chapter  6
5 Pages

Japan Crosses the Great Wall

THE Tangku armistice of 1933 gave China a respite which the Nanking Government have utilized in clearing off the Communists in the lower Yangtse Valley, where they had set up an independent Government since 1930. Considerable success has been achieved, and China was growing steadily more united. “There were signs,” to quote Sir Samuel Hoare, “of progress towards order and stability, and the success of the Central Government’s campaign contributed towards the extension of its authority and influence.”1 Last January the Japanese Government appeared to hold out an olive branch to China, and in April they paid China the compliment of raising the status of the Japanese Legation in China to that of an Embassy. Almost at the very moment when the official banquet was held, on June 1st, in celebration of the exchange of ambassadors between China and Japan, and when Mr. Ariyoshi, Japan’s first Ambassador to China, was explaining his country’s good intentions towards China, a spokesman of the Japanese Army, broadcast to the world that Chinese “insincerity,” “pin-pricking” and “provocation” have once more exhausted the patience of the Japanese Army, and these declarations were immediately followed by action. The speed of the Japanese Army’s hammer-blows was not less amazing than their ruthlessness. Fourteen demands were presented on May 30th; another six were delivered on June 9th. Among other things, these demands included the dismissal of the Governor of Hopei Province and the withdrawal of the troops under his command as well as the troops of the Central Government. For three consecutive days several hundred Japanese soldiers, with tanks, armoured cars and trench mortars, demonstrated outside the Government’s office and fired several blank shots with the mortar guns.