National Geographic : 1905 Jun
GEOGRAPHIC NOTES WHAT IS THE POPULATION OF CHINA? WHEN I first studied geography the population of China was estimated at 230 millions; then came an advance to 360 millions; now we hear of over 400 millions, and if the latest figures are correct there is reason for talking of the " Yellow Peril." Upon what have these estimates been based? Has anything like a census ever been taken of the Chinese people ? Probably not, though the Peking gov ernment, no doubt, receives reports con cerning the number of people in the dif ferent provinces. The published infor mation must have been derived mainly from travelers, missionaries, diplomats, and naval officers. From my own observations during the three years I was on the Asiatic Station, I would say that there are less than 200 millions of people in China, and perhaps some of the contributors or readers of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, who have had better oppor tunities to judge, will show why or to what extent 1 am wrong. I spent several months in each of the principal seaports from Tientsin in the north to Canton in the south and five or six months in the Valley of the Yangtze, going as far inland as Ichang, a town nearly i,ooo miles from the sea, and beyond the reputed populous dis tricts. I noticed that the country peo ple instead of living on farms were con centrated in villages, and that these were generally small and often widely sepa rated. The cities were limited in area and contained no lofty buildings, one and two storied houses being the rule. Canton is the wealthiest, and, with the possible exception of Peking, is the most populous city. I was with a party that made the circuit of the walls, several members walking the entire way in a little over two hours, which proves that the enclosed space could not have exceeded six square miles. In the northern part we saw gardens and unoccupied ground. Compare this with Manhattan Island, with its 22 square miles and lofty tenement houses. The streets of a Chinese city are very narrow, and the people live in them and on the ground floor of the wide open shops and houses, therefore the visitor seems to be always working his way through a dense crowd. I believe that tigers are encountered in all portions of China. It is certain that they are killed north of Peking, as the skins are sold there, and at Amoy the missionaries, who had been inland, told me of the terror they inspired. As there is little of the dense undergrowth of India it is a comparatively open country through which the tiger prowls, and his presence certainly does not sug gest a land densely populated. C. E. CLARK, Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy. The article on "Forecasting the Weather and Storms," by Dr Willis L. Moore, Chief of the United States Weather Bu reau, published in this number, is an advance chapter from " The New Me teorology," a text-book on weather sci ence which is in course of preparation by Dr Moore and which will be pub lished in a few months by a well-known firm. The chapter is published here in advance of the appearance of the book through the courtesy of Dr Moore. The members of the Society will undoubt edly enjoy the interesting and lucid ex planation of storms and weather given by Dr Moore, and will also appreciate the good-will of an author who permits the publication of a chapter in advance of the completed volume. The map showing the present seat of war in eastern Asia which appears as a supplement to this number of the NA TIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE was prepared by the Military Information Division of the War Department and is republished by the National Geographic Society through the courtesy of Major Beach, chief of the division. Itisbe lieved that the map will prove particu larly useful to those who are following military developments in Manchuria.