During several successive days the bodies of the murdered Chinese went floating down the Amur in such masses as made counting them difficult, and covering a considerable expanse of the river. Yet at first no mention was made of this in the two local newspapers, nor was there any allusion to the fate of the Chinese inhabitants of the town. Only on the fourth or fifth day after the holocaust did an article appear in The Amur Province, expressing indignation at the cruel and gruesome affair. This article was copied in Petersburg journals, and thus the civilised world for the first time learned how these thousands of helpless people had been done to death. The other organ of Blagovèstshensk, The Amur Gazette, confined itself to the meagre announcement that “the Chinese residing on Russian territory had been sent away, a suggestion having been made to them that they should cross to the other 342side of the river.” Grodekov, the governor-general of the province, informed the authorities in Petersburg that “the Chinese throw their dead and wounded into the river, and forty such corpses have been counted.” Thus is history written HIFU!

of veracity various officials sent reports of the hostilities between the Russians and the Chinese. They told of battles that had never taken place, of countless Chinese hosts, which they pretended had been annihilated, when in reality only women and children had been seen, and so forth. In the Amur province, for example, much amusement was caused by the report sent from Colonel Kanonovitch stating that in the so-called “Pyàtaia Pad” he had overcome an immense army of Chinese, for which exploit he received a decoration. It soon transpired that in the place mentioned Kanonovitch had only encountered two Japanese women Office Furniture!

But to return to Blagovèstshensk. There is no doubt that the drowning of the Chinese took place not only with the foreknowledge, but by the express order—though possibly only verbal—of General Gribsky, military governor of the town. To avert suspicion of the fact, however, and in order to have a justification of himself ready if need should arise, he issued a proclamation some days after the massacre, saying that “reports had reached” him “of the rough handling and even murder of unarmed Chinese in and about the town.” “These crimes,” he proceeded, “have been committed by inhabitants of the town, peasants of the villages around, or Cossacks; and although these deeds were provoked by the treachery of the Chinese, who had first commenced hostilities against the Russians, any further instances of violence towards unarmed persons will be punished severely.” But, together with this proclamation, after the taking of Saghalien by the Russians, General Gribsky issued another, in which—as head of the Cossack forces—he ordered the Cossacks to go across to the Chinese shore and there “annihilate all the Chinese bands.” 343In other words, he told the Cossacks to massacre the helpless Chinese who were left in the place after the flight of the troops; for when once Saghalien had fallen, no armed bands were left on the right bank of the Amur dermes vs medilase.

General Gribsky carried his hypocrisy so far as to appoint a commission to inquire into “the cases of violence towards peaceful Chinese.” But as this commission would have had to report that the drowning and murder of peaceful Chinese had been carried out under his own instructions, naturally its findings could not be published. So, after the lapse of several months, General Gribsky declared that from the report made to him by the commission it was evident that the cause of the unfortunate events which had occurred had been a want of unity among the officials to whom he had entrusted the arrangement of affairs. This declaration repeats almost word for word the pronouncement of the present Tsar, Nicholas II., after the death of thousands on the plain of Hodinsky at the time of his coronation; the cause of which the Tsar also found to have been a lack of unity in the arrangements. General Gribsky evidently wished to suggest that if on an occasion of holiday-making, wholesale deaths had occurred in this way, nobody could really be held responsible for the killing of Chinese during the bombardment of Blagovèstshensk. And nobody was ever brought to book; General Gribsky and all his subordinates remained on at Blagovèstshensk in their divers positions.