In the city one noticed but little of the political tension, though it was feared that a repetition of the events of 1927 was not out of the question. The English proprietor of the Yangtze Hotel where we were staying told us that everything he possessed, as well as the whole furnishing of the hotel, had been plundered or burned on that occasion, and he had been compelled at the point of the revolver to hand over a very considerable sum of money. He now intended to go to Shanghai with his wife and all his valuables, leaving the servants in charge of the hotel. The moment a black flag was hoisted on the British gunboat that lay at anchor on the river, all British subjects were to go aboard, in order not to expose their lives to danger. To avoid a repetition of the bloody events of 1927 the English and American consuls in Nanking had advised their countrymen to leave for Shanghai — the sooner the better.
At this time about one hundred young men, officers and students, were being trained as apostles in the service of the progressive nationalistic party. Their task would be to carry on propaganda in Mongolia and Sinkiang for Kuomintang and its modern ideas. One of these men, who was to be sent out to the Mongolian and Turkish parts of China after six months, sought out Professor Sm and asked for a lecture on these remote tracts, that we had just visited. This was but one of the many lectures that Sm and I gave in the capital.
On March 13th the government sent off a telegraphic order to the Governor-General in Urumchi. In conformity with Chinese custom, this order was courteously and civilly worded, though its purport is clinched unambiguously enough in the final sentence. It ran as follows:
»TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL IN TI-HUA(URUMCHI) CHIN.
The Minister for Education, CHIANG, certifies that the scientific research expedition composed of Chinese and Swedish scientists has carried on its research work in Kansu and Sinkiang and has attained good results. Now its directors, Siu and HEDIN, desire to increase the number of its members and to extend its sphere of work. The Swedish investigators, BOHI,IN, HÖRNER, BERGMAN and BEXEI,I,, will soon enter Chinese territory at Chuguchaq. HEDIN and the other members are going to Sinkiang by the great road through Kansu. For this reason we beg you to issue orders to the authorities in your province to confirm the expedition's passports during their travels and to give protection to its members, and further, within the limits of the expedition's scientific labours, such for example as excavations and the sending up of pilot balloons, in all ways to facilitate their endeavours and in nowise to throw obstacles in their way.
The scientific development and still more momentous ideas in the new era and the responsibility it entails make it the duty of the Government to afford them, the members of the expedition, all possible help. We accordingly send you this telegram, and it is your duty to act in accordance with what has been said above.
Executive Yiian. e