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0292 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 292 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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As the Minister for Railways had not returned from Peking, I went there myself on August 29th, and, thanks to his determination, had the whole thing definitely settled at once.

Now I could wire for HUMMED, and SÖDERBOM, who were to accompany me on the motor-expedition. The latter was also now in Sweden after his stay in Chicago.

Mr SHEN CHANG, the head of the Peking-Suiyuan Railway, was empowered to pay over the whole subsidy and to discuss the final preparations with us. He informed us of a new supplementary stipulation. With a view to future motor-traffic, we were to examine one of the following three roads within the Sinkiang province: Urumchi — Kashgar, Urumchi — Kulja or Urumchi — Chuguchaq. How this was to be done with the whole province ablaze with civil war, rebellion and brigandage we did not know. Disturbing news of bloody fighting and devastation was arriving from Sinkiang. The Foreign Minister, Lo WEN-KAN, who had flown to Hami and proceeded to Urumchi, had now returned, after encountering great difficulties, via Chuguchaq and Novo Sibirsk. Like General HUANG MU-SUNG, he had failed as a »peace commissioner »; and now it was our turn to penetrate the disturbed province — not, indeed, to negotiate peace, but to mark out roads. Intelligent people in Peking thought we had about one chance of success in a hundred, and that we were about to embark upon a mad enterprise. Some thought that Soviet Russia would look with anything but favour upon an undertaking that aimed at motorizing the old caravan-routes between China proper and Sinkiang, and thus reviving China's dying trade with the province. They were of opinion that the Russians would try to obstruct our expedition in one way or another.


In the middle of the preparations for the motor-expedition we had the pleasure of an unexpected contact with old Sweden. From September 4th to the 9th Prince CARL Junior stayed in the old Imperial City on his journey round the world. During these days the most generous hospitality was shown by both Chinese and foreigners; and although the prince was travelling as a private person it must be admitted that the Chinese fêted him royally.

On the evening of his arrival the Chinese were celebrating the Festival of Hungry Ghosts, as it was full moon in their seventh month. On this occasion there are held on a couple of watercourses just outside the city a number of romantic ceremonies. One of these entails the launching of lotus-leaves to which a candle is affixed: and these faint lights glide out on the still water to guide the spirits