Full Citation

  • Title The So-Called Student Movement
  • Author Baronti, Gerve
  • Publication Title The Far-Eastern Review
  • Date Mar. 1920
  • Volume XVI
  • Issue Number 3
  • Page Number 170
  • Place of Publication Manila, Philippines
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section Business News
  • Source Library Primary Source Media
The So-called Student Movement By G erve Bar önti The Chinese students and the commercial class of China are welded together for the purpose of furthering the boycott on Japanese commodities. The student movement as it is called, has an intellectual substratum and a surface of patriotism. Like most youthful movements it lacks systematic methods. However, if properly organized, considering its strong poinds, grit, doggedness and determination, it could be the greatest force in China for the exposition of Japanese camouflage. At present it is working against great odds and must, with its inadequate programme, interfere with cc mmunicatione and commerce, which arc exempt from the boycott. The Shantung question has raised havoc in China, and no amicable adjust¬ ment for the near future is anywhere evidenced. The študente continuously clash with the authorities and it is reported that they have been attending school at Peking under the surveil¬ lance of the soldiers and the police. The Government has demanded through the Ministry of Education that two student leaders be dismissed from the Peking Government University so they may be punished for some "heinous crime." This seems a foolish procedure, for instead of alarming the other students it may incite them to further riot. The lapanese Minister to China has sent a despatch to the Ministry of Foreign Affaire couched in most severe terms threatening that Japan may find it necessary to adopt drastic measures to protect her people and commerce. The students have been delivering lectures on the streets and in the parks recently. They choose as their subjects the Shantung question and the recent arbitrary action of the officials against the students at Tientsin. The other day while lecturing in the busy quarters outside the Chienmen, at Peking, they were surrounded by armed police. In most cases they objected to arrest and refused to leave the place. There is much against this movement as there is much against any new movement which strikes for liberation of the oppressed. It is to be hoped that adequate organization will straighten things out for it in the near future and allow it to develop sanely if it is to be reckoned with politically. Perhaps a students' convention held in one of the large cities where plans could be proposed and arranged might be a start in the right direction. Certain able students from each university and several students from each of the classes of the higher schools might be chosen as delegates, in whic', case permanent executive headquarters should be established and the future campaign decided upon should be definitely made known. On the other hand many think there is danger of an untrained movement becoming a political instrument in the hands of certain unscrupulous leaders. In a country where political unrest is rampant this is a serious question. If this embryonic move¬ ment should be recognized as a power the result might be dis¬ astrous. If certain unjust claims were made on the Government which by the students were considered just they could refuse in a body to attend their schools and could start riot and rowdyism; causing the Government much temporary and per¬ haps iiermanent embarrassment. The atudent movement has accomplished much. It has "started something" by arousing China from her lethargy,—it is certainly unable to carry on if there is lack of organization and leadership. The students will get what they wish in the end. It is inevitable. They are the men of to-morrow. The future affairs of state must be governed by them. How much better they can manage in the future if they will return co their schools and continue their education for the present ! They have been joined by their 'elders, the merchant classes. These classes, because of the advantage of age, and consequent experience, can carry on a movement which might be known as the People's Movement" much more effectually than the student» by themselves. In this case the students, knowing that their ideas would be reconstructed on a sane basis by their elders, could return to their schools, there to absorb as much knowledge as they can get and to plan a future programme which, while >t must of necessity be more deliberate, will certainly be more effective for their ultimate deeire, whi.h is a complete reform of conditions in the country.