793.94/9897: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China ( Lockhart ) to the Secretary of State

508. Embassy’s 500 [504], September 2, 6 p.m.

Nervousness among the Chinese population has been increased by an order issued yesterday by the Peiping Local Maintenance Society which prescribes the death penalty for 15 offenses. The order appears to be susceptible to interpretation which may result in grave injustices. For example, among the offenses are: political activities [Page 512] or “thought movements” destructive of public safety, speculation which disturbs currency or exchange, interference with public functionaries discharging their duties, possession of lethal weapons, rumor mongering which excites public opinion, and any disturbance of peace and order. The order is retroactive.
The press reports this morning that the Chief of Police has ordered the forming of an organ for the search of houses belonging to former officers of the 29th Army and other military, officials of the National Government and members of the Kuomintang, persons who have infringed certain laws, including narcotic addicts. The search is also to include temples, small inns, factories, and houses with several families dwelling in them. The purpose of the search is given as being the discovery of persons in hiding, weapons, books and pictures which are “reactionary or injurious to international friendship” and of whether the seal has been removed from those houses which Japanese soldiers and gendarmes have already sealed to prevent entry.
The Northeastern University and the Peiping Normal University have been occupied by Japanese troops. Preparations have been made by Japanese military to occupy the largest lecture building and the new dormitory of Peiping National University. A Russian and a Japanese have removed all Russian books from the library of this university.
A second attempt was made yesterday by the local authorities to form a “North China student union” for the purpose of cooperating with Japan. Seven students attended the first meeting; six attended yesterday’s. Thirty-eight principals of primary and middle schools also attended, but not representatives of universities. One Japanese who assists Lieutenant Colonel Matsui4 and who is an adviser of the newly formed committee for supervision of schools was present.
A representative of the Bureau of Social Welfare made a speech at the meeting during which he is reported to have said that hereafter warfare will not be between nations but between races, that the black and the brown races have already been destroyed, that now only the white and the yellow races survive, that the Chinese and the Japanese are therefore foolish to fight each other.
An indication of the disturbed conditions outside the city walls was the killing September 2 of two Japanese military and the destroying of their car by irregulars just outside the north wall of the city.
Armed Chinese police have been despatched to attempt to effect the release of the ten foreigners recently kidnapped.

Repeated to Nanking.

  1. Chief of Japanese Special Service Organ at Peiping.