HL Deb 23 March 1927 vol 66 cc685-6

My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Marquess, the Leader of the House a Question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether he can give the House any information about the situation at Shanghai.


My Lords, I am much obliged to my noble friend for having given me notice of his Question. I have a certain amount of information here. A good deal of it was given by the Prime Minister in another place yesterday, but perhaps the best way would be for me to read the whole of it and then your Lordships can see what is new. The Nationalist forces arrived in the suburbs of Shanghai on Monday morning. No serious fighting occurred, the Northern General, Pi Chu-chen, making arrangements to transfer his allegiance to the South. Disorders occurred in the Chinese suburb of Chapei on the north side of the Settlement, where labourers attacked the Chinese police stations and seized the arms in them. A general strike was declared at noon on Monday: this strike is announced not to be anti-foreign, but to be in celebration of the Nationalist victory. All public utility services are involved.

The Municipal Council of the International Settlement declared a state of emergency on Monday; the volunteers and special police were mobilised and foreign naval forces landed for the internal defence of the Settlement. The Royal Marines have been landed at Pootung, the riverside area opposite Shanghai, for the protection of British lives and property there. At the request of the Municipal Council detachments of foreign troops have been sent to protect foreign properties of their respective nationalities on municipal roads outside the cordon line; there are six such British posts and three Japanese.

On Monday afternoon a party of the Punjabi Regiment, when proceeding in motor lorries to their posts on the northern outskirts of the Settlements, were fired on by gunmen; one of the Punjabis was killed and one seriously wounded. Their assailants escaped. The whole of the district involved has since been occupied by Japanese forces. Great confusion existed on the Settlement borders up to yesterday afternoon owing to the fact that the forces operating there were not regular Nationalist troops but local guerillas, including Communist agitators. Indiscriminate firing and burning of houses took place, while the confusion was increased by the fact that no effective arrangements had been made by the Nationalists to take the surrender of the Northern troops.

Regular Nationalist troops eventually arrived at Shanghai North Station, when the Northern troops, in order to avoid being disarmed, endeavoured to force their way into the Settlement. This made it necessary for the British post there to open fire and a few of the Chinese soldiers were killed. Later, about 300 of the Northern troops surrendered to the British posts and some 1,200 to the Japanese; these have all been interned. His Majesty's Consul-General at Shanghai, with the Japanese Consul-General and the Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, were to meet the Nationalist General this morning, when they hoped to persuade him to control the irregular forces and to put a stop to the sniping which has already resulted in nine British casualties. No information has yet been received as to the outcome of this interview.

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