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-3- ~~NATIONALISTS~ THE~~~:~ SZECH\IAN* This essay is based on preliminary researches into the experiences or Szechlplenished , fed and paid; the mass of government officials who fled west in i.he face of the Japanese had to~ phyDically and financially sustained; the student., and staf~o of the refugee universities needed to be kept alive; and increaein~ly, after 1940, the urban populations of the P.ear Area had to be prov!ded with :o•-cost food to counteract the 1utificial scarcities o.nd extra-infl..ted prices of grain in the cities' n.arf 1'~44 1 and the r as fu.~damen~~l as the acquisition of grain and manpower. Given these preeminent ta•ks, we ~~n rt!fle:t on aome of the conditions which faced the Chungking authorities in Szechwan, the heart of their wartime base. To be~in with, the Nationalists, aa individuals a;)d ae a :regime, were for the most part foreign to the region whicl-. now became their home, and the livea of IOOat of the "downriver people" were pervaded by :nsecuri ty. Lucien Bianco, ar:>ong others, ha~ written of Chungking's audden elevaUonto capital sta.tus. In fact, thrcughout the war the city remained primitive (by Shanghai-Nanking ata.ndards), filthy, ~ias~~c. The sustained Japanese bombing of Chungking for several years did little to r.ake the ci~1 more hOapi table. The following remarks from the llri ti8h Con:iul in ChungY.ing have teen choaen for their bluntness; similar, if more lilting, comments can be found in Citinese sources: Enormous rats in incredible numbers infest the streets by night, and every form of loathsome disease is se~n in the etreets by day, Not far from the Consulate-General is a large leper teggar colo'l¥• The reader ray co:-ro-ctly gat~:- :roa t.':!a e==7 ~.&~ C!:~-X~ ia the worst conaalar pobt in cr.~na, and ~ossibly in t.':e world. Its only merit is that the political work is interesting, a.nd that the Consul-General and Consul Grade 2 stationed there ~ve &n OJi>portunit1 for saving money. •The •uthor ackncwledpes reser,rch sc;ipcrt from Rice Univ. end the Institute for CcmpArativ~ Are• Studies, Univ. of il~shinP.ton. -4Of co~e, Chungking waa particularly unpleasant; its climate, for example, was less ap~etizing than some other Szechvanese cities, most notably Chengtu. llut Chungking vas the fore~ost center of refugee concentration, and as such was a constant reminder to lar€1' nu.~b.!rs of government employees of their regime's flight and exile. Chungking also epitomized, but did not monopolize, the other insecurities facing refugees in ~zechwan during- the •ar. unemployment and the shortase of housing were des>erate problems; few of the wartime memoirs of Chinese refugee officials or writers fall to ~ention the uncertainty of their jobs, the frequent and often serendipitous char.e;es of em?loytrd or afford ~.oWlillS together, the frequent movement from one place to another to esca? the threat of enemy bombing or the reality of devastated offices and homes. As focal points of refugee immigration and wartime political and economic activity, the cities (e•?e~ially Ch1'ngking) compelled their guests to live a peculiarly disorganiied and insecure existence. r\1rtr.e=ore, the refueees had to live and deal with the Szechvanese themselves. I vill discuss the attitude of provinci~l militarists to the Nationalist preaen~e in Szec~•~n in a momer.t. Leaving aside disgruntled generals, however, friction and antagor .is~ bP.tvcen local inhabitants and refugees was a recurrent problem. Official expropr !ation of lar.d for govern-rent use vas a CO"'lllOn cause of incidents, but the roots of friction ._.,re so,,...li:::es even nore simpl~. ln 1~39, the Szechw~n rrovisional ~asembly u:- 0:e~ t:-.e ""~:r.int.ar.g to avoid direct contct with the populace in Szechwan, and to deal ir.s~ead "i l.h individuals specially selected by the gentry of various localities, ic, "~lov t~e hic;'iest r~r.k• ae well as immigrant echolars and students and soldiers faced cu:"ltin=l a:i~ oft.en...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5065
Print ISSN
1521-5385
Pages
pp. 3-8
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Open Access
No
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