1923 - The Chinese Government and the Foreigners
THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT AND THE FOREIGNERS
August 29, 1923
Extracted from. the article ‘The cigarette tax' , published in Hsiang-tao, no.38, 29 August 1923. ]
We often say: 'The Chinese Government is the counting-house of our foreign masters' . Perhaps there are some who don't believe this. We also say: 'The false show of friendship by foreigners (especially Englishmen and Americans) is merely a pretense of "amity" in order that they may squeeze out more of the fat and blood of the Chinese people'. Perhaps there are some who don't believe this either. Ever since the prohibition against the export of cotton was repealed owing to the opposition of the foreigners, it has been impossible not to believe what we have just said to some extent. Now that the foreigners have put pressure on the government to abolish the cigarette tax in Chekiang and other provinces, it is impossible not to believe it a little more. . .
Of the cigarettes produced by English and American companies, a small portion is imported from England, America, and Japan, and a large portion is manufactured by English and American merchants using Chinese tobacco and Chinese labour in factories set up in Shanghai, Hankow, and elsewhere in China. When the manufactured cigarettes leave the factory, small tax is paid, in accordance with 'treaties' . They are then transported in bulk to the various provinces, and China is not allowed again to tax them 'freely’ . In Chekiang Province alone, the sale of cigarettes amounts to 'over ten million yuan a year' . There is no accurate total figure for the annual sale of cigarettes in the whole nation; estimating on the basis of sales in Chekiang alone, it must be above 200 million yuan. This is really 'frightening to hear' ! I ask my 400 million brethren to ponder awhile: What does the 'amity' of the foreigners really mean?
The 'Council of Ministers' of the Chinese Government is really both accommodating and agreeable. If one of our foreign masters farts, it is a lovely perfume. If our foreign masters want to export cotton, the Council of Ministers thereupon abolishes the prohibition of the export of cotton; If our foreign masters want to bring in cigarettes, the Council of Ministers thereupon 'instructs the several provinces by telegram to stop levying taxes on cigarettes'. Again, I ask my 400 million brethren to ponder a little. Isn't it true that the Chinese Government is the counting-house of our foreign masters?