2008 Liu Yawei: A John Leighton Stuart to Whom We Can’t Say Farewell

Liu Yawei: A John Leighton Stuart to Whom We Can’t Say Farewell

by Liu Yawei June 8, 2022

[Editor’s Note] This article was written in December 2008. In early September 2016, the G20 Summit was held in Hangzhou. In his speech at the welcome dinner on September 4, Xi Jinping said, “140 years ago, in June of 1876, Mr. John Leighton Stuart who had been the U.S. ambassador to China, was born in Hangzhou and lived in China for more than 50 years, and his ashes were laid to rest in the Anxian Cemetery in Banshan District, Hangzhou 杭州半山安贤园 .” At a time when U.S.-China relations are on the decline, it may be meaningful to revisit Stanton’s relationship with China to refresh the past and learn from the new. This article is accompanied by Mao Zedong’s editorial “Farewell, Leighton Stuart” published on August 18, 1949, Hao Ping’s December 12, 2008 article “The Soul Returns Home: How Leighton Stuart’s Ashes Came to be Buried in Hangzhou and Aftermath” and Xinhua News Agency’s published on September 9, 2016, “Hangzhou Give Leighton Stuart’s the Warmth of a Hometown”.

History cannot be rewritten, but one can think about what might have been.


John Leighton Stuart interred at the Anxian Cemetery “司徒雷登,1876—1962,燕京大学首任校长 the tombstone is inscribed John Leighton Stuart 1876 – 1962, first president of Yenching University” from the welll-illustrated 2017 Sohu.com article “In Hangzhou Visiting the Old Home and Tombstone of John Leighton Stuart” 在杭州,寻觅司徒雷登先生的故居和墓地.

Interesting to look at John Leighton Stuart’s strong criticism of the China White Paper 1949 and what he saw as defeatism at the U.S. State Department. In his memoirs, John Leighton Stuart strongly criticized Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s Letter of Transmittal of the White Paper

From the “Letter of Transmittal”:

We gave “aid to Nationalist China in the form of grants and credits”; we “sold the Chinese Government large quantities of military and civilian war surplus property. Of the military supplies, a “large proportion” has “fallen into the hands of the Chinese Communists through the military ineptitude of the Nationalist leaders, their defections and surrenders, and the absence among their forces of the will to fight. “A realistic appraisal of conditions in China, past and present, leads to the conclusion that the only alternative open to the United States was full-scale intervention on behalf of a Government which had lost the confidence of its own troops and its own people. Such intervention would have required the expenditure of even greater sums than have been fruitlessly spent thus far, the command of Nationalist armies by American officers, and the probable participation of American armed forces-land, sea and air-in the resulting war. Intervention of such a scope and magnitude would have been resented by the mass of the Chinese people, and would have been condemned by the American people.

“The heart of China is in Communist hands. The Communist leaders have publicly announced their subservience to a foreign power, Russia, In this case, the foreign domination has been masked behind the façade of a vast crusading movement which apparently has seemed to many Chinese to be wholly indigenous and national. Under these circumstances, our aid has been unavailing “The unfortunate but inescapable fact is that the ominous result of the 

civil war in China was beyond the control of the government of the United States. Nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable limits of its capabilities could have changed that result, nothing that was left undone by this country has contributed to it.

“We continue to believe that, however tragic may be the immediate future of China and however ruthlessly a major portion of this people may be exploited by a party in the interest of a foreign imperialism, ultimately the profound civilization and the democratic individualism of China will reassert themselves and she will throw off the foreign yoke. I consider that we should encourage all developments in China which now and in the future work toward this end.

from Letter of Transmittal, China White Paper

John Leighton Stuart on the “Letter of Transmittal” of the 1949 China White Paper

From John Leighton Stuart’s Fifty Years in China – The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador available in full text on the Internet Archive.

The contents of the "Letter of Transmittal" had astonished 
and alarmed me. The contents of the report, with this laying 
bare of confidential materials, shocked me. I thought with con- 
standy growing apprehension: what effect will all this have in 
and upon the United States, in and upon China, in and upon 
American-Chinese relations? Soon, too, I asked myself: how will 
this affect various Chinese whose names are given and whose 
statements are quoted; how will it affect various Americans 
myself among them whose observations and estimates and 
advice are reproduced verbatim-, how will it affect the future 
reporting of United States diplomatic and consular officials? 

Another disturbing feature of the "White Paper ' was the in- 
consistency of its conclusions with previously stated policies and 
later stated policies of the United States Government. Two 
months after its publication the Department of State declared 
that the United States still recognized the National Government 
as the legal government of China. In January, 1950, the United 
States Government declared that no assistance would be given 
to the National Government of China (by then moved to For- 
mosa), and this policy prevailed until the Communist attack 
upon the Republic of Korea in June, 1950, when it was sud- 
denly changed. 

I was, in fact, merely one of many persons who were per- 
plexed and filled with apprehension by what they found in this 
extraordinary book. Among other things, I learned soon that the 
Department of State had sent copies of the book in considerable 
numbers to all United States diplomatic missions abroad and had 
instructed that it be given wide distribution and effective 

The book has been both highly praised and severely criti- 
cized. I know of nothing with which to compare it, and I shall 
not attempt to assess its merits or its demerits. On one point, 
however, I feel disposed to go on record: it seems to me to have 

Fifty Years in China 270 

given an accurate display of the materials on which the United 
States Government relied in the making of its decisions of policy 
regarding China. It is clear that the purpose was not to produce 
a "historian's history 1 ' but to select materials which had been 
used in making the policy in effect at the moment. What had 
been omitted were materials rejected in the making of policy, 
materials which had not been relied upon. 

The "White Paper" served to inform the world that the Nation- 
alists, in the opinion of the United States Government, had 
lost the "civil war." Without admitting any mistakes in United 
States policy, it tried to place all the blame upon the National 
Government of China. United States policy, it claimed, had been 
in no way responsible for the "ominous result." By implication 
it announced that the United States support of the National 
Government and the efforts of the United States toward survival 
of that government were at an end. 

Such was the officially declared position of my government in 
the summer of 1949. And such I found to be the position of the 
officials whom I met in Washington after my arrival there. 

In Washington my principal conversations were with the 
Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs, Mr. Walton Butter- 
worth. I found him fully committed to the position which our 
government had adopted and to the idea that I should think and 
should express myself accordingly. It was he who suggested that 
I avoid contact with the press and with the public, and attempt 
to "calm down" certain editors. 

When it came to the question of public utterances I was 
authorized to give an address before the Hartford Seminary 
Foundation on the basis of a text which I prepared with great 
care and which was censored and then approved by the Depart- 
ment of State. I delivered that address, and I repeated it, with 
the same text, before the Central Presbyterian Church in Rah- 
way, New Jersey. 

To Washington and in Washington 271 


In September, 1949, the Communist victors in China or- 
ganized in Peiping (whose name they now changed back to 
Peking) a new government, with Mao Tse-tung as Chairman. 
That government was modeled upon the government of the Soviet 
Union in its formative stages. 

In October the Department of State convened a conference 
of "experts" on the Far East. The attendants were persons from 
various walks of life, assembled upon invitations issued by the 
Department, together with officials assigned by the Department. 
Accounts of what transpired, together with the names of the per- 
sons present by invitation and of several, but not all of the 
officials present by assignment, together with a full text of the 
verbatim recording of the discussions, have since been made 

The conference was "briefed" by several officials on subjects 
relating to the Far Eastern situation especially in China and 
on matters of policy. Discussion was held in accordance with an 
agenda circulated in advance of the conference. As the meeting 
went on it became clear that the majority of participants, among 
whom several educators were the most vocal, assumed that the 
National Government of China was "finished." They were no 
longer interested in the fate of that government. The chairman, 
Mr. Philip Jessup, proposed that the question of recognizing the 
Communist regime be discussed; thereupon several participants 
strongly urged recognition of and assistance to the new regime. 
A smaller number opposed this view and urged that action be 
not hastily taken. 

I was present during the whole period of that conference, and 
the effect of what I heard was disconcerting and discouraging. 
Notwithstanding the weaknesses and shortcomings of the Na- 
tional Government which I have freely affirmed in my story 
that government had after all been brought into existence 

Fifty Years in CMna 272 

through a revolutionary enthusiasm inspired by American demo- 
cratic ideas. Throughout the years, it had been under attack 
from dissident elements in China, especially the Communists, 
and had been under the pressure of diplomatic and armed 
assaults from without, especially from Japan. There had been 
no period in which it could devote itself under circumstances 
of peace and security to problems of reform and the "people's 
livelihood." No wonder that when, after eight years of defensive 
struggle against the Japanese invaders, it was subjected to an 
all-out attack by the armed forces of the Communist party in 
China, which in turn were given encouragement and material 
aid by the Soviet Union, it had been unable to rally to an effec- 
tive resistance a war-weary people. It had been forced to retreat 
from one position to another and finally to withdraw to Formosa. 
Yet in this conference relatively little was said about China's 
difficulties within and without, and all the onus for the National 
Government's collapse was placed upon that government itself. 

The National Government had counted on assistance from 
the United States greater in amount and different in kind from 
that which it received. Some of the aid promised was so long in 
reaching China that it did no good. The National Government 
had not envisioned a Yalta Agreement turning over vital rights 
in Manchuria to the Soviet Union and thus also to the Chinese 
Communists and paving the way for Communist victory in 
China. Nor did that government or others expect that the 
Soviet Government would so soon repudiate its agreement of 
August 15, 1945, promising material and moral aid to the Na- 
tional Government only. The aberrant and contradictory policies 
of the United States Government during the period between the 
end of World War II and the beginning of the Communist 
attack in Korea in 1950 served to weaken rather than to 
strengthen the National Government at a time when it des- 
perately needed sympathetic understanding and assistance. 

When General Cheng Chieh-min, a confidential representa- 

To Washington and in Washington 273 

tive of Generalissimo Chiang, arrived in Washington on October 
n, 1949, I was able to say to him only that, as the situation 
appeared to me, the National Government would receive no 
further assistance from the United States. 

On October i, 1949, the "Central People's Government of the 
People's Republic of China" was formally inaugurated, and it 
at once sought recognition by other governments. On the next 
day, October 2, the Soviet Union announced its recognition. 
On October 3 the National Government of China announced 
severance of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. 

On October 4, as already stated, the United States Department 
of State reaffirmed United States' recognition of the National 
Government as the legal government of China. 

Although I gained no impression at that time or later that my 
government intended to recognize the Communist "People's 
Government" in China, I found the attitude of the Department 
of State on the whole subject of China essentially one of 
frustrated, unsympathetic defeatism. Viewing matters in retro- 
spect, it seems to me that the low point was reached in October 
1949, when, although the National Government was still recog- 
nized, the American Government discontinued assistance to it. 
This attitude persisted until the Communist aggression eight 
months later in Korea, when it was decided that the Communist 
advance in the Far East was dangerous to the peace of the world 
and must be resisted by the United States and the United 

As the Communist armies advanced southward in the fall of 
1949, the National Government decided that evacuation of 
Canton was necessary. On October 12, Acting President Li 
Tsung-jen announced that the government would move to 
Chungking. Seven weeks later, however, Chungking fell to the 
Communists. Finally, the National Government, under the 

Fifty Years in China 274 

direction o Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, removed to Formosa, 
and on December 9 the Executive Yuan began to function in 
Taipeh, Formosa's capital city. Li Tsung-jen went to the United 
States and, on December 7, entered a hospital in New York for 
medical treatment. 

On December 30, the Government of India accorded recog- 
nition to the Communist regime at Peiping. One week later, on 
January 6, the British Government announced recognition of 
that regime by the United Kingdom. This involved, of course, 
withdrawal of recognition from the National Government. There 
ensued, during the first six months of 1950, a series of such 
transfers of recognition, some by Asiatic and some by European 
governments. In all, some twenty-five governments thus com- 
mitted themselves. Had the United States Government followed 
the example of the British Government, that number would 
probably have been increased, for many would presumably have 
followed the example of the United States. 

The United States Government was apparently in a quandary. 
It seems to have been unfavorably disposed toward the National 
Government and favorably disposed toward the Communist 
regime. But abuse by the Communists of American officials and 
seizure by the Communists of property of the United States in 
Peiping produced in the United States such waves of popular 
resentment that official action affirmatively favorable to the 
Communists was precluded. The government did, however, 
take negative action against the Nationalists. President Truman 
announced on January 5, 1950, that the United States would 
give no military assistance, directly or indirectly, neither materials 
nor advisers, to the Nationalists in Formosa. On January 12, 
Secretary of State Acheson, in a speech at the Press Club in 
Washington, repeated and elaborated this statement. 

After that, for several months the question of recognizing the 
Communist regime at Peiping was debated, in the press and on 
many platforms, throughout the United States and also at the 

To Washington and in Washington 275 

United Nations. In May, 1950, some thirty-five United States 
senators signed jointly and sent to President Truman letters 
asking for a clear assurance that the United States Government 
did not intend to recognize the Communist regime in China 
or to give support to the movement to admit that regime as 
representative of China in the United Nations. In reply Mr. 
Acheson gave an assurance that the administration would not 
accord recognition to the Communist regime without first having 
consulted with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

Meanwhile, Chiang Kai-shek had on March i resumed office 
in Taipeh as President of the National Government; General 
Chen Cheng had been named Premier on March 8; Dr. K. C. 
Wu, former Mayor of Shanghai, had been appointed Governor 
of Taiwan; and General Sun Li-jen, Chief of Ground Forces. 


This may be an appropriate place for me to give my final 
estimate of Chiang Kai-shek. During the six months of my asso- 
ciation with the Marshall mission, the Generalissimo was always 
the dominant figure. It was he who made all decisions for the 
government or party, and it was he who was most feared or 
denounced by the Communist delegates. It was always interest- 
ing to watch how quickly he understood what was being said to 
him, how incisively he grasped its essence, and how tenaciously 
he held to that first reaction. He is a man of strong will power 
and indomitable courage. But as so often happens his failings 
are due to the excess of his best qualities. Any judgment of him 
should be formed against the background of his cultural heritage 
and of the precarious circumstances amid which he has carried 
his terrific responsibilities. With this in mind, and by comparison 
not only with the history of Oriental despotism but also with 
contemporary dictators, Chiang Kai-shek deserves credit for the 
restraint with which he has generally acted. 

I never had any question as to the moral character of the 

Fifty Years in China 

Generalissimo despite some of the political measures he took 
which might seem wrong according to our contemporary Eu- 
ropean and American standards. I am convinced that he has 
faithfully acted for what he believed to be the best interests of 
his country. It has not always been easy for him to distinguish 
between his personal and his country's advantages. But in con- 
trast with the venality, avarice, indolence and cowardice of many 
of the traditional "Mandarins," his nobility of character stands 
out as exceptional. 

When Chiang Kai-shek burst into prominence after the death 
of Sun Yat-sen, he was a popular hero. The new movement 
under its youthful leader had vigor and high idealism. But as he 
successfully pursued his efforts to unify the nation the shadow of 
the Japanese policy of continental expansion grew darker. Chiang 
seemed to be doing nothing effectual about it. Was he in sym- 
pathy with the Japanese militarists? Was he so much preoccu- 
pied with the nascent Communist uprising that he failed to 
sense the imminent Japanese threat? No, he knew that there 
must first be political and military preparedness. He had the 
sense to exercise restraint in order to avoid inviting and pos- 
sibly warranting a Japanese attack. 

For more on this period, the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian website has some documents: FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1949, THE FAR EAST: CHINA, VOLUME IX.

End Interlude, translation continues below.

Mao Zedong Too “Told Lies”

On August 18, 1949, Mao Zedong published an article entitled “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”. In the article, Mao wrote that

When the People’s Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse River, the U.S. colonial government at Nanking fled helter-skelter. Yet His Excellency Ambassador Stuart sat tight, watching wide-eyed, hoping to set up shop under a new signboard and to reap some profit. But what did he see? Apart from the People’s Liberation Army marching past, column after column, and the workers, peasants and students rising in hosts, he saw something else — the Chinese liberals or democratic individualists turning out in force, shouting slogans and talking revolution together with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students. In short, he was left out in the cold, “standing all alone, body and shadow comforting each other”. [12] There was nothing more for him to do, and he had to take to the road, his briefcase under his arm.

Mao Zedong, “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!

What Mao did not tell the Chinese people, who welcomed the PLA to the city and the Communist Party to power, was that before the PLA crossed the river, all the envoys to China, including the Soviet ambassador, retreated south to Guangzhou with the Kuomintang government while Leighton Stuart, who insisted on staying in Nanjing and tried to meet Mao in Beijing.

If Leighton Stuart had gone to Beijing, it cannot be known whether the Chinese government would have followed Moscow and been drawn into the Korean War as it pursued its policy of “leaning to one side”.

John Leightton Stuart’s Last Wish

In his “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!” Mao also wrote that

“Stanton was an American born in China, had quite extensive social ties in China, ran a church school in China for many years, served in a Japanese prison during the anti-Japanese period, and always pretended to love America and China, quite able to confuse some Chinese people, so he was seen by Marshall, became ambassador to China, and became one of the popular figures in Marshall’s system. “

What Mao did not tell his superstitious readers was that Stanton did not “pretend to love both America and China”.

Upon his return to the United States in 1949, he was ordered by the State Department, then under the shadow of McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign, not to speak and not to attend any official functions. He died in the United States in 1962, leaving a will that he be buried on the campus of Yanjing University. His wife, who died in 1926, is buried there.

Leighton Stuart founded Yenching University in 1919 and served as its provost from 1919 to 1946, and many people who became pillars of the society of New China came from this school.

But, naturally, no one in China dared stand up for Leighton Stuart when Mao Zedong, spoke about him. If McCarthyism ran rampant in the United States for less than 10 years, China’s “McCarthyism” has never stopped before the reform and opening up. Stanton has been dead and buried.

In 2006, Xi Jinping heard about Stuart’s wishes during his visit to the United States, and after much mediation, finally buried Stuart’s ashes in Hangzhou on November 17, 2008.

When John Leighton Stuart, a fluent speaker of the Hangzhou topolect went to university in the United States, his classmates ridiculed him, saying that he was more Chinese than he was a devout Christian or an American. Leighton Stuart was an outstanding cultural envoy, talented educator, but out of his depth as a diplomat. He was the Chinese people’s old friend, the United States and China’s friendship and witness to the crossfire. Finally his soul returned to China to be buried along the West Lake in Hangzhou.

In the words of Wang Xuejin, “This time, the Hangzhou government completed the ceremony for the interment of Mr. Stanton’s ashes with solemn and thoughtful courtesy. This not only reflected a noble humanitarian spirit and fulfilled the last wish of his soul to return to China, but also greatly corrected the image of Mr. Leighton Stuart in China’s mind and completed an exorcism. This has significance for deepening Sino-American friendship as well as clarifying history. “

A group of gray-haired old Yanjing people attended the burial ceremony of Leighton Stuart’s ashes.

Without official permission, they played “Amazing Grace” and the “American National Anthem” on the CD player they brought with them after the burial ceremony. Perhaps the spirit of the old Mr. Leighton Stuart was relieved. Perhaps the new president of Peking University will repeat the words of the father of its forerunner Yenching University, “Our purpose is to cultivate a spirit of cooperation, construction, and service to the people in order to serve the community and the nation. …… We do not want to become the most famous school in the world, nor the most famous school in history, but the most famous school in ‘China today’ and to become the school that is making the greatest contributions to ‘China today.”

Had it not been for Xi Jinping’s efforts, could Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes have made it all the way back to Hangzhou across the Pacific Ocean?

The Values “Don’t Leave Leighton Stuart” Represents

Leighton Stuart was no Norman Bethune, but he was indeed “a noble man, a pure man, a moral man, a man free from low taste, a man dedicated to the welfare of the people.”

The values he represents may well be the values we Chinese need to embrace.

However, in China in 2008, the “great red sun” of Mao Zedong was still shining, and his spirit, his style, and his “wisdom” are still formative for many Chinese scholars and elites. In recent months alone, articles such as Chen Kuiyuan’s “Western Values Cannot be Honored as so-called Universal Values”, Feng Yuzhang’s “How to Understand So-called “Universal Values””, Xu Tianliang’s “To Do Good Ideological Work Keeping a Clear Head is Essential“, Quyi’s “The Separation of Powers cannot be Universal Value”, and Li Biesheng’s “A Significant Political Signal”.

However, no matter how much we see that every value in the world has a class nature, no matter how much we accuse the Western countries, especially the United States, of constantly planning to subvert China, to tear China apart, and to destroy China, China is already part of the world, and the world is also part of China.

In his speech at Yale University on April 22, 2006, Hu Jintao said

“Today, China is endeavoring to build a harmonious society. It is a society of democracy and rule of law, fairness and justice, integrity, fraternity, vitality, stability, order and harmony between man and nature. It is a society where there is unity between the material and the spirit, democracy and rule of law, fairness and efficiency, and vitality and order…… “

“China and the United States are both countries of vast territory where many ethnic groups co-exist and different cultures intermingle. Both our two peoples are hard-working and talented. Due to different historical backgrounds and national conditions, there are differences between China and the United States. But this enables us to learn from each other and draw on each other’s strength. Closer China-US cooperation serves the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and is also of far-reaching significance for peace and development of the whole world…..”

“A composer cannot write enchanting melody with one note, and a painter cannot paint landscape with only one color. The world is a treasure house where the unique cultural achievement created by people of all countries are displayed. The culture of a nation tells a lot about the evolution of the nation’s understanding of the world and life, both past and present. Culture thus embodies a nation’s fundamental pursuit of mind and dictates its norms of behavior. The historical process of human development is one in which different civilizations interact with and enrich each other and all civilizations in human history have contributed to human progress in their own unique way.

“Cultural diversity is a basic feature of both human society and today’s world and an important driving force for human progress. As history has shown, in the course of interactions between civilizations, we not only need to remove natural barriers and overcome physical isolation, we also need to remove obstacle and obstruction of the mind and overcome various prejudices and misunderstanding. Differences in ideology, social system and development model should not stand in the way of exchanges among civilizations, still less should they become excuses for mutual confrontation. We should uphold the diversity of the world, enhance dialogue and interaction between civilizations, and draw on each other’s strength instead of practicing mutual exclusion. When this is done, mankind will enjoy greater harmony and happiness and the world will become a more colorful place to live in.”

Hu Jintao’s words are actually the best summary of the spirit of Leighton Stuart.

John Leighton Stuart was born in Hangzhou in 1876; founded Yenching University in 1919; was imprisoned by the Japanese during the war; became U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of China’s ambassador in 1946, returned to the United States in 1949; died in 1962; and finally “returned” to China in 2008.

Over the course of 132 years [since the Opium War], China has gone from weak to strong. Every step forward has been difficult, and every step has involved interference, swayed and influenced by domestic and foreign forces.

It was only 46 years after Leighton Stuart’s death before he could return to the land he loved so much.

China’s reforms are about to celebrate their 30th birthday.

It may not be too long before China has another wave of reforms.

If members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee had not raised their hands in late 1978 to approve reform and opening up, the most dramatic, bloodless, nonviolent change in Chinese history would not have even gotten off the ground.

Chinese understanding in the United States would have remained as it was in Mao’s time: “The United States does have science and technology, but unfortunately it is in the hands of the capitalists and not in the hands of the people, and its use is to exploit and oppress internally and to invade and kill externally. The United States also has “democratic politics”, but unfortunately it is only an alias for the dictatorship of one class of the bourgeoisie. The United States has a lot of money, but unfortunately it is only willing to give it to the extremely corrupt Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries. Now and in the future it is said to be quite willing to support its subversive Fifth Column in China, but not willing to support the average bookish uneducated liberal, or democratic individualist, and certainly even less to give any support to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Our own mentality would be as Mao Zedong portrayed it then, “What is the fear of more or less a little difficulty. Let’s blockade, blockade for ten or eight years, and all the problems of China will be solved. The Chinese people are not afraid of death, so why should they be afraid of difficulties? Lao Tzu said, “The people do not fear death, so how can we fear it?”

China’s intellectual elite would also still carry the burden that they may be the lackeys of U.S. imperialism, “There are still some intellectuals and others in China who are confused and have illusions about the United States, so they should be persuaded, fought for, educated and united so that they will come to the people’s side and not fall for the imperialist trick. But the whole prestige of U.S. imperialism among the Chinese people is bankrupt, and the U.S. White Paper is a record of that bankruptcy. The advanced people should make good use of the White Paper in their educational work with the Chinese people. It is good that Leighton Stuart is gone and the White Paper is here. Both of these things are cause for celebration.”

If the “progressive forces” within China had not arisen, Leighton Stuart would not have been able to return to China.

China’s reforms have come to a point where China cannot, and will not say “Farewell Leighton Stuart”.

Reform to this day, China can not, and will not say, “Farewell, John Leighton Stuart”

Don’t leave, Leighton Stuart! [Translator’s Note: Following the first section of the article is a copy of the Chinese text of Mao Zedong’s essay. I have copied the translation on the marxists.org website but omitted the notes on the translation you can find there. ]

Mao’s front-page article in August 18, 1949 People’s Daily “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 18, 1949

It is understandable that the date chosen for the publication of the U.S. White Paper was August 5, a time when Leighton Stuart [1] had departed from Nanking for Washington but had not yet arrived there, since Leighton Stuart is a symbol of the complete defeat of the U.S. policy of aggression. Leighton Stuart is an American born in China; he has fairly wide social connections and spent many years running missionary schools in China, he once sat in a Japanese gaol during the War of Resistance; he used to pretend to love both the United States and China and was able to deceive quite a number of Chinese. Hence, he was picked out by George C. Marshall, was made U.S. ambassador to China and became a celebrity in the Marshall group. In the eyes of the Marshall group he had only one fault, namely, that the whole period when he was ambassador to China as an exponent of their policy was the very period in which that policy was utterly defeated by the Chinese people; that was no small responsibility. It is only natural that the White Paper, which is designed to evade this responsibility, should have been published at a time when Leighton Stuart was on his way to Washington but had not yet arrived.

The war to turn China into a U.S. colony, a war in which the United States of America supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, has been an important component of the U.S. imperialist policy of world-wide aggression since World War II. The U.S. policy of aggression has several targets. The three main targets are Europe, Asia and the Americas. China, the centre of gravity in Asia, is a large country with a population of 475 million; by seizing China, the United States would possess all of Asia. With its Asian front consolidated, U.S. imperialism could concentrate its forces on attacking Europe. U.S. imperialism considers its front in the Americas relatively secure. These are the smug over-all calculations of the U.S. aggressors.

But in the first place, the American people and the peoples of the world do not want war. Secondly, the attention of the United States has largely been absorbed by the awakening of the peoples of Europe, by the rise of the People’s Democracies in Eastern Europe, and particularly by the towering presence of the Soviet Union, this unprecedentedly powerful bulwark of peace bestriding Europe and Asia, and by its strong resistance to the U.S. policy of aggression. Thirdly, and this is most important, the Chinese people have awakened, and the armed forces and the organized strength of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China have become more powerful than ever before. Consequently, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism has been prevented from adopting a policy of direct, large-scale armed attacks on China and instead has adopted a policy of helping Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

U.S. naval, ground and air forces did participate in the war in China. There were U.S. naval bases in Tsingtao, Shanghai and Taiwan. U.S. troops were stationed in Peiping, Tientsin, Tangshan, Chinwangtao, Tsingtao, Shanghai and Nanking. The U.S. air force controlled all of China’s air space and took aerial photographs of all China’s strategic areas for military maps. At the town of Anping near Peiping, at Chiutai near Changchun, at Tangshan and in the Eastern Shantung Peninsula, U.S. troops and other military personnel clashed with the People’s Liberation Army and on several occasions were captured.[2] Chennault’s air fleet took an extensive part in the civil war.[3] Besides transporting troops for Chiang Kai-shek, the U.S. air force bombed and sank the cruiser Chungking, which had mutinied against the Kuomintang.[4]All these were acts of direct participation in the war, although they fell short of an open declaration of war and were not large in scale, and although the principal method of U.S. aggression was the large-scale supply of money, munitions and advisers to help Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

The use of this method by the United States was determined by the objective situation in China and the rest of the world, and not by any lack of desire on the part of the Truman-Marshall group, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism, to launch direct aggression against China. Moreover, at the outset of its help to Chiang Kai-shek in fighting the civil war, a crude farce was staged in which the United States appeared as mediator in the conflict between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party; this was an attempt to soften up the Communist Party of China, deceive the Chinese people and thus gain control of all China without fighting. The peace negotiations failed, the deception fell through and the curtain rose on the war.

Liberals or “democratic individualists” who cherish illusions about the United States and have short memories! Please look at Acheson’s own words:

When peace came the United States was confronted with three possible alternatives in China: (1) it could have pulled out lock, stock and barrel; (2) it could have intervened militarily on a major scale to assist the Nationalists to destroy the Communists, (3) it could, while assisting the Nationalists to assert their authority over as much of China as possible, endeavor to avoid a civil war by working for a compromise between the two sides.

Why didn’t the United States adopt the first of these policies? Acheson says:

The first alternative would, and I believe American public opinion at the time so felt, have represented an abandonment of our international responsibilities and of our traditional policy of friendship for China before we had made a determined effort to be of assistance.

So that’s how things stand: the “international responsibilities” of the United States and its “traditional policy of friendship for China” are nothing but intervention against China. Intervention is called assuming international responsibilities and showing friendship for China; as to non-intervention, it simply won’t do. Here Acheson defiles U.S. public opinion; his is the “public opinion” of Wall Street, not the public opinion of the American people.

Why didn’t the United States adopt the second of these policies? Acheson says:

The second alternative policy, while it may look attractive theoretically and in retrospect, was wholly impracticable. The Nationalists had been unable to destroy the Communists during the 10 years before the war. Now after the war the Nationalists were, as indicated above, weakened, demoralized, and unpopular. They had quickly dissipated their popular support and prestige in the areas liberated from the Japanese by the conduct of their civil and military officials. The Communists on the other hand were much stronger than they had ever been and were in control of most of North China. Because of the ineffectiveness of the Nationalist forces which was later to be tragically demonstrated, the Communists probably could have been dislodged only by American arms. It is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned such a colossal commitment of our armies in 1945 or later. We therefore came to the third alternative policy. . . .

What a splendid idea! The United States supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, to “destroy the Communists” and turn China into a U.S. colony, so that the United States may fulfil its “international responsibilities” and carry out its “traditional policy of friendship for China”.

Although the Kuomintang was corrupt and incompetent, “demoralized and unpopular”, the United States nevertheless supplied it with money and guns and made it fight. Direct armed intervention was all right, “theoretically”. It also seems all right “in retrospect” to the rulers of the United States. For direct armed intervention would really have been interesting and it might “look attractive”. But it would not have worked in practice, for “it is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned” it. Not that the imperialist group of Truman, Marshall, Acheson and their like did not desire it — they very much desired it — but the situation in China, in the United States and in the world as a whole (a point Acheson does not mention) did not permit it; they had to give up their preference and take the third way.

Let those Chinese who believe that “victory is possible even without international help” listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson. Acheson is a good teacher, giving lessons free of charge, and he is telling the whole truth with tireless zeal and great candour. The United States refrained from dispatching large forces to attack China, not because the U.S. government didn’t want to, but because it had worries. First worry: the Chinese people would oppose it, and the U.S. government was afraid of getting hopelessly bogged down in a quagmire. Second worry: the American people would oppose it, and so the U.S. government dared not order mobilization. Third worry: the people of the Soviet Union, of Europe and of the rest of the world would oppose it, and the U.S. government would face universal condemnation. Acheson’s charming candour has its limits and he is unwilling to mention the third worry. The reason is he is afraid of losing face before the Soviet Union, he is afraid that the Marshall Plan in Europe, [5] which is already a failure despite pretences to the contrary, may end dismally in total collapse.

Let those Chinese who are short-sighted, muddle-headed liberals or democratic individualists listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson; he is a good teacher for you. He has made a clean sweep of your fancied U.S. humanity, justice and virtue. Isn’t that so? Can you find a trace of humanity, justice or virtue in the White Paper or in Acheson’s Letter of Transmittal?

True, the United States has science and technology. But unfortunately they are in the grip of the capitalists, not in the hands of the people, and are used to exploit and oppress the people at home and to perpetrate aggression and to slaughter people abroad. There is also “democracy” in the United States. But unfortunately it is only another name for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by itself. The United States has plenty of money. But unfortunately it is willing to give money only to the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, who are rotten to the core. The United States, it is said, is and will be quite willing to give money to its fifth column in China, but is unwilling to give it to the ordinary run of liberals or democratic individualists, who are much too bookish and do not know how to appreciate favours, and naturally it is even more unwilling to give money to the Communists. Money may be given, but only conditionally. What is the condition? Follow the United States. The Americans have sprinkled some relief flour in Peiping, Tientsin and Shanghai to see who will stoop to pick it up. Like Chiang Tai Kung fishing, [6] they have cast the line for the fish who want to be caught. But he who swallows food handed out in contempt [7] will get a bellyache.

We Chinese have backbone. Many who were once liberals or democratic individualists have stood up to the U.S. imperialists and their running dogs, the Kuomintang reactionaries. Wen Yi-to rose to his full height and smote the table, angrily faced the Kuomintang pistols and died rather than submit.[8] Chu Tse-ching, though seriously ill, starved to death rather than accept U.S. “relief food”.[9] Han Yu of the Tang Dynasty wrote a “Eulogy of Po Yi”, [10] praising a man with quite a few “democratic individualist” ideas, who shirked his duty towards the people of his own country, deserted his post and opposed the people’s war of liberation of that time, led by King Wu. He lauded the wrong man. We should write eulogies of Wen Yi-to and Chu Tse-ching who demonstrated the heroic spirit of our nation.

What matter if we have to face some difficulties? Let them blockade us! Let them blockade us for eight or ten years! By that time all of China’s problems will have been solved. Will the Chinese cower before difficulties when they are not afraid even of death? Lao Tzu said, “The people fear not death, why threaten them with it?” [11] U.S. imperialism and its running dogs, the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, have not only “threatened” us with death but actually put many of us to death. Besides people like Wen Yi-to, they have killed millions of Chinese in the last three years with U.S. carbines, machine-guns, mortars, bazookas, howitzers, tanks and bombs dropped from aeroplanes. This situation is now coming to an end. They have been defeated. It is we who are going in to attack them, not they who are coming out to attack us. They will soon be finished. True, the few problems left to us, such as blockade, unemployment, famine, inflation and rising prices, are difficulties, but we have already begun to breathe more easily than in the past three years. We have come triumphantly through the ordeal of the last three years, why can’t we overcome these few difficulties of today? Why can’t we live without the United States?

When the People’s Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse River, the U.S. colonial government at Nanking fled helter-skelter. Yet His Excellency Ambassador Stuart sat tight, watching wide-eyed, hoping to set up shop under a new signboard and to reap some profit. But what did he see? Apart from the People’s Liberation Army marching past, column after column, and the workers, peasants and students rising in hosts, he saw something else — the Chinese liberals or democratic individualists turning out in force, shouting slogans and talking revolution together with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students. In short, he was left out in the cold, “standing all alone, body and shadow comforting each other”. [12] There was nothing more for him to do, and he had to take to the road, his briefcase under his arm.

There are still some intellectuals and other people in China who have muddled ideas and illusions about the United States. Therefore we should explain things to them, win them over, educate them and unite with them, so they will come over to the side of the people and not fall into the snares set by imperialism. But the prestige of U.S. imperialism among the Chinese people is completely bankrupt, and the White Paper is a record of its bankruptcy. Progressives should make good use of the White Paper to educate the Chinese people.

Leighton Stuart has departed and the White Paper has arrived. Very good. Very good. Both events are worth celebrating.

The Soul Returns Home: How Leighton Stuart’s Ashes Came to be Buried in Hangzhou and Aftermath


Hao Ping

China Reader [Zhongguo Dushubao]

December 12, 2008

[Editor’s Note] On November 17, 2008, exactly 46 years after his death, Stanton’s ashes were moved from Washington, D.C., to the Anxian Garden in Banshan District, Hangzhou. I believe most people know of Stanton because of Mao Zedong’s “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”, which was included in the middle school language textbook, in which Stuart was used as a symbol of the “total failure of the American policy of aggression” and was made fun of. This name has become synonymous with infamy and failure in China.

John Leighton Stuart was born in Hangzhou and served as president and provost of Yenching University before becoming U.S. ambassador to China. This relocation is said to be the return of his soul to his hometown.

Stanton has always been a controversial figure in China, especially after Mao Zedong wrote a commentary for the Xinhua News Agency on August 18, 1949, “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!” and until the reform and opening up, Stuart was used as a symbol of American imperialism. After the reform and opening up, academics conducted some factual research on Leighton Stuart and gradually restored the real Leighton Stuart.

The burial of Leighton Suart’s ashes in Hangzhou can be called a return to his hometown. Hangzhou, the scene of Leighton Stuart’s birth, his childhood and his youth. Leighton Stuart’s parents and two brothers are also buried there.

Both of Leighton Stuart’s parents were American missionaries who had opened a school in Hangzhou. They had four sons in Hangzhou, with Stanton being the eldest. From 1876 to 1887, Stanton spent his childhood on the shores of beautiful West Lake. In his memoirs written in later years, Stanton wrote: “I remember that we used to go on excursions and wander around the beautiful lake and mountains of Hangzhou. In spring, the hills were full of azaleas. We had picnics and picked strawberries. In the summer, we took refuge in the shady old temples in the mountains, which were extremely tempting adventures for us kids.” At age 11, Stanton was sent back to the United States by his parents to study, and at 28, he returned to Hangzhou as a missionary with his new wife until four years later when he served at the Jinling Theological Seminary in Nanjing, and has since become involved with China’s education and its political situation.

Stanton’s life was complex and multifaceted. He had a close relationship with top KMT figures such as Chiang Kai-shek, Soong Tzu-wen, Kung Hsiang-hsi, Chang Hsueh-liang, and Li Tsung-jen, and was a guest of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. From his birth in Hangzhou on June 24, 1876, to his return to the United States in August 1949, excluding 17 years of study in the United States, Stanton lived in China for a total of 56 years, so he claimed to be “more of a Chinese than an American. I think Stuart’s life has six major achievements and two major faults.

At the outbreak of the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Stanton was a missionary in China and a special correspondent for the Associated Press, and he became the first person to report abroad on China’s Xinhai Revolution, which he hailed as “China’s War of Independence”.

As the first president of Yenching University, Stanton made outstanding contributions to building the university into a first-class university on par with Peking University and Tsinghua University, and trained a large number of outstanding talents in various fields such as politics, economics, diplomacy, science and technology for China in the 20th century.

Stanton was an anti-fascist warrior. After the outbreak of the war, while Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nankai University and other universities moved south to the mainland and formed the Southwest United University, Yenching University has been holding on in Beiping. He was imprisoned by Japanese gendarmes for three years and eight months for supporting the anti-Japanese activities of Yenching University’s teachers and students. During his imprisonment, he translated all the Chinese idioms he had memorized into English pamphlets.

In his old age, he became U.S. ambassador to China as someone already well-known and respected by public opinion in the United States as well as in China among people in both the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party.  He deeply abhorred the corrupt practices of the Kuomintang government.  When in 1949, the Kuomintang was defeated, he refused to accompany the Kuomintang government when it retreated south to Guangzhou.  Stuart urged the U.S. government to take the lead in recognizing the Communist regime. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai had secretly invited him to come north, but due to the opposition of the U.S. government, high-level contacts between the Communist Party and the United States were short-lived, and he had to leave China with deep regret and helplessness.

Stuart returned to the United States, although he suffered from McCarthyism’s cruel persecution, but still firmly opposed to the right-wing splittist Two China —  “one China, one Taiwan” — rhetoric.

Stuart had a life-long love for Chinese culture, and he made his own contributions to the cause of Chinese culture.

Of course, Stanton also had his own limitations. As a missionary, Stanton had a deep ideological bias against Marxism-Leninism and made many statements critical of socialism and communism. During his tenure as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of China, Stanton represented the U.S. government’s position on China policy and took a biased attitude toward the Kuomintang reactionary faction in waging the civil war. It was for this reason that Chairman Mao, in his article “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!,” severely criticized the role that Stuart had played representing U.S. policy toward China.

Only three months after his return to the United States, Stuart fell ill and spent the last 13 years of his life in a wheelchair and on a hospital bed, suffering from the consequences of a severe stroke. At that time, Stanton had no family around him, his wife had died in Beijing when he was 50, and his only son was not with him. On November 28, 1952, Stanton submitted his resignation to the outgoing President Harry S. Truman, saying that he wished to resign from his post as Ambassador to China for health reasons. On October 15, 1954, Stuart’s memoirs, Fifty Years in China–The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador, were published by Random House in New York. Random House, New York, USA. In 1955 and 1982, Chinese translations of Stuart’s memoirs were also published in Hong Kong and China. This illustrates the extent of Stuart’s influence in China.

On September 19, 1962, Stanton died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C., at the age of 86.

In 1973 and 1974, at the secret invitation of Premier Zhou, Mr. Fu Jingbo returned to China twice, and twice proposed to the relevant authorities to bury Stanton’s ashes in the Yanching Garden, but did not receive a clear answer. In January 1986, Fu Jingbo personally wrote a letter to Deng Xiaoping again to raise the issue of burial of Stanton’s ashes back in China. At the end of June of the same year, the Central Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party approved that suggestion, and agreed that Leighton Stuart’s ashes as the former president of Yanjing University be buried in his former residence Linhuxuan  at Yanching University. After Mr. Fu Jingbo for health reasons was not able to return, the burial of Leighton Stuart’s ashes was put on hold. After the death of Mr. Fu Jingbo in 1988, Leighton Stuart’s ashes were at the home  of Mr. Fu’s daughter Ms. Fu Hailan, until the morning of November 17 this year, 46 years after his death, when they were buried in the Anxian Cemetery in the Banshan District of Hangzhou.

While writing my book 《无奈的结局——司徒雷登与中国》”An Ending that Could Not Be Helped – Leighton Stuart and China”, I was in charge of foreign affairs work at Peking University. Preparing for the burial of Leighton Stuart’s ashes, I enquired into their whereabouts.  According to Stuart’s memoirs, his wife died in 1926, and was buried in the cemetery of Zhongguanyuan. For this reason, I went to the field to find out. Before the Cultural Revolution, Peking University built a dormitory in Zhonguangyuan, the original cemetery was moved. Since no written records were left at that time, no one knows now where these burials were actually moved. At that time, I supposed that they might be moved to Wan’an Cemetery at the foot of Xiangshan Mountain, and twice went to check the files of Wan’an Cemetery, but I still found nothing. I heard from the director of Wan’an Cemetery that there is a special cemetery for foreigners in Beijing, and he will keep an eye on it for me and continue to search for it. I hope that one day I will be able to find Mrs. Stuart’s ashes and move them back to Hangzhou, so that the couple can be together forever on the shores of West Lake.

At the burial ceremony of Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes, the U.S. Ambassador to China,Clark T. Randt Jr., said: “China is the country that John Leighton Stuart loved. He was born in Hangzhou and returns here today to complete his life’s journey. He believed that education is one of the most important ways to deepen the relationship between our two countries, and he would be very happy if he could see the changes that have taken place today.” I deeply share this sentiment.

(The author is the president of Beijing Foreign Studies University)

[Note: See also the November 19, 2008 David Barboza New York Times “John Leighton Stuart, China Expert, Is Buried There at Last”]

Hangzhou Gave Leighton Stuart the Warmth of a Hometown 


Ding Yongxun

Xinhua Daily Telegraph

September 09, 2016.

At the welcome dinner of the G20 Hangzhou Summit on Sept. 4, President Xi Jinping said in his speech, “140 years ago, in June 1876, Mr. John Leighton Stuart, who was once the U.S. ambassador to China, was born in Hangzhou and lived in China for more than 50 years. His ashes were laid to rest in Anxian Garden in the Banshan District of Hangzhou.”

John Leighton Stuart, a name both familiar to and held at a distance from the Chinese people, is today a representative of the friendship between China and the United States. Words like this have appeared in the speeches of China’s top leaders.

By descent, John Leighton Stuart is purely American, his parents having been missionaries who came to China in the late Qing Dynasty. But Stuart himself said he was “more of a Chinese than an American. Stanton’s “Chinese” identity began and ended in Hangzhou because his ashes are now buried there.

In June 1876, Stanton was born in Hangzhou in the parsonage of the Tianshitang Church (now known as Jesus Church Lane in Xiacheng District, Hangzhou). Until he returned to the United States at the age of 11 to study, he lived in Hangzhou, spent a full childhood in Hangzhou, learned a pure Hangzhou language, and recognized Hangzhou as his second hometown.

In 1904, after his marriage, Stanton returned to China with his wife, and his first stop was Hangzhou. In 1908, he became a professor of Greek at the Jinling Theological Seminary in Nanjing, and in 1910, he became chairman of the Nanjing Church Business Committee. In Hangzhou, he participated in the founding of Yuying College, later known as Zhejiang University, of which his brother later became president.

The most brilliant achievement of Stanton’s life was due to his founding and long presidency of Yenching University. In the minds of the older generation of Chinese intellectuals, Stuart was first and foremost an educator and an excellent university president.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Boxer Rebellion burned down the buildings of Huiwen University, the North China Union Women’s University and Tongzhou Union University, founded by the American and British churches, which the founders later planned to rebuild and merge into one university. The founders later planned to merge them into one university.  Disagreements about what the new university should be named and the choice of the president were great until a compromise was reached: an “outsider” was chosen to be the president. John Leighton Stuart, who knew China well and had a reputation for excellence and scholarship, was the popular choice of the Americans in China.

Stanton took over the “unmanageable mess”. He rode around on a donkey to choose a site for the new school, to raise funds for the school around, with missionary piety and perseverance, in the western suburbs of Beijing to build a beautiful university like a garden. Today, Yenching University has long since ceased to exist, but the campus that Stuart left behind has become the campus of Peking University. The lakes and towers of today’s Yenching Garden, the Chinese-style president’s office building, and the student dormitories have largely remained the same as they were designed under Stuart’s auspices.

Although Yenching University was a church school, Leighton Stuart proposed the principle of “making Yenching University completely Chinese. He said: “Yenching University must be a university in the true sense of the word that can withstand any test, and what it believes in is an entirely personal matter”. As an educator, he knew that “a university should not only have a building, but also a master”, and hired the most famous Chinese scholars at that time to teach at the university, enjoying the same status and compensation as foreign teachers. Within a short period of time, Yenching University was filled with famous teachers, almost all of whom were heard: Hong Ye, Yu Pingbo, Zhou Zuoren, Zheng Zhenduo, Chen Yuan, Gu Jie Gang, Zhang Dongsun, Feng Youlan ……

At the same time, he actively promoted exchanges and cooperation between Yenching University and leading universities. The Harvard-Yenching Institute, established in cooperation between Yenching University and Harvard University, is still highly respected today as an academic program and is regarded as a guarantee of academic quality.

Stuart’s outstanding construction and management has enabled Yenching University to rapidly increase its popularity and academic standards, and in just over a decade, it has become the best academic church university in China, ranking among the top universities in the world more than 80 years ago.

Yenching University existed for 33 years and taught less than 10,000 registered students.  Over 100 went on to become renowned scholars and leaders in their disciplines, including 42 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and eleven members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Yenching University was also the earliest pioneer of journalism and sociology education in China, producing famous alumni such as Bing Xin, Fei Xiaotong, Hou Renzhi, Yang Jiang, etc. Huang Hua, who later served as PRC  foreign minister, was also a student of John Leighton Stuart.

As president, Stuart sympathized with the student movement, and after the September 18 Incident, he personally led hundreds of Yenching University students and faculty in a street march to protest the Japanese invasion of China. When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, he was imprisoned in an internment camp for refusing to cooperate with the Japanese army. He was held there until Japan surrendered. During the Japanese invasion of North China, a large number of students from Yenching University fled the areas that had fallen to the Japanese and  went to the liberated areas held by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army.  Leighton Stuart personally saw them off.

For the rest of his life, Stanton carried the label of “symbol of America’s total failure in China” from his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of China in 1946. During his tenure as ambassador, he was invited to Hangzhou to attend an event and visit the graves of his parents, and was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen of Hangzhou”. He was described by the Chinese at the time as “both a politician and a scholar, a cunning adversary and a warm friend”.

In 1949, on the eve of the decisive battle that would determine China’s fate, Stuart chose to stay in Guangzhou, hoping to act as a mediator in the Chinese civil war, but eventually had to return quietly to the United States because of the dramatic change in circumstances, and then retired until his death.

Because of his performance as ambassador to China, Leighton Stuart who had “no enemies in the world,” became an unpopular person in the eyes of all parties. In China’s particular context, he became synonymous with being an agent of aggression against China and a notorious loser because of his famous essay, which was selected for inclusion in a high school textbook; back in the United States, he was “banned” by the pro-KMT and McCarthyist authorities, harassed and attacked by some, and left poor, sick and alone. Had it not been for the loving care of his personal secretary, Fu Jingbo and his family, he would have been even more miserable in his old age.

In September 1962, after years of illness, Leighton Stuart died in Washington, D.C.. His last wish was to have his ashes sent back to China and buried on the campus of Yenching University. But for complicated reasons, this wish was never realized. The buildings left behind by Stanton are still in use on the Yenching University campus, which has long since become the campus of Peking University. There is not a single statue of Stanton on the campus to date, and the whereabouts of the grave of his wife, who was buried there earlier, is also unknown.

On November 17, 2008, Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes were placed in the Anxian Garden in the Banshan District of Hangzhou. Although this was not entirely according to his wishes, Hangzhou was his second home where he was born and raised, and where his parents and brother have lain at rest for many years. To be born and buried in Hangzhou is a fulfillment of his wish to return to his roots.

Hangzhou, this beautiful and inclusive city, gave Leighton Stuart, a “familiar stranger” to the Chinese the warmth of his hometown but also a monument to the friendship between the two great countries beyond the vagaries of history.


by 刘亚伟 

June 8, 2022June 8, 2022



















他们未经官方许可,在下葬仪式开始后用自己带的光盘设备播放了“Amazing Grace”和“美国国歌”。也许,司徒老人的在天之灵会感到欣慰。也许刚刚换了校长的北大会重温燕京之父当年的训导,“我们的目的,是以养成一种合作、建设、服务人群的精神以服务社会国家……我们不要变成世界上最有名的学校,也不要成为有史以来最有名的学校,而是要成为‘现在中国’最有用的学校。”





不过,在2008年的中国,毛泽东的“阳光”还普照着,他的精神,他的风格、他的“英明”还滋润着许多中国的学者和精英,与毛泽东当年讽刺、挖苦和攻击司徒雷登的经典异曲同工的文章还层出不穷,仅仅最近几个月就有陈奎元的《不能将西方的价值观念尊奉为所谓的普世价值》、冯虞章的《怎样认识所谓“普世价值”》、徐天亮的《做好意识形态工作贵在保持清醒头脑》、求是的《三权分立是不可能普世的》和李必胜的《一个重大的政治信号 》。
















中国的知识精英也还会背着他们可能是美帝国主义的走狗的包袱,“中国还有一部分知识分子和其他人等存有糊涂思想,对美国存有幻想,因此应当对他们进行说服、争取、教育和团结的工作,使他们站到人民方面来,不上帝国主义的当。但是整个美帝国主义在中国人民中的威信已经破产了,美国的白皮书,就是一部破产的记录。先进的人们,应当很好地利用白皮书对中国人民进行教育工作。 司徒雷登走了,白皮书来了,很好,很好。这两件事都是值得庆祝的。”











































回到美国仅3个月,司徒雷登一病不起,严重的中风后遗症使他在轮椅和病榻上度过了最后的13个春秋。那时,司徒雷登身边没有亲人相伴,他的妻子在他50岁时病逝于北京,唯一的儿子也不在身边。他的生活起居完全依赖从年青时便追随在他身边的私人秘书傅泾波及其家人照料。1952年11月28日,司徒雷登向即将离任的美国总统杜鲁门递上辞呈,提出因健康原因,希望辞去驻华大使的职务。3天后,杜鲁门在给他的回信中,对他在中国期间为增进中美关系所做的努力给予极高的评价。1954年10月15日,司徒雷登的回忆录《在华五十年(Fifty Years in China——The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador)》由美国纽约兰登出版社正式出版。次日,台湾《大华晚报》即开始一边请人翻译,一边予以连载,并于同年12月1日出版了中译本。1955年和1982年,香港和中国大陆也分别出版了司徒雷登回忆录的中译本。可见司徒雷登在中国的影响力之大。





























About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated, with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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