« PreviousContinue »
China's New Constitution and International Problems. By M. T. Z. Tyau, LL.D. Shanghai: The Commercial Press, Ltd. 1918, pp. XV and 286.
Both this work and the preceding do credit to Chinese scholarship and to the bookmaking skill of the Commercial Press.
The first part of the work is devoted to a history to date of constitution-making in China, and to a careful study of the unfinished draft of the new constitution. This was on the point of adoption when a crisis in the government led to a forced dissolution of Parliament, followed by Chang Hsun's abortive attempt to restore the monarchy: thus the Constitution was left incomplete.
Dr. Tyau began his publication in a series of articles in the China Press and Peking Gazette before the crisis occurred, expecting a speedy adoption of the Constitution by Parliament. While that expectation was disappointed, he has done well nevertheless to publish these chapters in book form, for it will be most valuable to the next Constitution Committee, and in all probability the Constitution to be adopted will be similar to this, if not identical with it.
Article by article and clause by clause the document is carefully reviewed and a comparison is made with the provisions of other constitutions, notably those of the United States, Brazil, Chile, France and Canada.
The Chinese Committee made a careful study of these and of other constitutions, yet, as Dr. Tyau points out, the Constitution drawn up is not American, nor French, neither British nor Chilean it is essentially Chinese.
Dr. Tyau finds the beginnings of the Chinese Constitution in the Chinese Classics which, while they did not in formulated articles define the relations of ruler and ruled, nevertheless taught the truth that the welfare of the people is the true object of government, and upheld the right of revolution for the overthrow of tyranny, making the will of the people the supreme law. He might even have gone further, for aside from the teachings of the Classics, the Chinese have preserved almost unchanged ancient local institutions which embody the very spirit of self-government.
It is scarcely worth while to discuss the provisions of a constitution which has not yet been adopted, but there are two or three features nevertheless that may well be mentioned, since they will probably be
embodied in any constitution likely to be adopted by the Republic of China.
Both in the existing and in the proposed new constitution the suffrage is limited to male citizens of at least twenty-one years of age, possessed either of certain property qualifications or of a certain degree of education. The amount of property required is not large. If one pays but $2 a year in direct taxation he is qualified to vote.
There is, however, one remarkable exception-monks, priests and other religious orders are disfranchised.
Another feature of the new and the old constitution is the provision for the representation of Chinese citizens living abroad. Six such representatives sit in the Senate. Their election, however, takes place in Peking. Each chamber of commerce of Chinese residing abroad sends one representative to Peking to form an electoral college, which chooses the six senators.
The President, as is the case in France, is elected by the two houses of Parliament sitting in joint session.
China follows France, too, in having not only a President, but a Premier.
The latter is appointed by the President, but must be confirmed by the lower house, and to the lower house the Premier is responsible. Should the House of Representatives pass a vote of lack of confidence, either the Premier must be dismissed or the President must dissolve the House of Representatives and order a new election.
The chapter on Provincial Government had not been adopted in Committee, but the plan most likely to be decided upon provides for a strongly centralized national government. Each province has its legislature, but the Central Government reserves all powers not expressly granted to the provinces. Peking was to appoint the Governor of each province and the Governor to appoint the magistrate of each district or country. The county or district was to be the local unit. The district magistrates were to be selected from a list of men who had passed the civil service examination, but not more than onehalf were to be citizens of the province, and no man could serve in his own district.
This was evidently a compromise between the old system of the Manchus, which did not allow a man to serve in his own province, and the plan of those who, since the revolution, have struggled to
establish strong provincial governments, all but independent of Peking.
The remainder of this volume is devoted to the discussion of a variety of questions, among them the tripartite treaty between Russia, China and Outer Mongolia, which has already been noticed in this JOURNAL.1
E. T. WILLIAMS.
International Rivers. By G. Kaeckenbeeck. London: Sweet & Maxwell. 1918, pp. xxvi, 255. With separate maps.
Die Internationalisierung der Meerengen und Kanäle. By Rudolf Laun. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 1918, pp. viii, 172.
The problems involved in the subjects to which these monographs are devoted are analogous and fall within the scope of the commission of the Peace Conference dealing with the international régime of ports, waterways and railways.
The book on International Rivers is published under the auspices of the Grotius Society. Its author is a young Belgian who came to England after the outbreak of the war and continued his law studies at Oxford, graduating with great distinction. As the book itself evidences, he has become a master of English style.
In the first part, the author endeavors to present briefly the early doctrines relating to international rivers. Manifestly no beginnings are to be found in the Roman sources, but the philosophy of Natural Law is the basis of the right of innocent passage. The discussions of Grotius and Vattel and of the modern authorities are briefly referred to, but the author gives only minor attention to doctrinaire treatment. Part II, which constitutes the major portion of the work, presents a systematic account of the treaties and practices. relating to international rivers, from the Conseil Executif of 1792 relating to the Scheldt and the Meuse, to the present day administrations of the Lower Danube and the Congo under joint supervision. Out of the maze of documents, one obtains a fairly clear picture of problems and solutions, though we think the results are somewhat obscured by accounts of the diplomatic processes. In Part III, the author draws a few important conclusions. The development of international control of rivers must be divorced from the changing policies of foreign offices and placed in the hands of mixed commis1 October, 1916, Vol. X, p. 798.
sions empowered to act constructively in regard to improvements necessary for the larger commerce of all nations. The success of the Danube Commission is the illustrious example, whereas the regulation of the Rhine has heretofore been the source of much friction. It is curious and yet perhaps characteristic that, though the Act of Navigation for the Congo, elaborated at Berlin, 1884-1885, provides for an international commission charged with the execution of the provisions of the Act, it was never constituted, and the five riparian governments themselves supervise the application of the treaty.
Dr. Laun is professor at the University of Vienna. His book constitutes a report made at the request of the so-called Neutral Peace Conference held at Stockholm in 1916. Both authors are in agreement in so far as they deem it important that rivers, on the one hand, and straits and canals on the other, should be the subject of some standard international regulation rather than of particularistic rule. Perhaps no strictly uniform system can be devised to accommodate the many peculiar problems due to geographical environment, but especially Laun emphasizes the need of a normal system, even though exceptions might have to be numerous.
Laun's book devotes rather more attention to international control as affected by a state of war. We believe that some of his solutions do not sufficiently take into account the widespread distrust which the present war has engendered in regard to self-denying treaties passed in peace-time but intended to control in time of war, especially where the enemy would substantially profit. Internationalization must signify international administration, we believe, if his measures are to become practical, and not merely the creation of international servitudes. Perhaps the promised League of Nations will help to solve some of these difficulties.
Both authors are entitled to commendation for having treated their material objectively. Both books were written in war time by subjects of opposing belligerents, yet the tone of both is dispassionate though their points of view very.
ARTHUR K. KUHN.
The Grotius Society. Volume III. Problems of the War. Papers read before the Society in the year 1917. London: Sweet & Maxwell, Limited. 1918, pp. 139.
Brief, pointed, impartial and informing, several of the papers in this collection would serve as articles for an encyclopædia of international law. Very little discussion that followed the reading of the papers is printed, but whatever appears has the compactness of textbook style which contrasts favorably with that of the diffuse stenographic reports that usually record the debates of an American convention. With one or two exceptions, the papers are confined to technical questions that have been raised by the war, and all of them are of a practical nature. Sober in treatment, and neither speculative nor sentimental in substance, they include neither projects for a United States of the World nor a scheme for the enforcement of the decrees of an international court; but in 1917 the topic of a league of nations was growing in the British mind. "Treaties of Peace," by Commander Sir Graham Bower, deals with treaties that brought to a close the War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic War and the Congress of Vienna, the Anglo-American War of 1812, and the Crimean War. Viewing them from the standpoint of effecting permanent peace, and not merely of temporarily ending a conflict, Commander Bower dwells upon the good example of the Treaty of Ghent. Although he refrains from making proposals as to the present treaty of peace, he makes a summary of the lessons that he has drawn, which might be taken as suggestions by the peace commissioners of the associated Powers. "Belligerent Merchantmen in Neutral Ports," by Sanford Cole, who cites the controversy between Germany and Portugal, takes the ground that a neutral is not obliged to give unconditional hospitality to belligerent ships in time of war, either by admitting them to its ports or by refraining from requisitioning them if they are already in port. "The Black List," by J. E. G. de Montmorency, derives that list, which some people have thought a British invention, from prize court cases decided in American courts during the Civil War. In "The Deutschland" Judge Atherley-Jones holds that the submarine of that name, not from its warlike build only, but also as the announced organ of the German. state, should be given both by neutrals and belligerents the status of a warship. "International Law Teaching," by E. A. Whittuck, one of the most interesting papers in this collection, shows that in the