Chinese ‘thirst for knowledge’ (1886)

From Book Lore: A Monthly Magazine of Bibliography November 1886 [London]. The Chinese thirst for knowledge in 2013 now manifested by their massive book digitising programmes. Not adepts in the art of war? - the view from 1886.

    The Chinese aptitude for rapidly acquiring knowledge is not so well recognised as it deserves. These patient, plodding people, with their cool, calculating minds, and simple tastes, are more than a match for European workers, no matter what business or profession they elect to follow. A correspondent of the Daily News, writing on the Chinese Question, which is at present forcing itself to the front in North Australia, states that on a recent occasion he took the chaplain's Celestial class, and found that their "hunger and thirst after knowledge, and the startling rapidity with which they got on, was something fearful to contemplate."

The Chinese have libraries in every town and most villages and their reading is of a solid and substantial character. Novels and religious works are everywhere excluded ; the former as too frivolous, and the latter as raising undesirable controversies between sects, which are as numerous there as anywhere else. It seems to us that we have much to learn from the inhabitants of the Flowery Land, adepts in everything except, unfortunately for them, the art of war.

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