STORY OF HOW THEY LIVE
A graphic report concerning the recent internment of 1,800 allied nationals at Weihsien in North China by the Japanese has just been radioed to the United States by the Rev. James F. Smith, a Maryknoll missioncr new stationed in Chungking. Among the newly-interned are eight bishops and almost 500 priests and Sisters, of whom approximately 100 are Atnericans. " Following the outbreak of war,' says Fr. Smith, " the Americans and other allied nationals in North China were allowed partial freedom. Several months ago the Japanese announced that in order to forestall enemy espionage and to stabilise living conditions all Americans, British, Dutch and Bd. gians would be interned.. That process has now been completed."
INTERNED IN COLLEGE
Sixty-two red brick buildings, formerly the university of the United Church of Canada, are used as the internment camp. Living conditions in the camp are good. The priests and all the laymen are required to do four hours of manual labour each day. The Sisters, although not compelled to work, have taken over the kitchens and see that all receive the maximum benefit of rationed supplies. They have also opened schools for the children. Fifteen doctors, the majority Protestant missionaries, have care of the health of theinmates.
" Private rooms are provided for married people," • continues the missioncr, " While single members of the cornmunity live in dormitories. Catholic bishops were given rooms for themselves, while the priests, like the other men, live in common rooms. A special concession was made to the great number of religious societies present and as far as possible they are allowed to live together so that they may carry out their common rule.
" The priests are allowed to say Mass and the Catholic community ets rj, the day." Fr. gmith points out, however, that all is not too serene. One priest who complained against certain treatment by the Japanese was sent to live wish the interned Trappists, a strict order smi.ilelsee.members hold to perpetual " The minds or all the priests and Sisters," goes on the report, " are filled with longing and apprehension for their Christians spread over vast spaces of North China. They feel that they should be with them, caring for their needs, directing their difficulties, consoling them in their sorrows. Instead, they find themselves of oo use to anyone, forced to lead a life of intellectual stagnation, for the duration of the war.
INSTITUTIONS ALL CLOSED
" The priests and Sisters are grieved by the tragedy that followed their internment. Their great works of mercy, old folks' home, homes for the blind, orphanages, hospitals, schools, dispensaries, are all closed and the poor and helpless have been thrown into the world to starve. Reports come in to the Maryknoll House at Chungking telling of bands of children, up to thirty in number, who roam the countryside in search of food. When they cannot beg it, they are prepared to steal it.
" Even if starvation does not overtake these children, what kind of men and women will they be?" asks Et. Smith. " These tragedies may not have been the foreseen wish of the Japanese when they renioverl the priests and Sisters to the concentration camps, but it is by far the most serious aspect of their action."