An extraordinary story, originally circulated by a Siberian paper, has
obtained currency in England about a colony of English gold-diggers who are working gold-mines on Chinese territory south of the Amour. The Siberian paper de- scribes these men as Australian and Californian diggers, asserts that they have set up a Republic and defied the Chinese Government, and hints that they will require to be watched by Russia, as they may disorganise Siberian society. The story seems a wild one. It is quite possible that English or American explorers have found gold on the Amour, that they are employ- ing large numbers of Chinese, and that they have quarrelled with the neighbouring Mandarins; but no large number of Englishmen can be concerned in the enterprise. England would have heard of them in a hundred ways. They would want letters, and bitter beer, and Sunday services, and protection from the Foreign Office, and every other British luxury, and would be remitting the proceeds of their diggings. The mode of taxation suggests that the population is mainly Chinese, for the revenue is derived from a tax " on public amuse- ments," that is clearly on the gambling-houses, which the Chinese set up wherever they are.