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|Other Titles:||The British Naval Expeditions on the Suppression of the Kwangtung Pirates, 1927|
Kwangtung Pirates;Bias Bay;British Navy;Anti-imperialistic Propaganda
|Issue Date:||2016-06-02 16:47:03 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract:||1925年五卅事件之後，粵英關係形同決裂，原有的共同合作剿盜模式無以為繼，但廣東海盜問題卻日益惡化，對香港往來中國各地航運路線構成嚴重威脅，是以香港總督府屢次提案應由英軍自行動武懲治廣東海盜。英國政府內部經過複雜的政策辯論與部會角力，最終在1926年底認可香港總督所提的軍事行動計畫。於是乎，英國在1927年三度動用海陸軍進剿廣東海盜。可惜此武力政策不過實行約一年多，即證明是荒誕可笑的。英國動用大批軍力，以不成比例的海軍巨艦大砲，來圍剿只有手槍與步槍的海盜，但其結果卻只換來海盜轉移陣地，廣東海盜依然繼續馳騁在南中國海上，任意劫持英國輪船、殺害英籍船員。武力政策的成效不彰，迫使英國政府只能另外尋求其他可行良策。 另外一方面，對於英國片面的軍事行動，廣州當局(國民政府)則採取相當具有彈性的雙重手法予以反制。其一是內部宣傳，將英軍懲治海盜、焚燒村落舉動貼上帝國主義暴行的標籤，並藉由渲染事件過程，刻意將其損害程度大幅提高，操作成「慘案化」，使之與反帝宣傳結合，激起百姓憤慨之心，進而為北伐行動張勢。其二則是對英交涉，表面下透過正規外交管道交涉此事，要求賠償道歉，但檯面下則策動小規模經濟抵制運動，形成壓力、以商逼政，藉此箝制英國的武力政策。\r 最後，英國的軍事報復行動爭議性極高，也牽涉到相當複雜的條約與國際法問題。雖然依據晚清以來的條約，中英雙方應共同會商處理海盜問題，但並未容許英國軍隊自行登岸剿盜；況且依據當時國際慣例，海盜罪雖為萬國公罪，但各國剿盜行動原則上還是以公海為主，並不能任意進入他國領域(領海、領土)內進行軍事行動。換言之，縱然英國是廣東海盜的受害者，但英軍三次軍事行動其實還是不免背負侵犯中國主權的質疑。|
After the 30 May Incident in 1925, Canton-British relations broke down, so any military cooperation regarding the suppression of piracy was not possible. However, the problem of the Kwangtung pirates was still unresolved, and became increasingly serious as the regular traffic and shipping between Hong Kong and the Chinese coastline was became under great threat. The Governor of Hong Kong thus proposed that Britain should undertake punitive action against the pirate bases. After a complicated process of debates over policy and interdepartmental confrontation, the British Cabinet finally approved the Governor’s proposed military expedition. In 1927, the British armed forces in Hong Kong undertook three punitive strikes against the Kwangtung pirates by not only dispatching a fleet of carriers, cruisers, sloops and gunboats to demonstrate naval power, but also by landing troops on Chinese territory to burn down villages of the so-called pirates. But this hardline policy was soon proved to be a ridiculous one. Britain was making a display of its powerful gunboats only to deal with small groups of pirates who only possessed rifles and pistols. The result of the hardline policy was incredibly frustrating, as the pirates retreated from their bases, but never abandoned their business! They successively relocated to other areas and continued to commit piracy on the South China Sea, where many British steamers fell prey to them. When these punitive actions appeared to be unable to prevent the pirates from pillaging, Britain had no other option but to abandon them and attempt to devise other possible solutions. In relation to this, the Canton authority (or Nationalist government) undertook a flexible, twofold approach to counteract the unilateral British military expeditions. One approach relied on domestic propaganda by labelling Britain’s suppression of pirates and destruction of villages as “Imperialist Violence.” This propaganda exaggerated the gravity of the event, overstated the casualties and losses, depicted it as a great “massacre”, and moreover, employed anti-imperialist propaganda to evoke the indignation of the Chinese people to assist with the Nationalist Northern Expedition. The other approach was to formally launch diplomatic negotiations with Britain in order to claim compensation and extract an apology, yet simultaneously operate a small scale boycott against the Britain to aid with these negotiations. In the end Britain’s act of military vengeance was extremely controversial and problematic due to issues concerning complex treaty and international laws. Although based on treaties China was obliged to cooperate with Britain to suppress piracy on the Chinese coast, the treaties did not in fact authorize Britain to land its troops on Chinese territory to combat the pirates. Furthermore, while piracy was indeed an international crime, according to the usual practices of nations, active suppression of pirates was confined to be within the High Sea, and a nation’s forces was not permitted to enter the territory of other states, both sea and land. In other words, even though the British shipping companies were victims of Chinese piracy, the British government was still unable to undertake any military expedition within Chinese territory without prior consent from China, because otherwise this would be deemed as a violation of Chinese sovereignty.
|Relation:||政治大學歷史學報, 41, 149-210|
The Journal of History
|Appears in Collections:||[政治大學歷史學報 THCI Core ] 期刊論文|
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