The Charlotte News
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1937
*Call This Witness
One more fugitive-from-a-Southern-chain-gang case pops up, involving the State of New Jersey (whose Governor Hoffmann has signed extradition papers, as he is directed to by the Federal Constitution) and the State of South Carolina. A trusted Negro employee of a Paterson silk firm turns out to be an escaped convict, sentenced, according to his own account, at the age of 15 to serve ten years on the gang for criminal assault on a small Negro girl. He says he didn't commit the crime and, furthermore, that he wasn't given a formal trial.
Plainly, this has all the essentials of a sectional thriller. Race prejudice, Southern whipping bosses, a goods-box court, and Uncle Tom's nephew, who bears the name of Fleming Mix. And in addition there is a dusky Little Eva somewhere in the background, now, in all probability, grown into adolescence after the experience of having been criminally assaulted by a buck of her own race. South Carolina juries are not given to avenging the rape of Negro girlhood without pretty substantiable provocation.
And New Jersey, when it hears the story of the convicted assailant ought by all means to hear the story of his victim. It would seem to have something to do with the case.
Secretary Hull has seized an opportune time to demand that Japan formally re-recognize the Open Door policy in China. Alarmed by the Panay incident, the Tokyo government will in all probability make haste to comply. But what will that compliance mean? Nearly nothing, we suspect. In reality, the Japanese forces which will actually rule China will be the army and navy, over which the Tokyo government can exercise no real control, if it wanted to, and it probably doesn't want to in this matter. Moreover, the Nipponese are already beginning to organize China as they organized Manchukuo. Nominally the new Japanese-dominated China will be a sovereign state or group of states. And if a sovereign state or group of states chooses to grant Japan special tariff and trading concessions, can we really make our protest against it effective? We probably can't, even though we have treaties with the old China which bar precisely such concessions.
But, supposing that Japan should actually observe the Open Door policy rigorously, would that guarantee the thing for which we really contend when we contend for the Open Door--the preservation of our trade with China? It seems doubtful. For the goods which can be sold to China as to all the Orient, are almost entirely of the cheapest grades. And that the Japanese can make such goods much more cheaply than we can, and so undersell us, appears clear enough. For since 1934, they have been selling more textiles for instance, to India, Britain's private preserve, than Britain herself.
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