30 SEPTEMBER 1905, Page 2

A singular incident, which may hereafter prove to have been

of importance, is reported from Pekin. There is evidently a keen, though secret, struggle going on there between the Reformers and the Reactionaries, and recently the Dowager- Empress has been induced to sanction the despatch of four Missions to Europe to study the organisation of Western States. One of these Missions was actually starting by train on Septeniber 24th, when a man, said to be a Chinese student educated in Japan, flung a bomb into the car containing the members of the Mission. The explosion killed the man who threw the missile and four minor Chinese officials, injured twenty other persons, and created so great an alarm that the railway stations and Government offices are now strongly guarded. One would suppose that the assassination was the work of a Reactionary, but the friends of that party

would hardly select as their agent a student "educated in Japan," whence, in their judgment, all the poisonous Liberalism is flowing. It is at least as possible that those who employed the assassin wished to warn the Empress that her plans for delaying reform would not satisfy her opponents, and that she must yield if she values her life or her continued possession of power. Europe knows too little of the interior of the Chinese Court to form a definite opinion; but there have been previous signs of a struggle, and it must not be forgotten that the Emperor, who ought legally to be ruling, is a friend of the Reformers, and was for that reason practically deposed. His figure, hidden though it be by the stronger figure of the Dowager, may yet be an important one in the struggle which, though concealed, is certainly going on.