GOVERNMENT. China is not an empire in the Oeeidental sense of the term, nor is there a cen tral Government as there is a German, a Russian, and a British Government, with respective cen tres of authority in Berlin, Saint Petersburg, and London. The Chinese are held together not by political force. but by a religious, social. and educational system. The general constitution of China proper is that of a confederation of homo geneous provinces. The iNlanchn power, that is the clan of conquerors numbering 6.000.000 who the empire, is simply a regulating ma :.
chine. In official documents the ancient and purely territorial names of provinces (significant of entities not safe to interfere with) are used as often as are their modern geographical names, very much as though New England, New Netherlands. and New Spain still existed as realities in America. As a matter of fact, the Emperor rules in the empire, the Governors in the provinces. and the Alagistrates in the dis tricts. if these do not rule according to general custom and acknowledged principles, rebellion soon empties the throne or the seat of the official. Each provincial Governor reports ou all formal matters to the hoards of Civil Appointments, Revenue, Rites, War and Navy, Public Works, and Justice in Peking. Superior to these boards in theory, as a sort of supreme court, is the censorate, or office of general inspection, whose members act as checks on the ministers and who can at any time send petitions or remonstrances to the sovereign, criticising any official.
In matters that are out of the usual routine, a provincial Governor can petition the Emperor directly. Between the Emperor and provincial Governors is the Viceroy. This peculiar office, like that of High Commi,sioner, gives scope to men of special abilities. and this explains the fact that in recent years foreigners have been familiar with the names only of two or three prominent Viceroys. The viceroyalties consist of two or three provinces, and there are thus ten or twelve Viceroys or Gm ernors-General, who may work together with nr independently of the pro i-incial Governors. Usually the Governor :Ind the
Viceroy are the sole mediums of communication between the capital and province, though the provincial treasurer and the provincial judge are powerful assistants or checks, as the case may be. Thus these four functionaries form the ex ecntive, consultative, and, in a measure, even the judici.il and legislative bodies—in a word, 'the government' of each province—and may be said to represent the nation, which makes up the federation knomn as the Chinese Empire.
Each province has its army and navy, and in time of war may be utterly uninterested and take no part in what is going on in a distant part of the empire. The highest viceroyalty is that of the two ]hangs, with its seat at Nanking; the second is that of Pe-chi-li, with its seat at Peking, the national capital : the third viceroyalty is that of the two Kwangs, with its headquarters at Canton, the other important capitals being at Fu-chow, Hang-chow. Wu-chang, Changsha, Yam-Ilan, and lin-yang. The provinees of Shan twig, Shansi, and Ho-nan, the oldest parts of China, have no Viceroy, while Sze-Chnen has no Governor, but only a Viceroy. Thus each of the eighteen provinces, with its own army, navy, system of taxation, and its own social customs, is a complete State in itself, whose corporate existence is in no way dependent upon any other State. Only in the regulation of the salt trade, the management of the navy, and occasional 'imperial' appropriations are they under im perial control. In late years the pressure of for eign complications has created two viceregal Iligh Commissioners, with tacit diplomatic powers over other Viceroys and Governors. The Peking Government makes no new laws. leaves each prov ince to its own devices, and is rather of the nature of a general staff of an army. which ab sorbs into itself and gives out, when necessity calls, able men for the administration of affairs.