HC Deb 06 July 1932 vol 268 cc417-8

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can give the totals of arrears of interest and amortisation due from the Chinese Government to British bondholders in Chinese railways; if he can state how long these debts have been accumulating; and if any steps are being taken to recover payment?


According to my information, on the 30th June this year the total arrears of interest due from the Chinese Government was £4,210,569 and about 1,700,000 taels. Arrears of amortisation were £5,856,547 and 78,000 dollars (Chinese currency). These figures cover a number of loans on which default began at different times, since 1924. I am unable to state precisely what proportion of the arrears is due to British subjects, but it is certainly high. With regard to the last part of the question, constant pressure is brought to bear on the Chinese Government by His Majesty's Representative in China to meet their obligations, and these efforts will be continued.


Is it not a fact that the earnings of one of the railways, the Tientsin-Pukow railway, in 1931, were as high as they have been in recent years, but the money which should have been been given to the British bondholders in payment of loan has been diverted to the building of a Ministry of Railways in Nankin? Cannot the hon. Member take steps to see that the bondholders get their money first?


I am not aware of that. His Majesty's Minister in China is at present on leave in this country, and I hope to discuss generally with him the question of these railways.