Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham.
Peking, August 14, 1894. (Received October 1.)
Sir: In my dispatch of the 8th instant I inclosed a copy of a dispatch from the Yamên with reference to the treatment of Japanese spies seized in China, and a copy of my reply thereto in which I recommended that such spies be punished by being transported to Japan.
Under date of the 12th instant the Yamên writes, saying that the suggested punishment seems inadequate and that China will be obliged to act more severely for her own defense. The ministers renew their promise of protection of peaceable Japanese, and assert that they are not influenced by any feelings of bitterness toward Japan.
My motive in counseling leniency is to prevent conviction on insufficient evidence and to prevent unnecessarily cruel treatment of any Japanese, really guilty, who may be seized. This sentiment is a natural one, in view of the horrible cruelties and tortures recognized by the Chinese criminal code.
Some days ago at Tientsin, a Japanese, who was supposed to have left the city, was arrested under suspicious circumstances. He was coming at night from the house of the chief secretary of Director Chang, of the ordnance department. It is charged that he was in the habit of procuring military and naval intelligence by bribery. I advised the U. S. consul that it would be proper for him to request the Chinese authorities, as a courtesy, to inform him of such arrests and of the outcome of the examination.
I have, etc.,