HC Deb 24 February 1885 vol 294 cc1169-70

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether information has been received by the Foreign Office to the effect that the Chinese authorities have, within the last forty-eight hours, publicly intimated that the entrance to the Shanghai River at Woosung will be blocked, so as to prevent the access of shipping to that port, and that vessels are now being stopped by their owners at Woosung in consequence of this notification; and, if so, whether he can hold out any hopes that the influence of Her Majesty's Government may be successfully employed to avert this extreme measure, which, if carried out, must be the cause of most serious loss and inconvenience to British trade?


Her Majesty's Government have not been informed that the Chinese authori- ties at Shanghai have given notice that the river is about to be blocked; but they are aware that preparations have been made for that purpose, and that it is the intention of the authorities to obstruct the access to the river if they think it necessary for purposes of defence. Her Majesty's Government have urged, and will continue to urge, upon the Chinese Government that there should be no unnecessary interference with trade; but they would not be justified in preventing the Chinese authorities from the adoption of defensive measures. From a telegram received to-day at Lloyd's it appears that the French Minister in China has re-affirmed an agreement made last year between the French and Chinese officials at Shanghai that Shanghai and Woosung should remain outside the range of hostilities.