HC Deb 19 April 1905 vol 145 cc585-6

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any official information showing that the terms of the Mackay Treaty made in pursuance of Article 11 of the Peking Protocol of September, 1901, to facilitate commercial relations between China and foreign countries, have in effect been ignored by China; that the rights referred to have been violated by provincial officials who have levied likin on goods covered by transit passes; have forcibly seized cargo at the barriers; and have illegally interfered with agents and employees of British merchants; that in contravention of the Mackay Treaty heavier duties are levied upon foreign-owned cotton mills than on native mills in the country; that, in contravention of Article 2 of the treaty which provided for the introduction of a national uniform coinage, the provincial authorities continue to mint new copper currency; and that the reform in mining regulations arranged for in Article 9 of the treaty have remained unfulfilled; and, if so, whether the Government intend taking action in concert with other Powers to secure the fulfilment of the obligations into which China entered in 1901.

(Answered by Earl Percy.) No information of the acts alleged in the Question has reached us. Such acts would be violations not of the Treaty of 1902, but of treaties concluded with China at an earlier date. His Majesty's Minister at Peking has been informed in reply to his inquiries as to the steps which had been taken to carry out the provisions of Article II. of the Treaty of 1902 that the Office of Financial Administration has presented a memorial to the Throne proposing the establishment of a general mint at Tientsin for the coinage of silver and copper and the introduction of a uniform national coinage. As soon as definite arrangements have been made they will be communicated to Sir E. Satow. With regard to the mining regulations the Chinese Government state that regulations have been drawn up, but that it is necessary to consult the provincial authorities before the final arrangements could be settled.