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As a means of enforcing their demand that full publicity be given to all negotiations on the Shantung question between the Pekin and Tokio governments, the recent strike of students in 14 provinces of China may not have proved a brilliant success. As evidence of the militant spirit of young China the walk-out of students is nevertheless tremendously significant. The Chinese students reached their decision to strike through motives of purest patriotism. They feared--whether rightly or not makes no difference that the Pekin Government was disposed to betray the national interests of China unless all its dealings with Japan were carried on in the full light of day. The protest was a genuine one. There was but one way at hand to express their feelings so that no one could mistake them. And so the students in some 14 provinces "struck," and deserted the academic halls to bring the Pekin Government to its senses.
To a foreigner, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Chinese students' strike is the capacity for organization which it revealed. A strike in a single school or college is readily conceivable. But a walkout of students on an extensive scale throughout the whole country is quite a different matter. There must be a central authority, recognized as such, with power to issue the strike order. There must be liaison between city and city, between province and province and between North and South. There must also be discipline. The strike order, when given, must be obeyed; and reports from China indicate that the "walkout", was a fairly general one, the great majority of students having laid down their books as a workman might his tools as a protest against the Pekin Government.
No information has yet been received as to whether or not the government has "broken" the students' strike. Presumably in China as in the Occident, the solution will prove in the nature of a compromise. The Government will, no doubt, issue a statement that all negotiations with Japan will be made public. The striking students will then resume their interrupted labors, fortified with the knowledge that the student, if organized with his fellows, is not wholly weapon less
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