Letter

Scope and Content

From Hankow. The Consul instructed him and his staff to come down at once to the British Concession or take the first boat to Shanghai. They therefore came here on Tuesday, much annoyed. All the mission people who are left are now here at the C.I.M. 'The pacifists are a little hard to handle but not quite as mad as they seem'.

There was considerable concern in official circles over how the Chinese would react to the Nanking ultimatum. 'The method appears to be to reply to each separately & if possible still isolate England'. H B R wonders if that is possible for the disturbances at Nanking were very bad. Mr Ridgeley for example, who Emily knows, was stripped down to his pants and vest, which was only left to him because a Chinese clergyman begged the the mob to leave him alone. His companion, a younger man was stripped naked by 'rowdies' egged on by soldiers. Dr Price the fundamentalist had nearly as bad a time. Reference is made to Dr Williams. There is little doubt that there were one or two unsuccessful attempts to ravage foreign women. A [London Missionary Society] language student was led about with a rope tied around his neck. Attempts were made to chop off people's fingers to get at rings. The Chinese officials do not believe the reports and it is possible that they have been exaggerated by the British press but it was apparently a more terrible business than it first appeared.

Meanwhile opponents of Communism and 'former oppressors of the people' have been executed in Hankow and Changsha this last week. There are many cries of "Down with Chiang Kai Shek". He is very much opposed to the Communists and it is possible that the outrages in Nanking may have been deliberately organised with the aim of discrediting him in the eyes of the foreign powers. 'The Communists here are both active & nervous'.

Canton is supposed to have come out in support of Chiang Kai Shek. Syechuan is also supposed to be in his favour and Chiang himself may be advancing from the east. If he does not finish the Communists now, he will himself be destroyed and China may become for a time a second Bolshevik state.

H B R preached this morning at the Union Church. He had previously preached just one sermon since landing - 'what a life for a Methodist parson'.

They are having a little retreat at Bishop Roots' this evening and tomorrow morning.

He has been living a gypsy life since June 1925, which is a disturbing thought.

A letter from Gordon got through this week .

Easter Sunday 1927.

[Eight union organizers who had opposed Communist domination of the labour movement in the province of Hupei, were executed by firing squad on the streets of Hankow in mid-April 1927. Source: The Nationalist Revolution in China 1923-28 (1983) by C. Martin Wilbur, p.112] .