Ho Chi Minh

English ‘Colonization’

First Published: La Vie Ouvriere, November 9, 1923
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

English capitalism, while coveting the immense wealth of China, has contented itself so far with colonizing Hong Kong and inside China practising the policy of the open door, a policy which has allowed it to exploit the country without arousing the people. To-day it is no longer satisfied with this policy. It wants to go further: it wants to colonize the whole of China.

Taking advantage of the Lingchen incident and on the pretext of ensuring the security of his compatriots, the British Ambassador in Peking has just carried out the first stage of this colonization. He has begun with the railways. Here are the proposals he has made to China:

1 — All lines built with British capital, or with materials bought from England and which are not yet entirely paid for, will be put under British control;

2 — The land situated along the lines in question will also be put under this control;

3 — Besides the railways policy, England will have the right to intervene in China's home affairs;

4 — In case of armed conflicts between Chinese political factions, the British will have the right to grant or refuse the use of these lines to whichever faction it chooses;

5 — Priority of amortization of the loans advanced by the British in the use of the income derived from the railways.

Moreover, he demanded:

a) the setting up, within the Ministry of Communications in Peking, of an office of Railways Control, presided over by a foreign official (read: British official), having full powers over the working of all China's railways;

b) that the management of the railways also be entrusted to foreign representatives;

c) the organization of a railway militia under the command of foreign officers;

d) that the posts of book-keepers and railway managers be filled by foreigners.

The British have already taken in hand the salt tax and customs in China. Now they want to seize the railways. When one realizes that except for the lines in southern Manchuria, the Peking-Hankow and Lunghai lines, all others are built either with British capital or with materials bought on credit from British firms, it can be seen what this plan, if realized, will cost China.

All the Chinese, without distinction as to political trend, oppose this disguised colonization. The Peking Students' Union has launched an appeal to the working class of the world, asking it to use its influence to check this attempt against the independence of the Chinese people.

Let us hope that faced with this threat from British capitalism, the sons and daughters of China will unite in victorious resistance.