Presbyterian Archives Research Centre

Photo Gallery No 11 :

"The China Incident"


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Three Chinese Doctors working on a Chinese patient in a French Roman Catholic Mission Hospital,with a Nun looking on, c.1940


French Roman Catholic Mission Hospital



The Weekly Rice Ration


Chinese refugees and the poor from neighbouring villages queuing up to receive their weekly ration of rice at the New Zealand Presbyterian Church Kong Chuen Mission Compound, c.1941
Refugees with a jute bag marked "Cracked Wheat - Gift of the People of The United States of America to the People of China through the American Red Cross". The children alongside are using chopsticks to eat out of their bowls, c.1941


Refugees with Red Cross Gift



300 Children in War Orhanage


300 war orphans in one of the Chinese Orphanages in Free Kwantung (ie, that area of Kwantung Province still under Nationalist control), 1941.

"Our Friend the Enemy"

Rev EG (Paddy) Jansen and Sr Flora Wilson posing with a Japanese Military guard outside the Mission Hospital at Kong Chuen.Upon the Allies declaring war on Japan in 1941, the Japanese Military placed guards on the Mission Compound in order to restrict the movement of European staff. As 'prisoners of war', they were to otherwise carry on the work of the hospital and to endeavour to make themselves self-supporting. This state of affairs continued until November 1942 when formal internment took place in Canton, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Only the intrepid Sr Annie James escaped internment, heroically managing for three years to evade the Japanese in her 'no man's land' of Kai Hau up in the T'sung Fa Hills which fell into an area between (and sometimes within) the opposing military forces.


Our Friend the Enemy



Threshing Wheat for American Airmen


Chinese agricultural workers threshing wheat by hand in a village in Western China to provide food for American Airmen flying against the Japanese from neighbouring bases. Associated Press Photo, New York, 1944.

Internment of Missionaries Nov 1942 to Aug 1945 :

Women Internees (looking rather thinner than usual) photographed by Japanese newspaper men in the sitting room at the Civilian Internment Centre (the Oriental Mission premises) at Honam, Canton. The photo had been taken for propaganda purposes to show their 'good condition'. While food could be bought at a 'canteen' in the camp, the prices increased and the quality and quantity available diminished as the war stretced on, particularly during 1945.

(L to R) : Lois Armentrout (USA), Dorothy Rusby (English Methodist), Mrs Todd (Canada), Edith Rustey (English Methodist), Anne Lilburne (NZ Presbyterian), Alice Carpenter (American Presbyterian), Alice Shaeffer (US Presbyterian), [obscured].


Interned Missionaries



Last Day of Internment


"The Last Day of Internment", 30th Aug 1945

Apparently at the request of the internees, a photo with Japanese staff was taken on the last day of internment, the Japanese now dressed in civilian attire.While conditions in the camp had often been harsh they had not been overly oppressive. The attitude of some Japanese guards had varied but overall most, including the Commandant, were reasonable people. The internees had agreed between themselves to always follow the camp rules and regulations. Both parties shared a last meal together and parted on good terms, wishing each other a happy reunion with family and friends. The internees asked that no charges be laid against their former captors.

Front Row (L to R) : Assistant Swiss Consul 3rd; Mr Kido (the Japanese Vice Consul) 4th; Mr Hoffmeister (Swiss Consul) 5th; The Japanese Camp Commandant 6th; his wife and child 7th.

"Many Mission Buildings Destroyed"

An image issued by the Church of Christ in China (and published by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church) after 1945 in an effort to raise funds to rebuild and restore Mission buildings in Kwantung Province damaged during the war.

Raising money for the rebuilding and repair of Mission buildings in South China had in fact been promoted by the NZ Presbyterian Church since 1943 as part of our "Memorial and Thanksgiving Fund".


Many Mission Buildings Destroyed



Presentation to General Ng


A presentation of a New Zealand made kauri desk to Nationalist Guerilla leader General Ng Kwon Kai (at centre in dark tunic) in 1948, complete with a photo of a kauri tree.

Upon the withdrawal of Japanese forces from their year long sole occupation of the Mission Hospital and compound at Kong Chuen, General Ng and his soldiers had immediately secured the compound, saving it from looters and bandits. The fact that little appreciable damage occured to the buildings saved the NZ Presbyterian Church a considerable sum of money and we were keen to show our gratitude.Ironically, it was only upon the fall of Kwantung Province to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forces in October 1949 that the age old problem of lawlessness (which had plagued the Mission for many years) was finally stamped out.

By 1951 our Missionaries had all left China, the Chinese Church now actively implementing the CCP promoted "Three Self Movement" which continues to this day - self-governance, self-support and self-propagation.

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