HC Deb 25 March 1898 vol 55 cc921-2
MR. A. H. A. MORTON (Deptford)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, as an immediate en- couragement to the study of Chinese, the Government will consider the advisability of making that language an obligatory subject for Indian Civil Servants proceeding to Burmah, and an optional subject for the Indian Civil Service, the Straits Settlements and Hong Kong Services, and the China Consular Service; and whether the Government would consider the question of offering suitable rewards to young officers for proficiency in the colloquial and in the written language?


In answer to my hon. Friend I have to say that I have made inquiry, and find that Chinese is already made an optional subject for Civil Servants proceeding to Burmah, but that it is not considered necessary to make it compulsory. For the Hong Kong and Straits Settlements Service, the Colonial Office are not in favour of making Chinese an optional subject in the Cadet examination, as the language is better learnt in the East. With regard to the Chinese Consular Service, I understand that the system by which student interpreters devote two years to the study of Chinese at Pekin on entering the Service has been found to work well, and there is no intention of altering it. In several branches of the Service special rewards are given for the study of Chinese.