by Paul Scheffer - Editor in Chief)
the BERLINER TAGEBLATT -
Friday, August 16th, 1935, Evening Edition - Front Page
Saturday, August 17th,
- Page 4
reader will find in this edition the news that Gareth Jones, who for 18
days had been in the hands of bandits on the Mongolian frontier, has been
shot by his kidnappers. Kidnapping
is a common form of crime throughout China; it is not limited to the wild
and politically disorganised districts on the Mongolian and Manchurian
frontiers. But usually it is (as in a much discussed case at Shanghai) a
matter of thieving and not of openly seizing the human person. In this case however, the car in which Gareth Jones and Dr. Mueller
were travelling was held up by a
regular cannonade and robbed of everything.
Mueller returned - released
as an intermediary. There
then followed some very obscure negotiations. The bandits first reduced their demand for £8,000 and agreed upon
a smaller sum but the money offered was not collected. Why is not clear.
regard to this it must be remarked that most of the money would have to be
paid by the Governor of the Province. Afterwards we were told Jones was
handed over to another band. The
Japanese Military Attaché went to the “General" of the Peace Corps
to which the bandits “formerly” belonged. This was reported in our
morning edition. But when the
Attaché reprimanded General Tschang and the latter declared he
would do all he could towards securing Jones' release the unfortunate man
was already dead.
seized the bandits. Was this
due to the presence of Japanese so close to the Mongolian frontier? So was Jones a victim, of the fact that whereas the power of
the new masters was imposing enough to cause the bandits to renounce the
80,000, dollars it was not imposing enough to compel the liberation of the
unfortunate captive? His end lies in the obscurity of the historic changes
spreading over those immense territories.
Another power was invo1ved in this tragedy -
Gareth Jones told the bandits after his capture that he was an
Englishman and what they must not dare touch him. He was. thereupon mishandled.
He was murdered although the murderers knew who he was and although
it was formerly even in China true that the Englishman in most cases was
sacrosanct. That outlook has changed during the last decade - especially
in the districts adjacent to Soviet territory. The incident is nevertheless stupid and at time we know of no other
case in which an Englishman was deliberately murdered liberate kidnapping.
Without a doubt certain silently introduced changes in English
protective measures plays a part in the matter and also the defensive
situation thereby created in the Far East.
these general reflections over the security of white men in distant lands,
we do not forget Gareth Jones himself. He was a born Journalist, an ornament of his much maligned and, in
its essence and obligations, much misunderstood, profession. He was
modest, clever, indefatigable and above all, honourable. He was, without saying too much thereon, an enthusiastic English
patriot. He was a Journalist
because he was always receptive to new ideas, never failed in their
analyses and in the urge to report on them in the light of his own direct
impressions, fully and truthfully. Through
his articles on the “Soviet Union” to The Times, which did not
appear under his own name, he immediately, though quite a young man, made
a name for himself. He did
not succumb to routine. He
worked indefatigably in order to widen his outlook. He knew that without a
wide outlook it is impossible to segregate and analyse impressions and to
display them in all their dimensions. He regarded himself as one in the
making, and never abandoned this view. He had that flair which makes the
developed himself on a definite system - by accepting promotion and then,
after securing the gain, undertaking travels which he financed by writing
articles for newspapers in different countries. During the last world tour
for instance (for which he had worked for two years) he wrote for the
“Berliner Tageblatt”. Jones then did editorial work for a provincial
newspaper in his native Wales, thence accepting a new appointment in
London. He thus was learning and simultaneously working as a Journalist
without binding himself too early.
number of journalists with his initiative and style is nowadays,
throughout the world, quickly falling, and for this reason the tragic
death of this splendid man is a particularly big loss. The International
Press is abandoning its colours - in some countries more quickly than in
others - but it is a fact. Instead of independent minds inspired by genuine
feeling, there appear more and more men of routine, crippled journalists
of widely different stamp who shoot from behind safe cover, and thereby
sacrifice their consciences. The causes of this tendency are many. Today
is not the time to speak of them.
"Die Zahl der Publizisten seines
Entwicklungsdranges, seines Stiles nimmt in der ganzen Welt gegenwärtig
schnell ab, und darum ist der tragische Tod dieses vortrefflichen Mannes
ein besonders grosser Verlust. Der Internationale Presse entfärbt sich, in
manchen Ländern schneller, in anderen langsamer, aber es ist eine Tatsache.
An die Stelle der selbständigen, von einem echten Gefühl, für ihre Aufgabe
getragenen Köpfe treten immer mehr Routiniers, Krippenjournalisten oder
sogar Revolverexistenzen der verschiedensten Ausprägung, die aus mehr oder
weniger sicherer Deckung schiessen und daraus ihr Selbstbewusstsein
schöpfen. Der Grunde für diese Entwicklung sind viele. Heute soll davon
nicht die Rede sein."