2014年5月18日 星期日

“一戰華工在歐洲” China's WW I Effort / The Chinese Labour Corps (CLC)

“一戰華工在歐洲”資料圖片展亮相倫敦
2014年05月17日 14:28:32 來源: 新華網

  新華網倫敦5月16日電(記者張建華)正值一戰爆發100周年之際,由中國國務院僑辦主辦、山東省僑辦承辦的“一戰華工在歐洲”大型資料圖片展16日在倫敦查寧閣公立圖書館舉行,以此向西方民眾介紹中國籍勞工在一戰期間為支援協約國所作出的巨大貢獻和犧牲。
  據主辦方介紹,第一次世界大戰期間,應英國、法國、比利時等協約國的要求,先後有約14萬中國勞工遠渡重洋支援協約國,其中來自山東的勞工有8萬多人。
  山東省僑辦副主任田西勇說:“戰爭中,華工承擔了最艱苦、最繁重的戰勤保障任務,有些直接參加了戰鬥,為一戰協約國的勝利建立了不朽功勳。”
  據統計,有2萬多華工在戰爭中付出了生命,有1800多人安葬在比利時和法國,永遠留在了異國他鄉。
  田西勇說,近些年來,華工在第一次世界大戰中所起的作用越來越得到世界范圍內,特別是歐洲各國的認可和重視,這些國家舉行各類紀念活動,肯定華工為結束戰爭、實現歐洲和世界和平所作的重大犧牲和貢獻。
  為搶救性挖掘整理這段歷史,有關專家歷時兩年多赴一戰主戰場和國內一戰華工分布較為密集的地區,廣泛搜集整理相關實物、圖片、文字等信息,形成較為完整和翔實的歷史資料。
  前來觀看展覽的英國中華總商會商務聯絡處主任理查德‧霍利說:“在歐洲人的眼裏,如果14萬中國人能夠來支援歐洲戰場,穿上歐洲國家的軍服,和我們一塊做戰友,這些中國勇士,我覺得非常了不起。”
  霍利說,跟戰爭年代相比,現在是一個相對和諧的時代,希望包括英國在內的歐洲國家和中國一起,在文化、教育、友誼和貿易等方面共同發展。




News / Asia

China's WW I Effort Draws New Attention

Members of the Chinese Labour Corps move munitions during World War I
Members of the Chinese Labour Corps move munitions during World War I



World War I drew in people from around the world, including 140,000 Chinese workers who served on the Western Front. A new museum exhibition in Flanders, Belgium, highlights China's role in the war. It appears the curators have had to cancel plans to take it to China.
The little known story of the 140,000 Chinese who served on the Western Front during WW I has drawn new interest in recent years.
The Toiling for War exhibition at the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium, is the first to detail the pivotal Chinese involvement in the conflict.
Forgotten story

Dominiek Dendooven is the assistant curator and researcher at the museum. He helped put together the exhibition and says it is time for the world to recognize China's war effort - and how the conflict has shaped modern China.
"For decades the story of the Chinese labor cause was entirely forgotten," he said. "But in the last decade, the last five years actually, you see that all over the world people are getting an interest in it, this common history that we share."
The Chinese laborers buried the dead, dug trenches, worked in munitions factories and cleaned up the shells, grenades and bullets after the November 11, 1918 armistice.
One hundred thousand served in the British Chinese Labor Corps between 1917 and 1919, and each received a medal for his service. About 40,000 others served with the French forces, and hundreds of Chinese students served as translators.
Plan A
Originally, the Ypres museum planned to take the exhibition to China in November for five months. But Dendooven says Chinese officials did not guarantee that the exhibition would not be altered, so tour is to be canceled.

"We know the context of the story. So as just to keep the history coherent, it is one of our wishes that we have a say in how the exhibition will be organized in China," he explained.
One historical controversy is the number who died in the war. Some Chinese scholars say the number was as high as 20,000. But records kept by the British and French recruiters show just under 2,000 lost their lives, many from the flu pandemic that swept the world starting in 1919.
Many historians and academics say China's role prevented a German victory, such was the allies' manpower shortage toward the end of the war.

Costly sacrifice

For the laborers, the war was a way to make far more money than they could at home. But their sacrifice became a pivotal point in Chinese history.
After the armistice, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles saw Germany's concession ports in China handed to Japan, despite China's objections. Unhappiness over the treaty led to the May 4 protest movement, which is seen as contributing to the eventual rise of the Communist Party, which has ruled China since 1949.
Years of internal bloodshed, invasion, civil war and revolution all have close links to WW I and the resulting peace treaties.
Brilliant strategy

Xu Guoqi is a professor of history at the University of Hong Kong. His book, Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War, will be published this year. He says that sending as Chinese laborers to the front was a brilliant strategy to link China with the West.
And he underscores the link between the war and the founding of China's Communist Party. During the war, the young interpreters drew up education plans in spare moments away from the dangerous toil on the battlefields. As a result nearly two-thirds of the laborers returned home able to read. He says that effort inspired the men who went on to lead the Communist Party.
"The book status group of Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiopang and many others got involved. We literally followed the footprint of Chinese workers in Europe during the first World War," he said. "In other words, the Communist party of Deng Xiaoping and Chou En Lai and many others who became the work study students of that time, they played a very important role in Communist China. But we literally followed the footprint of this group. Mao Zedong himself payed attention to this group."
The exhibition also addresses the way the Chinese were treated once the guns fell silent.
The laborers were made scapegoats by Belgian refugees returning to their shattered homes. The Belgian government soon ordered the Chinese out of country.
Many of the Chinese laborers were recruited from the British and French concession ports in Shandong Province.
Rediscovering history

Researcher Zhang Yan from Shandong University in Weihai has been commissioned to locate relatives of those who served on the Western Front to help China rediscover an important part of its history.
He will accompany some of the relatives at a special ceremony in The Belgium Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo on Friday, September 24.
In May, he traveled to Flanders and the Western Front.
During the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial to the allied war dead, he read out the names of 13 Chinese killed during a German air raid in 1918.
Zhang says the trip to Europe was very moving for him.
He says to pay respect to the Chinese dead and to let their descendants know of their relatives' fate is an important way for the Chinese to find out more about their WW I history and how it has shaped modern China.




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Men of the Chinese Labour Corps load sacks of oats onto a lorry at Boulogne (12 August 1917)
The Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) was a force of workers recruited by the British government in World War I to free troops for front line duty by performing support work and manual labour. In all, some 140,000 men served in the CLC before it was disbanded and most of the men repatriated to China between 1918 and 1920. Two of the unit's commanders Colonel Bryan Charles Fairfax and Colonel R.L. Purdon had served with the 1st Chinese Regiment in the Boxer Rebellion.[1]

Origins

In 1916, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig requested that 21,000 labourers be recruited to fill the manpower shortage caused by casualties during World War I.[2] As China was initially not a belligerent nation, her nationals were not allowed by their government to participate in the fighting - although the Chinese later declared war against Germany and Austria–Hungary, on 14 August 1917.[3]
The scheme to recruit Chinese to serve as non-military personnel was pioneered by the French government. A contract to supply 50,000 labourers was agreed upon on 14 May 1916 and the first contingent left Tianjin for Dagu and Marseille in July 1916. The British government also signed an agreement with the Chinese authorities to supply labourers. The recruiting was launched by the War Committee in London in 1916 to form a Labour Corps of labourers from China to serve in France and to be known as the Chinese Labour Corps.[3] A former railway engineer, Thomas J. Bourne, who had worked in China for 28 years, arrived at Weihaiwei (then a British colony) on 31 October 1916 with instructions to establish and run a recruiting base.[4]
The Chinese Labour Corps comprised Chinese men who mostly came from Shandong Province,[5] and to a lesser extent from Liaoning, Jilin, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Gansu Provinces.[3] The first transport ship carrying 1,088 labourers sailed from the main depot at Weihaiwei on 18 January 1917. The journey to France took 3 months.[6] Most travelled to Europe (and later returned to China) via the Pacific and by Canada.[7]

Service


Members of the Chinese Labour Corps carry out riveting work at the Central Workshops of the Tank Corps

Chinese performers entertain Labour Corps members and British troops at an open-air theatre at Étaples, June 1918
A total of about 140,000 Chinese workers served on the Western Front during and after the War.[8] Among them, 100,000 served in the British Chinese Labour Corps. About 40,000 served with the French forces, and hundreds of Chinese students served as translators.[9]
By the end of 1917 there were 54,000 Chinese labourers with the Commonwealth forces in France and Belgium. In March the Admiralty declared itself no longer able to supply the ships for transport and the British government were obliged to bring recruitment to an end. The men already serving in France completed their contracts.[6] By the time of the Armistice, the Chinese Labour Corps numbered nearly 96,000,[6] while 30,000 were working for the French.[2] In May 1919, 80,000 Chinese Labour Corps were still at work.[6]
The workers mainly aged between 20 and 35 served as labour in the rear echelons or helped build munitions depots. They were tasked with carrying out essential work to support the frontline troops, such as unloading ships, building dugouts, repairing roads and railways, digging trenches and filling sandbags.[10] Some worked in armaments factories, others in naval shipyards, for a pittance of one to three francs a day. At the time they were seen just as cheap labour, not even allowed out of camp to fraternise locally, dismissed as mere coolies. When the war ended some were used for mine clearance, or to recover the bodies of soldiers and fill in miles of trenches.[10] Their contribution went forgotten for decades until military ceremonies resumed in 2002 at the Chinese cemetery of Noyelles-sur-Mer.
After the Armistice, the Chinese, each identified only by an impersonal reference number, were shipped home. Only about 5,000 to 7,000 stayed in France, forming the nucleus of the later Chinese community in Paris. Most who survived returned to China in 1918.[11]
Throughout the war, trade union pressure prevented the introduction of Chinese labourers to the British Isles.[3] Sidney and Beatrice Webb suggested that the Chinese Labour Corps were restricted to carrying out menial unskilled labour due to pressure from British trade unions.[12] However, some members of the Corps carried out skilled and semi–skilled work for the Tank Corps, including riveting[13] and engine repair.[14]
One member of the Corps, First Class Ganger Liu Dien Chen, was recommended for the Military Medal for rallying his men while under shellfire in March 1918. However he was eventually awarded Meritorious Service Medal as it was decided Labour Corps members were not eligible for the Military Medal. By the end of the war, the Meritorious Service Medal had been awarded to five Chinese workers.[15]
After the war, the British government sent a War Medal to every member of the CLC. The medal was like British War Medal issued to every member of the British armed forces, except that it was of bronze, not silver.

Other workers

As well as Chinese workers, there were Labour Corps serving in France from Egypt, Fiji, India, Malta, Mauritius, Seychelles, the British West Indies as well as a Native Labour Corps from South Africa.[3] It was estimated that at the end of the war over 300,000 workers from the Colonies had aided in labour. There were 100,000 Egyptians, 21,000 Indians and 20,000 South Africans working throughout France and the Middle East by the end of the war in 1918.[2]

Aftermath and impact

After the end of the war Chinese labourers were given transport back to China between December 1918 and September 1920.[16]
The workers saw first-hand that life in Europe was far from ideal, and reported this on their return to China after the war. Chinese intellectuals of the New Culture Movement looked on their contribution to the war as a point of pride - Chen Duxiu, for instance, bragged that "while the sun does not set on the British Empire, neither does it set on Chinese workers abroad." But the ill treatment of these workers was added to the list of grievances against Britain. A more positive impact was on the educated youth who came to France to work with them, such as James Yen, whose literacy programmes under the auspices of the YMCA showed him the worth and dignity of the Chinese common man. He worked out a 1,000 Character Primer which introduced basic literacy and became the basis of his work in China. [17]
Chinese intellectuals who worked with the CLC in France included Jiang Tingfu and Lin Yutang.

Casualties


The entrance to the Chinese cemetery of the British Army at Noyelles-sur-Mer

Gravestone in Ascq Communal Cemetery

Gravestone in Noyelles-sur-Mer
The Corps did not take part in combat. According to the records kept by the British and French recruiters, around 2,000 men of the Chinese Labour Corps died during World War I,[9] most from the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu pandemic, and some as a direct result of enemy action or of wounds received in the course of their duties. In all, an estimated ten thousand died in the war effort, victims of shelling, landmines, poor treatment or the worldwide Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Some Chinese scholars, who contest these figures, say the number of deaths was as high as 20,000.[9]
Fifteen members of the corps were sentenced to death for murder during the course of the war.[15] In addition, four died and nine were wounded when British troops fired on them in December 1917.[15]
The members of the CLC who died were classified as war casualties and were buried in about 40 French and Belgian graveyards in the North of France, with a total of about 2000 tombs and a few tombs in one cemetery in Belgium.[6] The largest number of graves are at Noyelles-sur-Mer on the Somme, next to the workers' camp of the British army where a cholera outbreak and some of the fiercest battles occurred as well. The cemetery contains 842 gravestones each engraved with Chinese characters, guarded by two stone lions, gifts from China.[10]
One of the four following proverbs were inscribed on the standard Commonwealth War Grave Portland stone gravestones: "Faithful unto death", "A good reputation endures forever", "A noble duty bravely done" and "Though dead he still liveth".[5]
Cemeteries include:

France

  • Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.[5]
  • Albert French National Cemetery.[5]
  • Arques-la-Bataille British Cemetery has more than 70 Chinese graves.[6]
  • Ascq Communal Cemetery.[5]
  • Ayette British Cemetery.[5]
  • Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy.
  • Blargies Communal Cemetery Extension.
  • Caudry British Cemetery.
  • Charmes Military Cemetery, Essegney.
  • Chocques Military Cemetery.
  • Ebblinghem Military Cemetery. The grave is numbered "106247" and bears the inscription "A good reputation endures forever." It is listed simply as a "Non-Commonwealth" grave in the register.
  • Foncquevillers Military Cemetery has 2 graves.[5]
  • Gezaincourt Bagneux British Cemetery .
  • Haute-Avesnes British Cemetery.
  • Laventie Military Cemetery.
  • Le Portel Communal Cemetery has 1 grave.
  • Les Rues-des-Vignes Communal Cemetery has 1 grave.
  • Longuenesse (near Saint-Omer) Souvenir Cemetery has special memorials commemorating 23 men of the Chinese Labour Corps whose graves could not be exactly located.
  • Mazargues War Cemetery, in the southern suburb of Marseille.
  • Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery and Memorial, in the village of Nolette, is the largest one. It contains 838 Chinese workers' graves, while the memorial commemorates 40 more who died on land and sea and whose graves are unknown.[6]
  • Ruminghem Chinese Cemetery, contains 75 Chinese graves, half of them transferred from a Chinese cemetery at Saint-Pol-sur-Mer after the war.[6]
  • Sains-en-Gohelle Fosse No.10 Communal Cemetery Extension.
  • Saint-Étienne-au-Mont Communal Cemetery. Most of the cemetery's 170 burials are Chinese.[6]
  • Saint-Sever Cemetery Extension is located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs of Le Grand Quevilly and Le Petit Quevilly. Contains 44 graves.
  • Les Baraques Military Cemetery in Sangatte has more than 200 Chinese graves.[6]
  • Tincourt-Boucly New British Cemetery.
  • Villers-Carbonnel Communal Cemetery.

Belgium


Gravestone of Chang Chi Hsuen at the Croonaert Chapel Cemetery (nl), Wijtschate (nl), Belgium

United Kingdom

  • In Britain, there are 8 CLC graves in Efford Cemetery, Plymouth, 6 graves in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, near Folkestone, and 3 in Anfield cemetery, Liverpool.[19]
張貼留言

網誌存檔