Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/336

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

262 THE CHINESE EMPIRE parents with elaborate ceremonies, but all they can say about it is that if they do this the deceased will go to heaven. If a stranger should question them about their religious beliefs they would say they do as the Chinese do. They have no written language. They have many simple love ditties which the young men and maidens are accustomed to sing to each other, and in this they are more like the Miao than the Chinese. We have seen some of their ditties written down in Chinese characters. Some- times the character represents the sound of the Chung-chia word with more or less accuracy, and sometimes the mean- ing, which makes it very difficult for one who does not know the ditties to understand. We do not think the claim of the Chung-chia to be Chinese has done them any good ; they appear to have all the defects of the Chinese without their better qualities. The Chinese generally describe the Miao as turbulent, simple, and without proper motives of propriety ; while they describe the Chung-chia as crafty, lying, and dishonest. There are thieves and robbers among the Miao who prey upon the travellers and distant hamlets, but the dishonest among the Chung-chia are sneak-thieves who prowl around and pilfer from their friends and neighbours. The Chinese say every Chung-chia is a thief. There are more schools in their villages than among the Miao, and consequently more of them can read and write Chinese. We have heard it said, and possibly with a good deal of truth, that when a Chung-chia can read and write he gives up working to live by his wits. Learning how to write pleas and counter pleas, he is constantly in and about the yamens assisting in law cases, making profit for himself out of other people's difficulties, and frequently for obvious reasons stirring up trouble among neighbours. Such men are a nuisance all over China, and not less so in out-of-the- way country districts. Of the Chinese in Kweichow we need not say much. As mentioned above, the earlier immigrants came from Xiangsi, but later ones, that is, for the last three or four