The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Chinese Legation10

A telegram from Marshal Chang Hsiao-Liang at 4:00 p.m. January 3 transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a telegraphic report from Brigadier-General Ho Chu-Kuo sent at 12:00 p.m. January 2, giving the full details of the beginning of the present clash between the Chinese and the Japanese forces at Shanhaikwan.

In the night of January 1, the Japanese command at Shanhaikwan, before they proceeded with their onslaught upon the city, ordered their military police to destroy the entrance to their headquarters and to drop several bombs in the vicinity. Police forces of the puppet government in the Three Eastern Provinces were ordered to fire several rifle shots around the districts in which they were stationed. Marshal Chang then immediately despatched one of his secretaries to inquire at the Japanese headquarters. The Japanese replied that they had no detailed information about the incident and they asked the Chinese to make an investigation themselves. The Japanese also issued the warning that, for fear of any possible danger on the Chinese residents, they should be ordered to evacuate the city. This warning was to be answered by the Chinese within fifty minutes.

At 12:00 a.m. the Japanese authorities proposed four conditions:—

The South Gate of the city of Shanhaikwan was to be policed by the Japanese.
The Chinese should withdraw their troops from the South Gate.
The Chinese should withdraw their policemen and police guards from the South Gate.
The Chinese should withdraw the guards on the city wall.

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These conditions were to be answered by the Chinese immediately or else the Japanese would proceed to attack.

Later on, the Japanese demanded that the Chinese should grant them admittance through the South Gate and that the city wall at the south side of the city should be policed by the Japanese. The Chinese absolutely refused to concede to these conditions and proceeded to order the troops to take their mapped-out positions for defense. Meanwhile, the Japanese troops disarmed the police guards outside of the South Gate and a Chinese official was placed under detention. The two sides were now maintaining their respective positions.

At 8:00 a.m. of January 2, three Japanese troop trains arrived from the front carrying with them about three thousand infantry and artillery soldiers. A Japanese armored car also arrived at the Shanhaikwan railway station and began to bombard the city at about 10:00 a.m. Their bombardment was assisted by bombing planes which dropped many bombs into the city.

The Chinese immediately returned fire in self-defense and up to the present (4:00 p.m., January 3) the Japanese had fired about three hundred shells and had dropped more than ten bombs. There were casualties on both sides but each maintained its respective position.

Marshal Chang wired again at 11:00 p.m. January 3, transmitting a telegraphic report from Brigadier-General Ho Chu-Kuo on January 3 that the Japanese were reinforcing their troops at Shanhaikwan and two battleships arrived at Shanhaikwan. At 10:00 a.m. on the 3rd a fierce battle was on when the Japanese forces concentrated their attack upon the South Gate of Shanhaikwan with heavy artillery and bombardment from land and sea. As a result of this bombardment, the South Gate was completely destroyed and the city was set in flames.

Simultaneous with this bombardment some Japanese soldiers were attacking the city and were attempting to scale the city wall with ladders. The Chinese made a valiant defense against this attack and casualties on the Japanese side were extremely heavy. At about 11:00 a.m. the Japanese retreated after they had been repulsed by the Chinese.

The Chinese forces were in excellent spirit and were ordered by the command to be always prepared to resist any future attack by the Japanese.

  1. Translation of telegram transmitted to the Department by the Chinese Legation on January 6.