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Can China Save Herself?

Can China Save Herself?

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Excerpt from Can China Save Herself?: A Series of Papers Chinese Affairs

For twenty years and more I have directed my chief study and attention to the cause of reform in China, that thereby the nations independence and sovereign entity might be preserved, and dangers without and commotions within be alike averted. That I might be free to devote myself to such a work, usually regarded as unsuited to a Missionary Society, I withdrew from the Missionary Society under whose control and for whose interests I had worked for a previous ten years, and followed an independent course culminating in a non-missionary organization known as the International Institute of China. Part of these efforts has been put forth in Peking, part in Shanghai, and part in the provincial centres.

The beginning of these reform efforts was when China was still at war with Japan in 1894-5. It was the menace to China, beyond all previous experience, that first convinced China of her real weakness, and this consciousness of weakness brought about the first national spirit of reform which China had been all too late in fostering. This spirit of reform has had many setsback; reformers, old and young, Chinese and foreign, have had many disappointments; but the number of reformers is greater today than twenty years ago, and the spirit of reform is more wide-spread than at any time in the past. This is an encouragement which all would do well to bear in mind.

Of many of these reform movements, of the discouragements which have occurred, of the dangers and obstacles which have stood in the way in the past and still stand in the way today, I am somewhat familiar; and the views which I now venture to express are the outcome of experience, and whilst in some respects they may be considered hard and critical, I assure my Chinese friends that my feelings are those of sympathetic interest in China's ultimate triumph in the contest with evil forces which are at work within and without.

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