Primary Historical Sources Reveal the Truth about the Nanjing Incident Chapter 6 : The background of the American Missions in Nanjing supporting the Chinese Army
By Ikeda Haruka,
Chapter 6: The background of the American Missions
in Nanjing supporting the Chinese Army
１． Action guidelines of the Protestant Church in China
The first chapter of this book verified that American missionaries in Nanjing supported the Chinese Army in order to promote their evangelical work and created the Nanjing Incident to fulfil their goal. However, American missionaries in Nanjing were only a tiny fraction of all Protestants who were devoted to spreading Christianity in China. Although American missionaries were in Nanjing, the capital of China at the time, they were not representatives of the Protestant sect in China. So how was it possible that a small number of Protestants in Nanjing disseminated most of the Protestant evangelical work in China, by merely supporting the Chinese Army in Nanjing? Were the Chinese willing to allow the spread of Protestantism all over China in exchange for very limitedly Protestant support rendered to the Chinese Army in Nanjing? These are important questions that need to be answered.
In order to more precisely understand the motives of the American missionaries’ actions in Nanjing, let us examine activities of the Chinese Protestant Church as backgrounds.
(1) The resolution by the National Christian Council to support the “New Life Movement”
Here, I show the resolution explicitly demonstrating the relationship between the Protestant Church in China and the Chinese Government. On May 6, 1937, at the General Assembly of the National Christian Council, held every two years, in response to the call from Madam Chiang Kai-shek, or Soong Mei-ling, the following resolution was made:
“We have heard with great interest and sincere appreciation the address of Madame Chiang to the National Christian Council Biennial Meeting, particularly where in the concluding paragraph it is said; ‘The most important factor in reconstruction is the spiritual renewal of the people and the improvement of their character. In a very large measure this part of reconstruction is pre-eminently the work of the church. Then let us do it together, –the New Life Movement and the Church.’
. . .
We therefore recommend:
(a) That Mme. Chiang’s message to the N.C.C. to be printed for wide distribution in both Chinese and English, and
(b) That, recognizing in the ideals of the New Life Movement many of the same objectives that Christians have always sought, Christians, whether individuals or church groups, be urged to co-operate in the New Life Movement program as far as possible.”
The National Christian Council, representing Chinese Protestant churches, was established upon the union of all Protestant sects in 1922. Therefore, the resolution made at the biennial meeting of the National Christian Council was policy decided by all Chinese Protestants churches. The important part of this resolution is stated at the end, that, in response to Madam Chiang’s call, “Christians [Protestants] whether individuals or church groups, be urged to cooperate in the ‘New Life Movement’ program as far as possible.”
(2) What was the “New Life Movement”?
Now, let me explain what the “New Life Movement” was. The “New Life Movement” was launched by Chiang Kai-shek in February 1934 to guide the Chinese towards building a modern state, based on traditional Chinese virtues of “ritual/decorum,” “rightness or duty,” “integrity,” and “sense of shame,” and strict discipline in daily life.
However, the “New Life Movement” was not simply a life reforming movement. This can be clearly seen in the fact that Chiang Kai-shek supported the “three Life transformations”, namely, “Militarization of Life, Productivization of Life, and Aestheticization of Life [or rationalization],” from the initial stage of the movement.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the author of the book Chiang Kai-shek and the New Life Movement (2006), Professor Duan Ruicong of Keio University, stated that the purpose of Chiang Kai-shek’s New Life Movement was to project his personal power throughout China and to realize his political aim and vision for nation building. For further understanding of the New Life Movement, I will quote some of Chiang Kai-shek’s own statements regarding the New Life Movement.
First, let us examine “Militarization of Life” as a slogan for transforming life:
“Militarization means to have the military organization, disciplines, spirits, actions and life permeate through economy and society, and by doing so, to make the entire society one combat unit, eventually attaining the goal that the general public is army, army is general public, life is combat, and combat is life.” (Chiang Kai-shek’s address at a military camp in Nanchang on October 2, 1933.)
From Chiang’s address, it is clear that the New Life Movement included military mobilization.
His next address was given at a civic rally held in Nanchang on launching the Movement:
“Do our comrades in various fields, particularly, young students in general know what I am? Most of you probably know that I was formerly head of the National Government and once commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Army and now the Chairman. That’s all. …A man was not born to become chairman nor commander-in-chief. …Now I am chairman all because I was most strictly educated in my boyhood and I have always made tremendous efforts since I was a small boy…I want my comrades in each field to know that I, Chiang Kai-shek, was most strictly educated by my parents and teachers to become “orderly” and clean. … At present here in China, there is only one Chiang Kai-shek, me. I expect that all of you start to educate and produce thousands of and tens of thousands of Chiang Kai-shek, revolutionary leaders, in future, devoting yourselves for the sake of our country and people. Lastly, one more thing, all of you, modeling yourselves upon me and with the firmest determination and will, carry out the great work of New Life Movement and accomplish China’s revolution! (March 11, 1934.)
In this address, Chiang Kai-shek emphasized that a person can be successful through education and effort, that a revolution can be accomplished and that Chiang Kai-shek is the role model for success, thus promoting his own authority.
From his own words, readers can clearly understand that the New Life Movement was not just a campaign to reform Chinese living but a tool to idolize Chiang Kai-shek and his nation-building political activities, including military mobilization.
In summary, the afore-mentioned National Christian Council resolution was a declaration of their determination to totally cooperate in Chiang Kai-shek’s nation-building political activities and was a consensus of Chinese Protestants, whether as individuals or church groups. Readers can now see the importance of the National Christian Council resolution.
Incidentally, the New Life Movement was incorporated into the Nationalist Party’s wartime scheme of fighting the enemy for the purpose of nation-building, “as planned,” after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Movement was to be involved in “War Area Service” and other actions.
After the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, Chiang Kai-shek made another radio address on February 19, 1938:
“I proposed militarization of the people’s life, more productive life and rationalized [or artistic] life…in order to have all of you respond to the national emergency and feel responsible during the time of emergency.”
Chiang’s words clearly shows that he anticipated and planned on coping with the wartime situation at the very start of the New Life Movement.
(3) Did the missionaries grasp the political and military colors of the “New Life Movement”?
Incidentally, I wonder if the missionaries in China decided to cooperate with the Chinese in the New Life Movement without knowing that the New Life Movement was, in fact, a part of Chiang Kai-shek’s political activities towards nation-building, which including military mobilization. The fact is that Protestant missionaries working in China clearly recognized the true nature of the New Life Movement. For example, Mr. Ronald Rees, secretary of the National Christian Council, wrote to the effect that he knew of the political and military characteristics of the New Life Movement and that he was apprehensive:
“On various occasions since the New Life Movement was launched appeals have been made to the churches to co-operate. Church leaders have shown some hesitation to go into the movement officially or to form local branches in their churches. They felt that being promoted from the highest quarters of the government there might be certain political motives behind it, and that army methods of regimentation were a danger.”
2. Why did the Protestant Church meddle in politics?
Why, then, did the missionaries decide to fully cooperate with the Chinese at this time in particular (May 1937), knowing full well of the danger ensconced in the New Life Movement?
First of all, it was very well known that Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling were Protestants and that Christianity had significant influence over the New Life Movement. In addition, Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling demanded the cooperation of the Protestant Church in the New Life Movement as early as in 1934, when the Movement was launched. At the beginning of the Movement, the couple invited Mr. G. W. Shepherd of the American Congregational Church and Mr. J. Endicott of the Canadian United Church as advisors to the General Assembly to promote the New Life Movement. However, as mentioned earlier, the consensus of the Protestant Church in China was to keep a certain distance from the New Life Movement, out of caution, as Mr. Ronald Rees pointed out.
Naturally, there were reasons why the protestant churches in China decided to fully cooperate with the Chinese in the New Life Movement, Chiang Kai-shek’s political activities for nation-building, at this time in May 1937. Two major reasons were:
1) Finally, by this time, Chiang Kai-shek was firmly established within the Nationalist Party.
2) Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang (Soong Mei-ling) became heroic figures during the Xi’an Incident (in December 1936) and Chiang Kai-shek’s religious confession about his Christian belief while he was held prisoner greatly impressed Christians, particularly Protestants and gave rise to religious fervor.
(1) Establishment of Chiang Kai-shek’s power within the Nationalist Party government
Concerning the first reason, let me briefly outline some history. Currently, it is popularly believed that Chiang Kai-shek became the head of the Nationalist Party, duly succeeding Sun Yat-sen after Sun Yat-sen death (which was partly due to Chiang Kai-shek’s own efforts). This is an utter misreading of history. There were in fact many who contended to be Sun Yat-sen’s successor. After many twists and turns, Chiang Kai-shek eventually held power within the Nationalist government as a despot.
In recent years, there has been new progress in the study of this history. Next, I will briefly describe how Chiang Kai-shek’s position in the Nationalist Party changed, based on a study by Keiai University Professor Iyechika Ryoko, who is a leading authority on Chiang Kai-shek.
First, Chiang Kai-shek was a superb military general and as such he was indispensable to Sun Yat-sen. However, he was not at all regarded as a successor to Sun Yat-sen. Professor Iyechika Ryoko wrote in her book, Shokaiseki no gaiko senryaku to nicchusenso [Chiang Kai-shek’s Diplomatic Strategy and the Second Sino-Japanese War] (Iwanami shoten, 2012, p. 47),
“Sun Yat-sen appreciated Chiang Kai-shek only in terms of military capacity and treated him simply as the president at the Huang-pu Military Academy. Chiang was strongly discontented with Sun Yat-sen’s apparent slight to his ability. In fact, after Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing on March 12, 1925, it was Wang Jingwei that succeeded Sun Yat-sen in the Nationalist Government in Guangdong.
After the Guangdong government moved to Wuhan, the so-called 4-12 Coup d’etat that occurred in Shanghai on April 12, 1927, in which Chiang Kai-shek significantly contributed militarily. However, it was Hu Hanmin that became the head of the Nanking Nationalist Government, while Chiang Kai-shek was not included even among those who established the Nanking Nationalist Government. Chiang Kai-shek, a despot, was strongly rebuked by not only the Communists but also by leaders promoting democratic government. Later, Chiang Kai-shek resigned as commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Nationalist Army and left the political scene in August of the same year, for he was regarded as an obstacle, in the way of unification of the Nanking and Wuhan governments.
“Later, although the Wuhan and Nanking governments merged into the new Nanking Government, various political conflicts ensued. Consequently, Chiang Kai-shek officially returned to the post of commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Nationalist Army on January 4, 1928, and in August of the same year he took office as the head of the Nanking Nationalist Government. However, Chiang Kai-shek’s political power was limited due to supervision by the Central Political Conference, in a form of group leadership. Under such a circumstance, in March 1931, Chiang Kai-shek tried to pass a bill to enabled himself to concentrate power on to the head of the state. Hu Hanmin, then chief of the Legislative Chamber, strongly opposed Chiang’s bill. Chiang Kai-shek, in turn, confined Hu Hanmin to the outskirts of Nanjing (known as the Tangshan Incident), appointed a new head of the Legislative Chamber and forcibly passed the bill in May. In response, the anti-Chiang Kai-shek interim Guangdong Nationalist Government rose up and fierce protests erupted. Eventually, in October, Chiang Kai-shek set Hu Hanmin free. On release, Hu Hanmin met with Wang Jingwei in Shanghai and together decided on basic policies, that administrative responsibilities rest with the Executive Chamber and not with the head of the Nationalist Government (which cut political power for Chiang Kai-shek ) and that the general commandership be abolished (which avoided concentrating military power in Chiang Kai-shek). In response, Chiang Kai-shek was obliged to state, “What honorable Messrs. Hu and Wang agreed upon, I have no option but to obey and therefore I will do what they ask me to do.”” (Chiang Kai-shek and the Nanking Nationalist Government, written by Iyechika Ryoko, Keio University Press, 2002, p. 149.) Later, on December 15, 1931, Chiang Kai-shek resigned from his public post and left the political stage for a second time—he was very well politically defeated.
Here, let me discuss Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin a little further. They were important figures in Chinese history after Sun Yat-sen’s death. How Chiang Kai-shek, Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin mingled with one another is described in detail in Many Troubles and Successes: Hu Hanmin, Wang Jingwei and Chiang Kai-shek and Rise and Fall of the Nationalists and Communists, written by Mr. Chiang Yong-jing, former chief at the Central History Committee of the Nationalist Party. Here, I refer to Ms. Iyechika Ryoko’s brief summary about Messrs. Wang and Hu in relation to Chiang Kai-shek:
“Wang Jingwei was born on May 4, 1883, four years senior to Chiang Kai-shek, and Hu Hanmin was born on December 9, 1879, eight years senior to Chiang Kai-shek. They both passed the Imperial Examination and studied at Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan. They were closely related in their respective careers. While they were engaged in revolutionary activities in Japan, they edited the Chinese Alliance’s organ People’s Newspaper and were very active as controversialists within the Nationalist Party. They were fully trusted by Sun Yat-sen. They needed Chiang Kai-shek’s military strength but strongly opposed Chiang’s despotic behavior and rose to act against Chiang en mass.”
By understanding the relationship between Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin, we now know clearly Chiang Kai-shek’s position within the Nationalist Party.
Although Chiang Kai-shek was obliged to temporarily leave politics, he remained a military nonetheless. In fact, he came back to his position as the head of the military in no time. However, he was not fully in power during the so-called “Chiang-Wang administration” established in March 1932. It was a two-way administration with Wang Jingwei in charge of politics as head of the Executive Chamber and Chiang limited to head the military as chairman of the Military Committee.
Under such a circumstance, Chiang Kai-shek launched the New Life Movement in Nanchang in February 1934. The afore-mentioned Mr. Duan Rui-cong made this note of Chiang Kai-shek’s New Life Movement: “It had the objective to strengthen Chiang’s own power which had been weakened within the Nationalist Party at that time and spread it throughout the country.” Regarding the fact that Chiang, as chairman of the Military Committee, directly ordered provincial and city governments to promote the New Life Movement, beyond the authority of the Central Nationalist Party and the Nationalist Government, Mr. Duan said, “Clearly, it was excess of authority on Chiang’s part.”
While the New Life Movement turned out to be a success and Chiang Kai-shek held considerable power, his political rival Wang Jingwei resigned as head of the Executive Chamber on account of chronic illness and an injury he sustained during a shootout. (As a result, Chiang came to hold the office of the Executive Chamber; Chiang became the top political official.) Chiang’s other political rival, Hu Hanmin, died a sudden death in May 1936. By then, Chiang Kai-shek was finally regarded as the supreme leader of the Nationalist Government. The American missionaries in China who had closely observed domestic politics felt the same. The other political power, Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party, was anti-religion and not at all in agreement with the Protestants. Being Protestants, American missionaries had no other alternative to Chiang Kai-shek among all Chinese centers of political power. When it came to the question of who to support, this situation was most likely one of the factors that led American missionaries to make the resolution supporting the New Life Movement in May 1937. Incidentally, Chiang Kai-shek became the President of the Nationalist Party in March 1938, further consolidating his position.
(2) Chiang Kai-shek’s religious confession after the Xi’an Incident
One more decisive factor we cannot overlook is the influence of the Xi’an Incident of December 1936. Readers may wonder why. Today, it is widely known that the Xi’an Incident triggered a second alliance between the Nationalists and the Communists and strengthened Chinese pressure against Japan. But this is only one side of the story. The other side is no less dramatic. The Xi’an Incident made heroes out of Chiang Kai-shek, who emerged from detention alive and Soong Mei-ling, who, in person, went to rescue her husband. In addition, Chiang Kai-shek, amidst his agonies and pains during custody, reportedly reconfirmed his love of Jesus Christ, which greatly moved Christians, especially Protestants—both Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling were Protestants. This was a great message for the Christian world. Mr. Mizoguchi Yasuo stated, “Such words [confession of religious faith] were a great message of friendship not only to the Chinese Christians but also for Western Christians.”
I quote the first part of a letter that Chiang Kai-shek sent to the Central Conference of Eastern Asia of the Methodist Episcopal Church in session on Good Friday, March 26, 1937, in Nanjing:
“Without religious faith there can be no real understanding of life. …I have now been a Christian for nearly ten years, and during that time I have been a constant reader of the Bible. Never before has this sacred book been so interesting to me as during my two weeks’ captivity in Sian. This unfortunate affair took place all of a sudden, and I found myself placed under detention without having a single earthly belonging. From my captors I asked but one thing, a copy of the Bible. In my solitude I had ample opportunity for reading and meditation. The greatness and love of Christ burst upon me with new inspiration, increasing my strength to struggle against evil, to overcome temptation, and to uphold righteousness.”
In response, Mr. Ronald Rees, secretary at the National Christian Council, expressed his admiration for Chiang Kai-shek for being a true Christian:
“Meanwhile the personal faith and experience of the Generalissimo [Chiang Kai-shek] have been growing through a period of ten years. …The diary he wrote during the days of captivity at Sian and the message he sent on Good Friday 1937 to the Methodist Episcopal Conference are very revealing. He acknowledges the influence of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary hero who prayed in his time of trouble. But he now witnesses to the great influence of Jesus Christ as he faced temptation and forgave his enemies.”
(As an aside, Chiang Kai-shek was baptized by the Rev. Jiang Zhang-chuan of the Methodist Church in 1930. However, on his marriage to Protestant Soong Mei-ling in 1927, he promised Soong’s parents that he would be a Christian. Therefore, Chiang said he had been a Christian for ten years, from 1927 to 1937.)
We do not know for certain whether Chiang Kai-shek reawakened to his Christian faith during the Xi’an Incident. However, he lived up to his name as a politician by sending the afore-mentioned letter on Good Friday to the Protestant meeting, propagating himself as a true Christian (further promoting himself as an “authentic” successor to Sun Yat-sen). One can easily imagine that in the background Soong Mei-ling, a Protestant, gave instructions. Soong was educated in the United States and perfectly versed in the American Protestants’ psychology.
Certainly, it was not that Chiang Kai-shek suddenly became popular among Protestants after the Xi’an Incident. Missionary Wilson Mills wrote that as early as 1931 he was very appreciative of Chiang Kai-shek and his understanding of Christianity and his baptism:
“It is interesting in this connection [Mr. Mills was told that the dominant view within the government was that religious freedom should continue to be the Nationalist Party’s fundamental principle] to recall the fact that the message which President Chiang Kai-shek wrote for the National Convention of the Y.M.C.A. in October, 1929 was ‘Religious Freedom.’ No more significant words could have been chosen. …We have now entered upon what seems a third stage in the Kuomintang’s attitude toward religion. There is less opposition and less tolerance. This is due in large measure undoubtedly to the bold act of President Chiang Kai-shek himself in embracing Christianity. By this step the President showed the words “religious freedom” meant what they said, and that the Party’s declaration in behalf of freedom of belief was a real statement of principle. The President’s conversion indicates more clearly perhaps than anything else the long way [the oppression against Christianity after Sun Yat-sen’s death in 1925 and the end of the oppression] that has been travelled since 1926.”
Therefore, his religious confession after the Xi’an Incident served as the last push to propel national admiration for Chiang Kai-shek. With these factors, leaders of the Protestant Church, while fully aware of the political and military elements of the “New Life Movement,” decided on a policy to fully support the New Life Movement, that is, Chiang Kai-shek’s political activities and nation-building, as the consensus of the Protestant Church in China.
3. The key figure to connect the influence of the resolution to support Chiang Kai-shek by the National Christian Council and the activities by the American missionaries in Nanjing—”Huang Jen Ling,” Chiang Kai-shek’s right-hand man
Now, on seeing the cooperative relationship between the Protestant Church in China and Chiang Kai-shek, let us reexamine the activities on the part of American missionaries in Nanjing. Readers already understand that Missionary Mills’ statement in Nanjing to support and protect the Chinese Army [refer to Chapter 2--3. (2)] was made following the National Christian Council’s resolution to fully cooperate with the Chinese in the New Life Movement: to support Chiang Kai-shek.
To clarify the relationship between both parties, let me mention the statement of Mr. Ronald Rees, secretary at the National Christian Council, regarding the resolution to fully support the New Life Movement.
“The deep religious note in Madame Chiang’s appeal made a great impression. …’Then let us do it together, the New Life Movement and Church.’…The National Christian Council responded by recommending that Christians, whether individuals or church groups, be urged to co-operate in the programme of the movement as far as possible, and practical ways and means will be worked out by both sides to give effect to the recommendation.
An added source of confidence in New Life Movement was the fact that Colonel J. L. Huang had recently been appointed as general secretary…”
What is interesting here is the statement that Colonel J. L. Huang had recently been appointed as general secretary: in fact, Mr. Huang Jen Lin was appointed general director of the General Assembly to Promote the New Life Movement by Chiang Kai-shek in February 1937.
Colonel Huang Jen Lin, as previously mentioned, was the very person missionary Mills informed of the American missionaries’ intention to support and protect the Chinese Army within the Nanking Safety Zone [refer to Chapter 3--3-(1)]. In Nanjing, Mr. Mills proposed to Mr. Huang Jen Lin, who was in charge of the New Life Movement, to support and protect the Chinese Army as American missionaries (Protestants). As I described earlier, the New Life Movement was incorporated into an anti-enemy nation-building regime after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War and engaged in the support the Chinese Army mission via the War Area Service Corps. Mr. Mills’ offer can be seemed to be merely an actualization of its cooperation with the Chinese in the New Life Movement as resolved by the National Christian Council.
The problem in Nanjing can be simply reduced to the fact that Protestant American missionaries in Nanjing, following Catholic Father Jacquinot and declaring neutrality and protection of refugees, in fact, supported and protected the Chinese Army.
Neutrality and one-sided support cannot stand together. It is totally impossible, in the first place, for Protestant missionaries, who resolved to fully cooperate with Chiang Kai-shek in his nation-building political activities, to establish a neutral organization. In order to conceal this hypocrisy, the Protestant missionaries needed an absolute evil, Japanese “military atrocities” in Nanjing, that is, the “Nanjing Incident.”
4. Missionary Bates’ concerns come true
Incidentally, prior to the resolution made by the National Christian Council to support Chiang Kai-shek, Mr. Bates, who was very active as the person in charge of publicity during the process of creating the Nanjing Incident, warned against being too enthusiastic over Chiang Kai-shek, as stated in the “National Affairs series from China Missions Newsletter,” dated May 6, 1937:
“The visits of Kung [a Protestant, Chiang Kai-shek’s brother-in-law and married to Soong Ai-ling, the eldest of the Soong sisters] in western countries, the departure of C. T. Wang as Ambassador to the United States, and the wide publicity given in Christian circles to the Easter message of Chiang Kai-shek, as well as to Kung’s earlier telegram to the Oxford Group Conference and other such communications, prompt a warning of reasonable caution. It is natural to rejoice in the Christian stand taken by such persons; and this writer [Bates] for one is convinced of their sincerity. Nevertheless, there is danger in missionary enthusiasm over the present governmental group, as well as in the response and expectations aroused among westerners generally. In the first place, Christianity cannot afford in principle or in practice to be linked to a particular political faction, good, medium, or bad. In the second place, no alert and well-informed person should seem to give complete approval to the acts and policies of this Government as a whole or of these individual men in particular. The very real improvement in Chinese national life as compared with former periods is encouraging. But it is only a tiny beginning. Nepotism and corruption, the secret and unchecked spending of vast sums of the peasants’ money, narrow bureaucracy protected by a dangerous censorship and a political judiciary, management of railways and of rural reconstruction in ways highly profitable to Shanghai financiers: the responsibility for these evils rests on high shoulders. Human nature is such that men can be touched by good motives and can do real service for the nation, yet maintain large reservations of profit and malpractice. We need a selective and constructively critical support of the new men and new measures; not sectarian blindness. Feng Yu-hsiang’s case is not a complete analogy, but it has lessons for today. M. S. B. May 6, 1937.”
Key phrases such as “the very real improvement in Chinese national life” and “the new men and new measures” clearly indicate that Mr. Bates referred to support for the New Life Movement. Nevertheless, Bates was very much concerned of the danger of Chiang Kai-shek’s “Easter” (in fact, Good Friday, two days previously) message and other communications on the part of the Chinese were given wide publicity in Christian circles and stoked missionary enthusiasm for the Chinese government at the time, eventually leading to complete and blind support for the Nationalist Party and Chiang Kai-shek, which was against the Church’s principle of distancing itself from politics. Above all, Mr. Bates mentioned Feng Yu-hsiang, a.k.a. a Christian general, and pointed him out as a lesson. From this passage, we can see Mr. Bates’ strong concerns for blind personal support for Chiang Kai-shek.
Mr. Bates’ statement was dated May 6, 1937, which was exactly the same day the National Christian Council adopted the resolution to fully support, in response to Soong Mei-ling’s appeal, Chiang Kai-shek’s New Life Movement. Mr. Bates often contributed his reports to the voluminous annual (or biennial) China Christian Year Book, compiled by the National Christian Council along with leading the General Assembly. Mr. Bates’ reports appeared in the 1931, 1932-33 and 1938-39 Year Books. Incidentally, Mr. Mills contributed to the 1931 and 1936-37 Year Books and was editor of the 1928 Year Book. Since Mr. Bates was closely involved in the activities of the National Christian Council, he was most likely informed of Soong Mei-ling’s appeal well in advance.
In the end, Mr. Bates’ concerns became reality as the National Christian Council resolved to fully support the New Life Movement, in fact, Chiang Kai-shek, as the Protestants’ consensus. And in Nanjing, under Mr. Mills’ leadership, following the Catholic model, they declared establishment of a neutral, demilitarized zone for civilians. In fact, the National Christian Council supported the Chinese Army in a supposedly demilitarized zone, which was nothing but an act of deception. In their process of deception, the National Christian Council created the Nanjing Incident, as I have pointed out.
Mr. Bates, who carefully watched this process before the National Christian Council resolved to support Chiang Kai-shek, clearly understood what dangerous work they were doing. Therefore, based on his assessment, he made utmost efforts not to reveal the fact that American missionaries supported Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Army; Bates greatly succeeded in this. Although the deception on the part of American missionaries has yet to be widely revealed, it is an inerasable fact that they clearly lied and acted against teachings written in The Bible. The American missionaries, while pretending to be neutral, supported Chiang Kai-shek—an act of sheer deception. The Bible does not encourage lying:
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who do the truth are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22.
Protestant missionaries claiming to be true to The Bible were in fact untrue to The Bible during their unholy mission. What an ironical end!