HC Deb 13 July 1927 vol 208 cc2116-7

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Municipal Council of Shanghai has voted an increase of municipal taxation in Shanghai, and that the Chinese ratepayers have refused to pay the increased taxes until given equal representation with foreigners on the municipal council; and whether he will obtain a Report as to the steps which are being taken to deal with the matter?


The increases in the Land Tax and municipal rate in the International Settlement at Shanghai were voted by the ratepayers at their annual general meeting on the 13th April. The Association of Chinese Ratepayers and the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs have protested against the increase on the grounds that owing to the influence of the recent political situation, the business of Shanghai has been in a desperate state of stagnation, and the general public are in financial distress, and that the matter has not been in any way whatsoever brought to the knowledge and endorsement of the Chinese, and the resolution was passed by the foreigners alone. The Commissioner for Foreign Affairs has, however, admitted to the chairman of the council that the legality of the levy is beyond question. The latest report from Shanghai shows that some Chinese have already paid the increased rates, which came into force on the 1st July. Test actions in Court will be instituted against others as soon as the regulation 14 days of grace have expired. A similar course is being pursued by the municipal council of the French Settlement, and there are some indications that reason will prevail.


Cannot the British Government bring some influence to bear on the British sections in this municipality to see that the British principle of taxation and representation going together is applied as far as British policy in Shanghai is concerned?


This is not a proper method in which to promote reform.

Colonel DAY

The right hon. Gentleman says that some Chinese have already paid the increased rates. Can he say how many have paid?


No, Sir.

Forward to