HC Deb 20 March 1896 vol 38 cc1463-5
MR. C. E. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, (1) whether the Government is taking steps towards terminating the proceedings of the provincial authorities in the Chinese provinces of Kwangtun, Kwangsi, Kweichon, and Yunnan, whereby the commercial advantages granted to England by her Treaties and Conventions with China have been for many years virtually retracted or rendered useless, greatly to the detriment of British trade, as is shown by the Report for 1894 on the Kwang provinces by our Consul at Canton, and in the case of Yunnan and Kweichon by various official publications in recent years; and, (2) whether the Government are taking steps to induce the Chinese Government to abolish the terminal tax levied in the southern provinces of China on goods proceeding inland under Treaty transit passes, which duty is levied by the provincial authorities on such goods as a handicap in order to render our transit pass privileges nugatory?


The attention of Her Majesty's Minister at Pekin was drawn last year to the perfunctory fulfilment by the Chinese of their Treaty obligations and to the undertaking given by them in 1886, to instruct the Provincial Authorities to publish in the full the Likin tariffs in force in their districts. A case of the specific hardship mentioned in the second paragraph is at the present time the subject of representations to the Chinese Government, and Her Majesty's Government are pressing for the strict observance of Article XXVIII. of the Treaty of 1858.


further asked the Under Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, whether the Government is negotiating with the Chinese Government for the opening of the Canton West River and its tributaries to steam navigation, and for the opening of Nannim, Sinchow, and Wuchow, in Kwangsi and Pongai, at the navigation head of the Canton West River in Eastern Yunnan as Treaty ports. And, whether Her Majesty's Government has approached the Government of China, with the view of the privileges granted, under the Opium Agreement of 18th July 1885, in the case of opium under transit, being accorded to other merchandise proceeding inland under transit pass?


The Chinese Government have assented to the opening of the West River, and negotiations are proceeding as to the ports of call and ports open to trade where Consular officers may be established. Her Majesty's Government are pressing the Chinese Government for a strict observance of the Treaty provisions in regard to transit passes, but they have not as yet seen their way to effectually approach that Government on the subject of an extension to other merchandise of the system in force as regards opium.