Русский | "American Orthodox Messenger" July 14-28, 1900. Vol. IV. № 14. pg. 290-292.
page image 290, 291, 292 from the archives of All Saints of North America Orthodox Church

Affairs in China

English translation by Katherine Ilachinski

Our readers no doubt already know what is happening now in China, on which now attention of the whole world is focused. According to one of the best connoisseurs of China, Mr Pozdeeva, often repeated in it anti-Christian movements are triggered mainly by widespread anti-Christian and anti-European literature. The seat of this literature is in province of Hunan. From this center, it spreads on all fronts in the form of posters, lampoon, cartoons, brochures and books of various sizes. These works are published on voluntary donations from mandarins and persons of merchant class. It is unspeakably painful and difficult - said Mr. Pozdeev in his book about Mongolia - to relay the content of the brochures and pictures: there is so much blasphemy, anger, insults and very obscene ignorance. It is known that the ancient Romans depicted Christ the Savior in the form of a donkey crucified on the cross; the Chinese went further and portray Him as a hog standing or crucified on the cross. The Europeans are portrayed in cartoons as rams and goats; their customary name is devils or green hats, in China a symbol of horn bearer. Favorite accusations against the Europeans are accusations of poking out of eyes from the living and dead Chinese. These eyes, according to Chinese writers, are used to extract silver from lead. Then the Europeans are accused of castrating the Chinese, drawing their brains, and so on.

These products are used by photographers for various chemical goals. Sadly the whole ridiculous delusion is printed not only in cheap popular street publications, but is even repeated by senior high ranking administrators in their official records to the Chinese government. This propaganda on one hand is a major obstacle to the spread of Christian preaching in China, and on the other hand it fantasizes Chinese mob and incites various riots against foreigners.

At present time developments in China are increasingly worrisome. Officially, the war between China and other countries have not yet been announced, but actually it has begun already for a month and the fighting has shed a lot of blood. The biggest losses of people from the European side were suffered by Russia: they represent already hundreds of dead and wounded. It is evident that either the Russians get the most difficult tasks from the actions of the European squad in China or the Russian show more dedication. In taking of Tanggu and Tianjin and in saving of the international detachment, send to Beijing to rescue besieged in the European missions, our troops showed the usual resilience and courage, recognized by all allies. But taking an active part in hostilities in Europe against China, Russia, but, officially declares that it intends to limit its participation exclusively to help the Chinese Government in restoring order in the country impaired by "Boxers". Further Russia does not intend to go and hopes to continue to maintain their centuries-established peaceful friendly relations with China.

According to American newspapers, anti-Christian and anti-European Movement has now engulfed the entire northeast China, Manchuria and Korea, and the Chinese are already beginning to attack Russian cities - Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Harbin, and others. How accurate are these news - it is hard and difficult to judge the justice of the statements of these newspapers about mobilizing an allegedly huge army by the Russian Government for war with China.

The situation of diplomatic missions in Beijing has not yet been determined precisely. One day the newspapers state that all members of European missions in Beijing are beaten and they give details of their deaths, horrific details. The following day the same newspapers print telegrams that all Europeans in Beijing, (except for the German envoy, about whom it is already known for a fact that he was brutally murdered by "Boxers"), are still alive, but they are under siege in the building of an English embassy and can not make it for too long unless assistance arrives. But the European publishers do not trust the latest news: they think that this news - is propaganda of the Chinese who are wishing to reassure Europe, to buy time for final preparations for war. There is no positive news in local, or in the Russian press about our spiritual mission in China. There are quite accurate news about the mass killing of Christian and missionaries of other Christian confession, but about the Russian mission, we know only that on May 25 "Boxers" burned the Orthodox Church in the village of Dongding'an.

Meanwhile, we know that our Orthodox mission in China has five churches - two in Beijing and one each in the cities of Hankou and Kalgan (modern-day Zhangjiakou) and in village of Dongding'an. In addition on the Russian cemetery near Beijing and on the shores of the gulf of Pechiliysk, in Jin Shan-zu, where Russian families move from Beijing and Tianjin in the summer, there are two houses of prayer. Finally, in the mission there is a printing house, three schools - two male and female, in Beijing and one in Dongding'an - and a house for helping Orthodox Chinese widows and orphans.

In the report of 1897-98 there were Orthodox people present in mission churches: Russians temporarily living in China, in Beijing, about 30 souls of both sexes, in Hankou about 50 and about 40 in Kalgan; Albazinians - descendants of long-standing Russian settlers in China - 315; Chinese -- 103, about 578 souls of both sexes. The mission included: its head Archimandrite Innokenty, two hieromonks Nikolai Drobyazgin and Avramy Chasovnikov, one priest Nicholas Shastin, and one deacon Vasily Skrizhalin, and moreover, several natives catechists and teachers in schools. What became of all these missionaries, with their Orthodox flock, with churches and different agencies of the mission - difficult to say definitely. Based on the news of the destruction of the church in Dongding'an and telegrams about the burning and destruction of churches and other institutions of the mission of other confessions, it is possible to think that all our churches in China with everything that was in them were destroyed.

But what can one say about people? Organizations of Protestant, Catholic and other Christian missions have lists of their leaders, perished by martyrdom in China. There are no names of our missionaries, there is no talk about martyrs or confessors of Orthodoxy, but can it give us some good hope? Hardly. In their uprising against the Europeans, who forcibly and not squeamishly by any means were imposing on them (Chinese) their civilization and religion, which they (Chinese) do not recognize and do not find good and necessary for themselves, in the haze of aroused wild passions, wild thirst for blood, the Chinese have hardly spared modest workers of Orthodox ideas, barely remembering that these workers are not like the usual type of European missionaries culture bearers, who brought and killed them with opium, as they have forgotten, raising hands on Russia, that also during centuries they lived with Russia in peace and did not seen any evil from her, nor the slightest infringement on their political and social life and on their way of life…