Entirely About Ourselves | China Heritage Quarterly
The China Critic: 1937
Entirely About Ourselves
In late 1937, the editors of The China Critic faced with the increased threat of warfare in Shanghai reiterated their mission in an editorial titled 'Entirely About Ourselves' (vol.19, no.8). It followed on from earlier issues of the magazine which had focused on the conflict in Shanghai, which had a devastating impact also on the production of The China Critic itself.—The Editor
Elsewhere in this issue we present the views and opinions of two of our foremost contemporaries vis-à-vis the present conditions in Shanghai. We pride ourselves upon being the oldest existing Chinese-edited-and-owned independent English weekly in China and we have every reason to believe that we can and will be permitted to continue our peaceful work in expressing Chinese views on the various affairs of this disturbed world without undue molestation and restraint. We are heartily appreciative of the kind and sympathetic cooperation and support of our readers and subscribers upon whom has depended our existence during the past years and we feel sure we will be given redoubled support and cooperation in a time like this. While the existing circumstances compel us to take cognizance of the realities in Shanghai, we have no craving for martyrdom. It is superfluous for us to reiterate that our entire sympathy rests now with our government and its cause, but we must admit that we are no blind patriots. In these columns during the past years our readers can readily testify to our frequent constructive criticisms and suggestions to the power that be, and to individuals and organizations whom we deem worthy of being criticised or praised. We are human and we are Chinese. Unlike Nero, it was beyond us to watch the burning of a city unmoved; nor are we such good Christians as to turn the other cheek until it becomes insensitive to blows and humiliation. The deafening detonations of bombs and shells, the sight of indescribable human sufferings, did not dispossess us of our sense of human commiseration. The horror and indignation aroused in us are not only due to the suffering inflicted upon our own compatriots and our own kinsmen, but also we feel the same way towards our foreign friends. Without affectation, we are truly sympathetic towards the Japanese people for their uncalled-for sufferings, for it is our strongest conviction that in war nobody wins. The progress of civilization and humanity can be brought about only through kindlier relations, nobler institutions, more neighborly communal living, more abundant life, and good will among men. On the other hand, war is just destruction, it stifles art, literature, music, and all the things of beauty, for, as Shakespeare so gently said, beauty lives in kindness—not in war. Thus while we are fundamentally realists and are desirous of cooperating with the local authorities in their difficult task of maintaining peace and order we cannot be perforce inclined to betray our sacred trust. We want to continue to practise our trade in Shanghai and at the same time we want to fair and square. However, if and when even the minimum condition of our existence is not granted us, we will not hesitate a moment to shut our doors, pack up our troubles and retire quietly in quest of idleness. But unless and until such an even occurs, which we hope and think will not, we shall always meet our readers on the appointed day.