For use of Military Personnel only. Not to
be republished, in whole or in part, without
the consent of the War Department.
SPECIAL SERVICE DIVISION, ARMY SERVICE FORCES
UNITED STATES ARMY
WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS
CHINA has been at war for 5 years with her enemy and ours - the Japanese. She has met heavy defeats
and won important victories.
She has suffered more than 5,000,000 casualties in those years of war. Yet, today, the free people of
China are still fighting, still holding a better armed foe.
You and your outfit have been ordered to China to help this gallant ally.
Your job, fighting side by side with the Chinese, is to rid that country of the Japanese.
No American troops anywhere have a more important assignment.
Two problems face you right away. You don't know the language and you don't know the people.
That makes it harder to be a guest in China than in a country like England or Australia.
Nobody expects you to learn a language as complex as Chinese, although the glossary at the
end of this book will enable you to learn enough to get along. To understand a people is
something else again. It takes a blend of curiosity, common sense, and courtesy.
You might well adopt as your motto one of the many proverbs that guide the Chinese in
their own conduct. They say ...
"When you enter a neighborhood ask what is forbidden;
when you enter a country ask what the customs are."
It is the purpose of this guide to tell you about some of these customs. It will take only
about 20 minutes to read, but, by helping you to understand China and the Chinese people,
it can add interest to your stay in their country and help you to do a better job for America.
FORGET YOUR OLD NOTIONS
THERE are many Chinese living in America. You probably have seen some of them, and from them have formed notions
about all Chinese. Perhaps those you saw were typical or perhaps they weren't. China is a big country, larger
than Europe, half again as large as the United States, and with three times as many people as we have. Those you
saw in America may have come from one small spot in China - the city of Canton. Judging all Chinese by those
who live in one small part of the country is like judging all Americans by the residents of Hoboken, N.J.
If you think of the Chinese as a yellow-skinned people of a totally different race from us, you probably will
never get to know them. What's more, you'll be playing right into the hands of Hitler and the Japs. Japan will
harp on the color question first, last, and all the time. She will tell the Chinese what she has been telling
them ever since Pearl Harbor - that Americans look down on nonwhite peoples and that the Chinese can never
hope to be treated on terms of equality by America. "Why fight for the white man?" Japan dins into Chinese ears.
To counteract this propaganda you have to show the Chinese that Americans treat the Chinese as we treat any of
our allies, and that we respect them as human beings on an equality with ourselves. Sure, there are differences.
So what? There are important similarities too. If you forget the differences and think of them as neighbors, as
people who eat, sleep, work, and raise their families as we do, you'll be over the first hurdle.
On the matter of knowing each other, you and the Chinese start even. Millions of Chinese know little about
America; millions have never seen an American. Yet, many of them know us by reputation and you can be proud
of the fact that that reputation is good. Our Government has had friendly relations with China for many years.
Americans who have been in China, missionaries, doctors, teachers, officials, and businessmen, have a good record.
So the way to friendship is all paved for you. Added to this is the fact that we are allies - a fact in which
the Chinese take pride. The first thing you should learn to say in China is "I am an American." It is the best
passport you can have.
THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE LIKE AMERICANS
OF ALL the peoples of Asia, the Chinese are most like Americans. Those who know both peoples often remark at the
likenesses. One of the reasons, perhaps, is that we both live in countries where there is plenty of space and a
great variety of climate and food. We are alike, too, because we both love independence and individual freedom.
Another likeness is that we are both humorous people. The Chinese love a joke just as well as we do, and they
laugh at the same sort of thing. Their stock jokes are the same as ours - about professors, and doctors, and
Irishmen - the Chinese equivalent for the Irish being people from Hunan province. They laugh about stinginess,
about country hicks, and smart city people. Their conversation is full of wit, and lively humor, and they love
slapstick stuff, their own and ours. Listen to a Chinese crowd laughing at Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd or
Laurel and Hardy and you'll think you are at home.
Then, too, we are both practical peoples. The Chinese are shrewd businessmen, generous friends, and they believe
in having a good time on earth while they are alive. In the main, so do we. They are better than we are, perhaps,
at human relationships. They value these above all else, and have learned to get along with people through
centuries of getting along with each other. The Chinese family system keeps several generations under the same
roof - grandparents and parents, sons, and daughters and their families, and this has taught them the art of living
together. In fact, consideration for an individual's feelings is one of the great Chinese virtues.
The Chinese loves his home and his family. He is sentimental about his children and his old parents. He loves
his own bit of ground and his own roof, even if it is poor, and he never forgets his own people.
We are alike, also, because of our natural democratic tendencies. There are few class distinctions in China, no
hereditary aristocracy. Anybody can get anywhere, if he can prove himself able and intelligent enough. The Chinese
have their great men who were born in cabins, just as we do. Generalissimo
Chiang Kai-shek himself is the son of poor
parents, and Sun Yat-sen, their George Washington, was a poor boy. The rich in China behave like the rich anywhere
except that they don't feel themselves permanently rich. They know that poor and rich change place quickly in the
changes of democratic life. And the poor man in China is independent and energetic. He knows he has a chance
to rise in the world.
WHAT DOES "FACE" MEAN?
THE Chinese are a proud people and also a courteous one. This means that they consider it important not to hurt
anyone's feelings and they will appreciate consideration of their own feelings. This is sometimes called "face,"
which simply means self-respect. There is about as much of it in one country as another, but Chinese pay more
attention to preserving it than we do. They do not criticize each other as frankly as we do, and there are
certain rules of courtesy, particularly to the old, from the young. Old people in China are highly respected,
even revered, and their advice valued. Lack of respect to the old is therefore a sign of bad manners.
Don't worry about "face" and complicated courtesy. Simply be an American, in the best sense. The Chinese don't expect
you to know all their ways of polite behavior. They will not think less of you if you break a rule or two if they
are convinced you wish to respect them and to be friendly with them.
YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS
YOUR first impression will depend upon where you arrive. The Chinese people vary widely. In the north the people are
tall and handsome. In mid-China they are of average height and in the south they are short and stocky.
During your tour of duty you will see cities, towns and countryside. Chinese cities are of two kinds, those which
have been modernized and those which remain as they have been for centuries. The largest of the modern ones are
Shanghai, Tientsin, Nanking, Hongkong, Canton, Hankow, Peiping - now, temporarily, all in Japanese hands.
In the Chinese cities or towns where you are most likely to be at first, you will be impressed by three things:
that the streets are narrow; that they are dirty; and that they are crowded. Chinese cities and towns are old
and they were built not for automobiles but for sedan chairs and wheelbarrows and caravans of donkeys and for
The gutters are defective, if there are any gutters, and people often throw water and garbage out of their doors.
Modern Chinese cities, of course, have wide streets and good sewers but we are speaking of the places you will
probably see most often.
You may be shocked, at first, to see how desperately poor most Chinese are. Their houses and their clothing seem
dirty and unkempt. There are mangy and flea-bitten dogs that you had best keep away from. You will see human strays
too, beggars of the most sorrowful sort. Do not give anything to them or you will be besieged. And nowadays there
will be others - refugees and homeless poor and war-wounded. For China has suffered terribly. She was, before
the war, only just beginning to have modern doctors and hospitals and nurses. War came before she could get ready
and China's wounded can today be counted in the millions. What you can do to help them must be left to you.
In general it is best to give money only privately, or through some reliable organization, such as the United
After a time, however, you will discover that Chinese peasants and workmen are almost never demoralized. They keep
their chins up, take what comes, help each other out, and live with amazing contentment amid the terrific struggle
for the bare necessities of life.
You will have other surprises too. But they need not shock you if you are ready to admit that people may be the
same at heart whatever their custom. Thus you will see mothers nursing their babies in public. Men and boys
will relieve themselves wherever and whenever nature demands. Children will run about with nothing on at all.
Take all this as a matter of course as the Chinese do, and do not offend their sense of good taste by seeming
to even notice it.
Despite the strangeness and the poverty you will very soon enjoy walking along Chinese streets and seeing the rich
human life going on around you, the hot-blooded quarreling, the laughter, the children, the people arguing over
their buying and selling. They will enjoy you too. A crowd will very likely follow you to stare at you and discuss
everything you do. They will be a friendly crowd. So accept them good humouredly and let them come along.
One thing to understand at the beginning: The Chinese think we look queer. They are accustomed to everyone having
black hair and black eyes, so naturally they think it strange for people to have red or brown or blonde hair and
eyes of unfamiliar colors. Also, we are bigger-boned than the average Chinese, and hairier. As a matter of fact,
the Chinese have an ancient belief that the hairier people are, the more uncivilized they are. Because of your
appearance, you'll be a curiosity to the Chinese, and, perhaps, a source of amusement. If you take that in good
part and grin back at them, they'll like you.
You'll see lots of rickshas, looking just like they did in the movies at home, and you'll soon be riding in one.
The tough, lean coolies who pull them are to be treated always with respect for what they are in Chinese life
and the waging of this war. They are the freight carriers, the builders of the Burma Road, the guerrilla
fighters, their stomachs never filled, their bodies nothing but bone and muscle.
When you sit behind one of them in a ricksha, consider what he is and how you can help him. He will not appreciate
it if you walk instead of hiring him, for he depends on this job to feed his family. But he will appreciate your
sitting forward when he goes uphill, leaning back when he goes down, and at other times sitting with your weight
in the middle of the vehicle.
As you walk along the street, the working man will appreciate it if you do not step over a carrying pole laid in
the street for a moment's rest, or the lowered shafts of a ricksha or sedan chair, because this is supposed
to bring bad luck in business for a year.
THE modern Chinese girl, in her long, closely fitting gown, her bare arms and short hair, is often very pretty.
Yet it is well to remember that in China the attitude toward women is different from ours in America. Chinese
women in some ways are more free than they are here in America - that is, they do some things which American
women don't yet do. They are in the Army, for instance, and they fight side by side with the guerillas. But in
their relations with men they haven't the same freedom as women have in America.
There are Chinese girls in cabarets and places of amusement who may be used to free and easy ways. But the average
Chinese girl will be insulted if you touch her, or will take you more seriously than you probably want to be
taken. A mistake in this may cause a lot of trouble.
THE CHINESE HOME
PERHAPS you will get to know some Chinese sufficiently well as a friend that he will want to invite you to his home.
If this happens, you may take it as a great compliment, for Chinese, particularly of the better educated classes,
do not easily invite strangers. Usually men meet at tea houses for talk and pleasure. Only intimate friends go to
each other's homes.
If your friend is well-to-do, his house will probably be surrounded by a high wall with a single gate. You will
be led through a court to a big room which is the main room of the house. The general arrangement of the furniture
in such a room is always the same - a long carved table is set against the wall facing the door, as you enter.
Upon this table are ornaments, a pair of candlesticks, and an urn for incense. Between the candles hangs a fine
scroll or a painting, or a family treasure of some sort. In front of the long table is a square table, and on either
side of this an armchair. The one on the right as you enter is the seat of honor. Do not sit in this until you
are pressed to do so, as you will be pressed since you are the guest. The next most important person takes the seat
across the table, and the chairs on either side of small tables along the walls grow less important as they approach
the door. In general, what is innermost in the room or the house is most important.
Next, your host will pour you a bowl of tea. He hands it to you with both hands and you must take it with both
hands, saying "Hsieh-hsieh" or "thank you." Then you may set it down. Sweetmeats, if offered, should be eaten
sparingly and always have a little left, to show you have had more than you can eat.
Thereafter, follow your host's lead. If he is modern and informal, you may be informal. If he is old-fashioned and
rather stiff, then the quieter you are, the better. You can admire generally but don't admire one object especially,
for then courtesy requires your host to give it to you. Above all, in a house like this you should not seem to see
any woman. To do so would be to insult her. If there is a modern sister who is brought in and introduced, be very
formal indeed - at least until you are a very old friend and know what you are about and what the people in the
house are like.
You may even be invited to a feast, probably in a restaurant or a hotel. if so, it is wise to eat only what is
hot. Accept what cold food is put on your plate but do not eat it. It is always perfectly good manners not to
eat at a Chinese feast. Besides, there will be many hot dishes so good that you cannot keep from eating them.
If you have chopsticks, ask your host how to hold them. He will enjoy teaching you.
If the feast is a big one the rice will not come on until the end with four substantial dishes of meat and vegetables
to go with it - or even six. The dessert will be a sweet dish and will be served in the middle of the meal. The
soup may come towards the end. Afterwards there will be tidbits of fruit and nuts to eat with the tea you will drink.
Your chances of enjoying such a feast are not as good as they were before the war, of course.
FOOD AND DRINKS
THE Chinese are famous cooks. In fact, many an epicure maintains that no cooking in the world - not even the French -
approaches the Chinese as an art. If you want a good meal in a Chinese restaurant, take your buddies with you. It is
best to go not fewer than four in number, the rule being to order the number of different dishes that there are
persons, plus a soup. Rice, of course, comes with the meal. You will drink only wines and tea - milk is not a product
natural to China and is found only occasionally, in imported cans. Do not drink it fresh anywhere except in homes you
know. And drink no cold water unless it has been boiled first.
Wine drinking is much enjoyed in China and people drink a good deal but nearly always with their meals. There is
seldom any drunkenness because it is a sign of low breeding to be drunk. Wine is frequently served hot in tiny bowls.
If it is Shaohsing wine you can safely drink a good many small bowls of it. But if it is Kaoliang wine,
or any of the Canton wines, then be careful - they are heavy drinks.
There are many games that the Chinese play while they drink, guessing games and betting games, and the loser has
to drink. When your host says "Kan-pei!" it means "Bottoms up!" You have an opportunity to learn some of them.
Wherever you go in the cities you'll find street-side markets with all kinds of vegetables and fruits and sweets.
If it is summer, there will be plenty of flies, too, and those flies you must treat very seriously indeed.
They are not the comparatively innocent American variety. Since China is an old and populous country, germs as well
as people have flourished there for centuries. The result of this is that Chinese have developed either an immunity
to many of the diseases that kill the white man so easily, or the weak die and the strong survive. You should
therefore follow one simple rule - eat nothing that is not so hot that you know it is only recently off the fire.
Do not yield to the temptation of a fruit that cannot be peeled or cut before your eyes. It is better not even
to use a utensil - knife, chopsticks, etc. - that has not been scalded with boiling water. Avoid sweets and
cakes. Wash your hands with soap and water before you eat. And take care not to expose yourself to mosquito bites.
YOU may want to buy something to take home to the girl friend. It is customary for the shopkeeper to ask considerably
more than an article is worth. If you pay what is asked he will not respect you for it. If you argue him down too
much, he would prefer not to sell to you at all. If you pay about half to two-thirds what he asks, he will admire
you and enjoy the transaction. But above all keep good humored throughout. In China it is a sign of bad breeding
to grow heated over a purchase whether it is made successfully or not.
If you have learned the Chinese coinage you will not need language - you can simply put down your money bit by bit.
Do not put down at first what you are willing to pay, but less, so that you can have something to compromise with
and come up a little - so as to make the shopkeeper feel you are willing to meet him halfway. He will then come down
a little to meet you until you arrive at an agreement. Thus you part good friends. And friendship is the most important
thing in life to a Chinese - he values the kindly person touch even more than he does a good bargain. Prices, due
to the current Chinese inflation, are likely to astonish you, particularly the prices of goods imported from
abroad. In 5 years, China's cost of living index has soared from 100 to 3,400 and is still soaring.
At the time this book was written, domestic brands of cigarettes had risen from 8 cents per pack of 10 to $20.
American cigarettes had gone from 40 cents a pack to $200. Throughout China you may find chicken selling at $20
a pound, coffee at $150 a pound, bread at $5 a loaf, gasoline at $70 a gallon. These prices refer to Chinese
dollars. The normal exchange rate is 20 Chinese dollars for one American dollar, but purchasing power is something
else again. At the end of 1942, the purchasing power of the Chinese dollar was about equal to three-quarters of a
YOU have probably heard a good deal about the "squeeze" system in China. It is there, as it is in every country
in the world, but the Chinese, being intensely practical people, have recognized this human tendency to take a
"squeeze," or a commission, and consider it legitimate. That is, you must expect anybody who does buying for
you, however large or small, to add 5 or 10 percent, he is within the Chinese law, at least the law of century-old
customs. Once one accepts this custom, a good deal of fret may be avoided. The 10-percent squeeze also explains
why servants can afford to work for such low wages for you.
Speaking of servants, you will find that you are very frequently dependent on them in China. Most foreigners and
nearly all Chinese, except the poor, have servants, and they are really more than servants. They are business managers
and general smoothers of your way. A good "boy" not only will see that you are fed and comfortable, your clothes clean
and in order, your shoes shined and your rooms neat, but he will get many things done for you which you cannot do
for yourself. More than that, he has his own way of getting information you may want. It is wisest not to ask him
how he knows something - the Chinese have ways of getting information which have nothing to do with newspapers or
organized sources of information. Simply take what he tells you and act upon it. He will also disseminate any
information about you which you would like other persons to know without your telling them. probably, in order
to gain importance for himself, he will also spread abroad the impression that your eldest uncle is the president
of the United States and your father a millionaire, and that you are only here in China to kill Japs for your
own pleasure, since you are a crack shot. All this will make life easier for you on the streets and your credit
better at the shops.
It is usually wise, in personal dealings with a Chinese helper or assistant, to give him a problem and let him
handle it in his own way. However, make sure that he understands you. You will rarely hear a Chinese say
"I don't know" when you ask him a question. "Yes" is a stock answer and this can make for no little confusion
if you don't watch out. But if you explain carefully and protect his self-respect you won't have any trouble.
FOR the most part the Chinese do not have the highly organized amusement places to be found in American cities
and towns. They love movies, any kind of movies, as you will discover when you wedge your way into a crowded building.
But do not expect comfort when you do so. The likelihood is that you will sit on an uncomfortable bench or folding
chair and that the house will be hot in summer and cold in winter. As for the picture, it may be anything. It may be
a Harold Lloyd you saw 15 years ago!
Theaters are more numerous than movie houses. Few Americans really understand the Chinese theater but those who do,
find its acting a sensitive and mature art. Go at least once if only to marvel at the audience. People eat hot food
that is brought in by waiters, crack watermelon seeds between their teeth, drink pots and pots of tea, talk, play
with their children, and catch the hot towels that are thrown over the heads of the crowd by expert towel throwers.
Better not use these towels yourself, however.
There are tea houses everywhere, and this is the equivalent of the English public house, only tea is drunk instead
of beer and ale.
Actually the Chinese shows which you may enjoy best are the little traveling theaters in the country. And there
are peep shows and jugglers and contortionists, usually found in the public squares on market day.
If there is a canal running through or near the town, there will probably be pleasure boats to hire, "flower boats"
they are called, and for a few cents you can be poled through shallow water studded, if it is summertime, with
great rosy lotus blooms.
Your stay in China will be made more interesting if you develop a hobby through which you can really learn and enjoy
some aspect of Chinese life. Even in limited spare time, you may be able to develop a special interest which will
enrich for the rest of your life the memories you carry home from the Orient. Chinese friends will enjoy introducing
you to these hobbies as much as you enjoy learning them.
For instance, if you like games requiring agility, you will find hours of fun in trying to master the whirling of
a singing Diabolo, throwing it high in the air and catching it on a string; in kicking a shuttlecock with either
foot; or in learning the intricacies of Chinese boxing and swordplay, which are really difficult forms of
Chinese chess and Chinese checkers are every bit as interesting as their American equivalents. And the simple
game of "Fingers," played during dinners and feasts, calls for quick mathematical intuition. If your hands are
nimble you may enjoy learning a skilled handicraft. Collecting stamps or old Chinese coins might well prove a
source of profit. If you are interested in food you might even learn to prepare a few choice Chinese dishes.
You won't get much chance to dip deeply into China's age-old wisdom as found in her philosophy and literature.
But you could pick up from your Chinese friends a collection of proverbs and other wise sayings, many of which
are known to every schoolboy. The more you do this, the more you will understand the Chinese character and why
it is that the Chinese have held together, under unbelievably difficult conditions, during their long fight
CHINA is divided in provinces of which there are 28 - 24 in China proper, 3 in Manchuria, and one in Chinese
Turkestan. Besides this, she has certain regions that correspond to our territory of Alaska - the special
territories - outer Mongolia and Tibet. China has two of the greatest rivers in the world, the Yangtse and
the Yellow Rivers. Her sea coast is long, and she has high mountains to the west and south, deserts to the
north and northwest. Her cultivated soil is generally rich, for the Chinese are famous farmers and have
conserved the soil through over 40 centuries. But she has cut down many of her forests and the familiar
landscape of China has the sharply beautiful outline of grassy hills or rocky mountains. The climate varies,
and, depending on where you are, you will find much the same changes as you will in America. On the whole the
north is dry and desert-like, and the south damp and tropical.
Farmers do not live on isolated farms - they live in villages. Most of the villages belong to a single family or clan.
The houses are earth-walled and straw-thatched in the north and brick and tiled in the southern part of the country.
The general plan of Chinese houses is much the same, however, one story and with one or more courts.
Fields are large in the north and farming extensive. They are small and farmed intensively in the south. The Chinese
have maintained the fertility of their farming land by wasting nothing that can be used as fertilizer. They use
human dung for this purpose, as some other old countries do, and which explains the common odors night and morning
over the fields. It also explains why you must not eat vegetables raw.
You will often come upon temples in the cities and in the mountains. They are interesting
places and you will find
quiet priests living there. If you behave in a temple, as you would do in a church at home, though you may walk about
as you like, you behavior will be in order.
Sometimes you will see marble arches across the streets or roads. These are memorials to great men and women.
Oftentimes a faithful widow will be so commemorated by the community. You will see pagodas, and these are usually
parts of a temple. They have much the same meaning as our church steeples. You will see tiny little temples to
earth gods in the fields. These are worshipped for good crops and good weather, although the Chinese do not believe
these images are the actual gods. They are merely symbols.
You will see funerals sometimes, and you will know what they are by the white clad figures. The poor have a small
funeral procession, only the family following the casket, but the rich may spend thousands of dollars on a
funeral. Priests and mourners, furniture and cars and even planes are made of paper to be burned at the grave for
the spirit's use in the future. It is best not to come too near these processions, for a stranger is not welcome
at such times. Above all, do not try to take pictures.
A village usually has only one business street and here you will find a simple inn, its unpainted tables under an
awning of patched blue cloth. You can get a good bowl of noodles and soup here if you are hungry - and plenty
of tea. If you are willing to wait, the inn-keeper will perhaps make you some scrambled eggs to eat with a bowl of
rice, a dish of green cabbage, and bean curd or a brown fish. The bean curd you will not like at first but try it
until you do - it has valuable protein qualities and is the poor man's meat.
Don't be disturbed if people in the villages are afraid of you. They simply have not seen anyone who looks like you.
And since the dogs will bark at people they don't know - and often bite - it is best to keep away from them.
The Chinese do not fondle pets and therefore dogs may bite you out of sheer surprise!
Everything in China is owned by somebody and so there is no place where you can pick fruit or fish or hunt unless
you go into the mountains. There you will be free, for there are few gaming laws. But elsewhere, don't take anything.
The Chinese guard their property carefully.
CHINA'S modern government is not the same in its form as ours, but Chinese are a democratically inclined people.
The present government is a new one and war overtook it before its form was completed. But even in the old days
when China had an emperor, who lived in Peking, he governed very loosely. He was not so much a ruler as a spiritual
head, as the Pope is to the Catholic church, or, for that matter, as the present King in England is to the English
people. The provinces, or states, were headed by his representatives, but the real governing was done by the people,
village by village. The State did not even prosecute criminals. If a man was convicted of a crime, he was returned
to his clan village and it sat in judgment on him.
The magistrates and viceroys of provinces were chosen from among the men who passed state examinations. These
examinations were open to anybody. Men from the poorest families, if they had the ability and education, could
enter for them. Thus, even the officials of old China often came from humble beginnings.
In 1911 the old regime was overthrown by Sun Yat-sen, who believed that China must modernize herself in order to live
in a modern world. Perhaps the ability to change with the times is one reason China has been able to live until today.
The empire was overthrown and a new republican government was set up, modeled after that of the United States. There
has long been a close tie between China and the United States. Many Chinese young men have come to our universities
to study and it was only natural that they should take back American ideas. But it is not easy to establish a new
government in any country. It took some years to do it in China, all the years between 1911 and 1927, and even then
the job wasn't finished. In the meantime Sun Yat-sen died, and his successor was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek who
in the early days of the Republic had been a brilliant follower of Sun Yat-sen.
Today the Generalissimo holds firmly the leadership of the several groups in Chinese political life. Though these
groups differ as widely as political parties in our American life differ, they are untied, under the leadership
of Chiang Kai-shek, in their determination to be free. They have in him the necessary unity to win the war.
CHINA AT WAR
ON July 7, 1937, Japan attacked China. Then, as now, China had little navy and her army was composed of infantry,
with few tanks, little artillery, and slight air support. Her coastline was blockaded against shipments of war
materials, her industrial cities overrun, and her railroads and navigable rivers in the hands of the enemy.
China had three strategic assets to combat a Japan who was technically superior in every arm - her courage, her
manpower, and space. As one military commentator has pointed out: "The vast distances of China and the rugged
character of the country are among the important points which favor its defense against invasion. Other major factors
are the ability of the people to endure hardship, be content with a meager ration, and to live in relatively
self-sufficient economic groups. The prevalence of a philosophy which emphasizes pride in race, love of family,
and the desire to be revered by their children is another important asset."
Chiang exploited his assets to the full. Driven back from the coastal cities, China's armies fought all the way,
taking a heavy toll of the enemy at frightful cost to themselves. In the early days of the war it was estimated that
Chinese casualties were about three times those of the Japs. Today they are almost even. Whole factories were
dismantled and removed to the interior, often on the backs of the incredible Chinese coolies. Finally in the mountain
areas of middle China the invaders were stopped cold and have been stopped ever since.
With nearly a million Japs immobilized along a strung-out front, Chiang worked to repair the losses of his industrial
cities and communications lines. Millions of men were trained, small arms factories established, a thin trickle of
supplies were obtained from Russia, the United States, and Great Britain. But the Chinese armies are still too weak
in artillery, planes, and tanks to take the offensive.
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHINESE ARMY
THE Chinese army today has well over 300 divisions in the field, totaling about 5,000,000 men. There are about
15,000,000 men in reserve units or in training camps. Also some 800,000 guerillas and 600,000 regular troops
are operating in areas behind Japanese lines. An official publication of the Chinese Government reports that in
addition to these soldiers, China has 50,000,000 able-bodied men of military age available for service. Under a
system of national military training instituted by Chiang Kai-shek, about 6,000,000 mean are now given elementary
military training in their own villages and towns each year. Field organization of Chinese troops is as follows:
Army groups - consisting of two or more armies.
Armies - consisting of two or more divisions.
Division - consisting of two or more infantry brigades, plus one artillery battalion or regiment,
and contingents of engineers, signal troops, medical units, and transport,
totaling 10,000 men.
The basic infantry unit is the squad composed of 12 to 14 men armed with 7.9-mm rifles. Theoretically, each squad
is equipped with at least one automatic rifle, mostly of the 30-caliber or 7.9-millimeter types, coming from
Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Russia, Czechoslovakia, and the United States. The Chinese have some Browning
automatic rifles, 1937 model. Machine guns are of the 30-caliber or 7.9-millimeter variety and come from the
same sources as the rifles. Infantry units are also equipped with trench mortars and 37-millimeter guns.
The trench mortar is one of the principal weapons, receiving somewhat the same emphasis as in the Japanese Army.
The shortages of artillery and of artillery ammunition are so pronounced that artillery is usually found functioning
only as army or army group troops.
China is divided into nine war zones, under zone commanders who exercise supreme authority over all troops in the
particular area. At the top of the whole army organization is the Military Affairs Commission in Chungking, presided
over by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who makes final strategic decisions.
Chiang received most of his military training in Japan where German ideas prevailed, but there have been a number
of other foreign influences on the organization and training of the Chinese armies. Whampoa Academy, China's
West Point, was organized with the help of Russian advisers, notably Marshal Bluecher. Incidentally, many Chinese
officers received their training in our own West Point or other American military schools. In the 1930's German
influence was predominant with a permanent German military mission in China, successively headed by Col. Max Bauer,
Gen. Hans von Seeckt, father of the Reichswehr, and General von Falkenhausen. The mission was withdrawn in 1938.
THE CHINESE SOLDIER
Before very long you will be fighting beside the Chinese infantryman who is little like our doughboy. He is usually
a farmer's or shopkeeper's son from some small town or village and he was drafted for military service. He travels
light, can march incredible distances with full pack, and sleeps on the ground in the faded uniform he wears. He may
look a bit ragged, but as Gen. Cheng Ting Che, one of the Chinese commanders in Burma, said: "You find the best-dressed
soldiers behind the lines." Already a fine soldier, all he needs is better weapons and more of them and adequate
training to be a match for the Japs.
Base pay for the Chinese soldier is about 6 Chinese dollars a month (approximately 30 cents in our money). His daily
rations, in camp, consist of two meals of rice or noodles and vegetables. On the march, his iron ration is fried rice
carried in a cylindrical canvas bag, slung over one shoulder; otherwise he eats off the countryside.
Because he speaks softly and smiles easily, don't think the chiupa isn't tough; on his record he is a good soldier.
For 5 years he and his comrades have kept a large part of the Japanese Army occupied along a 2,000-mile front. You
have no reason to feel superior because you are better fed or better armed. On the contrary, give the Chinese soldier
his due in admiration for his plain, common guts.
WHEN the Chinese were attacked at Lukouchiao on July 7, 1937, Chiang Kai-shek had only one course
to follow: fight
and retreat, using his assets, courage, manpower, and space to inflict as much damage as possible on the Japanese.
You may ask why China didn't get ready for the Japs. For the same reason that we didn't - they didn't know the
Japanese plans and anyway they hoped it wouldn't happen. Besides, China was just getting into her modern stride.
She was devoting all her resources to peacetime development when Japan attacked. A lesser nation would have given up.
China just tightened her belt and went to war with what she had. Her ill-equipped armies fought back and astonished
the world with their endurance. She moved her government 1,000 miles inland, from Nanking to Chunking, so that she
could carry on a seemingly hopeless fight. It was as if we had been forced to move our own capital from Washington
to Kansas City.
Today in Chunking the people are a fair example of what the nation is. Theirs is the most bombed city in the world.
Yet the people go on. They have made shelters in the rocky depths of the mountains and there they stay hour after
hour, sometimes day after day, and when the raids are over they come out and go back to work. They are unbeatable.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
IF YOU were to talk to any American who has spent a lifetime in China, he would undoubtedly give you the following
suggestions. By following them, you will not only avoid difficulties but you will guarantee your own popularity.
1. Hands off! The Chinese don't like it.
2. Be careful where you point that camera.
China is the oldest nation in the world and its civilization is in many ways the greatest. As a natural result,
the Chinese will not bear any assumption of superiority on the part of a white man because he is white. China
herself has no color prejudice against anyone with a different colored skin. She is prepared to treat everyone on
terms of human equality, and you cannot do better than approach China in the same spirit.
Discourage anyone who acts as though the Chinese are queer. They are not queer. After all, there are more people
in the world eating Chinese food and wearing Chinese clothes than there are Americans eating American food and
wearing American clothes. They live their way and we live ours. If you respect them, they will respect you.
Realize in advance that the Chinese, friendly and spontaneous and natural as they are, have a few special likes
and dislikes. They do not like to be touched. They don't like to be slapped on the back, or even to shake hands,
although some of the modern ones have learned this form of salutation. So don't put your hands on anybody, in fun
or fury or affection, until you know the person very well indeed.
The Chinese like reserve with their women and gentleness with their children.
Try not to lose your temper. You will see plenty of Chinese lose theirs, but they are looked upon and look on
themselves as lower class when they do so.
In a shop, it is better not to touch goods you do not intend to buy.
Unless you are very sure of your crowd, better not try to take pictures. In many parts of China there is a
superstition that a photograph magically removes a person's soul. Friends may be charmed to have their pictures
taken, but a crowd may turn ugly at the sight of a camera.
If a mother shields her child with her hand or her apron as you go by, don't be offended. There is a saying
that foreigners sometimes cast an evil shadow. Smile and let it pass. When they know you, they will know that
your shadow is not evil. Simply to say, "I am an American," often removes the curse.
Bear in mind that many refined and well educated Chinese - professors, students, government employees - are today
poor and underpaid. They have forsaken family, wealth, and the comforts of home, and have endured years of bitter
hardship rather than submit to the Japanese yoke. Do not be too quick, therefore, in judging by appearance.
3. Tokio Commercial.
4. Loss of temper means loss of face.
YOU ARE OUR AMBASSADOR
IN A SENSE, you go to China as an ambassador of the American people to the Chinese people in our new relationship
as allies. Some Chinese have seen a few American missionaries or businessmen. But most of them have
an American of any kind. They have heard good things of America - that we have sent them relief in time of famine,
that we have kept other nations from dividing up China's territory when she was too weak to resist. The planes
we have been able to send them have carried far more than their own weight in good will for us.
It is up to you not to spoil that fine feeling. To the Chinese people you stand for all of us here at home as well
as for yourself. It depends on you whether China will like us, and whether they will trust us in the future.