10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 1

The Chinese Reds Advance

The military landslide in China continues. The Communists are closing in on Peking, where General Fu Tso-Yi, with a stoutness that does him credit, is preparing for a last-ditch stand in defence of the comparatively short railway corridor to Tientsin. The Nanking Government appears to have ccnferred on him a de jure measure of autonomy which, though theoretically designed to free his hands for the defence of North China, can make little de facto difference to his chances of carrying it out successfully. His troops are understood to be well-trained and in good heart ; but their equipment is not for- midable and their morale is not being improved by the defeated and destitute rabble filtering south after laying down their arms in Manchuria, whence General Lin Piao has very sensibly released them to clutter up his opponent's back areas. Pressure on the Nanking area is developing slowly, and the Chinese authorities, with their minds turning to evacuation measures, are bitterly regretting the high-handed policy which excluded foreign shipping from the Yangtse. Events are proving the short-sightedness of Chinese policy in pressing successfully for the rendition of all foreign treaty rights. The various international concessions, abolished during the last war while they were in fact not in Chinese hands, would not only have proved, as Hongkong is still proving, admirable asylums for Chinese capital and links with the outside world, but would have been hostage]

to fortune whose fate might well have stirred the Powers into a less fatalistic attitude than they are in fact adopting towards China's present crisis. Bitter and life-long opponents of the so-called " gun- boat policy " would give a great deal, now, to see American and British cruisers lying once more off the Bund at Hankow and elsewhere.