Mr. Denby to Mr. Olney .

No. 2305.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a translation of an imperial decree which was published in the Peking Gazette the 9th instant, relating to antiforeign riots.

This decree was issued on the demand of Her Britannic Majesty’s minister and myself. It is not as forcible or definite as we demanded, but in its general terms is satisfactory. It recites the friendly treatment of foreigners by China, the occurrence of riots in Szechuan and Fuhkien, the atrocity of the circumstances, the arrest of some criminals, instructions to capture the guilty, protective measures to be taken, and provides that proclamations be issued warning the people against rioting and against circulating or crediting slanders.

The Yamên has agreed to send this decree by telegraph to all the viceroys and governors of China. I will see that it is circulated among the American missionaries. The Yamên has also agreed that Chou Taotai should be degraded and that publication of his degradation should be made at Chengtu. He was chief of police for the two Hsiens of Chengtu, and he is accused of having put up a placard containing this sentence: ‘“At the present time we have obtained clear proof that foreigners deceive and kidnap small children.” As this publication incited the populace to rioting, I have been very urgent in demanding the degradation of its author, and will, if possible, secure his banishment.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby
[Inclosure in No. 2305.]

Decree published in Peking Gazette August 9, 1895.

From the time of commercial relations with all western nations up to the present, foreigners have sojourned in the interior, and peace and quiet have prevailed among them and the Chinese. We have treated them with the same kindly feeling as our own subjects, and have repeatedly issued our commands to the high officers of the provinces to render to them special protection as occasion made it necessary; but recently riots have occurred in the capital of Szechuan, resulting in the burning and destruction of missionary establishments. At the same time the flame of excitement in the minds of the people has spread to several districts—Chous and Hsiens.

Reports have now come to us from Foochow that several foreigners have been murdered at Kutien by outlaws; and, the worst of it is, women and children were massacred. The atrocious and wicked circumstances of the affair have caused us to cherish a bitter hatred toward the perpetrators of the crime. The criminals connected with the Szechuan riots have been apprehended and placed on trial. In the Foochow case the ringleaders have still to be arrested. Let Ching Yu (Tartar general) [Page 104] and Pieu Pao-ti (governor-general) issue instructions to the officers of the military and civil districts with the utmost expedition to surround and capture the outlaws and not to allow them to escape punishment.

This class of worthless and reckless fellows fabricate rumors for the purpose of leading astray the people and instilling suspicions into their minds. They are to be found in most places. The main thing is for the local officers to be on the lookout and take protective measures and prevent this evil from taking hold on the minds of the people.

How is it? If officials perform their duties in a perfunctory manner the result will be that trouble will arise of a serious nature. Let the Tartar generals, governors-general, and governors of the provinces give instructions to all the officials in whose districts there are missionary establishments that they must energetically protect the missionaries and to proclaim for the information and guidance of the people that they must not give ear to false rumors, which are calculated to create doubts and misgivings in the minds of the people and thus lead to trouble. Anyone who dare create disturbances in the future will surely be severely punished according to law. Any local officers who are remiss in the discharge of their official duties will also have meted out to them severe punishment, and no leniency whatever will be shown.

Let this decree be promulgated throughout all the provinces for general information.