The Consul General at Kunming (Langdon) to the Secretary of State

No. 74

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a translation45 of an editorial from the Cheng I Pao (Provincial-controlled daily) of August 29, 1944, entitled “Look at the Contradictions”, which criticizes the Chinese Government for its neglect of Chinese scholars and writers.

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Summary. It is stated in the editorial that the Chinese Government is planning to send Chinese agricultural, mining and engineering technicians to the United States for training and that the Federation of British Industries has requested the Chinese Government to send technicians for practical work in British factories. It is also pointed out that the Ministry of Education is offering fifty scholarships to American, British and Indian universities. The writer gives his approval to the sending of Chinese students and technicians abroad for further study but calls attention to the poverty stricken and sick writers who are compelled to rely upon public subscription campaigns for living expenses and to eminent Chinese scholars living under such difficult conditions that they are too physically and mentally exhausted for study or research. The writer suggests that the Government should give attention to the protection and survival of its present stock of men of ability as well as to the training of men of ability for the future if it expects to carry out its program of national reconstruction. End of Summary.

This editorial describes a situation which is more or less accurate. The sending abroad of Chinese technicians for training has become practically a fetish with the Kuomintang, which, while prepared to spend Chinese foreign exchange holdings in the training of technicians, follows a conscious policy of not sending abroad Chinese students in the social sciences. This policy is part of the Ministry of Education’s program of emphasizing science while rejecting the social and political concepts of western liberalism. One Chinese observer at Kunming states that the Ministry of Education published regulations early in 1944 which specifically excluded university professors in the social sciences from proceeding abroad for study or research. The willingness of the Kuomintang authorities to see some Chinese scholars and writers suffering from malnutrition and illness is generally ascribed to Kuomintang opposition to such strongholds of liberalism as the National Southwest Associated University at Kunming, where over 60 per cent of the faculty are American and European trained and where the resistance to the reactionary Ministry of Education is strongest, and to its suspicion of Chinese literary figures, most of whom are leftist in their views and consequently critical of the Kuomintang.

Respectfully yours,

Wm. R. Langdon
  1. Not printed.