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Dialogues between Li Hongzhang and New York Times journalist 100 years ago

 Li Hongzhang, interview


"Your Excellency has said many kind things of us," was the reporter's first question." Will not your Excellency also tell us in what respect we have failed to come up to your expectations?"

美国记者:尊敬的阁下,您已经谈了我们很多事情,您能否告诉我们,什么是您认为我们做得不好的事的呢?

 

" I could not say anything bad about America," replied the Viceroy," I have nothing to complain of in the receptions given me. They were all that I could have expected. But there is one thing that surprises and disappoints me. You have too many political parties. I have thought much about your parties. There are so many of them they must bring about confusion. Could not your newspapers try to unite them, for the best interests of the country?"

李鸿章:我不想批评美国,我对美国政府给予我的接待毫无怨言,这些都是我所期待的。只是一件事让我吃惊或失望,那就是你们国家有形形色色的政党存在,而我只对其中一部分有所了解。其他政党会不会使国家出现混乱呢?你们的报纸能不能靠国家利益将各个政党联合起来呢?  

 

"What, among the things your Excellency has seen in this country has interested you most?"

美国记者:那么阁下,您在这个国家的所见所闻中什么最使您最感兴趣呢?

 

" I am delighted with everything that I have seen in America," said Li," Everything has pleased me so much that it is hard to say what has pleased me most. What has surprised me most has been the tall buildings, of twenty and more stories. I have never seen anything like them before, in China or in Europe. They seem so well  constructed that they would resist any wind, perhaps; but we could not put them up in China, because the typhoon would soon blow them down. They would be terribly inconvenient were it not for your fine elevators."

李鸿章:我对我在美国见到的一切都很喜欢,所有事情都让我高兴。最使我感到惊讶的是20层或更高一些的摩天大楼,我在中国和欧洲从没见过这种高楼。这些楼看起来建得很牢固,能抗任何狂风吧?但中国不能建这么高的楼房,因台风会很快把它吹倒,而且高层建筑若没有你们这样好的电梯配套也很不方便。

 

"Does your Excellency favor the education of the common people of China?"

美国记者:阁下,您赞成贵国的普通百姓都接受教育吗?

 

"Our custom," replied the Viceroy," is to send all our boys [children, Dr. Mak put in parentheses, indicating that boys are the only real children in China,] to public schools. We have good schools all over China, but only those who can afford it send their boys to them. The poorer classes do not give their boys education. We have not so many schools or colleges as you have, but we are going to introduce more schools throughout our country."

李鸿章:我们的习惯是送所有男孩上学。(翻译插话:在清国,男孩,才是真正的孩子。)我们有很好的学校,但只得付得起学费的富家子弟才能上学,穷人家的孩子没有机会上学。但是,我们现在还没有你们这么多的学校和学堂,我们计划将来在国内建立更多的学校。

 

"Does your Excellency favor the education of women?"

美国记者:阁下,您赞成妇女接受教育吗?

 

The Ambassador paused for a moment and answered cautiously:" Our Chinese girls are educated at home, by their governesses. Governesses are in all families that can afford them. We have no public schools for the girls, and have no higher educational institutions which they can attend. This is due to the fact that our customs are so different from yours, both in Europe and America. Perhaps we should study both systems and adopt the one best suited to us and our needs."

李鸿章(停顿一会儿):在我们清国,女孩在家中请女教师提供教育,所有有经济能力的家庭都会雇请女家庭教师。我们现在还没有女子就读的公立学校,也没有更高一级的教育机构。这是由于我们的风俗习惯与你们(包括欧洲和美国)不同,也许我们应该学习你们的教育制度,并将最适合我们国情的那种引入国内,这确是我们所需要的。

 

"Does your Excellency expect any modification of the existing Chinese Exclusion act?" ventured one of there porters.

美国记者:总督阁下,您期待对现存的排华法案进行任何修改吗?

 

"I know that you are about to hold another election, and that there will necessarily be some changes in your Government. I can not say, therefore, anything in reference to any anticipated modification or repeal of the Geary Law. I expect, however, the aid of the American newspapers in securing just treatment of Chinese immigrants. I know that the newspaper has a tremendous influence in this country, and I hope that the entire press will aid China in securing the repeal, or at least a strong modification, of the Geary Law."

李鸿章:我知道,你们又将进行选举了,新政府必然会在施政上有些变化。因此,我不敢在修改法案前发表任何要求废除《格利法》的言论,我只是期望美国新闻界能助清国移民一臂之力。我知道报纸在这个国家有很大的影响力,希望整个报界都能帮助清国侨民,呼吁废除排华法案,或至少对《格利法》进行较大修改。

 

"Will your Excellency give us your reasons for selecting your homeward route through Canada instead of through the United States? Was is because your Excellency 's countrymen have not always met with kind treatment in some of your Western States?"

美国记者:阁下,您能说明选择经加拿大而非美国西部回国路线的理由吗?是不是您的同胞在我国西部一些地区没有受到善待?

 

"I have two reasons for not going through your Western States," replied Li." First: While I was High Commissioner of the Northern Ports of China I received complaints of the treatment of the Chinese who came into your country through California. These complaints set forth that the Chinese were not accorded their rights. And they have applied tome to aid them in securing the full recognition of their rights as immigrants to America. Now, by your Geary Law, instead of granting them equal rights with other immigrants, you have denied them their just privileges. I should not like, therefore, to go through the States that have treated the Chinese in this way, nor to have to receive delegations of Chinamen who would present to me petitions pleading for a recognition of their rights in the Western States.

李鸿章:我有两个原因不愿经过美国西部各州。第一,当我在清国北方港口城市担任高官时,听到了很多加州清国侨民的抱怨。这些抱怨表明,清国人在那里未能获得美国宪法赋予他们的权利,他们请求我帮助他们使他们的美国移民身份得到完全承认,并享受作为美国移民所应享有的权利。而你们的《格利法》不但不给予他们与其他国家移民同等的权利,还拒绝保障他们合法的权益,因此我不希望经过以这种方式对待我同胞的地方,也不打算接受当地华人代表递交的要求保证他们在西部各州权益的请愿信。

 "My second reason is that while I am a good sailor, I am advanced in years and must study somewhat by own comfort. The passage from Vancouver to Yokahama is shorter than that from San Francisco, and I am told that the Empress of China is a larger and more comfortable ship than any I could get from any other port on the Pacific."

第二,当我还是一名优秀的水手时,就知道必须学会自己照顾自己。我比别人年纪要大好多岁,从温哥华回国的航程要比从旧金山出发更短些。我现在才知道,清国"皇后号"船体宽阔舒适,在太平洋的所有港口都难以找到如此之好的远洋客船。

 

"You are proud of yourselves, of your country. Your States represent the best type of modern civilization. You are proud of your liberty and your freedom; but is this freedom? This is not liberty, because you are prevented from utilizing cheap labor in your manufactories and on your farms. You are the most inventive people in the world, as is shown by the statistics of your Patent Office. You have more inventions than any other country; you are far ahead of Europe in this respect.

你们不是很为你们作为美国人自豪吗?你们的国家代表着世界上最高的现代文明,你们因你们的民主和自由而自豪,但你们的排华法案对华人来说是自由的吗?这不是自由!因为你们禁止使用廉价劳工生产的产品,不让他们在农场干活。你们专利局的统计数据表明,你们是世界上最有创造力的人,你们发明的东西比任何其他国家的总和都多。在这方面,你们走在了欧洲的前面。

 

Besides, you do not confine yourselves to manufactures—you are an agricultural people, and you combine agriculture, commerce, and industry. You are not like England, which is the workshop of the world. You have devoted yourselves to all the means of progress and development. You are superior to the countries of Europe in the skill of your artisans, and in the quality of your manufactures;

因为你们不限制你们在制造业方面的发展,搞农业的人不限于搞农业,他们还将农业、商业和工业结合了起来。你们不象英国,他们只是世界的作坊。你们致力于一切进步和发展的事业。在工艺技术和产品质量方面,你们也领先于欧洲国家。

 

but, unfortunately, you are not able to compete with Europe, because your manufactures are dearer than theirs. "Your labor is so high that it makes the price of your products too high to compete successfully with the countries Europe. Labor is expensive, because you exclude the Chinese. It is your own fault. If you give to labor free competition you would have cheaper labor. The Chinese can live cheaper that the Irish or the other laboring classes of the United States. Your laboring classes hate the Chinese because they are the possessors of higher virtues than themselves.

但不幸的是,你们还竞争不过欧洲,因为你们的产品比他们的贵。这都是因为你们的劳动力太贵,以致生产的产品因价格太高而不能成功地与欧洲国家竞争。劳动力太贵,是因为你们排除华工。这是你们的失误。如果让劳动力自由竞争,你们就能够获得廉价的劳力。华人比爱尔兰人和美国其他劳动阶级都更勤俭,所以其他族裔的劳工仇视华人。

 

"I trust that the American newspapers will aid us in securing repeal of the Exclusion act."

我相信美国报界能帮助华人一臂之力,取消排华法案。

 

"Is there any desirable outlet for the investment of American capital in China?" asked the reporters.

美国记者:美国资本在清国投资有什么出路吗?

 

"Wealth can be produced only by the combination of money, labor, and land," replied Li very promptly," and the Chinese Government will very gladly welcome any capital that seeks investment in the empire. Gen. Grant, who was one of my best friends, said to me:' You must invite European and American capital to China to establish industrial enterprises, and assist the Chinese in the material development of their country and their great natural resources, but the administration of these enterprises must remain in the hands of the Chinese Government.'

李鸿章:只有将货币、劳动力和土地都有机地结合起来,才会产生财富。清国政府非常高兴地欢迎任何资本到我国投资。我的好朋友格兰特将军曾对我说,你们必须要求欧美资本进入清国以建立现代化的工业企业,帮助清国人民开发利用本国丰富的自然资源。但这些企业的管理权应掌握在清国政府手中。

 

We would be glad to have your capital find investment in China. The capital and skilled labor could be supplied by you, but the administration of the affairs of the railways, telegraph lines, & c., would have to be controlled by China. We must maintain our sovereign rights, and never allow anybody to touch our sacred privileges. I well remember Gen. Grant's advice. All capitalists, whether American or European, can freely invest their money in enterprises in China."

我们欢迎你们来华投资,资金和技工由你们提供。但是,对于铁路、电讯等事物,要由我们自己控制。我们必须保护国家主权,不允许任何人危及我们的神圣权力。我将牢记格兰特将军的遗训,所有资本,无论是美国的还是欧洲的,都可以自由来华投资。

 

"Would your Excellency favor the introduction into China of the newspaper as developed in this country and in Europe?"

美国记者:阁下,您赞成将美国的或欧洲的报纸介绍到贵国吗?

 

"There are newspapers in China, but the Chinese editors, unfortunately, do not tell the truth. They do not, as your papers, tell 'the truth.' The editors in China are great economizer of the truth; they tell only a part of it. They do not have, therefore, the great circulation that your papers have. Because of this economy of the truth, our papers fail in the mission of a great press, to be one of the means of civilization."

李鸿章:中国办有报纸,但遗憾的是中国的编辑们不愿将真相告诉读者,他们不像你们的报纸讲真话,只讲真话。中国的编辑们在讲真话的时候十分吝啬,他们只讲部分的真实,而且他们的报纸也没有你们报纸这么大的发行量。由于不能诚实地说明真相,我们的报纸就失去了新闻本身的高贵价值,也就未能成为广泛传播文明的方式了。

2016-06-23

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