HC Deb 15 February 1897 vol 46 cc396-7

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) if he will be good enough to inform the House when he first heard of the alleged kidnapping of Sun Yat Sen, and what measures he adopted for the purpose of obtaining his release; (2) whether his capture and detention at the Chinese Embassy was contrary to International Law; if so, what representations has he caused to be made to the Chinese Government: and (3) whether Sir Halliday Macartney, as a British subject, is to be held responsible for the capture and detention?


In answer to the first paragraph, the first intimation of the subject was received at the Foreign Office on Sunday, the 18th of October. Steps were immediately taken to ascertain the facts of the case, and as soon as trustworthy evidence was received a note was addressed by Lord Salisbury to the Chinese Minister pointing out that Sun Yat Sen's detention was an abuse of the diplomatic privilege enjoyed by the Chinese Legation, and requesting his immediate release. This request was complied with on the 23rd October. In answer to the second paragraph, Sun's detention was certainly not warranted by International Law, and was regarded as a serious abuse of the privileges and immunities which are granted to foreign representatives, and the Chinese Government were so informed through Her Majesty's Minister at Peking and requested to give strict instructions to their Minister in London to abstain carefully for the future from any acts of the kind. In reply to the third paragraph of the Question, the act was that of the Chinese Minister, and he must be responsible for it.