Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

[Extracts.]
No. 178.]

Sir: Mr. Conger, in his dispatch to the Department of State No. 1777, of December 29, 1904, transmitted copy of a note of the diplomatic body at Peking to the Prince of Ch’ing, embodying certain [Page 374]amendments which it proposed as urgently necessary to the rules for the mixed court in the international settlement at Shanghai.

On January 20, 1905, this legation received a copy of an identic note from the Prince of Ch’ing, acknowledging the note of the diplomatic body of December 22, 1904, and stating that he had referred this important matter to the superintendent of southern trade (the viceroy of Nanking), who, after thoroughly investigating the matter, would reply to the foreign office, which in turn would be able to settle the question with the diplomatic body.

On September 8 last, nothing having been received from the Wai-wu Pu in the meanwhile, and the consul-general of the United States having repeatedly called my earnest attention to the urgent necessity of reaching an understanding with the Chinese Government on the matter, as the relations between Chinese and foreigners in the international settlement were getting more and more strained and threatened serious complications, I wrote to the dean of the diplomatic body asking him and those of our colleagues who were interested in the matter to press its consideration on the foreign office until finally settled.

The Dean, Baron von Mumm, having consulted the diplomatic body, accepted my suggestion, and on the 27th of September sent the Prince of Ch’ing a note, practically in the same words as my note to him above referred to.

No reply, however, having been elicited within a reasonable time, on November 22 I addressed the inclosed note to the Prince of Ch’ing, and my British and German colleagues also sent similar ones. Two days later we received a note from the prince, saying that the reply awaited from the superintendent of southern trade had been mailed him and would be received in a few days. On December 4 we finally received communication of the amendments for the rules of the mixed court proposed by the superintendent of southern trade and the taot’ai of Shanghai and accepted by the Chinese Government. These counter proposals are now under consideration by the diplomatic representatives at Peking.

While the above detailed negotiations were taking place, the consular body at Shanghai took upon itself, without consulting, as was its duty, the diplomatic representatives at Peking, to secure from the taot’ai at Shanghai that female prisoners should be imprisoned in the jail of the municipality and no longer in the Chinese court jail. The taot’ai refused to accede to this proposal. I inclose herewith a copy of his note of June 10, 1905, to the senior consul, and the latter’s reply thereto of June 21.

Notwithstanding the refusal of the taot’ai to allow Chinese females to be imprisoned in the municipal jail, in a meeting of the consular body, held on the 26th of July, “at the suggestion of Mr. Potier, consul-general for Portugal, it was resolved to note in these minutes that in future the assessors of the mixed court, when finding that a female defendant should be sentenced to imprisonment, should send her to the municipal jail for female prisoners.”

On the 27th of July our consul-general at Shanghai wrote me the inclosed letter, from which it would appear that either he had not yet seen the minutes of the meeting of the day before, or that he did not realize the binding effect on him of its decisions. This latter explanation seems the more likely from the last two lines of his letter, [Page 375]in which he says that he will instruct the American assessor to adhere to the established rules, overlooking that he was bound by the new decision, against which he had not protested.

I inclose also a copy of Mr. Rodgers’ dispatch to me of August 21, last, in which he again states that the consular body had decided to let the assessors at the mixed court act as they deemed best, and that he had instructed the American assessor to observe the old rules and customs.

Such was the condition of affairs in Shanghai when on December 11 the Prince of Ch’ing sent a note to the dean of the diplomatic body informing him that as a result of an attempt on the 10th by the British assessor at the mixed court to have certain Chinese women remanded to prison in the municipal jail, there had been a fracas in the court room in which several persons had been badly hurt by the foreign policemen, who had finally carried the women off and imprisoned them in the municipal jail.

Considering the statements of the Prince of Ch’ing, the British minister, the German minister, and myself, as representing the powers whose assessors sit most of the time at the mixed court, telegraphed to our consuls-general at Shanghai that the women should ‘ be immediately released from the municipal jail. I inclose draft of the reply to the prince’s note which was agreed upon by the diplomatic body, and which was sent December 17, 1905.

Although the prisoners were released, the mixed court magistrate, under orders from the Shanghai taot’ai, refused to reopen the court until the British assessor had been removed and the foreign police who had taken part in the fracas had been punished. To enforce these demands the Ningpo Merchants’ Guild, the most powerful and aggressive in Shanghai, declared a general boycott on the 18th instant, which promptly resulted in fighting and bloodshed.

The same day most of the ministers called at the foreign office here and urged on the Chinese minister the necessity of the Chinese Government taking prompt and energetic action to stop the agitation and restore peace and order.

On the 19th I received from the Prince of Ch’ing a dispatch giving the text of an imperial edict reviewing the case and ordering the viceroy of Nanking to proceed at once to Shanghai and settle it.

I inclose also draft of a note from the dean of the diplomatic body to the senior consul at Shanghai, which it has been agreed by the diplomatic representatives should be sent.

I have the honor, etc.

W. W. Rockhill.
[Inclosure 1.]

Dispatch from Prince Ch’ing to Hon. J. G. Coolidge, chargé d’affaires, in re revision of the mixed court rules.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt upon January 5 of a dispatch from your excellencies on the subject of the revision of the rules for the mixed court in Shanghai. You state that this has become an urgent necessity, and that the foreign consuls have taken the matter under consideration and proposed amendments, which they have sent to the foreign ministers in Peking for their consideration; that the ministers after prolonged deliberation communicate them to me for approval, that they may be published in the ordinary method and put into operation within a short period of time.

[Page 376]

I have the honor to state that my board finds that Shanghai is an important commercial center; the hub of Chinese and foreign commerce; that the business of the mixed court is increasing daily; that the ten rules adopted in 1868 are very old and should be revised in accordance with the needs of the times, in order to be thoroughly satisfactory. But in the case of the original rules the minister of commerce ordered the Shanghai customs taot’ai to propose some rules for consideration, after which the Tsung-Li-Yamen sent said rules in dispatches to the various foreign ministers for their consideration and decision. In this instance the amendments sent to me by your excellencies have been sent by my board to the superintendent of trade for the south, who will order the Shanghai customs taot’ai to make a thorough investigation into the state of affairs; then after satisfactory deliberation they will reply to my board, which will then consider and decide the matter. This will doubtless be to the mutual advantage of all concerned, enabling all to observe the same rules.

As soon as I have received the reply from the superintendent of trade for the south and the Shanghai customs taot’ai my board will consider and decide the matter and inform your excellencies; but for the present it becomes my duty to send this dispatch that you may know what is being done in the matter.

A necessary dispatch.


[seal.]
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Rockhill to Baron v. Mumm, German minister and dean of the diplomatic corps.

My Dear Dean: On the 22d of December, 1904, the diplomatic representatives in Peking of Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States addressed a note to the Prince of Ch’ing on the subject of the rules for the mixed court in the Shanghai international settlement.

The diplomatic representatives called the attention of the prince to the urgency of agreeing on amendments to the rules of 1868, and they transmitted the amendments agreed upon between them for his earnest consideration and expressed the hope that they might be put in operation within a short period of time.

This note was duly acknowledged by the Prince of Ch’ing by an identic note to each of the diplomatic representatives who had signed the note of December 22, 1904, and stated that he had sent the amended rules transmitted him by them to the superintendent of southern trade, who would “order the Shanghai customs taot’ai to make a thorough investigation into the state of affairs, when, after a satisfactory deliberation, they will reply to my board, which will then consider and decide the matter.”

Six months have passed since this note was received. This would seem to be ample time for the “investigation and deliberation” deemed necessary, and as the consul-general of the United States at Shanghai has on several occasions of late called my attention to the ever-increasing urgency of the case, I take the liberty of addressing you in this matter, trusting that you and those of our colleagues who are interested in this question will join with me in pressing its consideration on the foreign office until finally settled.

I remain, dear Baron, very cordially, yours,

W. W. Rockhill.
[Inclosure 3.]

Mr. Rockhill to the Prince of Ch’ing.

Your Imperial Highness: I have the honor to call the attention of your imperial highness to the urgent necessity for action in the matter of the revised regulations for the mixed court in the international settlement at Shanghai.

It is now almost a year since the representatives in Peking of Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, [Page 377]Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States, on the 22nd of December, 1904, submitted to your imperial highness certain amendments to the rules of 1868, to which they were all agreed and for which they requested the consideration of your highness’ Government.

To this request your highness replied on January 20 of this present year, saying that the proposed amendments had been sent to the viceroy of the Liang Kiang and other provincial authorities for their consideration, and that after receiving their report your highness’ board would decide the matter. After more than eight months had passed without further communication from your highness on the subject, the dean of the diplomatic corps on the 27th of September again addressed your highness on behalf of all the powers interested, asking for prompt action on the subject. To this your imperial highness replied on October 2, stating that no report had yet been received from the provincial authorities.

Nearly two months have now elapsed since your highness’ note was received, and still nothing has been done in this very important matter, and I am compelled on behalf of my Government to urge upon your highness the necessity of immediate steps to put an end to this unnecessary delay on the part of the provincial authorities, whose indifference or neglect is preventing the introduction of the reform so imperatively demanded by the condition of affairs in the mixed court at Shanghai. Nearly every week I receive communications from the American consul-general at SLanghai, calling my attention to the importance of this matter. It is quite as much to the interest of China as of the other parties that the old mixed court rules be revised, and I can see no reason for the apparent unwillingness of your highness’ Government to take the necessary action in a matter of such pressing concern to all interests at Shanghai, both native and foreign.

I have the honor, therefore, to ask that your imperial highness will, without further delay, take such measures as may be necessary to secure a report from the viceroy of the Liang Kiang immediately, and that your highness will communicate to me at an early date the decision of your Government respecting the matter.

I avail myself, etc.

(Signed)
W. W. Rockhill.
[Inclosure 4.]

Dispatch from His Imperial Highness Prince of Ch’ing, president of the hoard of foreign affairs, to Hon. W. W. Rockhill, American minister, in reply to complaint of delay in the matter of the revised mixed court regulations for Shanghai.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on yesterday of your excellency’s dispatch saying that on the 27th of the ninth moon, western calendar, the dean of the diplomatic corps, on behalf of the ministers of the various countries, had sent me a dispatch urging speedy action in the matter of the Shanghai mixed court regulations, and that he had received a reply stating that the provincial authorities of the Kiangnan had not yet reported upon them; that two months had now passed since this reply had been received, and that nothing had been done with regard to the question; and that you were compelled in behalf of your Government to urge me to take measures to prevent any further delay on the part of the local authorities to the hindrance of this important matter of revising the Shanghai mixed court regulations.

As to these regulations my board has repeatedly sent instructions to the superintendent of trade for the south urging him to make investigation and report, as the records show.

I have just received a telegram from the said superintendent saying that he had had correspondence with the taotai at Shanghai with regard to the mixed court regulations of that port and had thoroughly considered the matter and that they had agreed upon a draft which had been sent forward the day before inclosed in a dispatch to me. As the reply of the aforesaid official has already been mailed it must arrive here within a few days, and on its receipt I shall consider its proposals and communicate with your excellency. In the meantime, as in duty bound, I send this dispatch for your information.

A necessary dispatch.

[Page 378]
[Inclosure 5—Translation.]

The Prince of Ch’ing to Baron von Mumm, clean of the diplomatic body.

On the 5th of January, 1905, His Excellency Baron Czikann, formerly minister of Austria-Hungary and dean of the diplomatic body, addressed an official note concerning the revision of the rules of the mixed court at Shanghai. It was therein said that labors of the court tend constantly to increase, and that since therefore the revision of the rules had become an urgent necessity, the foreign consuls at Shanghai had not failed to consider them and had proposed amendments which they had transmitted to the representatives of the powers at Peking which now communicated them to me. This note was accompanied by proposed amendments in eleven articles.

This ministry has kept up a regular correspondence with the superintendent of southern trade on this subject, and has several times urged him in writing to transmit his reply as soon as possible. On the 28th November I received a letter from the superintendent of southern trade saying that he had just taken up the question of the amendments to the rules of the Shanghai mixed court, but as it was necessary to acid to some of the suggestions and cut out from others, he had tried to bring the rules to a state of perfection to meet the present requirements. My ministry has again examined the rules and has reached the conviction that all the articles as settled upon are perfectly proper.

I have the honor to transmit herewith to your excellency, as dean of the diplomatic body, copy of the rules with the request that you will bring it to the knowledge of the representatives of the powers at Peking, so that they may communicate these rules to the foreign consuls at Shanghai and give them the necessary instructions for their general observance.

Trusting that I may receive an answer from your excellency on this matter, I avail myself, etc.

(Signed) Prince of Ch’ing.

[Subinclosure in inclosure 5.]

I. (a) The mixed court at Shanghai shall keep separate dockets in Chinese-of all police cases and mixed civil cases, entering each case separately, numbering it consecutively, with the date of filing, the names of the parties in full, their nationality, the thing claimed, with the minutes and date of all orders, decrees, continuances, appeals, and proceedings until final judgment, and a sufficient minute of the final judgment.

(b) The mixed court shall have power to deal with all civil cases punishable by cangue or beating with the bamboo or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, and shall keep a separate docket thereof as above provided.

(c) Such several dockets—except those of police cases, and mixed civil cases, which may be examined by any party materially interested at any time after the case has been decided—if they contain confidential or important information which it is not advisable to divulge, shall not be subject to inspection.

The remaining civil cases brought directly to the court need to be recorded in a separate document, but when such cases are disposed of the judgment, together with a statement of the names of the parties and witnesses already set at liberty or otherwise dealt with, shall be exhibited in due course on the notice board for general information.

II. All trials and proceedings in the mixed court of Shanghai shall be open to the public, unless the assessor and judge agree that for confidential reasons and for public morale the case should be private.

III. The office of the magistrate of the mixed court shall be an official post with all the attributes of the yamen of a prefect, independent subprefect, of independent departmental magistrate. The magistrate shall be selected and deputed from among the prefects, subprefects, assistant subprefects, departmental and district magistrates of the Province. If the official deputed be a departmental or district magistrate the rules shall be followed applying to an acting prefect or acting (independent) departmental magistrate. His official dealings and correspondence shall be conducted on the lines followed by a prefect, independent subprefect, or an independent departmental magistrate. [Page 379]If there is no suitable official in the Province, an official from another Province may be used. The Shanghai taotai shall in either case request the viceroy and the Governor to make the appointment (and if occasion demands), to address (the authorities of another Province asking for the) use (of an official’s services). (Translator: The Chinese drafting requires amendment here.) The date of his taking over and handling over charge shall be reported to the board.

IV. (a) In all cases, except where both parties are Chinese and in which no foreigner is involved, a foreign official shall sit as assessor. The powers of these foreign assessors, who shall be appointed by the several consular representatives, subject to the treaty rights of each nationality of foreigners, shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Chefoo convention, section 2.

(b) If the magistrate and assessor fail to agree after consideration upon the decision in any case, it shall be referred to the taotai and consul or consul-general concerned, as the case may be.

V. The mixed court gaol shall be kept under European sanitary conditions. An experienced and capable Chinese medical officer shall be engaged by the court itself to carry out this work, and the Shanghai taotai shall set aside funds for this purpose.

If in the future the court gets a proper gaol, separate rules will be drawn up for its satisfactory administration.

VI. No warrant or summons of the mixed court against Chinese in the foreign settlement north of the Yangkingpong shall be enforced unless countersigned by the senior consul. (In the case of respectable persons, and when the circumstances of the case are not really grave, a summons should only be issued and warrants must not be used unnecessarily. If a party fails to appear when summoned more than once he may then be arrested under a warrant.)

If the defendant is in the employ of a foreigner such warrant must be also countersigned by the consul of the nationality of the employer of the defendant.

In Chinese cases where the parties are summoned by the Chinese magistrate, they may be released on bail if the hearing of the case is not at once impending, so as to avoid detention in custody.

Now that no torture is employed in hearing cases, the new regulations sanctioned by the Throne shall be followed.

VII. In all cases, civil or criminal, which come before the court where a foreign assessor is sitting and both parties are represented by counsel, before an attorney or counsel is admitted to practice in the mixed court he must satisfy the court that he has been admitted to practice in the consular court of his own nationality at Shanghai.

VIII. (No alteration.)

IX. In cases involving principles where no precedents exist in Chinese law, the court shall be governed by Chinese commercial custom and equity.

X. (No alteration.)

XI. All parts of the present rules and regulations for the mixed court of Shanghai not in conflict with these supplementary amendments are hereby continued in full force, and the Chinese and foreign officials shall do their best to carry out the same.

[Inclosure 6.]

the municipal council.—mixed court.

The following letter, with inclosures, is ordered for publication as bearing on the recent dispute at the court:

Shanghai, 22nd June, 1905.

Dear Sir: I have the honor to forward to you:

1.
Translation of a dispatch from the taotai, dated 10th of June, 1905.
2.
Translation of a reply dated 21st of June, 1905.

As it appears impossible to come to terms with the local Chinese authorities I have been instructed by my colleagues to proceed to Nanking and to discuss the question with his excellency the viceroy.

I have the honor to be, dear sir, your obedient servant,

Doctor Knappe,
Consul-General for Germany and Senior Consul.

F. Anderson, Esq.,
Chairman Municipal Council.

[Page 380]

Translation of dispatch from Taotai to Senior Consul, dated June 10, 1905.

The taotai writes in reply to the letter of the 6th instant, that according to all the treaties a Chinese offender is under the jurisdiction of China. If a Chinese commits an offense in the settlement, he is to be tried and detained in custody by the magistrate of the mixed court according to Article I of the rules for the mixed court at Shanghai.

The mixed court has existed in Shanghai for several tens of years; but neither is there any mention in the treaties, nor is there any precedent to show that a female convict has ever been sent to the municipal gaol.

I have been, the taotai continues, in Shanghai for four years as taotai and have always endeavored in my intercourse with the foreign consuls to act in an amicable manner. I can not understand how you, as senior consul, influenced by the municipal council, can address to me a request which is not in conformity with the treaties.

In consequence of the successive enlargements of the settlement the number of the cases which have to be tried in the mixed court has increased; and accordingly the gaols for male and female prisoners, which in former times were regarded as large enough, have proved to be too small. I have, therefore, given instructions to the mixed court magistrate to repair and cleanse the mixed court’s gaols and to choose a place on the mixed court’s premises for erecting new buildings.

Mr. Twyman, the British assessor, has inspected the places and declared them as fit for use. Thereupon I have set apart a sum of money for the construction of the new buildings and have thus done my duty.

Female convicts have to be tried as soon as they have been taken, and immediately after the trial they are to be dealt with according to the sentence.

If there have occurred delays in producing female convicts, because I do not agree with their being sent to the municipal gaol, and if consequently cases accumulate, the fault lies not with me but with the foreign assessor. According to Chinese law offenders who have committed a crime are sent to prison; those who have only committed a trivial offense are kept in custody.

Never has there been equal treatment in all the cases without regard for the severity of the case.

Your request that I should agree with the female convicts for the present being sent to the municipal gaol is not in accordance with the treaties, and I am, therefore, not in a position to comply with it.

Translation of the senior consul’s reply, dated June 21, 1905.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 10th of this month, which I have submitted to the consular body.

I have received instructions to reply to you as follows:

You forget to mention that male prisoners in all Chinese cases of the mixed court have been taken to the municipal gaol since its creation. In this way thousands and thousands of Chinese have undergone their punishment up to the present date and the average number of convicts detained there is 450 per day.

Female prisoners have not been taken to the municipal prison so far because no accommodation for women was in existence up to a short time ago; but the municipality have granted a large amount of money and erected a special gaol for women.

There is no difference in principle between male and female prisoners, and it is not comprehensible, why, if you agree that male prisoners to the number of 450 are kept regularly in the municipal gaol, you should object to a few female prisoners being sent to the same establishment.

It is evident by your conduct in this matter, as well as in many others, that your principle is obstruction to any progress in the interest of humanity.

There appears to be no chance of coming to an understanding with you.

I have, therefore, received instructions from my colleagues to proceed to Nanking and to negotiate with his excellency the viceroy in this and some other matters.

I have the honor, etc.,

(Signed)
Doctor Knappe.
[Page 381]
[Inclosure 7.]

Mixed court dispute.—Minutes of consular meeting of July 26, 1905.

Present, all the members of the consular body except the representatives for Russia and Sweden and Norway.

I. Uniform. The consular body instructed the senior consul to suggest to the taotai that he should ask the consular body not to come in uniform to the tiffin at the Emperor’s birthday, but in white.

II. Sealing of proclamation by the senior consul. The consular body authorized the senior consul to examine in every case the contents of every proclamation issued by the Chinese authorities and to affix or refuse his seal at his own discretion.

III. Question of pimps. The consular body declared their willingness to assist the municipal council in their endeavors to suppress the pimps. Answer to this effect is to be sent to the chairman of the municipal council. It was resolved that every consul should examine the list of pimps sent in by the municipal council and should inform the senior consul if the nationalities given are correct.

IV. Mixed court. Letter from the consul of the 24th instant was read. At the request of the taotai (his letter of the 17th instant) particular cases of irregularities on the part of the mixed-court magistrate will be notified to the taotai; the council will further be asked for details.

At the suggestion of Mr. Potier, consul-general for Portugal, it was resolved to note in these minutes that in the future the assessors of the mixed court when finding that a female defendant should be sentenced to imprisonment should send her to the municipal gaol for female prisoners.

V. Road to the hills. The senior consul mentioned that the deputy sent by the viceroy was apparently already here.

Mr. Rodgers declared that he had official notice from Peking that the matter was pending there for the present. Therefore the matter was left over.

VI. Chinese reformatory. Letter of the committee was read. At the suggestion of the senior consul it was resolved to ask the municipal council for their opinion. In the meantime every consul should study the rules for the reformatory and give his opinion at the next meeting.

VII. Native bank orders. Letter from the chairman of the general chamber of commerce of the 13th instant was read. The senior consul was instructed to write to the taotai in conformity with application.

VIII. Personnel des Legations Etrangeres a Peking. The senior consul was instructed to ask the doyen of the diplomatic body for a number of copies of the above list.

(Signed)
Dr. Knappe, Senior Consul.

[Inclosure 8.]

Consul-General Rodgers to Minister Rockhill.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 97, concerning the road to the hills and the altering of the rules of the mixed court at Shanghai.

In reply I beg to inform you that both of these subjects were discussed at a meeting of the consular body Wednesday, the conclusion being to do nothing. No report has been received from the viceroy on the question of the road. As to the mixed court, I shall instruct our assessor to adhere to the established rules until changes are authorized from Peking.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed)
James L. Rodgers.
[Page 382]
[Inclosure 9.]

Consul-General Rodgers to Minister Rockhill.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that a rather bad state of affairs exists in relation to the mixed court at Shanghai. The Shanghai municipal council some time ago, without consulting the consular body, and with no notification to the assessors other than the British, instituted some new procedures, which the Chinese authorities interpreted as an infringement of their authority and practically in violation of the rights guaranteed by the treaty. The municipal council claimed their “suggestions,” which were put in force, were in the interest of reform, to prevent extortion of money from prisoners and to provide for a proper administration of justice. The consular body, when the matters were brought to its attention by the taot’ai and then by the municipal council, simply temporized, but reproved the municipal council. It was afterwards decided to leave the method and manner of the conduct of the court as far as the new processes were concerned to the discretion of the assessors. The taot’ai had practically withdrawn his objection to some of the new ideas, but the magistrate objected strongly to that which required the delivery of the prisoners after punishment to the municipal police, who returned them to the central station, there to be released.

Upon receipt of your recent dispatch in relation to the mixed court, I instructed our assessor, Mr. Arnold, to observe the old rules and customs. That has been done, and now the police and the municipal council protest against releasing prisoners directly after punishments. I have told them that I do not recognize their right to interfere, and that attitude I shall maintain.

* * * * * * *

It is my hope that the diplomatic corps at Peking will take this matter up and reach a conclusion soon which will have the effect of putting an end to a condition which is a menace to the intercourse between foreigners and Chinese in Shanghai. There undoubtedly is necessity for reform in the mixed court, but I am inclined to believe that the Chinese will make concessions readily if they are properly approached.

I would be obliged for such information as you may be able to give as to the status of this question in Peking.

I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

Jas. L. Rodgers.
[Inclosure 10—Translation.]

The Prince of Ch’ing to Baron von Mumm, dean of the diplomatic body.

On the 14th of the 11th moon of the 31st year of Kuanghsü (December 10, 1905), I received from the superintendent of southern trade the following telegram:

“The taot’ai of Shanghai conveys to me the following telegraphic report, just made to him orally by Mr. Kuan, deputy at the mixed court:

“‘On the arrival at this port of the river steamer, a detective having found on board 12 young girls, whose presence seemed suspicious, they were taken this morning to the mixed court to be questioned. As all of them were servants, bought in Ssu-ch’uan by an official of that province, his relatives or friends, for their personal use, and in no wise destined to be disposed of in a doubtful traffic, the deputy, after vainly trying to reach an amicable understanding with the British vice-consul, Mr. Twyman, ordered his men to remove the girls in question, to be held at the disposal of the court for additional investigation. The chief of foreign police opposed this, and, using violence, his agents and constables struck right and left with their clubs; as a consequence of which two of the deputy’s men were wounded and several persons among the crowd of onlookers, unable to get out of the way, were severely beaten. The women [Page 383](girls) were then seized and led off to the (foreign) police station. The foreign official (i. e., Mr. Twyman), instead of stopping his agents, approved and encouraged them. The Chinese deputy restrained his men, who fortunately did not strike anyone.

“‘A court is a place where justice is rendered, and the fact of striking in court the ch’ai jen (runners) of an official, is not only disrespect to the laws and justice, but also a breach of decorum and propriety. I shall therefore be indebted to you if you will officially request the dean of the diplomatic body at Peking to equitably settle the incident.’

“I have furthermore received from the gentry and merchants of Shanghai the following telegraphic request:

“‘The woman Li Fan Huang, not Li Fan Wang, is the wife of a prefectural secretary of Ssu-ch’uan, named Li T’ing-yü. He dying, his widow, accompanied by her daughter-in-law and her young child, was returning to Kuang-tung with the remains of her husband. She had with her a certain number of serving women, and she was bearer of a passport from the ch’uan-tung. The British police having without cause charged her with proxenetism, took her before the (mixed) court, and, contrary to the regulations, had her imprisoned in the western jail (i. e., the municipal council jail), where she still is. The people are angered and threatening.’”

Considering that there is in this present case neither plaintiff nor accused; that it appears that it is not a case of proxenetism; that the matter does not concern any foreigner; that notwithstanding all this, foreign police agents have in court struck ch’ai jen (official runners), and that innocent women have been arrested and imprisoned, and that their actions can be justified neither by the treaties nor by the circumstances nor reason, I have therefore the honor to send your excellency the present dispatch, and to beg you, Monsieur the Dean, to take steps with the British minister at Peking to the end that he may send instructions to his consul-general at Shanghai to have, in the first place, liberated the women imprisoned in the western jail, and then to reach an agreement with the Shanghai taot’ai for an equitable settlement of the matter, so that the population may be calmed and treaty provisions kept.

I shall be obliged to your excellency for an answer.

Important matter.

[Inclosure 11.]

Baron von Mumm to the Prince of Ch’ing.

Your Imperial Highness: I have the honor to inform your imperial highness that I have called the attention of my honorable colleagues, and especially of his excellency the British minister, to your note of December 11 with regard to an incident at the mixed court in Shanghai.

My honorable colleagues of Great Britain and the United States, whose assessors, together with the German representative, take part most commonly in the proceedings of the mixed court, have begged me to inform you that we are agreed in thinking that in accordance with the explanation furnished by your highness the Chinese women in question should be released immediately. They have furthermore authorized me to inform you that we are prepared to give orders to our respective consuls-general in Shanghai to come to an agreement with the taotai as to an equitable solution of the question.

We have communicated these instructions to the rest of our honorable colleagues, who are of the same mind with us.

Since this was done a telegram has reached me from Shanghai stating that the women in question had been liberated.

This being the case, I feel it my duty to insist with your imperial highness, on behalf of my honorable colleagues, that formal orders be given forthwith that, the sessions of the mixed court, suspended temporarily as a result of the incident in question, should be resumed immediately to avoid the serious injury to public interests in Shanghai which would result from the continued opposition of the Chinese magistrate of the mixed court.

I seize, etc.

(Signed)
A. v. Mumm.
[Page 384]
[Inclosure 12.]

Prince of Chi’ng to Mr. Rockhill.

I have the honor to inform your excellency that on the 19th of December, 1905, an imperial edict was issued, as follows:

“The various telegrams submitted by the foreign board have been carefully noted. It seems that a Mrs. Li, née Huang, who was returning to Canton with her family, was wrongfully accused of kidnaping before the mixed court of Shanghai; that the family was forcibly confined in the municipal jail, and that the municipal police by their arrogant display of authority excited the anger of the people. While the board of foreign affairs was in the midst of their deliberations with the foreign ministers at Peking and making a just arrangement (as to the mixed court), it is unfortunate that there should have been some ignorant ruffians who availed themselves of this pretext to close up their stores, burn the jail, and injure human life. Shanghai, being a commercial port, is a place of important concern. What are all the officials down there doing that such a serious affair as this should happen? Let the viceroy of the Lian Kiang and the governor of Kiangsu immediately arrest the leader and all the offenders concerned in this trouble. Let them be arrested and severely punished immediately. Let these officials also impeach all the local officials who have been remiss in their duty, either civil or military. Let Chou-fu proceed to Shanghai at an early date and make a complete and thorough inquiry into the whole affair, and devise means to deal with it. At the same time let him explain the whole matter to the people and restore quiet. Respect this.”

(Signed) Prince of Ch’ing.
[Inclosure 13—Translation.]

Draft of letter of the dean of the diplomatic body to the consular body at Shanghai.

Mr. Consul-General: In view of the late incidents at Shanghai my honorable colleagues have requested me to make the following statement to the consular body:

The representatives of the powers have learned with astonishment that the consular body has decided in a meeting held on the 26th of last July that the assessors at the mixed court should send to the municipal jail Chinese women condemned by that court to be imprisoned.

Their attention has also been called to a letter sent by the taot’ai, under date of the 10th of June, to the dean of the consular body, and which has just been published in the North China Daily News, and in which this office formally refuses to agree that condemned Chinese women shall be imprisoned in the municipal jail.

My honorable colleagues have requested me to recall to you that by Article I of the rules for the mixed court it is the magistrate who is authorized to confine Chinese prisoners.

These rules were adopted in 1869 by the foreign representatives at Peking and the Chinese Government, to whom it belongs to modify them by common consent. The consuls are not empowered to suspend its application nor introduce changes therein without the approbation of the representatives of the powers and the Chinese Government; such action would conflict with all the conventions which regulate the relations between the Chinese and foreigners in open ports.

While calling your attention to the facts and principles set forth above, the diplomatic body is of the opinion that the decision taken by the consular body on the 26th of July, not having been approved by the representatives of the powers in Peking, must be considered null and void.