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The news that Japan has sent troops into the Chinese city of Hunohun without China's permission raises a discordant note in Eastern affairs. Japan chooses to give as a reason for her act the excuse that the lives of Japanese citizens were lost and others endangered in a recent attack on Hunchun by Chinese bandits. She does not take into account China's announced intention to send Chinese troops to restore order, but calmly states that the Japanese troops will remain in control until all banditry has ceased--a limit that must be interpreted with the recognition that banditry has existed on Chinese soil always.
Even taking into account the fact that the province of Chientao, in which Hunchun is located, has been a center of operations for the exiled Coreans who are rebelling against Japanese rule in Corea, there is significance in the realization that this case, like so many others before it, demands action that coincides exactly with Japan's imperialistic designs. Japan has already seized Vladivostok, from which it is unlikely that she will be driven by Russia; she has Port Arthur, Darien, the South Manchurian coast, and Shantung and the adjoining part of the Northern Chinese coast. The province of Chientao is the only remaining gap in the control of all the Northern Asia coast. And it is just at Chientao that the bandits broke out in lawlessness which demands the landing of Japanese troops to restore order. There is even more coincidence in the official evidence that most of the bandits in this region and all over Manchuria are equipped with Japanese arms and machine guns.
In this Hunchun incident, chance also plays favorably with Japan as regards American problems. The unfavorable legislation in California has created something of a furor. There have been fierce campaigns in the Japanese press, public opinion is aroused, threats of war have been made--even official Tokio assumes to be "touched and grieved." But it is well to remember that Japanese immigrants in California mean nothing in comparison with Japan's imperialistic ambitions; it is in Siberia, Manchuria, China, that her real interests lie. America has been distinctly curious concerning these interests during the past year or two. It has befriended Chinese complaints; it has asked pointed questions. May it not well be that the immigration excitement has been merely a smoke screen a purposely, created situation for the gaining of concessions? Perhaps Japan hopes, by blinding America to her real aims, or by ceding to California's demands, to prevent or induce this country from raising objections to her policy. So far as American interference is concerned, now is the time for Japan to act.
All this may or may not explain the coincidence of bandits in Chientao, and the landing of troops on Chinese soil. It is possible that there is no sinister motive whatever in Japan's acts. But whether through purpose or through chance, Japan, by this last move, has gained, and seems likely to hold, the whip hand in the Far East.
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