Red riot and insurrection, civil war and communism again rage almost unchecked in China. News dispatches tell of the looting and burning of Changsha, the hurried evacuation of foreigners from Ruling and Kiukiang, of preparations for defense of the foreign settlements in Hankow and Shanghai. To those who served in China during the unforgettable spring and summer of 1927, these stories have a very familiar ring. Again there is brought very much to the fore the problem of the protection of the lives and property—chiefly now the lives—of Americans residing in China. Why and how is this done, and what justification exists for the use of military and naval force in accomplishing it? These are questions which have again become of timely interest, and it is proposed now to examine them.
One of the first duties devolving upon a state is that of insuring protection for its nationals when abroad upon their lawful occasions. An equally urgent duty is that of protecting the lives and property of foreign nationals residing lawfully within its borders. Where this is done, foreign states may consider their duty of protecting their own nationals to be provided for.