“Gareth Jones Murdered -
Shot by his Kidnappers”
(Article by Paul Scheffer - Editor in Chief)
From the BERLINER TAGEBLATT - Morning Edition
Friday, August 16th, 1935 Evening Edition - Front Page
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.
Dr 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. In 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.
Fear 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 - England. 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.
In 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 journalist.
He 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.
The 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,