§ MR. DRAGE
I bog to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state what are the latest figures received by the Foreign Office with regard to the number and tonnage of British ships employed in the trade of the Yang-tsze Valley, and what is the percentage of British shipping so employed as compared with the foreign and Chinese ships in the same trade.
§ *MR. BRODRICK
The latest year for which complete returns as to the shipping trade of the Yang-tsze can be given is 1898. In that year the number of British ships entered and cleared at the Treaty ports of the Yang-tsze Kiang was 10,753 with a tonnage of 12,271,892. Of the total tonnage of all shipping 1121 entered and cleared 27 per cent. was Chinese, 61 per cent. was British, and 12 per cent. other foreign.
§ MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government are taking any measures to safeguard British interests within the sphere of the Yang-tsze Valley.
§ MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Barnsley)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether appeals have been made from Cheng King and Ning-po for the protection of British gunboats; and, if so, whether these have been disregarded in consequence of none being immediately available; and whether Her Majesty's Government are taking steps to further augment our naval forces in the Yang-tsze region with the least possible delay.
§ *MR. BRODRICK
Appeals have been made from various ports to Her Majesty's consuls to send ships. As I have already stated to the House, considerable reinforcements have been ordered to our naval forces in the Yang-tsze region for protection of life and property, but it would be undesirable to state the exact movements of the ships.