Friday, November 25, 2005

January 17, 1938 archives: In Nanking

Religion: In Nanking

Of some 6,000 Protestant missionaries working in China at the outbreak of the present war, only about 300 have left the country. In some cases in battle areas where there are wounded to care for, the missionaries remain at the colleges and universities, hospitals and medical missions where for years they and their predecessors Christianized and educated the best class of Chinese, nurturing the indigenous Chinese Christian phenomenon of the New Life Movement of the Chiang Kai-sheks. In the New York Times last week, details in a lengthy airmailed dispatch by F. Tillman Durdin on the fall of Nanking (TIME, Dec. 27) revealed something of the fortitude currently displayed in China by these men of God in the foreign field.

Before the Japanese encircled Nanking, the gunboat Panay—day before it was sunk—evacuated most foreigners from the doomed city and the Chinese defense commander, General Tang Sheng-chi, fled, leaving his officers and men to their fate. During the four terrible days between the departure of the Panay and the arrival of the Japanese fleet, Nanking was a flaming chaos without government, without telephones, electricity or water supply. Not many more than a score of white men, most of them Americans and most of the Americans missionaries, remained during the siege in which the Japanese slaughtered 33,000 Chinese soldiers (20,000 by execution), and wounded some 5,000, as well as thousands of civilians who, according to Timesman Durdin, "hobbled about, dragged themselves through alleyways, died by the hundreds on the main streets."

Two missionary professors, Dr. Lewis S. C. Smythe and Dr. Miner Searle Bates of the University of Nanking, helped organize a Nanking safety zone which, although the Japanese merely spared it from concentrated bombardment, probably saved thousands of civilian lives. To this zone went thousands of frantic Chinese soldiers, eager to exchange their uniforms for civilian garb, or even to strip themselves to their underclothing lest the Japanese execute them as soldiers. Upon Rev. John Magee, able Episcopal missionary, lately of Shanghai, fell the job of organizing medical care in Nanking, Chinese army hospitals being completely inadequate. With two missionary doctors and two American nurses—whose dormitories were looted when the Japanese entered the city, as were faculty houses at Ginling College for women—the U. S.- supported University of Nanking Hospital remained open through the siege and fall of Nanking. How Missionary Magee, the university professors and doctors and other missionaries thereafter fared, Timesman Durdin did not state nor did he indicate the prospects of the university and Ginling College at Japanese hands. Obviously, however, both would need their share, and probably more, of $300,000 which U. S. supporters of twelve Chinese Christian colleges and universities are currently trying to raise for emergency needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.