the hatred of the Japanese was still great in China, and that a "National Shame Day" is still observed in memory of the submission to Japan's 21 demands after the Japanese Chinese war. But he added that recently the Japanese policy toward China has been more friendly, and that the American immigration policy was driving the Asiatic into closer unity against the rest of the world.
He went to China in 1896 and spent two years in teaching, where he learned the Chinese language. He then moved to Hankow, where he has been engaged in missionary work ever since. He was consecrated a Bishop at Boston in 1904.
Bishop Roots' work among the Chinese, his energy, ability, and understanding, have made of him a famous figure, and last June the University rewarded his services to humanity by conferring upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity