HC Deb 06 May 1931 vol 252 cc362-3
3. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs bow many British subjects have been captured and how many have been murdered during the last two years in that part of China which is under the jurisdiction of the Nanking Government; whether he is satisfied that there is in such area adequate protection of British subjects; and whether he proposes to take any further steps in this connection?


During the last two years 15 British subjects have been captured in China, all of whom escaped or were released. Eight others have been murdered, and one has died in captivity. As I informed the right hon. Gentleman on Wednesday last, the National Government realise their responsibility for ensuring the adequate protection of British subjects, and discharge it as far as they can. Most of these outrages occurred in remote places where the Government, though they have jurisdiction, do not exercise effective control. As regards the last part of the question, the British authorities in China can be relied upon to afford to British subjects such measures of protection as is within their power. I have no reason to conclude that any further steps need yet be considered.


Is every care being taken to tell those who may be contemplating going to these districts where, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the administration is not effective, that it is unwise for them to proceed there?


It is very difficult to say what steps we can take. Assistance is given in every way in these matters.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that there might be a warning to the missionary societies and the missionaries generally?


I know that the missionary societies do not like to have any outside interference in these matters. The missionaries go as a matter of conscience and take the risk.