COLONIAL HONG KONG AND MODERN CHINA: Interaction and Reintegration

Lee Pui-tak


Hong Kong University Press

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© Hong Kong University Press 2005

ISBN 978-962-209-720-0

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About the Contributors

History of Hong Kong and History of Modern China:
Unravelling the Relationship

Lee Pui-tak

Part I: History of Hong Kong

1. The Common People in Hong Kong History: Their Livelihood
and Aspirations Until the 1930s

2. Religion in Hong Kong History

Bernard H. K. Luk

3. The Sunday Rest Issue in Nineteenth Century Hong Kong

Louis Ha

4. Governorships of Lugard and May: Fears of Double Allegiance
and Perceived Disloyalty

Fung Chi Ming

5. The Making of a Market Town in Rural Hong Kong:
The Luen Wo Market

Chan Kwok-shing

6. Recording a Rich Heritage: Research in Hong Kong's “New

Elizabeth L. Johnson

Part II: Hong Kong and Its Relations With Modern China

7. The Contribution Made by Frederick Stewart (1836–1889)
Through the Hong Kong Government Education System
and Its Pupil, to the Modernization of China

Gillian Bickley

8. The Use of Sinology in the Nineteenth Century:
Two Perspectives Revealed in the History of Hong Kong

Wong Man-kong

9. The Guangxi Clique and Hong Kong: Sanctuary in a
Dangerous World

Diana Lary

10. Business and Radicalism: Hong Kong Chinese Merchants
and the Chinese Communist Movement, 1921–1934

Chan Lau Kit-ching

11. Made in China or Made in Hong Kong? National Goods
and the Hong Kong Business Community

Chung Wai-keung

12. Hong Kong's Economic Relations With China 1949–1955:
Blockade, Embargo and Financial Controls

Catherine R. Schenk


Chinese Glossary



List of Illustrations


  1. 11.1 Hong Kong's promotion of Chinese products 189
  2. 11.2 Tin Chu in Hong Kong 190
  3. 11.3 Tin Chu and National Goods Movement 190
  4. 11.4 A guohuo label in Hong Kong I 195
  5. 11.5 A guohuo label in Hong Kong II 196
  6. 11.6 Strategy of Chinese products in Hong Kong I 197
  7. 11.7 Strategy of Chinese products in Hong Kong II 198
  8. 12.1 Tons of cargo in junks leaving Hong Kong 204
  9. 12.2 Hong Kong's trade with China 1949–55 205
  10. 12.3 Hong Kong's trade with China as a % of total trade 205


  1. 5.1 The subscription of shares in 1948 95
  2. 5.2 Names of the managing directors in the company 97
  3. 5.3 Names of the chairmen of the board of directors 97
  4. 7.1 Influence of Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) on Hong Kong education 118
  5. 7.2 A comparison of Hong Kong Chinese students studying western knowledge, and learning a western language (usually, English) in 1893 and March 1997 120
  6. 7.3 Hong Kong government Central School enrolments 1862–1905 121
  7. 7.4 Pupils in the Hong Kong government education system 1862–1889 129
  8. 7.5 Frederick Stewart and the Hong Kong government education system's direct influence on educational institutions in Hong Kong and China, 1862–133


Since the resumption of Chinese sovereignty in Hong Kong in July 1997, a series of conferences, workshops and seminars were held at the University of Hong Kong on the important topic of Hong Kong's position in modern Chinese history. Those events have inspired the publication of this volume, with a number of well-known presenters updating their research and contributing chapters.

My thanks are due to a number of people and institutions, including Professor Wong Siu-lun who has been a constant source of help and encouragement; members of the various event organizing committees; staff of the Centre of Asian Studies; and post-graduate students of the Department of History, The University of Hong Kong, who have also assisted in the organization of the conferences in numerous ways; The Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, The University of Hong Kong Foundation for Educational Development and Research, and New Asia Cultural Foundation Limited which have kindly provided financial sponsorship. My research assistants Angel Shing, Edmond Au Yeung, Kate Wong, and Hester Lam have provided assistance in the editing process. My sincere thanks go to the three anonymous reviewers who provided many valuable suggestions to the chapter authors. I must also record my appreciation to all the contributors and the staff of Hong Kong University Press, for their patience over the years in the preparation of the manuscript. Needless to say, errors and omissions are all mine.

Lee Pui-tak

Centre of Asian Studies

The University of Hong Kong

March 2005

About the Contributors

Gillian Bickley Formerly Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Hong Kong Baptist University
Chan Kwok-shing Tutor, Chinese Civilization Centre, City University of Hong Kong
Chan Lau Kit-ching Formerly Professor, Department of History, The University of Hong Kong
Cheng Wai-keung Assistant Professor, School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University
David Faure University Lecturer in Modern Chinese History and Fellow of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford; currently Chair Professor and Head, Department of History, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Fung Chi Ming Assistant Curator, Antiquities and Monuments Office, Hong Kong SAR Government
Louis Ha Archivist, Hong Kong Catholic Diocesan Archives
Elizabeth L. Johnson Curator, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
Diana Lary Professor, Department of History, University of British Columbia
Lee Pui-tak Research Assistant Professor, Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong
Bernard H. K. Luk Associate Professor, Department of History, York University, Toronto; currently Vice President, Hong Kong Institute of Education
Catherine R. Schenk Professor of International Economic History, Department of Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow
Wong Man-kong Assistant Professor, Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University

INTRODUCTION: History of Hong Kong and History of Modern China: Unravelling the Relationship

Lee Pui-tak

The handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 marked a new phase in Hong Kong's history. Politically, the new Special Administrative Region government was set up, and the quasi constitution Basic Law decreed that Hong Kong should be ruled under the principle of One Country Two Systems. Implicit was that China should keep its hands off Hong Kong's autonomous affairs. How have these political changes affected the analytical perspectives of historians? Many will say they have not seen many changes. To me, a student of modern Chinese history, it is clear we are at a crossroads of colonialism and nationalism, not knowing very clearly which direction to take. We cannot cut off the history of Hong Kong from modern China. The colonial history of Hong Kong can be viewed as important to the nationalistic history of China, and likewise, the nationalistic history of China can be viewed as important to the colonial history of Hong Kong. The histories of Hong Kong and modern China have been interwoven since Britain began the colonization of Hong Kong during the Opium War (1839–1842).

Hong Kong was a British colony for more than 150 years. An interesting question is how a small number of the British could successfully rule over the predominant majority of Chinese in Hong Kong? Apparently, Chinese collaboration played an important role. Hong Kong history textbooks usually state that Britain used Hong Kong as a stepping-stone to the much bigger market in China. However, no historians have taken a close look at how Chinese merchants in Hong Kong followed the trail of the British. They had mutual benefits on the issue of China trade. We are accustomed to the idea that Hong Kong was a British colony, but actually it was a colony for China.1 Not only British and Chinese merchants, but also the Chinese government was inclined to maintain the status of Hong Kong as a British colony from the birth of the Chinese Republic in 1912, through the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949, and even to the 1970s.

It is interesting to know how the Chinese elites in this colony responded to China politically, socially, culturally and economically. Many of them were trained in colonial Hong Kong but tapped by Chinese regimes at different times. For example, Tang Tingshu worked for Li Hongzhang in the Self-Strengthening Movement's programme on economic affairs in the late Qing period. Wu Tingfang and Wang Chonghui helped the new Chinese Republic in the 1910s to set up the diplomatic system, whereas Fu Bingchang and Chen Jintao helped in legal and finance systems, respectively. During the Sino-Japanese War and Civil War, a number of communist organizations like the Yuehua Company, the Eighth Route Army Hong Kong Office, and Dade College were set up in Hong Kong to organize underground activities against the Japanese as well as against the Guomindang in the colony. Comrades such as Liao Chengzhi, Lian Guan, Pan Hannian and Xu Dixin were sent to Hong Kong during that time.2 Hong Kong helped every political party or regime in China. Even at present, finance and legal talents like Anthony Neoh (Liang Dingbang) continue to help China modernize its market and formulate its national monetary policy.3 So, history shows that the role of Hong Kong in modernizing China has been persistent.4

This book is divided into two main sections: the history of Hong Kong, and the history of Hong Kong with modern China. Each section consists of six substantial chapters.

The first two chapters, contributed by David Faure and Bernard Luk, deal with the topic of social and religious history, by looking at details of a neglected aspect of Hong Kong's society. They attempt to give a macroview of the characteristics of Hong Kong history: the close connection with China (particularly South China) and the unique society of accommodating multi-cultures (also religion), by taking a micro perspective. Faure describes the formative influences, which created a pattern of living for working emigrants from China during the period 1880s-1930s. He gives detailed information on their housing, sanitation, employment, and wages, and assesses the contribution made by this common people to Hong Kong's development and prosperity. It is noteworthy that the identity and defining characteristics of “common people” emerged in the process. Luk provides an historical overview of the relationship between religion and Hong Kong society, focusing on Christianity, Buddhism and Daoism during the three key periods: the beginnings of the city, the mid-twentieth century, and the 1970s. Luk highlights major religious activities in Hong Kong history, including liturgical worship, spiritual guidance, community service and social action.

Drawing upon the cultural differences, political standpoints, and different economic interests between the British and Chinese in the nineteenth century, Louis Ha and Fung Chi Ming provide full and interesting accounts of the debate at different levels of Sunday rest and double allegiance of the Chinese elites. Ha's chapter reviews arguments adduced by the opposing factions, against the background of Chinese religious and cultural difference, and the colonial government's need to balance Christian objections against local realties and the principal requirements of the growing port-city to secure its steady development. It is noteworthy that Hong Kong had an awareness in the 1870s of the potential competition from Shanghai in the shipping and harbour businesses. Fung's chapter describes the conflicting allegiances of the Chinese elites in the process of Sino-British diplomatic negotiations. He highlights the crisis, which occurred during 1911–1914 and describes how the two governors, Lugard and May, had different views over the issue.

Two chapters in this book touch on one specific region, the New Territories. Chan Kwok-shing's chapter demonstrates how the formation of Luen Wo Market was closely related to changes in agricultural land use in Hong Kong and to the government's agricultural policy which was made in response to the potential unrest in China in the late 1940s. The chapter also shows the dynamic process of creating and maintaining elite power on the local level in rural Hong Kong. Elizabeth Johnson's chapter provides a thoughtful survey of the historical, anthropological, cultural and religious studies of the New Territories' inhabitants, society and institutions, which have been conducted since the Second World War. Johnson emphasizes how research was naturally shaped by the political and economic development of the colony, and her chapter coincidentally complements well the one by Chan on Luen Wo Market.

Based upon archival and other relevant materials, Gillian Bickley provides a detailed account of the biography of Frederick Stewart (1836–1889), whose students contributed to the modernization of China during and after his term as headmaster at Central School. Wong Man-kong discusses the different orientations and perspectives on the study of sinology by two prominent figures, James Legge (1815–1897) and Ernest John Eitel (1838–1908), both of whom conducted research and developed careers in the colony of Hong Kong. This paper successfully draws our attention to how these two sinologists, who had exceptional Chinese language skills, promoted the missionary cause and assisted the colonial government. Most likely, Stewart, Legge, and Eitel shared the same view that understanding China is the first step to helping China, as they put effort into translating Chinese classics, compiling dictionaries, and promoting Chinese education in Hong Kong.

In the twentieth century, the relationship of Hong Kong with China entered a new phase as political chaos and social unrest persistently occurred in China. Different political parties or regimes in China competed to establish their networks in Hong Kong. Diana Lary's chapter demonstrates that Hong Kong was a most useful refuge for China's southern warlords, an important channel for collecting and sharing information, for intrigue, and for the acquisition of money and armed supplies. These warlords, as Lary points out, “… had very little to do with Hong Kong's own history. They showed little interest in what was going on there … Their only interest in the place was a stable, comfortable refuge.” Lary shows that Hong Kong had not only played a positive role in the process of China's nation-building, but also played a negative role in bringing local chaos and civil war. Based upon different sources of information, Chan Lau Kit-ching's chapter provides a concise and convenient summary of the story of Hong Kong Chinese merchants' perceptions of, and responses to, the Chinese communist movement during 1921–1934. Chan persuasively demonstrates that the colony's Chinese merchants and populace dreaded Chinese communism, and more importantly, that the anti-communist sentiment during this period transcended social class division.

Chung Wai-keung discusses how Hong Kong presented itself to China and elsewhere in the world in terms of “guohuo” (Chinese national product), showing how problematic the notion of being “Chinese” could be in the colony. In this chapter, Chung describes the adverse effects on Chinese industrialists of producing manufactured goods in the British colony at a time of intense nationalist feeling among China's people and government, whereby their goods were not allowed free entry into the Chinese market. An ongoing campaign to publicize Hong Kong products as “national goods” failed in China but succeeded in Southeast Asia. This issue is quite meaningful when today Hong Kong industrialists are encouraged by the newly launched “CEPA” programme (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) to boost the sale of Hong Kong products in China's domestic market. Catherine Schenk addresses the impact of three shocks to the economic relations between Hong Kong and China during the period of 1949–1955, namely as trade embargoes, the Guomindang blockade of 1949–1950, and the freezing of Chinese-owned US trade balances in 1950. Schenk argues that the Guomindang naval blockade and financial controls were the important factors affecting the relationship between Hong Kong and China, balancing attention paid previously to the US/UN embargoes on trade with China in the 1950s. In this chapter, Schenk also examines and assesses the impact of smuggling between Hong Kong / Macau and China, which is a common issue today when the integration of the economies of Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangdong province is considered.


1 The Common People in Hong Kong History: Their Livelihood and Aspirations Until the 1930s

David Faure

Several themes recur frequently in the writing of Hong Kong's history. G. B. Endacott began with government policies, James Hayes continued with the history of the people of the New Territories, Elizabeth Sinn and Carl Smith described the elites, and now Ming K. Chan and Tsai Jungfang have started on the history of the working classes.1 In this chapter, I would like to blur the differences and look for a common experience; one that despite income differences stretched across class, and despite dialect differences reached beyond the ethnic identity. I am tempted to think that it might be characterized as the experience of urbanization, the move from village to city and the change in lifestyle and worldview that such a move might imply. For much of Hong Kong's history, the common people of Hong Kong have been predominantly people who moved into the city, or who were descended no more than a generation from people who had done so. Concentrating on the 1880s to the 1930s, I would like to show in this chapter how in the time of just over a generation, the common people of Hong Kong came into their own and fostered a character that became very much recognized as part of Hong Kong itself.


The Chadwick Report

The Chadwick Report, 1882, is a useful starting point for its clear exposition of the layout of Chinese houses in Hong Kong. It described such subjects as house construction and drainage, formation of streets, public sewers or drains, water supply, scavenging and the removal of nightsoil. It commented on the defects of existing arrangements, and it concluded with a short section on village houses in Kowloon.2

The houses were not congested by the standards that Hong Kong became used to. In four houses Osbert Chadwick went into in Taipingshan Street, he counted about 10 to 11 people in each basement that was occupied, and between 14 and 20 people on the second floor. Where the ground floor was not used as a shop, it housed up to 30 people. Chadwick calculated how much space each person occupied in cubic measures, and he found that in these four houses, each person might have been given 300 to 400 cubic feet. If we assume that the ceiling was 10 feet, and a substantial amount of space must be subtracted from the overall average to make up the corridors and the kitchens, the bedrooms occupied by these inhabitants would have conformed to his description:

In the house in Kai-ming Lane, like the great majority of dwelling-houses, the upper floor is divided off by board partitions into cabins about 9 feet long and 10 feet wide. Each of these forms the dwelling of an individual family. These cabins do not extend to the full height of the storey. On the contrary they are but about 7 feet 8 inches high; for in order further to economise space a platform or floor, locally known as a “cockloft,” is constructed above them. The cockloft is almost universal in dwellings of the middle and poorer classes.

In this house in the upper floor only there were five families including 16 souls. There were here three cabins and a platform extending over them, and over the passage. Hence the total cubic space per head was 437–1/2 cubic feet, and this includes the whole domestic accommodation, with the exception of the cookhouse, and not sleeping room only, which in the case of the cabins does not exceed 130 cubic feet per head. It must be remembered that the lower floor rarely belongs to the inhabitants of the upper floors. Very frequently each floor is leased separately from the owner, or from his “comprador,” and sublet again to individual lodgers.3

Elsewhere, Chadwick notes that the population of 106 000 of urban Hong Kong (including non-Chinese people) in 1881 occupied 6 402 houses, averaging 16.6 persons per house. It would seem that the Taipingshan houses represented the extreme of congestion rather than the norm. Because among the Chinese population, there were 67 000 men to 18 000 women and 17 000 children, it would also appear that many rooms would have been occupied by small families. Many single men would have lived in bed spaces.

Hong Kong has since become used to tiny bedrooms and men living in bed spaces.

Chadwick went into the state of the sewers and the drains in great detail. He insisted on standards and supervision:

In February last a new drain was being constructed in the following manner. The drain was square 1 foot 2 inches wide by 1 foot 3 inches high. The sides were of brick on edge, and did not rest on the tile which formed the sole … Under these circumstances it need hardly be said that a great proportion of house drains are but elongated cesspools, the greater part of their fluid contents filtering into the subsoil. In one case a drain was found having no bottom but the natural soil.4

He commented on the state of the latrines, his precise descriptions bringing home with stark realism the bare necessities of life:

As a general rule throughout Hong Kong, in accordance with time-honoured Chinese practice, human excreta are removed by hand, on what may be called the “pail” system. Neither deodorisation or disinfection of any kind is attempted.

In many European houses waterclosets are used in connexion with the town drains, but they are for the use of Europeans only; the method just mentioned being used for the native servants.

In some public buildings the use of dry earth, or more properly decomposed granite, has been partially introduced.

As in the Chinese cities of the mainland, the men of the working classes resort to public latrines. Only in the houses of the more wealthy is there any latrine accommodation for men. Women and children of all classes use pots, generally kept under their beds. In coolie houses where there are no women, there is frequently a total absence of any provision for this purpose.

There are 25 public latrines in the city of Victoria, having in all 565 seats, the number in each varying from 2 to 51. These latrines are built and owned by private persons as a business speculation. Their construction and management is supervised by Government, who levy a tax of $0.60 per seat per annum. The latrine owner derives his profit (said to be very large) from the sale of the manure collected, and from fees of 1 or 2 cash paid by those using them, according as paper and cigarette are furnished or not.

… On the whole the existing latrines are offensive and a nuisance, both as to position and construction, and they are so crowded as to render improvements as to maintenance very difficult.5

Chadwick noted that manure was removed daily from the latrines, as it was from private houses. He also went into the question of cost of nightsoil removal. Nevertheless, he settled in favour of the construction of house drains, arguing that the dry earth system solved only partly the problem of waste disposal. Although human excrement carried a commercial value as manure and was therefore profitably removed by nightsoil carriers, no-one collected slopwater for the disposal of which drains were absolutely necessary.

Chadwick observed that it was true that no epidemic had broken out that might be linked to sanitation, but he noted that the mean age at death for men who survived beyond 20 was 42 years and women 46. He concluded that “the dwellings of the Chinese working classes are inconvenient, filthy and unwholesome.”6

Background to the Chadwick Report: residential segregation

Osbert Chadwick was appointed by the Colonial Office as a possible solution to a long-standing dispute between Governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Pope Hennessy (Governor 1877–1882) and his civil servants, notably the Colonial Surgeon and the Surveyor General. The issues that the Chadwick Report addressed were sores in the dispute, and they arose from precisely the questions of ventilation for congested houses, drains, sewage, and the disposal of human waste, the appropriateness of water closets for the Hong Kong environment figuring prominently among them. Dr. G.H. Choa, in his biography of Ho Kai, has gone into the Chadwick Report at length and discussed its consequences. A Sanitary Board was set up to which Ho Kai was appointed, and a Public Health Ordinance was enacted. One of Ho Kai's first fiery speeches was directed at precisely the issue of sanitary enforcements on the Chinese population, an issue that could have come directly from Hennessy's argument with his civil servants. Ho Kai on the Sanitary Board, coming close upon the appointment of Ng Choy on the Legislative Council, signalled the recruitment of prominent and highly Westernized members of the Chinese community into the Hong Kong governing elite, and between them and the Chinese community at large would have been opinion leaders around such characters as Ho A-mei, vividly described by Carl Smith, and the Tung Wah Hospital directors, brought to life by Elizabeth Sinn.7

Yet the focus on the elite would have left behind the inhabitants of the houses that Chadwick described. He referred to them, when he did, as the chair coolies or the Chinese working classes but, if one would return to the reports of the Colonial Surgeon and the Surveyor General, they would have been none other than simply the Chinese. Some of the houses described, indeed, would have been among the worst in the urban districts in the 1870s and early 1880s but, as Hennessy himself pointed out, although Chinese houses were increasing in number in Hong Kong, the living quarters attached to them were looked upon as temporary abodes by the shop owners. They did not build in Hong Kong what he referred to as “family houses,” which he had noticed they did in overseas Chinese communities, in Labuan, Malacca, Penang or Saigon. “The wealthy Hong Kong Chinaman has a temporary abode close to his stores, but his family house is in Macao or Canton.” 8

The background of the Chadwick Report revolved around a contest between Governor Sir John Pope Hennessy and some of his civil servants on what might be imposed on the Chinese residents of Hong Kong over matters that related to sanitation. The Surveyor General in 1877 had laid out one issue. Ethnic segregation was implemented in Hong Kong through provisions in building leases. The lease specified that houses had to be built in conformity with the character and description of other houses in their neighbourhood, and this allowed government,“if it chose to avail itself of it, to disallow the erection of Chinese tenements in purely European quarters.” He noted that the requirement had not restricted the spread of Chinese-type tenement houses, but matters were coming to a head because plans had been submitted to him by land developers who had purchased properties in the European quarters with the intention of converting them into Chinese tenement houses. He needed a ruling from the Colonial Secretary on the issue because, “experience teaches that a European house standing next to or between Chinese properties, will not let as profitably as one standing among buildings of its own class.” An interest in encouraging business suggested to him that Chinese shops be allowed to extend into the European business district, but the segregation policy was to continue in the location of residential houses. He continued:

There is no occasion for any sacrifice, because the case is not one of native shops, but simply of native dwelling-houses, and there is ample building ground for these in Syingpun [Saiyingpun] and other Chinese neighbourhoods. I think, therefore, we should not depreciate the value of the English properties by countenancing the erection of Chinese dwellings in their midst, and consequently, I would venture to recommend that no permits should be issued for the latter [ie Chinese houses] anywhere, above a line running along Upper Wyndham street, Hollywood road, Aberdeen street, the back of the lots facing Caine and Bonham roads and High street.

The Surveyor General recommended along with this proposal that a high standard be required of the Chinese houses built in this extension, but lamented that “it would be almost impossible to avoid the swarms of swinging signboards and other features, peculiar to such tenements, the most striking of which is, unfortunately, the begrimed appearance of their exteriors, there being nothing in the Statute Book authorising the Surveyor General to demand an occasional healthy coat of lime-wash or paint, or even a scrub with soap and water.”9

The Registrar General opposed this proposal, but it went to the Executive Council, which upheld the Surveyor General's suggestion. There the matter might have rested, but for the state of hygiene in Chinese style houses and the objection of the military to having such houses built near its barracks.

Background to the Chadwick Report: sanitation and Chinese houses

On the question of hygiene in Chinese houses, a report had been made in 1874 by the Colonial Surgeon. It outlined a sorry state of affairs that had to do with pigs, ventilation, drainage and the lack of toilets. The Colonial Surgeon discovered “that pigs were kept in houses all over the town, by the hundreds, and that pigsties were to be found under the beds and in the kitchens of first, second, and third floors.” He said:

Imagine houses whose upper floors are constructed of thin boards, with wide interstices between them, and whose lower floors are mud, and the state they would be in under these circumstances, with pigs' urine, &c. dropping through from floor to floor. It is needless to observe that the minute this state of things was brought to the notice of Government, it was at once put a stop to, and that now all pigs found in houses are confiscated, and, on repetition of the offence, the owner is fined as well.

Ventilation was poor. Houses were either constructed back to back with no ventilation except from the front, or were separated only by a narrow and often clogged gully in between two houses.

He noticed the congestion:

The average size of the main rooms is 26 feet by 14 feet by 10 feet high, containing eight partitions, averaging 7 feet by 6 feet by 7 feet high, over which a sort of loft is often built to increase the accommodation, and in a room of this description, from 16 to 25 people live.

The houses were also dirty, for the brick walls were not whitewashed, wide interstices appeared between wooden planks that made up the upper floors, and the ground floor was made of mud. This construction made washing the floor impossible:

The first-floor tenants cannot wash their floors, because they are mud; the upper-floor tenants cannot wash theirs, because they would, if they attempted it, half drown the inhabitants of the floors beneath them.

These long, dark, poorly ventilated and dirty houses had no toilets. The men went to public toilets and the women and children used chamber pots kept under their beds. In a separate report, the Colonial Surgeon noted that he was not speaking of poverty. He had seen poorer people in London, but they did not live in such squalor. He was appalled that Chinese people paid high rent in return for such poor quarters, and he had begun to implement changes before Hennessy's arrival. It may well be that the changes did have some impact, for where he found pigs in all Chinese style houses, Chadwick did not report any.10

The pressure on the Governor had come also from the War Office, which had written to the Colonial Office on the complaint of the Commander of Forces in China and the Straits Settlement that congested Chinese-style tenements were now appearing in the proximity of the barracks. The complaint had been made on the principal ground that these unhygienic houses were a health threat to the troops and, it seems, because the Colonial Office had known of the existence of the Colonial Surgeon's report of 1874 on such issues, it was demanding to be sent a copy. The Governor sheepishly did as he was told, adding the provision that the Colonial Surgeon's report had been found to be misleading. In his own defence, the Governor pointed out that the new buildings near the barracks were built to higher-than-usual standards and that, if water closets were not installed in them, it was because they were unsuitable for the local environment, and that thanks to consultations with leading Chinese residents in Hong Kong, he had succeeded in implementing useful changes. On this last point, it may be noted that in extending regulations regarding the building of verandas over the pavement, the Government could now demand that an open yard be incorporated into designs of buildings separating the kitchen from the rest of the house and this particular change introduced into building designs had long-lasting effects in tenement houses built in Hong Kong.11 Consultation with Chinese land owners and residents, however, indicated to Hennessy that the Chinese were not in favour of the Western standards being imposed on them. A memorandum from Chinese land owners and residents upon being shown a plan of these new houses by the Surveyor General expressed concern that these houses might become the new standard. The land owners agreed that these had been designed for “a very superior class of residence, that they provide for the ordinary requirements of Chinese tenants in a satisfactory manner,” and that they were “in no way deficient in regard to supplying the space for the admission of light and air which is required by their habits, ideas, and wants.” But, they said:

These habits, although your memorialists are given to understand that they are condemned by the more recent rules of western science are, as a matter of fact, the outcome of a lengthened experience among the Chinese of living in large and crowded cities, and are as deep rooted as most of their customs, so that it is quite certain that the tenants for whom these houses are intended … would not understand the reason, would in no way avail themselves of the facilities for the free access of light and air which the Surveyor General's proposed alterations would allow for them.

The windows looking out into the proposed alleys would be kept closed and the alleys themselves not being intended for use as thoroughfares, would be made receptacles for the deposit of refuse and filth which would beyond question be suffered to accumulate to an extent in itself dangerous to health.

Such in fact has been the practical result of providing similar alley ways in other parts of this city, as, for instance, in East and West streets, Taipingshan, where, owing probably in great measure to this cause, epidemic diseases are frequent in the hot season, and at times when houses in Tung-mun-lane, Gilman's Bazaar, and other streets leading from the Queen's Road to the Praya where houses have been built back to back, remain altogether free from such visitations.

The great cities in the mainland of China, such as Canton and Fatshan, are singularly free also from epidemic disease; and there all along the streets and main thoroughfares it has been the practice from time immemorial to build the houses back to back.

There were other objections. Land was scarce and the alleys constituted a waste. They would not be properly lit and thieves would hide in them. The Chinese people in Hong Kong would not appreciate these new standards. Quite the contrary, they were “certainly calculated to alarm and irritate those interested in land and to depreciate the value of property.” All this was put forward with ostentatious stylized deprecation, for these memorialists belonged “to a law-abiding order, to whom … factious opposition is unknown, and they should not in this instance depart from their usual habit of silent submission to such laws and regulations as are made for their obedience, if they did not feel strongly that the points apparently decided in the letter of the Honourable the Surveyor General tend to press with injustice upon them.” The same objections were to be raised by Ho Kai in 1886 when he served on the Sanitary Board.12

The other seemingly innocuous subject of the water closet proved to be the matter of contention between the Governor, the Colonial Surgeon and the Surveyor General. In his report to the Colonial Office, the Governor had said on 29 April 1881 that he acknowledged he disagreed with the two men who had responsibilities over public health in Hong Kong:

… On the serious question of preferring an under-ground system of drainage in a tropical colony to the Chinese house-bucket and the dry-earth systems, I find that Mr Price's [the Surveyor General's] account of the disposal of house refuse in Hong Kong, as given in paragraphs 11, 12, and 13 of his letter, does not correspond with the account given by the Chinese themselves, nor with the reports of the inspectors of nuisances, nor with some facts that come occasionally before the police magistrates. A few months ago I had to draw Mr Price's attention, not for the first time, to the fact that the Government scavengers employed by his department had been fined by the police magistrate for deliberately emptying night-soil into the underground drains of the city of Victoria. Soon after I arrived in Hong Kong I had to point out to Mr Price and to Dr Ayres [the Colonial Surgeon] the danger to public health of allowing the Survey Department scavenger to empty every morning a considerable portion of the night-soil of the prisoners into the gaol drains, and to deposit night-soil in large quantities in a place chosen by the Survey Department at Belcher's Bay, near the west end of the city of Victoria. Though I then told him that every public institution in the colony should have dry-earth closets, and latrines only on the dry-earth system, he made an effort, some months afterwards, to get the Government to sanction water-closets in the new hospital, on the ground that Jenning's patent water-closets would provide such a large ‘volume of water as to at once greatly deoderise the dejecta.’13

The Governor attached a report that shows 182 water-closets approved, all of which were located in residential houses or offices belonging to Westerners. The first water-closet, it would seem, was fitted in the City Hall in 1869.14

The removal of nightsoil continued in some Chinese tenements for decades. Well into the 1960s, the description of toilet arrangements in a Wanchai tenement read:

There are no flush toilets and bathrooms. Dry-pan lavatories are used by the children and the very old. These are kept under the bed. The night soil is removed by the Urban Services Department without charge. The adults avail themselves of the nearby public conveniences. The kitchen serves as the bath-space also.15

By August 1881, the Governor was falling out with both his own officers and the Colonial Office. The Surveyor General reported to London his disagreements with the Governor in terms that show quite unmistakably where he thought the fault lay:

I also enclose, for your Lordship's information, a copy, marked C, of the instructions to the Nuisance Inspectors, drawn up some years ago by the Colonial Surgeon and myself. These instructions were cancelled by Governor Hennessy two years ago, because his Excellency considered them oppressive to the Chinese, and because they did not conform to Chinese ideas of what the duties of a Nuisance Inspector should be. Many months after Governor Hennessy abrogated the instructions, and upon my application for some other sanitary code in substitution, his Excellency directed me, in an official letter (copy of which I will duly submit), to call on the Rev. Dr. Eitel, who, in consultation with the Chinese of the place, would give me my new rules.16

If his feelings towards the Rev. Dr. Eitel and the Chinese were not sufficiently clear in this paragraph, he spelt them out in a later one:

The filthy condition of the cities and villages of Southern China, sickening and revolting beyond all power of language to describe, arising out of a combination of ignorance and neglect on the part of the authorities, and objectionable personal habits on the part of the people, should demonstrate that in a British colony like Hong Kong, with so many European lives to be jeopardised, it is not to a guild of native traders that the Executive should apply for its sanitary maxims. I cannot but think the wishes of your Lordship would be more correctly interpreted by Governor Hennessy seeking, in preference, the counsel and assistance of the proper professional officers provided for the purpose by Her Majesty's government, and who by their experience and technical training are likely to be better acquainted with the principles of public hygiene than the Reverend Dr. Eitel and the Chinese, at present the only persons consulted.17

At the Colonial Office, patience was also beginning to run thin. The dispute with the military had not blown over. The Commander of Forces had written to report that open space behind the newly built houses had been used “more or less as a latrine.” Worse, when he complained about this to the colonial government, it built a urinal, “for the sole use of the Chinese” at the same spot.18 More to the point, the Colonial Office also found it hard to accept that the dry-earth system as favoured by the Governor should be an adequate sanitation measure: Hennessy's reports conflicted with those received from the Colonial Surgeon (now dismissed) and the Surveyor General. Under these circumstances, it was necessary to send to Hong Kong an engineer from Britain, who would report independently on the Hong Kong sanitation conditions. The Governor had wanted approval to set up an independent sanitation department, which would have to wait until the engineer had submitted his report. The engineer in question was Osbert Chadwick.19


The dispute with the Colonial Surgeon and the Surveyor General, and then the Colonial Office, had arisen because the Governor saw regulations that enforced Western standards as restrictions on the Chinese. In his annual report in 1881, he noted several such restrictions that he alleviated. No sooner had he arrived in Hong Kong, than the local Chinese people had complained about the draft “Rules and Regulations with respect to Chinese graves,” which specified that “single graves shall not be more than 6 feet long by 2 feet wide, nor less than 5 feet deep.” An ordinary Chinese coffin, it was described to him, measured 6 feet 6 inches in length and 2 feet 7 inches wide at the head, and longer and wider if the deceased was a person of importance. He referred also to the question of converting European houses into Chinese houses in the city area, and the suggestion that the Hong Kong Government should register all sleeping partners in Chinese businesses, even though those in Western business houses would remain unregistered. Then he referred also to sanitation, which often consisted of recommendations on the “pulling down of Chinese houses, compelling the Chinese to adopt what are called the rules of western sanitary science, that is, to have underground drains, to build their houses after a system they do not like, and to conduct their domestic arrangements according to European and American models.” The Governor consulted the Chinese on such issues, and he reported, “They said all this would only tend to drive them away, and they ventured, shrewdly I think, to say that their own system had some merits, and that the system to be substituted for their own had not worked well elsewhere, had caused typhoid fever, diphtheria, and cholera, from which the Colony and the neighbouring ports are free.”

His report also built upon the increasing importance of Chinese people in Hong Kong. He noted, in particular, that the Chinese people were wealthy and were capable of spending vast sums purchasing land. Recognizing their commercial potential, he decided to open to them the possibility of building Chinese-style houses in the business area which had hitherto been limited to Western developments. In his speech to the Legislative Council in 1881, he noticed that in 16 months, the Chinese had purchased 1.7 million dollars' worth of real estate from foreigners, eight times what the foreigners purchased from the Chinese. Citing the statistics of the census returns, he enumerated the trades the Chinese of Hong Kong were engaged in: they operated 37 steam launches, 656 cargo boats, 2 088 sampans; they owned 395 trading companies in the Nam Pak Hong; 2 377 described themselves as traders, 455 brokers, 208 shroffs, 14 teachers of shroffing, 34 bullion dealers, 111 money changers, 55 bankers, 109 piecegoods dealers, 58 cotton yarn dealers, 51 tea merchants, 128 rice dealers, 20 coal dealers, 20 firearms dealers, 107 timber dealers, 156 drapers, 191 foreign goods dealers, 95 compradors, 113 ship compradors, and 41 ship charterers. In a population of 130 000, he enumerated the occupations, therefore, of about 7 000 people. If we could add to that number, women and children, shop workers and domestics, and on top of that, a substantial number of porters and builders, we have here a vivid description of the working population of Hong Kong.20

The Governor cited the statistics from the census report of 1881. As the censuses became more sophisticated, they became also more informative of the Chinese population. The census of 1911 reported that, of the “Chinese land population” (i.e. excluding boat people and New Territories villagers), 115 000 men were married but only 46 000 women were. That must mean that more than half the married men had left their families in China as they lived and worked in Hong Kong.21 However, a larger number of people now settling in Hong Kong translates into unanticipated statistics in the census. For example, the census of 1921 noted that the number of married women compared to married men had increased slightly from 28 out of 100 in the married Chinese land population to 33 out of 100 in 1911, but explained this as the result of an increase in the number of widows residing in Hong Kong by 159 percent. It says: “Formerly on the death of the husband the widow returned to the country; now she evidently remains in Hong Kong where she can if necessary find work in the various industries which are beginning to spring up.” The same report noted that the number of concubines was also rising, from 1 290 in 1911 to 2 974, “in addition to 79 concubines whose status was irregular.”22

The history of the discovery of the common people in Hong Kong is usually described as the transition between the first few decades of Hong Kong's founding as a colony and the emergence of a Chinese mercantile class. In the early days of Hong Kong's history, British settlers in the colony, more used to the luxuries of life of the Chinese merchants of Guangzhou, quite openly declared their disdain for the Chinese people they found in Hong Kong. Their view of the Chinese community was shrouded in fear of piracy or secret societies, and it was only when their attempt to restrict the Chinese community by legislation had failed that they came to terms with the economic life that the Chinese people had made possible in Hong Kong. Hennessy's governorship made a transition in this process, to the extent that he might find acceptable the views of Chinese people that were thought to fall short by Western standards.

Yet, throughout, one reads little of the common people, unless one thinks of the enquiries into the sale of women, the incidence of venereal disease and so on. The petitions made by the Chinese people on questions of sanitation, as in reports by the Colonial Surgeon, however, suggest that the houses in dispute were not resided in only by the poor. And in this faceless crowd, the following extract coming from a law suit is illuminating:

The case for the plaintiff is that Leung Kwong Chi had certain lands, Inland Lot No. 19 and Marine Lot No. 7 in Aplichau, and that he lived there and carried on a trade as a rope and sail maker till 1868, when he died from the result of an accident at the age of 61. It was alleged that the title deeds had been lost or taken possession of by some of his partners, and his wife named Lau Chuk Yee lived in the country at Nam Tau, and being ignorant of English law and usages, although she knew of the existence of the property, had taken no step till last year to recover it. She and an alleged adopted son, named Leung Fuk Yam, are admittedly the persons who would benefit by these proceedings, as the real son of the widow and the deceased, named Leung Hi Kwan, has not been heard of since 1869, and is supposed to be dead or to have emigrated — having disappeared from Aplichau about that time after collecting debts due to his father. The mother admits this and says she got some of the money collected.

The adopted son, Leung Fuk Yam, is said to have been of surname Chan, and was adopted as the son of a concubine named Lai, who lived with the deceased as his so called second wife, the first or lawful wife, as is generally the custom here, living at her native village, and only periodically visiting Aplichau where her husband lived.

Lau Chuk Yee, the widow of the deceased, says she married her husband under the name of Leung Kwong Chi, that he was called Leung Sui Wa also, and that he was also called Mang Wai, or blind Awai. She says he was also called Wai Kun (she means Wai Kin no doubt). They were married 43 years ago, and she did not come to Aplichau till 5 years after the marriage, although the concubine Lai went with the husband. One or two years after the marriage the husband told her about the Aplichau property and the title deeds. The witness admitted in cross-examination that she had given the name of Leung Chi Kwong to Mr Caldwell instead of Leung Kwong Chi, for it appears she had gone to him in the first instance, when she came from the country to seek her rights. She was told of them by some woman, who took her to Taipingshan, where she found some one who took her to the lawyers, she says.

Leung Fuk Yam said he was the adopted son that he and Hi Kwan were present at the death of Leung Kwong Chi, as they lived with him and the ‘small mother.’ He says that the partnership between his father and others was dissolved before his father's death. He says the father was also called Hin Wa and Wai Kin, that he had seen him write, and witness being asked to write ‘Wai’ write it thus … as did Lum Chiu Tin, another witness called by the plaintiff.

Lam Chiu Tin says he is 39 years of age, says that he knew Kwong Chi, and was present when he died. He says the deceased was in partnership with Cheung A-ting and others, and that the business was called Leung Hop Li, but that before the death of Kwong Chi or Mang Wai the business was burnt down, and that no business was carried on after that. He also stated that Hi Kwan, the son, collected the father's debts.23

So far, the testimony pointed towards a single direction, but evidence contrary to this was produced:

Cheng Yuk Cheung or Cheng Chi Ting, who is 61 years of age, and carries on rope business at Aplichau says that the deceased was called Hin Wa and was his partner with others in rope and sail making under the name of Leung Hop Li, that they carried on business on Inland Lot 19, and that Hin Wa lived in the end house. He says that the partners were Leung Wa Chau, Leung Hin Wa, Mok Kwong Fat and himself Cheng Chi Ting. He said that Hin Wa had two shares, and that at the sale of the lots in 1861 the ground was bought as partnership property. He states that in the end of 1867 there was a large fire at Aplichau which burned them out, and that the title deeds were burned. He produces copies of the lease got from the Surveyor General's Office after the fire, and these have been in his possession ever since. He also produced the Crown rent receipts from the beginning of 1868, and states that after the fire the Leung Hop Li business was wound up, and that the deceased and the others apportioned the land amongst them, the deceased having his two shares in it.

He says that the characters Leung Kwong Chi written in the lease were written by him, and the Leung Kwong Chi was a made up name representing persons in the partnership. “Leung” being taken for the two partners of the Leung Hop Li, “Kwong” from a third, and “Chi” from his own, that they had agreed to take the leases in this way in the interest of all, and that by agreement he signed and took the leases thus.24

The trial judge accepted this version of events and came to the conclusion that “there was not a person of the name of Leung Kwong Chi, but that the characters represented a ‘Tong.’” This does not alter some of the other facts in the case, that the rope maker from Nantou (Cantonese Nam Tau) had worked in Aplichau not as an employee but as a self-employed artisan, holding a share in the partnership that was his business, leaving his wife back home and living with a concubine in Hong Kong. He was probably not rich by the standards of the Nam Pak Hong merchants, but he probably would not have been very different from the many craftsmen one might find near present-day Central District.

I have reproduced this case because the evidence that is available on occupants of houses, of the sort described in Chadwick or the Colonial Surgeon's reports, gives scant personal details. Yet some shades of differences have now to be introduced because, somewhere in those details, we have the fine line developing between what might become the Chinese elite in Hong Kong and the common workmen. The Chinese land developers that Governor Hennessy had received petitions from were now busy in the Man Mo Temple, and associated with that, the Tung Wah Hospital and the Po Leung Kuk. Attached to these communal organizations, increasingly receiving government sanction not only in Hong Kong but also in China, were the many guilds and commonplace associations that Elizabeth Sinn has documented.25 By 1912, the Registrar General produced a very interesting, though brief, report describing some 60 guilds. As he was looking more for indications of what trades they were engaged in than what their membership consisted of, he made no distinction between their status as employers or employees beyond the explicit declaration to this effect by the guilds themselves. Even then, he noted that the masons and the matpackers were divided into two guilds, one for masters and the other for employees. The benevolent societies for “restaurant employees,” “cooks and boys on steamers” and “servants” were obviously made up of employees, but the members of the guilds of Californian merchants, and the Nam Pak Hong were almost certainly employers.26

The blurring of relationships between employers and employees was very much a feature of the artisans' employment market.27 Details in a small collection of guild regulations (in Chinese and English translation) among the Clementi papers should bear out this conclusion. The masons and the shipbuilders were divided into guilds for masters (employers) and artisans (employees), such guilds being generally known respectively as dongjia hang (the eastern guilds) and xijia hang (western guilds). The regulations for bricklayers and carpenters pertain only to the artisans' guilds. The guild of contractors included the master carpenters as should be clear from the regulations of the carpenters' guild.28

The Master Masons' Guild was made up of 120 members. Some of the prominent members and committeemen lived near the business district, and others lived at Third Street, Saiyingpun, Lower Rutter Street on Taipingshan, or Wanchai. The bricklayers, artisans, had a meeting house at No. 2 Upper Rutter Street, and four of the six prominent members cited gave this as their address. The bricklayers, the shipbuilders, the carpenters and the contractors, that is to say, both masters and artisans, celebrated the festival of the deity Lo Pan at the Lo Pan Temple at Shektongtsui. The master masons celebrated the Tin Hau Festival at Tanglunchau, while the artisans did not record in their regulations sacrifice at a temple. The Master Masons' Guild considered itself a branch of the Master Masons' Guild of Guangzhou, and there they met at the guildhall (huiguan) at the Lo Pan Temple at a location known as Sai Shek Kok. The other guilds were set up in Hong Kong.

The documents recording the guild regulations include, in quite a few instances, the names of members and altogether recorded are several thousand names. It would seem that these people were very much the type who had been living in the tenement houses described in government records in the 1880s.

Portions of these regulations deal with fees, charges made to the guild, conditions of work — that is to say, hours of work and the amount of food to be provided on a daily basis — and, importantly, the terms of apprenticeship. An essential feature of the regulations is the assumption of short-term contractual relationship. The Artisan Masons' Guild, whose regulations were drawn up in 1889, ruled that, “when a master-mason engaged an artisan for hire, the term of engagement would be held to be one month unless other wise stipulated.” The rales of the Carpenters' Guild, drawn up in 1894, specified that engagement of work for one year would be considered long-term. Aside from this clause, the provisions for food and payment of wages suggest that the carpenters contracted their work by the day in the manner of “casual labour” (sangong), a term that was employed quite freely in these rules.

The question of wages deserves comment. Chadwick referred in one case to a rent of 8.50 dollars per month that was paid by a tenant for a whole floor in a house in Peel Street. The house had a frontage of 15 feet and a depth of 50 feet, and the whole of this floor was sufficiently large to be divided into four rooms of 10 feet by 10 feet. The tenant, who was a “fireman” on a local steamer, occupied one room and sublet the other three.29 The Bricklayers' regulations cite, for 1884, wages of .216 tael per day for master-bricklayers and .144 tael per day for under-bricklayers. In a fully employed 30-day month, therefore, a master-bricklayer might receive 6.7 taels or 9 dollars, and an under-bricklayer 4.3 taels or 6 dollars. Neither would have been able to afford an entire flat in Peel Street, but the master-bricklayer would have been comfortably off with a room.

The guilds exerted a “closed shop” on the people engaged in their trade. The Carpenters' Guild stipulates:

Arrivals from another port must enter their names in the guild ledger within ten days, otherwise their case will be considered in general meeting.30

The Bricklayers' Guild, in regulations drawn up in 1902, sees an imposed fee on the hiring of labour as a service that the guild might provide:

A man who has not yet joined the guild but takes odd jobs in Hong Kong should be invited to join our guild. If he refuses to join, should our guild procure labourers for him, he will be charged guild-tax at the rate of .04 tael as guild-money; if employed by the guild as a master-workman, he must pay .01 tael as guild money; if employed as an under-workman, at a daily wage of .08 tael, he must pay .005 tael as guild-money. If his daily wage is less than .08 tael, no charge will be made. All these charges are daily. If a stranger comes to Hong Kong from another port, no charge will be made for 7 days after his arrival: but after the 7th day, the full fee from the date of his arrival must be paid. If he works for a month he must enter the guild. Evasion of this rule will be considered and punished in general meeting of the guild.31

Despite the claim made on the right to work, the guilds quite possibly made room for place-of-origin differences. In the Masons' Artisans' Guild, such recognition was explicitly spelt out. The artisan masons of the Li surname from Jiaying, those of the Zeng surname also from Jiaying, and people of all other surnames from Jiaying belonged to three different “tong,” while among Huizhou artisans, those of the Zhang surname and people of other surnames belonged to two different “tong.” No provision was made for artisans who had come from neither Jiaying nor Huizhou.

The regulation cited above from the Bricklayers' Guild should also be interesting for another reason: it is clear that it assumes that the artisan might also hire even though he belonged to an artisans' guild. The preamble to the Bricklayers' Guild, while accepting that it was an artisans' guild, states that there was no separate guild for masters. The Bricklayers' regulations differentiate between charges made on members who were masters from those made on members who were artisans, its members consisting of contractors, sub-contractors and workmen. One regulation distinguishes between “big contractors” and “small contractors.” “If a sub-contractor completes the work according to contract and hands it over to his employer, then being a subordinate artisan of small means his account should be settled and his wages paid up to date as soon as possible;” but “the big contractors deal necessarily with the big employers, but these latter usually have a number of master-bricklayers with whom they deal year after year, and whose wages will frequently be in arrears.” This particular clause bans members from finishing work left undone by “small contractors” who had not been paid, but accepts as a necessity, arrangements with “big contractors.” It might be argued from this description that the means that contractors were capable of varied over a fairly wide range, so that at the poorer end, the artisan and the sub-contractor were probably little distinguishable.32

Another prominent feature indicated in the rules is the emphasis on a personal bond to the contractor or the guild. In the treatment of apprentices, this feature is explicitly spelt out. The rules of the Carpenters' Guild, for instance, put it in the following terms:

All apprentices in Hong Kong must work 3 years (without wage), and are not permitted to leave while their term of apprenticeship is incomplete. If they do, the men who brought them to Hong Kong (and stood guarantee for them) must refund the expense of their board.33

This clause seems to assume that the “men who brought them to Hong Kong” and therefore stood guarantee for apprentice carpenters were not themselves master carpenters; but the rules of the masons and ship-builders are worded in such a way as to suggest that the apprentices were bound directly to their masters. The Master Masons' Guild further makes clear that the apprentice worked for the master to whom he was apprenticed, who could be a member of the artisans' guild, rather than the employer: “If a member of the artisan guild keeps an apprentice in the shop of his employer [i.e. a master], he must pay to such employer $10 as board on account of such apprentice.”34

The prevalence of sub-contracting necessarily blurs the distinction between employer and workmen. The possibility of bringing in friends and relatives from the country to supplement the labour needed in the fulfilment of work contracts contributed to a culture where workmen saw considerable scope in becoming contractors or sub-contractors. In the strikes for wages cited by the Registrar General's report of 1912, it would be quite in keeping with the character of sub-contracting that the sub-contractors were considered among the employees.

Little information is available on what the common people of Hong Kong in the 1880s might have felt about living there. For this reason, the following singular paragraph in a Guangdong genealogy is perhaps of interest:

In the 13th year of Guangxu (1887), in the year Ting Hoi, Hong Kong celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. An exhibition added to the celebration and the view was pleasing. I went with my aunt Madam Kam to Hong Kong for half a month. This was the most enjoyable time of my life.35

Madam Kam was married to a Hong Kong rice importer who had probably arrived in the 1850s. The family had been poor in Xinhui county but four brothers, including the rice importer, settled in Hong Kong. One of these became an opium merchant, and another was successful as a mechanic. By the 1880s, the mechanic was moving up in the world. He was soon associated with people who eventually formed the Society for the Improvement of Engineering in Hong Kong and a son was to acquire a degree from Columbia University. In the 1880s, such a family was only just about moving into the elite. A tinge of tourist interest from members of the family back home who had visited Hong Kong for a brief visit would probably have been quite fitting.

In 1931, of the 655 000 Chinese people who did not live on boats or in New Territories villages, 253 000 claimed to have lived in Hong Kong for less than five years, and another 157 000 for less than ten.36 This was an immigrant community and length of stay, it will be seen, had much to do with status.

The Immigrant Behind the Working Man

By the 1920s, Hong Kong was moving into industrial society. The Economic Resources Committee set up by the Governor, which reported in 1920, provided a list of well over 200 industrial operations under Chinese management, manufacturing rattan furniture, biscuits, cigars, tobacco, preserved ginger, soap, vermilion, lard, singlets and socks, blackwood furniture, leather, noodles, soy, in addition to machinery repair shops and iron and copper smiths. All this was reckoned quite apart from transport, or industries under Western management, which included the docks, Green Island Cement, China Sugar Refining, and the power companies. Through the 1910s, the cost of living and wages were both rising, and a major concern of the committee was the deterrence that increasing costs might pose for industrial growth. It was noticed that, where Hong Kong paid 50 to 90 cents in wages, in Guangzhou the worker would have received 50 to 70 cents, and elsewhere on the mainland (presumably in south China or Guangdong itself) 40 to 60 cents.37 Strangely enough, despite the interest in wage costs, the committee did not have access to information on wages other than what individual committee members had acquired from personal experience. The following exchange of views makes it obvious that the Chinese elite was now quite isolated from the common worker:

Mr Ross Thomson:- … It is a fact, is it not, that ordinary labourers, here in the City of Victoria, demand a very much higher wage than, for instance, they would get in Sha Tau Kok or in places in the hills over the other side.

The Chairman:- Of course, they have to pay so much more for rent.

Mr Chow Shou-son:- The cost of living is higher.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Is that enough to account for the difference or is it simply a matter of combination?

The Chairman:- Their rice costs considerably more.

Mr Ross Thomson:- But labour has gone up out of all proportion.

Mr Chow Shou-son:- Necessities have gone up fifty per cent.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Labour has gone up a hundred and fifty per cent.

The Chairman gave an example of a chair coolie now paid $12 per month as against $6.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Take bricklayers and carpenters, how their wages have advanced. Does anybody know? It would be rather interesting to have information on that.

Mr Chan Harr:- The advance in wages of bricklayers, carpenters and joiners within the last fifteen years, I should say, is from fifty to seventy per cent.

Mr Ross Thomson:-1 thought it was more.

The Chairman:- More. A hundred per cent.

Mr Chan Harr:- No. Most of the labour is contract, but taking the odd jobs, so far as I know from my own job contractors putting up jobs for my Company, they tell me, a few months ago, that fifteen years ago they could get a bricklayer for 45 cents a day, he to find his own chow. Now they want 75 to 80 cents a day.

Mr Ross Thomson:- And still gets his own chowl

Mr Chan Harr:- Yes.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Well, I may be mixed about the periods. You say fifteen years. I can't go back much earlier than that, but I know they were satisfied at one time with 20 cents a day.

Hon. Mr Lau Chu-pak:- Wages rose three years ago from 30 to 70 per cent.

Mr Chan Harr:- Living these four or five years is double.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Has not the cost of building at the present time compared to what it was 20 years ago or 15 years ago been increased more than is represented by the increase in the cost of living of the labourers?

The Chairman:- Yes.

Mr Chan Harr:- Yes.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Then it is due to combination —

The Chairman:- Combination of circumstances.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Combination of the workers.

The Chairman:- No, to combination of things. They have to pay more to import things, including material from up river, from Canton, etc., such as fir. And the Government is much more strict in carrying out the Building Ordinance than before.

Mr Ross Thomson:- Is not the contractors' business very much more remunerative today than it used to be?

The Chairman:-1 cannot say.

Mr Chow Shou-son:- They pay their men in proportion.

Hon Mr Lau Chu-pak:- And they have to pay more for imported articles.

After further discussion (on wages and cost of living),

Hon Mr Lau Chu-pak:- The Chinese have been too much Europeanised in the last few years. They have taken to luxuries.38

The discussion concluded that the committee should look into the housing question. In further meetings, considerable concern was expressed over the cost of land.

Rising rent in Hong Kong, as always, was caused by the influx of population. The population, reported at 270 000 in 1900, had expanded to 650 000 by 1920. Wages, nonetheless, fell behind rent increases, and it was argued that an impediment to building more houses in Hong Kong, quite aside from the shortage of land and the lack of roads, came from the shortage of skilled labourers to work on construction. The argument crept in, in the 1920s, that Government should subsidize rent to keep the cost of living low for workmen and this is evident in the recommendations made to the Government by the Housing Commission in 1923:

We also recommend that the Government build, in various districts, and rent out at cheap rents, houses for the occupation of Chinese workmen engaged in the building trades. From the answers which we have received to question 1(6) in our circular letter of the 9th April, 1923, there seems to be little doubt that, if only sufficient accommodations were provided for labourers in the building trades at reasonable rents, a sufficient supply of skilled labourers for building would be willing to come into the Colony. On this point the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce say, in their letter in Enclosure 1: “There is no scarcity of skilled labourers, and procuration of more such is not difficulty, but the labourers in the interior would always hesitate before coming to Hong Kong, considering the high rent and the high cost of living here.” Later on in the same letter the Chamber state: “This Chamber is strongly of the opinion that the Government should be urged to build two or three hundred houses in each of the following districts, namely, Causeway Bay, Kennedy Town, Yaumati and Mongkoktsui, etc.; and also extend the tramlines so as to make them easily accessible. The Government could build these houses at a cost of $4,000 to $5,000 each, reckoning on a 5% or 6% return, each house could be let at $20 to $30 a month. Thus the middle class and the working class inhabitants in the Colony will be rescued from the hardship of paying high and excessive rent, and simultaneously the rent in the whole Colony will be restored to its normal condition …39

The same report also reaffirmed the need to provide for a European Reservation. But it added the argument that “in times of strike or other internal commotions, an aggregation of British residents in one district renders it easier for them to take common action for the defence of the whole community against disorders.”40

In the 1920s, political developments in China were fast creating the ideology of the working class, and the Housing Commission of 1923 had very much in mind the seamen's strike in 1922. However, the idea that government should finance housing seems to have taken root, for the point was raised again in the Housing Commission's report in 1938, when the Hong Kong housing situation had come under much greater strain because of the population influx from China. This very important report put forward the suggestions that slums should be cleared to make way for new housing, that compensation be given for those cleared from the slums, that adequate housing be provided for the poor, that housing should not be left to private enterprise alone, and that areas outside the currently populated districts be found that might be developed for industry.41 These very important suggestions became the bases of the Hong Kong Government's housing policies in the 1950s.

Yet, in the 1950s, when housing had to be provided at low cost, the Hong Kong Government ignored an essential recommendation made in the memorandum written by the secretary of the commission, W. H. Owen, which was appended to the report:

The unit of occupation is the family and standards should be based on the requirements of family life.42

This general point is elaborated in the following terms:

The question of overcrowding is dependent to a great extent on unit of occupation adopted or implied. The Hong Kong Ordinances do not cater for the family as a unit; nor do they give any consideration to the question of the sex separation. The overcrowding standard is based on so many square feet of floor space and so many cubic feet of air space per person. Given sufficient floor and air space any number of people, regardless of sex, may occupy one room. Applied to the normal tenement each floor of which is capable of accommodating 10 or 12 persons, and in many cases more, then, provided those numbers are not exceeded, there is no overcrowding. If the available accommodation be measured on this basis, then the 75,000 floors can accommodate 750,000 to 900,000 people and there is no housing shortage. The fallacy is obvious. It would be quite impossible to distribute the population evenly among the available houses. Family ties should frustrate any attempt to do so.43

The tradition from the Chadwick Report onwards, of course, was to consider housing needs in terms of “so many square feet of floor space and so many cubic feet of air space per person.” Housed in private tenements, the poorer people of Hong Kong squeezed in as many bodies as possible within a flat, with the obvious result that families lacked privacy and a guarded family life. This situation was not corrected until the newer types of Government subsidized housing in the 1960s.

The political fervour of the 1920s subsided by the 1930s. Only in the 1930s are there available descriptions of working men in Hong Kong, and the best source for such descriptions is the report of the Labour Officer in 1939.44

H. R. Butters was Hong Kong's first Labour Officer, and reading the report, one can see the frustration of a writer who knew descriptions of trade unionism and labour legislation were incomplete without a sense of what the workers themselves were like. Yet he was frustrated because he, too, had no access to such information. One sees the desperation behind the one-line introduction for the 20 cases he included in the report: “I have taken statements from twenty individuals chosen at random as representative of various classes of workers,” for, immediately after this line he goes on to Case 1, one Yiu Sun, “male, age 30 (found buying cigarettes from stall in Hing Lung Street, Hong Kong, after carrying vegetables.)” One can visualize Butters grabbing Yiu Sun and thrusting at him questions on his livelihood. One can also hear the Cantonese in response that is reproduced in English in the report:

YIU SUN, male, age 30 (found buying cigarettes from stall in Hing Lung Street, Hong Kong, after carrying vegetables) In Hong Kong one and a half years, came from Kong Moon, Kwangtung Province, to look for work; in Kong Moon was small farmer and gardener; now tea-carrying coolie for Douglas boats; employed by coolie foreman Ng Pui who is employed by Tea Guild. Wife in country, no children, married four years, supports mother in country. Lives 10 Chinese Street in cockloft on first floor which he shares with two fellow workers at one dollar each month. Five families, eighteen adults and six children, on floor.

Employment regular, paid once a week according to number of boxes carried; earns five to six dollars a week. When no tea ships, no tea-carrying, carries vegetables at thirty cents to a dollar a day.

Has two meals a day from street stall at twenty cents a meal. Wears clothes he brought from the country. Can sometimes make two dollars a day. If sick, female cousin, 9 Chinese Street, whose husband is also a coolie, looks after him; if very sick would go to hospital. Wife in Kong Moon weaves at home, can earn very little, mother also weaves. Sends them about ten dollars a month. They spend six to seven dollars and save the balance in case children are born.

Since arrival in Hong Kong never been back to country, wife never been to Hong Kong. Clansman writes for him two or three times a month. Travelling trader on board Kong Moon boat arranges his remittances and pays them in Chinese currency. Expects to go home on visit in a few months at Ching Ming Festival. Better off here than in Kong Moon; does not smoke opium but spends three cents on cigarettes a day (six cigarettes).

Hours of work: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., sometimes works late till 9 p.m.

Average earnings when working $1.60-$1.70 a day; Sunday a holiday — walks about the streets.

In the country worships idols, Gods of the sky; in Hong Kong does not care. Cannot read or write. When no work fellow workers come together and discuss affairs.

Winter clothing — two singlets, two jackets and two trousers (one short); does not wear shoes.

Rises 6 a.m., goes to bed 8 p.m.; 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. takes a walk; has a bath at home every two days.

Clansman introduced him to Ng Pui (his immediate employer) half month after arrival in Colony; clansman fed him for that half month. Does not gamble; occasionally drinks five cents wine after hard work.45

Yiu Sun, who made his living carrying tea chests, worked for a “coolie foreman” who was a member of the Tea Guild. He was a new arrival from the country, having been in Hong Kong for only a year and a half. His family remained in the country, and for their livelihood, he sent them ten dollars every month, that being perhaps a quarter of his income. Living alone in Hong Kong, he shared a cockloft with two fellow workers, paying 1 dollar per month. He had some relatives in Hong Kong, who might take care of him if he was ill. He smoked, spending 3 cents on cigarettes a day. Other than that, he seems to have had few amusements. He “walked about the streets” and chatted (“discussed affairs”) with his mates.

In contrast to Yiu Sun, the description of a longer-term resident in Hong Kong shows that time in residence could have made a great deal of difference to livelihood:

LAM SANG, male, aged 34, joiner, Taikoo Dockyard:

Employed there for last nine years. Married, one son four years, residing 61 Main Street, Saiwanho, 1st floor. Principal tenant of floor, rent $14.50 (formerly $11.00), retains for self one cubicle and sitting room, has two subtenants at four dollars each. Born San Wui, Kwangtung Province. Came to Hong Kong, aged 16, with a clansman as was poor in country. Apprentice for three years in furniture shop, Wanchai, Hong Kong, no pay, free board and lodging; then nine dollars per month with free lodging but not free food. After two months left shop to look for odd jobs as pay was too low. After several years obtained work at Taikoo, at first under contractor; three years ago joined permanent staff. Time work, $1.26 a day — both under contractor and directly employed.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 12 noon, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday work — time and half; over-time — time and half.

If ill, leave but no pay.

Wages amount to about forty five dollars a month, paid monthly. Wife does no work except house work — no servants. Not member of any union or guild. Food for family about eighteen dollars per month. Remits seven to ten dollars per month to mother in country. Can read and write Chinese: learned in country when boy. No savings.46

Quite apart from the likelihood of a higher income in return for regular work, Lam Sang, the joiner at Taikoo Dockyard managed to live in Hong Kong with his family. He managed to pay the rent by making himself principal tenant, for his two subtenants paid him 4 dollars each, leaving him only 6.50 dollars for his share of the flat, which amounted to a cubicle and a sitting room. He also remitted 10 dollars to his mother in the country every month. The arrangement left him about 30 dollars a month for food and other expenses.

Yet a third case would show that, by the time the children were able to bring in an income, the family was decidedly well off:

CHAN PUI, male, 48 years, plater, Taikoo Dockyard:

Married: two sons, four daughters eldest aged 22, 48 Saiwanho Street ground floor. Principal tenant paying $11.50 per month, four sub-tenants from whom he collects from $8 to $9, retains one cubicle and bedspace, no servants. Two daughters work at Fung Keong Rubber Factory, earning thirty to sixty cents a day each which they hand over to him; he provides them with house, food and clothing.

Came to Hong Kong, aged 29, from Toi Shan, Kwangtung Province, as no work in country, learned trade for three years at Bailey's Shipyard at forty cents a day — then in Kowloon Docks from two to three years — fifteen years at Taikoo Dock, employed through a contractor, time work.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 12 noon, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Wages $1.50 a day. Overtime — time and half, Sundays — time and half.

Sent remittance to country monthly when mother was alive. Can read and write Chinese. Not member of any union. Eldest son, aged fourteen, goes to private school — fees thirteen dollars a year. Only eldest girl went to school. Food for family forty dollars per month.47

Chan Pui, aged 48, had lived in Hong Kong for nineteen years. Less rent received from sub-tenants, he paid an effective rent of approximately 3 dollars for his share of the flat. Two grown-up daughters contributed their income to the family, amounting possibly to 15 dollars per month. His mother in the country had died, and so he no longer remitted money back home. It is not clear what his income was, but he paid just over 1 dollar per month for a son's schooling and 40 dollars per month for the family's food.

The able-bodied men employed as carrier-coolie or skilled labourers all fared better than the woman workers. Chan Pui's two daughters earned 30 to 60 cents per day at Fung Keong Rubber Factory. Another woman, Cheng Kwai Ying, a 22-year old outworker for Fung Keong Rubber Factory, made 70 cents to 1 dollar per day of 10 to 12 hours each, for which work she provided the sewing machine. Pang So Fong, aged 24, gummed shoes at Fung Keong for 1.20 dollars per day. (Her brother who had an office job also at Fung Keong, received 150 dollars per month.) The coolie women were as poorly paid as the factory women workers: Wong Tai, aged 36, “found carrying sand” received 40 cents per day; Leung Sam, aged 40, also “found carrying sand” was paid 30 cents a day, all of whom compared favourably to the domestic servant: Ng Wai, aged 34, “employed by Wong family at 6 Queen Victoria Street third floor, Hong Kong,” who received 2 dollars per month. Ng served a master and mistress who occupied a cubicle and she slept in a camp bed outside it. She rose at 6 in the morning and went to bed between 9 and 10 in the evening.48

The stark details given in the report gives a sense of reality to the livelihood of working people in Hong Kong in the 1930s. Little was said about the conditions under which they worked, but the brief paragraph below is as worth quoting as a part of their livelihood:

One of those inspected, a tailoring establishment, was so overcrowded that one male worker engaged in ironing was found suspended from the roof on a beam with his ironing board suspended in front of him. Conditions in printing establishments and in many Chinese newspapers, most of which are concentrated in old property in the central district of Hong Kong, are generally bad.49

The description is surreal but, in view of the realism in the rest of the report, quite believable.

A substantial portion of the 540 pages of a manual for Chinese people living in Hong Kong under the title, What Hong Kong Chinese People Must Know is made up of Chinese translation or summary of rules and regulations, ranging from the registration of schools and shops to application for the transport of corpses back to China. Not a word is included in it concerning employment. Assistance is provided, nevertheless, for the application of what by the Rent Ordinance of 1883 was known as a “warrant of distress.” On application from landlords and principal tenants, the Supreme Court could issue a “warrant of distress” to allow for the auction of goods and furniture on premises for which rent had not been paid. For rent owed from 1 dollar up to 500 dollars, stamp duty of 25 cents to 15 dollars had to be paid, 9.60 dollars for watchmen to keep watch on the premises for the required eight days' notice served and transport for the bailiff to serve the warrant, of 40 cents on Hong Kong Island and 1 dollar in Kowloon. The accompanying explanation notes that the warrant might be applied for as long as rent had not been paid for a month. The moderate cost of effective eviction underlies the lack of security for the tenant.50

Concluding Remarks

Settling in Hong Kong, housing congestion, the lack of sanitation, but wages that surpassed those found in south China and the possibility of rapid mobility was very much a common experience that many Hong Kong families underwent, before the Second World War and after. It does not tell the entire story because it leaves out noticeably the seamy side of society, the prevalence of prostitution, control rackets, corruption and drugs. It also leaves out much of cultural life, the wealth of rituals structured around temples and monasteries, the entertainment provided by the Chinese operas, and the increasing intrusion of the newspaper and, into the 1920s, the cinema. It gives weight to the history of men at work at the expense of women at work, in the factory, as domestics, bonded servants, housewives or in the brothels. It stereotypes the able-bodied male as the worker, discounting children at work and the handicapped. Despite the gaps, the impression comes through clearly that from the 1880s to the 1930s, as an elite emerged from among the Chinese population, a substantial number of people lived, not necessarily in monetary poverty — when wages are compared between Hong Kong and the mainland — but under the burden of high rent that outstripped any improvement that wage increases might warrant. This setting highlights the difference between the new-comer and the long-term settler. The majority of new-comers appear in Hong Kong without a hold on land, while the long-term settler might have, in pre-World War II years, turned himself into a major tenant or sub-landlord. The effective reduction in rent made the difference between being able to maintain a family in Hong Kong or having to leave wife and children in the village, and with that, the possibility of second-generation mobility into a new echelon of Hong Kong's rising elite. Rich or poor, second-generation mobility became an ideal the Hong Kong person lived for.

2 Religion in Hong Kong History

Bernard H. K. Luk

Organized religion is an important part of Hong Kong social life that has been overlooked by most historians of Hong Kong. This essay will attempt an historical overview of the relationship between religion and Hong Kong society, focusing on Christianity, Buddhism and Daoism during three key periods, viz., the beginnings of the city, the mid-twentieth century, and the 1970s.

Organized Religion in Hong Kong Today

Many religions co-exist in Hong Kong; some are more organized than others.1 Some of these religions had their origins in China, others overseas. Many of them have undergone significant changes since the nineteenth century and, especially over the last 50 years, have become modernized and indigenized communities. They have played prominent roles in Hong Kong's social development.

The largest organized religion in Hong Kong today is the Catholic church, which has about a quarter of a million baptized members, accounting for 4 percent of Hong Kong's population. There is one diocese, divided into more than 60 parishes. The church is headed by a bishop, two auxiliary bishops, more than 300 priests and 600 nuns. It is the largest Chinese Catholic diocese in the world.2

Other Christian confessions include the Anglicans, the Baptists, the Church of Christ in China, the Lutherans and the Methodists. Altogether there are a quarter of a million Protestants belonging to more than .40 denominations and about 1000 congregations.3 Each denomination follows its own rules of church governance. For instance, the Anglicans with about 20 000 served by three dozen ministers are organized as a province with three dioceses, under an archbishop and two suffragan bishops.

The Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity were introduced by Western missionaries during the early years of the city one and a half centuries ago. Nowadays, they are all led by Hong Kong Chinese clergy and sustained by local resources. The principal language of liturgy and theological education is Cantonese Chinese.

The Christian churches enjoy an influence in Hong Kong society out of proportion to the sizes of their membership in the population. During the 1950s to 1970s, the Hong Kong government needed voluntary organizations to help provide education and social services. The churches were in place to take on responsibility for schools, hospitals, and social service centres. Nowadays, the Protestant churches run a total of 120 secondary schools, 140 primary schools, seven hospitals and 200 community centres, while the Catholic church operates eighty secondary school, 100 primary schools, six hospitals and a dozen community centres. Church-related schools account for 30 percent of the primary education provision, 40 percent of secondary education, and one-sixth of all hospital beds in Hong Kong. All these facilities are subvented and supervised by the government, but run by church agencies, and are open to the general public as part of the worldly service of the churches.4

The Buddhists and Daoists are not as tightly organized as the Christians and are not constituted as churches made up of all the clergy and laity. The Hong, Kong Buddhist Association estimates that there are 800 000 Buddhists in Hong Kong, and that 70 percent of the Hong Kong population subscribe to either Buddhism or Daoism or both. However, there is no independent census which could ascertain these figures. As for Daoist followers, or even Daoist priests, it is even harder to find reliable statistics. About 360 Buddhist and Daoist temples have been registered as such with the Hong Kong government; but there are in fact more than 500 Buddhist monasteries, convents and meditation centres, and some 120 Daoist places of worship, not counting smaller streetside shrines.5

Among the six to seven hundred places of worship, some are Buddhist, some Daoist, some have features of both, and some adhere to a combination of the ‘Three Teachings’ of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism. In Hong Kong, as in Chinese tradition, the terms Buddhism and Daoism include both a minority of those devoted to philosophical study and spiritual cultivation, and a majority who take part in worship services to procure divine blessings. The former are represented in Hong Kong by the Buddhist schools of Chan (Zen), Tiantai, Pure Land, Huayan and Zhenyan as well as the Tantric sects. The Daoists are represented by the Xiantian, Quanzhen and Chunyang sects.6 As for the majority who adhere to what scholars of Chinese tradition call popular religion, they cannot be easily categorized by doctrine. Most Buddhists and Daoists in Hong Kong adhere to popular religion; but in recent years more and more young people have shown an interest in Buddhist teachings.

Hundreds of thousands of people worship at the 600 to 700 temples and shrines. Some do so on the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month and on major festivals; others do so irregularly. Yet others do not go to temple at all, and only offer incense at home in front of the tablets of deities and ancestors. Most of those who go to temple just pray for blessings or oracles; few attend sermons or ask for spiritual guidance. On the other hand, a number of monks and nuns do preach in places of worship or in public cultural centres. A few even do so on the electronic media.7 Buddhist literature is also widely available for free at places like vegetarian restaurants. Regardless of the actual number of adherents, the influence of Buddhism and Daoism in Hong Kong society is considerable.

Buddhist and Daoist places of worship are independent of one another. There is no single organization embracing all the clergy and faithful of either religion. The Hong Kong Buddhist Association (established in 1945) and the Hong Kong Taoist Association (established in 1961) are the largest respective organizations.8 These are not churches, but coordinating bodies for external relations, and bear no responsibility for religious doctrines or discipline. Nevertheless, both associations and other Buddhist and Daoist groups, like the Christian communities, have participated in education, social welfare and health. Since they started later than the Christians, their enterprises though still substantial, are not as numerous. The Buddhists run more than 50 schools from kindergarten to post-secondary levels, a hospital (founded in 1971), and a number of social service agencies and retirement homes. The Daoists operate seven primary and secondary schools, and several medical clinics and retirement homes. These facilities, like their Christian counterparts, are government subvented and supervised, and serve the general public.9

The religious bodies have large and complex organizations with mass memberships and multidimensional interfaces with society, which testify to their deep roots in Hong Kong. Most academic historians, with their ‘secular’ predispositions, which regard religions as anachronisms, tend to overlook the roles of organized religions in Hong Kong's history. Few of the published works discuss the relationship between Chinese traditional religion or Christianity and social development in Hong Kong, except, respectively, Elizabeth Sinn on the Tung Wah Hospital and Carl Smith on Chinese Christians.10 This essay will discuss religion and society in the first few decades of the city, the mid-twentieth century immigrants and the churches and temples, religious groups and social transformation during the 1970s, as well as the issue of colonialism and religion. The intention is not to apply value judgment to the legacies of the organized religions, but to highlight the significance of the religious bodies and their activities.

Religions and Society During the First Decades

Hong Kong before the Opium War was a sparsely populated corner on the coastal frontier of south China. For the inhabitants, as the saying went, “the mountain is high, the emperor is far away;” they had few contacts with even the provincial capital at Guangzhou and the Xin'an county seat at Nantou. The rural society was held together mainly by patrilineal relations and religion. The single-surname villages were founded by individual clans, whose community life centred on the ancestral hall. In most villages, however, it was the local temple honouring Goddess of Heaven (Tianhou), Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) or God of War (Guandi) which provided the location for community meetings, arbitration, schooling, mutual help, and the recording of major community events. Throughout the New Territories, hundreds of stone inscriptions at various temples are still extant to attest to the rural life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and many old traditions have survived to this day.11

When the British first took over the island of Hong Kong, there were only a few thousand farmers and fisherfolk scattered among small villages and moorings. There was no city. The city was built under British sponsorship by migrants from the Mainland. During the 1840s, tens of thousands of men from Mainland villages came to Hong Kong to make a living. There soon arose loose organizations of these migrants by place of origin or by trade; there were also some secret societies. But, apart from occasional outbursts against particularly irksome policies of the British colonial authorities, there were no organizations, which brought them together across the boundaries of home place or occupation. The colonial laws and political structure were of little use to them. There was also no pre-existing Chinese society of Hong Kong which could absorb them. Rather, they themselves had to create the structure of Chinese society in the emerging city.

The labourers and traders who were building the city followed the tradition in their home villages and established their new communities around temples which they set up. The most prominent of these temples was the Man Mo Temple in the Taipingshan district which, by the end of the 1840s, had become the local centre where the Chinese people of Hong Kong worshipped, assembled, sought arbitration and mutual support. Temples named “man mo” dedicated to the gods of the literary (man or wen) and martial (mo or wu) arts, were by no means common in the neighbouring regions of south China. In the countryside, where the economy was simpler, there would usually be only one main economic activity in each area, and the local temple would be dedicated to the guardian god of that activity, such as Tianhou in the temples of fishing villages. Urban Hong Kong was much more complex economically even in the first decades, and the inhabitants belonged to different trades and occupations. To appeal universally to all Chinese people from different home districts, occupations and interests, one could not rely on particular gods. “Man Mo” stood for all the occupations and origins, in other words, for all Chinese in Hong Kong.12

The Man Mo Temple was not a particular temple of any trade; nor was it a temple of the city god (chenghuang). The city god was the guardian god of a city in Mainland China, a divine projection of the human county magistrate appointed by the emperor to govern the locality. The worship of the city god was a religious extension of the centralized bureaucratic government of the Chinese empire. The emerging city of Hong Kong, on the other hand, was not a city of the Qing empire. There were no mandarins appointed by the emperor and, therefore, no divine projection of the magistrate or city god. The Man Mo Temple was the social organization of Chinese people outside the jurisdiction of the Qing Empire and under the rule of the British colonial empire. This society was organized on the basis of popular religion. The temple became the centre of gravity of the Hong Kong Chinese in terms of worship, self-governance, medical care, education, philanthropy, culture and public security. It also became the main channel of communication between the Hong Kong Chinese and the British colonial authorities. Later on, the compradors and other merchants became the trustees of the Man Mo Temple, the I Tzi, the Tung Wah Hospital, the Po

Leung Kuk and the District Watch force. The emergence of the interlocking trusteeship of these bodies could be considered class differentiation within the society formed around the popular religion of the village pattern.

Christianity, which was introduced to Hong Kong in the aftermath of the Opium War, also played an important role in social development. Christian missionaries arrived in Hong Kong mainly to propagate their beliefs in Mainland China; but some Catholic and Protestant missionaries did remain to work in Hong Kong. Apart from preaching the gospel, their most important work was education. Under British rule, the pre-existing Chinese village schools continued to function; some of them even obtained small subsidies from the colonial authorities. As the population increased, traditional Chinese schools were set up also in the emerging city. The small minority of Hong Kong Chinese parents who could afford anything more than the most basic schooling for their sons would send the boys back to China to train for the imperial civil service examinations. On the other hand, those who intended for their sons to pursue commercial careers in Hong Kong would send them to missionary schools. The Hong Kong government gave financial support to the missionary schools on condition that secular education and proselytizing should remain separate. These schools admitted students who had already attained the requisite levels in Chinese, and taught them English language and the Western disciplines of mathematics, science, history and geography.13

The missionary schools (along with the Central School — later renamed Queen's College — set up by the government), provided a bilingual, bicultural education intended to train the assistants of the British traders and missionaries. In effect, it gave rise to the bilingual elite of the Hong Kong Chinese, which included compradors, pioneers in the modern professions (such as physician Ho Kai and lawyer Ng Choy [Wu Tingfang]), as well as reformers and revolutionaries in modern Chinese history (such as Sun Yatsen). Some of the students of the missionaries were converted to Christianity; many did not. But they all embodied the interflow of Chinese and Western cultures so characteristic of Hong Kong and of their own careers either in Hong Kong or in China. In terms of Hong Kong's social development, the products of the mission schools played important roles as intermediaries between the Hong Kong Chinese community and the British colonial authorities, and as channels for Western ideas and technology in Chinese society.14 Whatever value judgment one may attach to these roles, they constituted the historically significant littoral culture in nineteenth-century Hong Kong and the treaty ports, from which developed modern Chinese societies.15

The Christian churches in nineteenth-century Hong Kong made other less direct but no less significant contributions. For instance, British missionary James Legge worked with Chinese scholar Wang Tao to translate the Confucian Classics into English. When Wang Tao returned from Britain, he established in Hong Kong the Tsun Wan Daily News, the first Chinese newspaper. This turned a new page in the history of Chinese journalism. With a daily newspaper published and edited by Chinese for Chinese, a qualitative change took place in the pattern of communication among the Hong Kong Chinese.16 Although the introduction of modern mass communication cannot be considered as a church legacy to Hong Kong's social development, the collaboration between Wang and Legge did take place within a missionary framework.

Hong Kong was founded as an emporium for the China trade. So it was natural for it to serve as a funnel for cultural exchange as well. As a British colony with a Chinese population, it was to be expected that a bilingual, bicultural Chinese elite would emerge. But without missionary schools, relying only on the very limited facilities of the government, both developments would have taken much longer. Missionary activities could, of course, be interpreted as cultural imperialism, but they also manifested contradictions among the Western forces in Hong Kong. While the colonial officials, traders and missionaries all came from the West (and moreover most Protestant missionaries were British), the three groups had very different motivations, aspirations and values. The Catholic missionaries (mostly Italians and French) had longstanding disagreements with the Protestant British officials over education policies.17 James Legge worked with British officials and traders, but also had serious disagreements with them. Although these conflicts did not significantly diminish the authority of the government, they did bring about a greater degree of diversity in the development of Hong Kong education and culture than would have happened with only one source of Western input. Greater diversity in education nurtured broader horizons, which in turn contributed to economic and cultural development.

The formation of society in nineteenth century Hong Kong had its religious dimension as well as the better recognized economic and political dimensions. Both Chinese popular religion and Christianity from the West had important roles to play. During the twentieth century, however, the transformation of culture and politics in Mainland China had their ramifications in Hong Kong. Many of the radical changes had anti-religious components, such as the call to eradicate traditional superstitions and the anti-Christian movement during the 1920s. On the other hand, the Buddhist revival in south China during the same decade also appeared in Hong Kong, resulting, inter alia, in the founding of a vocational school for girls.18 A number of Daoists also moved to Hong Kong where they could worship unperturbed. However, organized religions probably had less of an impact on social development in Hong Kong during the first half of the twentieth century than in the periods before or after.

Mid-twentieth Century Immigrants and Organized Religion

At the time of the Japanese surrender, the population of Hong Kong was half a million. Ten years later, in 1955, it was two and a half million, a fivehold increase. Demographically, the middle of the twentieth century was a new beginning for Hong Kong history. During the Chinese civil war (1945–49), a million peasants, workers, merchants, soldiers and intellectuals fled south to Hong Kong. After 1949, most of them decided to stay rather than to return. In Hong Kong, they struggled to survive, and raised children. The new generation embodied the new economy and new society of Hong Kong of the 1970s.

Among the mid-century immigrants, there were thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns and Daoist adepts. In her history of Buddhism in Hong Kong, the Reverend Dr. Wing Ming has a vivid description of their arrival:

The immigrant monks and nuns came from all over China — from White Mountain and Black River, from inside and outside the Great Wall, from north and south of the Yangzi River, from Hunan and Hubei, from Guangdong and Guangxi … The abbot and monks of the Tung Po To monastery responded to the desperate situation quickly and decisively: “Just as every blade of grass receives its drop of morning dew; every monk will have his mendicant bowl filled!” …When the word spread, two thousand came in one day.19

As well as Buddhists and Daoists, there were also many Chinese Christian clergy among the immigrants. And when the government of the People's Republic of China evicted the Western missionaries a few years later, most of them also were sent out via Hong Kong.

Many of the Chinese and Western religious personnel stayed in Hong Kong for only a short time before they went on to other places to offer their services. But there were also many others who decided to stay and work in Hong Kong. During the 1950s and 1960s, Hong Kong probably had a greater concentration of Christian missionaries than any other mission territory in the world. There probably were also more Buddhist monks and nuns and Daoist adepts than in any other Chinese-speaking city. Again to quote the Rev. Wing Ming:

The southward migration of Buddhist monks from Mainland China gave Hong Kong unrivalled advantages. Hong Kong at the end of the 1940s was uniquely endowed for a new era … Buddhist talents from all over China concentrated in such a small territory accumulated the resources required for a full blossoming in the late 1980s and early 1990s.20

Hong Kong during the 1950s was full of empty-handed immigrants who had no social ties and did not know their way about the city. The sudden and massive increase in population and acute shortages in all kinds of social facilities called for utmost efforts from all who had something to offer. Among the immigrants, religious personnel tended to be better educated and better organized. In particular, the Christian clergy and lay leaders generally had had modern education, and could take up responsibility for such work immediately. There were relatively few Buddhist and Daoist personnel at that time who had attained modern professional training. At the same time, the Hong Kong colonial government was predisposed to favour the Christians. Hence the Buddhist and Daoist groups did not play a big role in the social enterprises until later. In terms of the history of organized Buddhism and Daoism, being committed to the school system and medical and social services in Hong Kong also constituted a major step in their own modernization.

After the Second World War, the Hong Kong government began to provide mass education. Universal primary schooling was attained in 1971, junior secondary schooling in 1981. Hundreds of primary and secondary schools were opened during the 1950s and 1960s, requiring an ever bigger supply of teachers and administrators. The Christian churches filled the void, and came to be responsible for a large proportion of the schools receiving government subsidies.

The Buddhists and Daoists started somewhat later. Before the Second World War, there was only one Buddhist school. After the war, there were five more, and during the 1950s, another six more. But, since 1961, every decade has seen an increase of a dozen schools. A Buddhist hospital was first proposed in 1950, but it was not until 1965 that ground was broken for the building.21 During the 1950s and 1960s, the Buddhist and Daoist groups were still finding their feet in a rapidly industrializing Hong Kong society, and they focused on providing religious rather than social services.

Most of the mid-century immigrants had been adherents of popular religion back in Mainland China. After their arrival in Hong Kong, they naturally continued with their traditional worship for blessings and oracles. But, since they could not return to their home villages to worship there, the Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon became a popular substitute. The worshippers of Wong Tai Sin had brought his image from Guangdong to Hong Kong early in the century, and set up a shrine outside the Kowloon Walled City in 1921. For the next 30 years, there were few new adherents other than the local villagers. But in the 1950s, more and more people came to identify with the myth of this refugee god who migrated to Hong Kong like themselves. The uprooted felt helpless and alienated in Hong Kong and could only lament, from a distance, the destruction of the temples and ancestral graves in their homeland. They were impressed with the god who had arrived in Hong Kong ahead of them, and who was supposed to have performed miracles against the Japanese occupation soldiers. Year after year, Wong Tai Sin worshippers increased; the temple soon became the most frequented Daoist shrine. With the opening of the Mass Transit Railway in 1980 the shrine, which is located on top of one of the stations, became even more of a magnet.22

In the early decades of urban Hong Kong, the Man Mo Temple brought together people of the various occupations, and became the centre of the Hong Kong Chinese society. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Wong Tai Sin Temple became a symbol of the common experience of displacement and migration, and emerged as the new centre of gravity of popular religion. From the 1840s to the 1950s, ideas that enjoyed currency in Chinese society had become much more diversified. The population of Hong Kong also was no longer made up only of villagers from the Pearl River Delta. Popular religion could not now provide the unifying force for all Hong Kong Chinese. Nevertheless, Wong Tai Sin still offered solace and some sense of cohesion to the new immigrants in their journey from the squatter huts to the concrete jungle, from being strangers in a strange land to full members of the emerging industrial society.

The rise of Wong Tai Sin in Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s was not an isolated event. Rather, the Buddhists, Daoists, Catholics and Protestants all gained large numbers of new adherents. The Catholics have kept the longest series of statistics. On the eve of the Japanese invasion, there were only 20 000 Catholics in Hong Kong. By the mid 1960s, there were over 200 000, a tenfold increase during the 1950s and 1960s. Critics at the time alleged that many Catholics were “eating” their religion rather than believing in it. Indeed, many people joined the church to receive aid packages donated by foreign Catholic charities, and have been described as flour Christians; but many others did take their faith very seriously and never lapsed from it.

With an unprecedented concentration of religious personnel in the crowded and decrepit streets of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, one's chances of encountering religion was enhanced. The churches offered, not only education and social services, but also the occasions for people to meet one another and establish social networks. The new immigrants from neighbouring Guangdong or further north in China often arrived as single persons or individual families in Hong Kong, with few friends or relatives and without the community that they had back home. Many of them had experienced unspeakable privations and trials during eight years of Japanese invasion and four years of civil war, which challenged whatever values and beliefs they might have held before. Their sense of loss and of emptiness called for spiritual solace and social intercourse. Religious doctrines could fill the spiritual vacuum, while religious assemblies provided the opportunity for community. Most people living in Hong Kong at the time were in a similarly desperate situation, and there were not many alternative providers of help. Since the religious personnel themselves were very often in the same boat, and were inclined by both conviction and training to offer that help, their, organizations quickly became the framework in which hundreds of thousands found personal contacts along with spiritual solace. In this way, the Buddhists, Daoists and Christians contributed to the immigrants’ building of their own society in the new Hong Kong.

The 1950s and 1960s was when the industrial economy took off. Labour intensive manufacturing for the export market created jobs and wealth. The mid-century immigrants worked very; hard and earned only exploitative wages; nevertheless, as the economy grew, standards of living did rise for the majority of the people. After the Star Ferry riots of 1966, the Hong Kong government began to increase rapidly year after year public spending on education, medical care, housing and social welfare. As the children of the mid-century immigrants grew up during the 1960s, those who were academically inclined and whose families could afford it all finished secondary school; a smaller number went on to complete tertiary education. These young people found fruitful employment in trade and industry, the professions and the civil service, and formed Hong Kong's new middle class. In Hong Kong, schooling was the main ladder of success in society. The highly competitive Secondary School Entrance Examination enabled many children from poor families to attend the best secondary schools with government support (by the 1970, as secondary education became more and more accessible, the government introduced the Grants and Loans scheme for university students, which made it possible for many young people from working class families to attend the local universities). Among students who completed secondary school during the 1950s and 1960s, nearly half had attended schools run by the Catholic or Protestant churches, and many of them became Christians. The emergence of the new middle class was to a large extent related to the church schools. The Buddhists and Daoists joined the education enterprise somewhat later, and also made their marks.

Religious activities may be divided into the categories of liturgical worship, spiritual guidance, community service, and social action arising from religious convictions. During the 1940s to 1960s, religious activities in Hong Kong were mainly worship and service. The service provided by organized religion often took the form of paternalistic charities. What guidance there was tended to emphasize religious dogmas and was little informed by social or psychological analysis. Social consciousness and social action by and large had not yet made their appearance.

Organized Religion and Social Change

The changes of the 1970s transformed Hong Kong from an anthill of three million rootless immigrants in a colonial port into a metropolis with a modern society and economic system. This was the result of economic development, government policies, and the coming of age of the post-war generation. A number of religious groups also played catalytic roles in this process.

Among the mid-century immigrants, it was common for parents to tell their children that Hong Kong was British territory where they were aliens living on sufferance, and had to accept anything as their lot. Hong Kong was only a refuge, not a home. But the younger generation who grew up soon realized that Hong Kong was the only society which they really knew. As they felt that they belonged in Hong Kong, their expectations also rose; they began to challenge the colonial set up, the capitalist exploitations, and traditional patriarchal authority. The 1970s was the era of peaceful protests by Hong Kong citizens for a better society.

These peaceful protests began with the Chinese Language movement. This was followed by the Diaoyutai movement, the anti-corruption movement, and a series of strikes aimed at protecting the rights and improving the treatment of employees. These protests were organized by university students, school teachers, Christian social reformers, social workers, nurses, and labour unionists. They were peaceful, self-disciplined, targeted and orderly movements. At first, the colonial authorities tried to repress them; but soon the government began to make meaningful concessions. Over the decade, collective action from different sectors of society gradually changed the face of Hong Kong society and the mode of governance of the authorities. The people gained substantive improvements in their lives, and even more important, earned the social space where they could openly and collectively express their discontent with government policies and actions and demand changes. Hong Kong evolved from a ‘subject society’ into a ‘civil society.’

Like most people of their generation, the religious leaders during the 1960s and 1970s tended to be conservative and subservient to authority, and would not take part in social protests. But, from the late 1960s onwards, a number of religious groups (mostly Christians, but also some Buddhists) took on new directions with their sense of worldly mission. Many among Christian clergy and laity were inspired by international movements of church renewal, and challenged by Hong Kong's social problems, to go beyond traditional charitable works. They were no longer content with providing free food and medicine, but wanted to work for fundamental change towards social justice and peace. These Christians (and graduates of Christian schools who were not baptized) threw themselves into labour movements and community organizations. There were members of clergy who cast off their religious habits to live and work among the poorest citizens in the byways and tenements, in leaky houseboats or under road bridges. Many more students, teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors and members of other occupations continued in their jobs but volunteered their time and energy to take part in community work, in an effort to “witness their faith” and to help “eonseientize” the people. These Christians and Buddhists led or took part in the protest movements of the 1970s and 1980s, despite the criticism of more conservative elements of society or even within their own religious organizations.23

The civil society, which arose in Hong Kong during the 1970s, gradually came to recognize that social action also could be a form of religious activity. Along with worship, guidance and the service enterprises, social action could be a legitimate and reasonable expression of a person's religious faith. Groups like the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic diocese, and the Christian Industrial Committee among Protestants, became well-known advocates of social reform that provided clear and sustained critiques of capitalist and colonialist exploitation from their standpoints of religious faith. These groups also took action to organize labour unions and other pressure groups to struggle for more reasonable wages and more humane treatment for the poor. Their efforts helped to bring about some substantive improvements as well as further opening of social space.24

The 1970s was also the era of indigenization of organized religion. The mid-century immigrants were beginning to retire. Christian missionaries from the West, and Buddhist and Daoist leaders from the North, gradually passed on their, positions to successors who were bom or raised in Hong Kong. The new generation of clergy had a deeper knowledge of local language and culture and a more intuitive understanding of, and identification with, local society. But they also differed among themselves with conservative or progressive orientations towards social issues and social action. As Hong Kong society became more diversified, so did organized religion. This was true of the Christians as well as the Buddhists and Daoists.

Colonialism and Religion in Hong Kong's History

Over one and a half centuries, organized religions coexisted with colonialism in Hong Kong. Since the Christian churches arrived with colonialism, many critics have assumed that they were instruments of Western colonialism or cultural imperialism. But the relationship between British colonial rule and the Christian churches in Hong Kong was complex and often contradictory; it was not a simple one of actor and instrument. The following paragraphs will discuss this relationship, focusing primarily on the case of the Catholic church.

The West was not monolithic; nor were all missionaries identical. From the point of view of the history of Catholicism in Hong, Kong, the West included at least Britain, the Holy See, Portugal, France, Italy, Catholicism, Protestantism, secularism and other elements. All these Western elements sometimes worked together, more often they tried to make use of one another, or fought against one another, or were not on speaking terms at all. It would be quite wrong to treat them as one single entity.

The context of the founding of the Catholic church in Hong Kong was the struggle among Catholic powers in the West. The Holy See, desirous of propagating Catholic Christianity in Asia, was frustrated by the padroado, the claim of the Portuguese crown to protect all Catholic missions in Asia. Rome took the opportunity of the British occupation of Hong Kong to move its headquarters of the China mission away from Macau and out of Portuguese interference.25 After several decades of missionary work in China, Rome found the French claims of patronage to be even more irksome, since the French government consistently exploited the ‘missionary incidents’ to squeeze more concessions from the Qing, hurting both China and the church. Rome, as well as the Catholic church in Hong Kong, which was headed by Italian missionaries, attempted time and again during the late Qing and early Republic period to establish diplomatic relations between China and the Holy See, so as to free Catholic missions from French government exploitation.26 One could say that in the circumstances of the nineteenth century, the Catholic church unavoidably became involved with the various imperialist powers in order to further its religious mission, but at the same time tried to secure its own living space between the spheres of the Western empires.

During the nineteenth century, the backbone of the Catholic church in Hong Kong was made up of the Italian priests of the Milan mission, the Italian nuns of the Canossa mission, and the French nuns of St. Paul, who were supported by a small Chinese clergy. Missionaries from Britain or other British territories did not play any significant part. In Europe, there were longstanding conflicts between Italy and the great powers. After Italian unification in 1870, the Italian government and the Vatican remained enemies and refused to recognize each other. Hence, the Catholic church in Hong Kong was the mission that had the least powerful political patronage. From the beginning, the Catholic church in Hong Kong and the colonial state had an unsteady relationship that fluctuated between limited cooperation and disagreement. The church needed British rule in Hong Kong, otherwise it would not have been allowed to exist by the Qing authorities. On the other hand, the Catholic missionaries had little trust for the British officials who were Protestants, secularists or liberals.27 Bishop Raimondi quarrelled with the Hong Kong government for many years over the issue of secular versus religious education in government aided schools, and refused to accept any funding formula that he believed would be detrimental to the religious upbringing of his students.28 Although in a British colony, to have priests from English-speaking countries working in the mission obviously would be convenient, it was not until the 1920s, after Ireland had secured Home Rule from the United Kingdom, that the Catholic church invited Irish Jesuits to establish Ricci Hall at Hong Kong University, and eventually also to run the Wah Yan secondary schools.29 From these examples, it is evidently unhistorical to assume that since the British colonial officials and Italian missionaries all came from the West, that they were all the same kind of people and had identical interests and aims. To be sure, the Italian missionaries in nineteenth century Hong Kong could not have opposed British colonial rule. Some of them also exhibited arrogant and Eurocentric behaviour. But that did not mean they all supported British colonialism or every policy of the colonial government. Furthermore, many Western societies by mid-nineteenth century enjoyed diversity of thought and expression; even missionaries who were the same nationality as the colonial officials did not necessarily share their values and aspirations. Conflicts of beliefs and goals also existed between Protestant British missionaries and government officials. James Legge was a case in point. Coming from a Nonconformist background, he was a minority both in Britain and in Hong Kong; despite his service as a missionary and education official in Hong Kong, he had significant disagreements with his fellow British missionaries as well as traders and officials.30

Just as the West was not monolithic, the church also did not remain static over one and a half centuries. Nineteenth-century Catholicism was constantly on the defensive in the West against the impacts of scientism and the French Revolution. Consequently, it turned inwards and became increasingly conservative in both dogma and liturgy. In both Europe and the mission areas, it focused on the sacraments and charitable works, and mostly avoided worldly issues. Organizationally, it stressed clerical authority. These tendencies were all the more pronounced in the mission areas. European missionaries took for granted that only they were qualified to represent the church. In the missions, the priests and nuns from the West enjoyed much higher status and power than the native priests and nuns. Among the laity, ranking depended on length of membership in the church, and people were treated unequally. Those who had been Catholics for generations, such as the Macanese were trusted to adhere to the faith more correctly and firmly, and ranked above new converts such as the Hakkas from Guangdong. In the nineteenth-century Hong Kong Catholic church, Italian or other Western priests and nuns ranked higher than local ones; European, Portuguese and Chinese Catholics were organized into different groups and attended mass separately.31 Such arrangements meshed with the racial discrimination and segregation of colonialism; but their origins were not so much the colonial rule as the insistence of a defensive church on the integrity and purity of its inherited dogma. There were many causes for the unjust and unreasonable practices of the church in the early generations; colonialism was only one of those causes.

Early in the twentieth century, the Vatican began to make and implement policies for localization, and to consecrate local bishops. In the 1920s, Archbishop Costantini was sent to China to take the first steps towards establishing a hierarchy of Chinese bishops. These moves were opposed by the French missionaries who formed the majority of Catholic missionaries in China, and by the French government. It was the church in Hong Kong that provided the local organizational support for the implementation of the Roman policy, which eventually freed Chinese Catholicism from French imperialism.32

The Anglican church in Hong Kong also played its unique historical role. During the Japanese invasion, Bishop Ronald Hall ordained the Reverend Florence Lee as a priest. This was the first female ordination in the Western church, a major step for gender equality. Although this ordination was set aside by Canterbury after the war, nowadays it is recognized as the first such ordination in the world.33 In the early postwar years Bishop Hall, as the leader of the British missionaries in Hong Kong, was very sympathetic to the leftist organizations and their activities, and was instrumental in the founding of the Mongkok Workers' Children's School, much to the chagrin of British officials and traders.34

During the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by the Catholic renewal movement of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic church in Hong Kong basically completed the process of indigenization, which was in tune with the general development of Hong Kong society from the 1960s to 1980s. The other Christian churches underwent parallel developments. Around the world during the past few decades, the Catholics and the mainline Protestant churches have shed much of their former conservatism, and have become much more open and tolerant in their doctrines and liturgies. They have become less Eurocentric and more diversified with indigenous characteristics. At the same time, Christians of various denominations, starting from their religious convictions, have worked side by side with other members of society for justice, peace, human rights and human dignity. In Hong Kong, these social actions of religious witness began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and served to prod the Hong Kong government to reform itself. They also were catalytic in the evolution of Hong Kong as a diversified, free and decolonizing civil society.

The churches in Hong Kong worked with the government and accepted its subsidies to provide education, medical care and social welfare, following the general policies of the government. At the same time, some church groups took the initiative to open many new areas of service overlooked or neglected by the government, and eventually dragged the government along to provide such services. Yet other church groups took critical positions on government policies and organized mass protest movements. It is evident that church-state relations during the British colonial period were complex and diverse, and was not a simple one of instrumentation.

3 The Sunday Rest Issue in Nineteenth Century Hong Kong

Louis Ha

Holidays, although they provide the pleasure of being free from work, have often touched on religious, cultural, economic and politically sensitive issues when they involve edicts which allow or disallow labour. Much skill and political wisdom is needed to launch a new holiday that is generally accepted by inhabitants. By government decision, the Birthday of Buddha was added as a holiday in Hong Kong starting from 1999. The decision was well considered, and welcomed by inhabitants for several reasons. Firstly, Buddhism had been integrated into Hong Kong culture and it was natural to have some kind of birthday celebration on that day; secondly, there was the political wish of China to make Hong Kong more Chinese and to balance the many existing holidays connected to Christianity which was regarded as Western; thirdly, the new holiday was within the usual quota of annual holidays enjoyed by Hong Kong people which meant no extra financial burden needed to be borne by anyone.1 Finally, the friendly relationship between different religious communities in Hong Kong meant the addition of the new holiday was not contentious.

In other places and other times, however, matters concerning holiday legislation have been controversial. For example, in European countries and Canada, Sunday legislation and whether or not to allow Sunday shopping has been debated for a long time.2 In Hong Kong, although Sunday rest is commonly accepted and expected by most people, there is no general prohibition on Sunday labour. In fact, starting from as early as 1875, all Sundays were prescribed by law as holidays and regarded as dies non in Hong Kong.3 But, while government departments, educational institutions, banking, building and trading companies are closed, shopping malls, markets, restaurants, hotels and entertainment places are open, and transportation is running. The mix is a kind of hybrid of Sunday rest and Sunday labour, the origin of which can be traced back to the early years of the British colony.

The Early Years

To build houses and roads as quickly as possible in the early years of the colony, Sunday labour was a common practice. Only the few privileged westerners enjoyed a real Sunday rest. The first argument concerning Sunday rest began with a letter to the editor of the Friend of China published on 24 April 1844. The writer cynically argued that Hong Kong was not a British colony because the government had not enforced the British law of Sabbath.4 One month later, another letter pointed out that 200 workers were employed by the government to dig on Sundays, probably levelling sites for building, causing great nuisance to the nearby chapel where the colonial chaplain preached. The argument was that the government was inconsistent in allowing Sunday labour while paying a chaplain to preach the Bible that forbids such practice.5 The colonial chaplain was therefore blamed for neglecting his duty to promote the observance of the Sabbath in Hong Kong.6 The wish of the letter-writers was to transplant the British system of Sunday observance to Hong Kong. The government certainly did not find it convenient to do so. Its position regarding labour was that of an employer among so many others. However, it agreed to give orders to government departments to observe Sunday rest, leaving the remainder of the society to the conscience of individual employers. To wash its hands of this matter, the government published for general information an order to the Survey General dated 28 June 1844:

with a view to a better observance of Sunday throughout the Colony, that all Europeans in the service … be thereby afforded an opportunity of attending Divine Service. In all contracts made in future … Sunday is omitted in calculating the time necessary for the completion of the work contracted for.7

In addition to the Sunday holiday, the government later extended its generosity to cover another half day of rest and declared all public offices closed on Saturday afternoons starting from 29 April 1866, except the General Post Office.8 The government, however, did not care too much about whether the people or its employees really took the Sunday rest. On 16 October 1856, a government notification shows that, despite clear instructions, the Sunday rest was not observed completely in the government departments.

Whereas it has been represented to His Excellency the Governor that certain Government works are conducted on Sundays, His Excellency has instructed the responsible authorities to take such measures as shall prevent the desecration of that day in such respect; and as regards works carried on by private persons, His Excellency recommends to all Christian inhabitants, that the contracts with the natives shall be such as may prevent the employment of workmen or labourers on the Sabbath day.9

The defenders of Sunday labour argued among others that keeping restaurants open on Sundays was necessary for seamen to prevent scenes of drunkenness on the street for a better general observance of Sabbath. And since the Chinese were no Christians, to enforce Sunday observance on them and to suspend their work, which was usually paid by day, would be unjust, unwise and would practically encourage them to quit Hong Kong by compelling them to observe rules not of their religion. As for defenders of Sunday rest, their intention was to leave people, especially Christian westerners, free for religious observance in a worthy environment. Therefore, Sunday should be kept from the “noisy and disagreeable bawling of Chinese hawkers on Sunday mornings,” at least during the hours of religious service.10

The Sunday question came up again in October 1867, when John Charles Whyte,11 a police magistrate, contended in a case of gambling at the police court that an arrest on Sunday was illegal.12 It seems odd that the Sunday rest would have gone so far as to merit such interpretation. In fact, the Sunday observance was not on the books of Hong Kong law, but many believed that the law of England on Sunday observance should be respected in British colonies.13 Once again people pointed out the inconsistency of government policy. They argued that on the one hand the government built Churches with public money for the spread of the gospel exhorting people to keep holy the Sunday, on the other hand it licensed drinking and gambling houses, which were open on Sundays.14 Accordingly, European business people also adopted contradictory practices regarding the Sunday observance. They paid workmen to go on with building operations and stone chipping, while they only kept Sunday rest when there was no mail departing the habour.15 Despite individual effort to persuade the government to enforce Sunday rest, pragmatism was the rule of the day. In the 1870s, the loading and unloading of ships in the harbour, and the building operations on shore, increased drastically in pace with the prosperity of Hong Kong while taverns for the sale of alcohol were open during all hours of Sunday.16

Organized Pressure

At the end of the 1870s, a united force led by Christian leaders was organized to obtain legislation prohibiting Sunday labour. On 1 May 1879, a deputation consisting of the Anglican Bishop Burdon, the Catholic Bishop Raimondi, and the Rev. J.C. Edge of the London Mission Society presented to the governor a memorial signed by 110 companies, firms, merchants and residents, requesting the governor to enforce the existing English law on Sunday observance, the Act of Charles II Chap. 7, in Hong Kong.17 The effort, however, was in vain. It is true that Ordinance No. 6 of 1845, in establishing the Supreme Court, provided that British law should be in force in Hong Kong. This ordinance was amended by Ordinance No. 2 of 1846 which limited the English law to “such of the laws of England only as existed” when the Hong Kong legislature was set up in 1843. Both were repealed by Ordinance No. 12 of 1873.18 The government easily ignored the request, even though eminent people of society made it, because by then Hong Kong had become a busy port where steamers hurriedly came and departed, with mail arriving almost every day. In these prosperous times, the government judged it not suitable to enforce the law of a general Sunday rest.19 Not even the devout Catholic governor, John Pope Hennessy, could afford to let Hong Kong workers free from Sunday labour. To the deputation he could only confirm that Sunday labour was absolutely necessary in all government departments except that of the Survey General.20

During the 1880s, the number of ships entering and clearing Hong Kong ranged from 5 700 to 8 500 with a total tonnage of 5 to 9 million, a volume that doubled that of the 1870s.21 By this time, Sundays were already prescribed as public holidays. However, competition with Shanghai in the shipping business was so strong, and the workload in the harbour so heavy, that Sunday labour became indispensable for the shipping companies. Seamen and clerks employed by shipping companies worked all year round without a single day's break.22 The situation became unbearable for the workers.

In this continuous tension of work, the nature of Sunday rest gradually switched from a religious need to a physical one involving conflicting interests between workers and owners of the shipping trade. On 24 March 1888, A. G. Goldsmith, Chaplain of St. Peter's (Seamen's) Church, started a signature campaign among masters and officers of ships visiting Hong Kong. The object was to petition the governor to obtain a system of Sunday observance that would remedy the evil of having employees work without any day of rest. The campaign collected 600 signatures.23 The effort was made on the part of workers. However, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, which represented business owners, argued that the object was “worthy of every encouragement, but in review of the many conflicting interests involved,” it could not support the legislation of total cessation of Sunday work in the harbour, “unless an unyielding law applicable to all classes and nationalities or vessels be passed.”

Again, the petition did not bear any fruit. But the opposing positions of workers and employers were clear. On 18 April 1889, Governor G. W. Des Voeux (governor from October 1887 to May 1891) explained in the Legislative Council that, since Hong Kong was a free port without a customs house, the government could not stop work on Sunday in the harbour by simply closing the customs house. He pointed out that the only means to legislate the cessation of labour on Sunday was either by fine or imprisonment. And then, the law should be general enough to cover all vessels without exception and forbidding Sunday labour on shore too, otherwise it would be unfair. He was convinced that Sunday rest would diminish the wealth and competitive power of Hong Kong, which would cause a violent change in the social condition.24

Change of Mind

Two years after this firm statement against Sunday legislation, however, the same governor hurried to pass a law prohibiting Sunday work in the harbour.25 The change of mind was a result of several factors. In England, the Duke of Edinburgh, speaking to the Missions to Seamen Society in April 1890, defended the right of British subjects to one day's rest in the week. He trusted that in colonies where the people had no votes, the duty of Her Majesty's government was to see that no injustice was done to the working classes.26 That might have changed the attitude of the governor towards Sunday rest but that was not enough to move him to act. One month later in Hong Kong, the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association was formed with an initial membership of ten, which increased to more than 100 in less than six months. Later, by alliance with the Liverpool Association, the number stood at more than 3 000 and it rose to 15 000 when the association joined the Federation of Shipmasters and Officers in London.27 The association then made some clever moves. It started with accepting only British people as members, making the association a body representing the interest of British marine officers. It also made use of two very powerful instruments: its network in England and the pressure of the local press, which was invited to cover all its ordinary meetings. The association was not a trade union, yet it had acquired certain support and therefore bargaining power on the question of Sunday labour.

A series of actions to obtain Sunday rest was taken under the leadership of the charismatic Captain Samuel Ashton. A meeting was arranged with the General Chamber of Commerce to discuss publicly the question of Sunday labour in the harbour on 17 October 1890;28 later a meeting with the Acting Governor, Francis Fleming, on 18 November.29 The arguments raised during the meetings by both sides were later published in newspapers. On the one side, it was argued that seamen were not really free to refuse work on Sundays because their jobs would be at stake. Thus, Sunday work was forced labour and should be regarded as moral slavery, discrediting the British flag and the government of a crown colony.30 On the other side, it was argued that the problem of Sunday labour in Hong Kong was not acute, because it did not affect the same group of British marine officers every Sunday in the year.31 Also, European supervision for the loading and discharging of cargo during Sundays could be dispensed with.32 Besides, it would be difficult to apply a law of Sunday rest to every vessel of whatever nationality and whatever design including Chinese junks, which sailed on the coast. The Chinese, having no reason to regard Sunday a day of rest, would oppose the stoppage of work on Sundays.33 The meetings did not obtain any substantial result for the legislation of Sunday rest, but they caused exciting debates in the newspapers for several weeks, creating certain pressure both in Hong Kong and overseas.34

Eventually, the question of Sunday rest in Hong Kong was mentioned in Parliament in London. But it was not discussed seriously enough to deserve any practical action. Difficulties in prohibiting Sunday labour by law were raised there, and merchants and shipping agents were advised to reduce unnecessary Sunday labour on a voluntary basis.35 The real question was not tackled.

It was an article published in the October issue of the London Telegraph that first suggested the Queen could make a gift to Hong Kong on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Colony (1841–1891).36 And the gift could be the Sunday legislation. The idea seemed to catch the fancy of British officers and things started to move in favour of Sunday legislation. In Hong Kong, Bishop Burdon gave his own push in a sermon for the celebration of the Colony's jubilee on 21 January 1891. He concentrated mainly on the issue of Sunday rest, advocating it as part of British civilization and exhorting that Sunday rest would show the spiritual side of the British who could care “for something else beside buying and selling.” The sermon received echoes of appreciation in the press.37 Another trivial, yet perhaps decisive, factor that hastened the legislation was that Des Voeux was to finish his term of governorship in May 1891. He might want to leave his signature on the gift of the Queen to Hong Kong.

Sunday Legislation

On 6 May 1891, the Sunday Cargo-working Ordinance was passed in the Legislative Council after it was first read one week earlier.38 The ordinance stipulated that;

no cargo shall be received on board, loaded, worked or discharged from any vessel, within the waters of this Colony on Sunday, unless a ‘permit’ from the Harbour Master has been first obtained. … The penalty will be a fine of not over $1,000 or in default of payment to imprisonment for any period not exceeding one month.

One week before the ordinance was to be put in force on 1 August 1891, final views from Hong Kong were made to London by people against as well as for Sunday rest. The chamber of commerce representing the interests of employers presented a petition with 247 signatures against the ordinance requesting that the ordinance be disallowed or repealed. Another petition carrying 743 signatures was in favour of Sunday rest; among the signatories, 579 claimed to have been deprived of the “birthright of an Englishman to Sunday rest.”39

The ordinance was not repealed. And ten months later, 20 permits for ships to discharge cargo on Sunday were issued. The permits were obtained by paying a charge ranging from $75 for ships under registered tonnage of 200, and $200 for the tonnage of 2 000 and over.40 The permit soon became a loophole for working on Sundays as the rapid increase of fees collected for permits showed. For 1891, fee collected amounted to $5 000. In the years 1892 and 1893, it became $7 900 and $13 000, almost ten percent of the government revenue under the item of various fees.41 Shipping companies were quick to propose a loose definition of the term “Sunday” to include only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and some others proposed the exemption of mail steamers and vessels discharging coal for the ship's own consumption from the fee or a reduction of it. To make the situation more acceptable, the Sunday Cargo Working Ordinance was amended in 1893 to allow all transit mail steamers to discharge and take in cargo without incurring fees imposed under the ordinance.42

From the fact that work continued incessantly in the harbour on Sundays despite the fee for permits, it shows that the effect of the ordinance to disallow Sunday work was minimal. Apparently, the only winner of the issue on Sunday rest was the government, which appeared to be civilized enough to promulgate an ordinance on Sunday rest as well as get the extra income from issuing permits.

Concluding Remarks

Sunday labour, or the prohibition of it, was like a chronic illness that demanded attention from time to time in nineteenth century Hong Kong. It became the topic of prolonged discussion for editorials and letters to the editor at least once every decade.43 Sunday rest, a practice with Western religious connotations, has been closely linked with social structure, economic interest and traditional custom.

In nineteenth century Hong Kong, however, Sunday was like any other weekday for the majority of inhabitants who were Chinese. They used lunar calendars and celebrated the new moon and full moon with big meals saving a long holiday of about 15 days in the beginning of the Lunar New Year. These traditional monthly and annual feast-days did not fit well with the Sunday rest system. The long holidays during the Lunar New Year specially annoyed Westerners who needed the services of the Chinese. Their tumultuous public manifestations during these feast days were merely tolerated so far as they were kept within their own residential areas.

But for the small group of Europeans, Sunday was a day of rest and worship by tradition, and this tradition was meant to be kept to make Hong Kong a European city for their convenience. They were entitled to do so because, according to the mentality of those times, Hong Kong was after all a British colony. Western missionaries and devout Christians were specially interested in promoting Sunday rest and in lobbying the government to pass laws forbidding Sunday labour. What they desired was a favourable environment for Christian Westerners to keep their religious observance as well as to share the Christian faith with the Chinese in observing Sunday as a holy day.

Initially the social structure was not ready for Sunday rest by legislation. To compete with other Chinese coastal ports, the mail arriving at Hong Kong on Saturday or Sunday required immediate attention and goods on ships needed quick unloading and loading. At first, the discussion on Sunday rest was focused on Sunday observance for Christians and on asking the “Christian government” to provide necessary arrangements for the compliance of such duty.44 Finally, in 1891, the government responded positively to the demand of the British mercantile marine officers who formed strong moral pressure in realizing their right of Sunday rest. An ordinance was passed, but Sunday rest was still not guaranteed or observed.

In the process of debating the issue, Chinese inhabitants were often mentioned. They were presented either as low-pay labourers who could not afford to rest on Sundays,45 or regarded as unable to work diligently if they were not forced to do so.46 This kind of argument must have been intended to ridicule the over-zealous Christians campaigning for Sunday rest rather than to insult the intelligence of the Chinese. At the time, the Chinese were not in an appropiate position to speak for themselves because they were de facto discriminated against by regulation which required them to carry a pass when they stayed out-doors in the city from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.47 This night pass regulation, which was in force from 1843, was cancelled only in 1897,48 six years after the passing of the Sunday Cargo-working Ordinance.

Appendices — newspaper clippings

Appendix I: Letter to the editor, Friend of China, 4 May 1844.

Dear Sir, You are aware that the Government employ a Chaplain, for the purpose of enforcing commands of the Bible, and for this purpose two services are held by him at Hongkong every Sabbath. This is well; but, as if to counteract the too zealous teaching of the said Chaplain, the same Government have had employed, for the last few Sabbaths, in digging on Lord Saltoun's hill, about two hundred China Coolies, in full view of the place where the Chaplain preaches, and so near, that their noise and bustle can be distinctly heard by the audience in attendance upon the said religious services. Would it not be well for the Chaplain, some of these days, to explain, from his pulpit, that part of the good book which says, that people must not only not work themselves on the Sabbath, but positively forbids them also from employing ANY OTHER persons to carry on their work on that day? A long time ago I recollect reading something on this subject in the 20th Chap, of Exodus, and 10th verse. But, perhaps, the doctrine is in some other verse and chapter. Likely, however, you may have in your possession some good reasons for the above Government plan, or know better than I do how to reconcile the inconsistency.

Yours, &c,


Appendix II: Letter to the editor, China Mail, 25 Oct 1856.

Sir, it is to be hoped that your correspondent “An Englishman” has not the ear of Sir John Bowring, for it would be very much to be regretted should the spirit of the Sabbatarianism, which is so mischievous at home, be introduced here. To compel the Chinese, who recognise no Divine command for the observance of that day, to suspend their usual avocations, would be not only impolitic, but unjust, and would add another to the already sufficient causes of complaint which they have against the government of this Colony, and tend to promote emigration from rather than towards this island. Government and private works are all carried on by Chinamen, under Chinese superintendence, and the contracts are always taken by Chinese; and I am of opinion that we should make Christians of them before we enforce on them the observance of Christian holydays.

With considerable inconsistency, your correspondent suggests that Englishmen and Christians should do business on Sunday in order that sailors may get good tipple instead of bad. Whilst he would make the pagan peripatetic vendor from whom a good many of the Chinese obtain their food, observe the Sabbath strictly.

Hoping, Sir, that you will oppose in your columns and tendency to such tyrannical and uncalled for legislation as that your correspondent proposes, I remain, yours obediently,


P. S. — Of course I am as much opposed as “An Englishman” to the convicts being made to work on Sunday, for I think it as wrong for a Christian to compel needless labour on the Sunday as to force pagans to cease their labours on that day.

(Notes by the editor) Justitia, we think, has misunderstood “An Englishman”'s object-which was, he says, merely to prevent the noisy and disagreeable bawling of their wares by hawkers on Sunday mornings in the European part of the town — if any part may be called so; — he did not advocate the stoppage of building work, — that had already been done by the Governor; and as for the “inconsistency” of which he is accused — eating and drinking are, he adds, “works of necessity” and the opening, during certain hours of the day, of respectable and well-conducted refreshment-houses for seamen, would on the part of Government be a “work of mercy” calculated to prevent scenes of drunkenness in the public thoroughfares, and indeed to lead to a better general observance of Sabbath.

Appendix III: Editorial, Daily Press, 14 October 1867.

The great Sunday question, cropped up recently at the police court, when Mr. Whyte contended that no arrest can legally be made on Sunday in Hongkong.

On this point it may be best to say nothing, while the fate of the prisoners in the case we refer to, which is remanded, is still pending. The Attorney-General is to be consulted about the meaning of the ordinance under which they are charged, and if they are convicted after all, they will have the consolation of knowing that their punishment is strictly en regle. Meanwhile, they may hope, amongst other aspirations, that the reverence of old English lawgivers for Sunday, may do them good service, even out here, in this un-Sabbatarian colony, and that they may thus escape from custody before it becomes the duty of the magistrate to decided what retribution is deserved by people guilty of the frightful sin in which it is alleged that they had been detected — gambling in an unlicensed house. In reference, however, to the characteristics of the Hongkong Sunday, to which attention is thus called, most English people here must have been conscious of conflicting emotions. There are Sundays of many different kinds in different parts of the world. The English Sunday, which has been at one period of our history a day of the most unrestrained and joyous merrymaking, with a “Book of Sports” under Royal patronage to suggest amusements to the country people and laughing crowds on a thousand village greens; which at another time has been a gloomy interval of rampant fanaticism between the recurring weeks, has become a compromise to a great extent, but is still a battle-ground between Sabbatarianism, and the irrepressible desire of hard-worked men and women for the excitement of pleasure, on the one day of rest from labour. The predominant religious impulses of the English people give the day a holy colouring, and there need be no fear that in our country, at any time, the Sunday pleasure seekers, however, completely emancipated from existing restrictions they may be, will ever swamp the worshippers and dethrone the church from its preeminence on Sunday. One by one those restrictions will be broken down, and religion will perhaps be the chief gainer, when Sabbatarianism is altogether beaten out of the field. On the continent of Europe there are many varieties of Sunday, and the orthodox British tourist sees much to horrify him, though it is often so difficult to distinguish his horror of the way in which “foreigners” desecrate the Sabbath by their amusements, from his still greater horror of the “Popery” which is infused into their proceedings when they keep it holy. The Scotch Sunday, perhaps one of the most unmitigated evils at present remaining in this world, is quite sui generis meanwhile, but the Hongkong Sunday is after all the oddest thing in Sunday's we have ever met …

4 Governorships of Lugard and May: Fears of Double Allegiance and Perceived Disloyalty

Fung Chi Ming

Historical studies of colonial Hong Kong that hint at, or raise questions about, the issue of multiple loyalties have focused on the leading members of the residing Chinese community, with an emphasis given to their dynamic adaptations to changing circumstances and situational factors.1 Despite the new light they throw on elitist patriotism and leadership structures of early Hong Kong society, they leave certain important features and official views of the governing body still to be explored. This chapter makes particular inroads into the tensions and uneasiness arising from the perceived switch of allegiance of the eminent Chinese, on whom the British ruling class relied so heavily for views and information, and the specific steps of expedients adopted for striking an agreeable balance between their overlapping loyalties and conflicting roles. Specifically, this chapter provides a more focused explanation of how two British governors coped with their Chinese aides who had been nominated to various positions on the non-civil servant side of the colonial structure (henceforth, ‘the Chinese Unofficial’)2 at the time of the Revolution of 1911 and the early years of the Chinese Republic, and how they managed to set up a modus vivendiby which the politically disturbing effects on the British governance in Hong Kong could be minimized. In so doing, we will hopefully delve a little deeper into a less noticed aspect of Hong Kong's colonial past.

Over the past decade or so, in the countdown to 1997 when Hong Kong was reverted to Chinese sovereignty, there has been a surge of interest in the Britain-China-Hongkong relations, which led to a rediscovery of the crucial part Hong Kong played in Anglo-Chinese diplomacy. Concepts of bi- and tri-lateral links have been widely discussed.3 However,“double allegiance”has not emerged as a separate explanatory variable in analyses, even though its emergence (even if only in the imagination) necessarily had an important influence on the workings of government. The unsettled conditions in China during the early 1910s raised once again this entangling question in Hong Kong, an issue that was much less sensitive as long as China and Britain were good neighbours and political friends. This paper will explore the governorships of Sir Frederick Lugard (1858–1945) and Sir Francis Henry May (1860–1922), and how their personalities and backgrounds affected the means that they adopted to cope with the separatist tendency of the Chinese Unofficials. The focus here is more narrowly limited to what the British governors did and thought, as revealed in documentary archives, and less on the Chinese elites' double allegiance and the political influence they exercised on government decision-making. Clearly a sample of two is too small to allow any general conclusions for running through the colonial vicissitudes, but because Lugard and May had such contrasting temperaments it is possible to articulate a portrait of the relations between the rulers and the ruled under disparate gubernatorial styles.

To put the elements of the subject into some sequence, in the first section, we start with an historical introduction to the colonial government structure and the ties of kinship and nationhood of the Chinese population of the colony at the turn of the twentieth century. Section two discusses the pro-republican rallies and demonstrations that initially operated in a political environment characterized by tolerance and harmony with the colonial administration. My inquiry in section three examines how and by whom the Chinese Unofficials were caught in the tugs-of-war between China and Britain, and how the latter managed to gauge their allegiance. Section four illuminates the British perception of the Chinese Unofficials' mix of loyalties that threw grave doubts on the suitability of allowing them to stay on in the colonial polity as“representatives of the Chinese”who must be“thoroughly identified with the interests of England in the East,”at least in the perspective of the British ruling class.4 The forced retirement in 1914 of Sir Kai Ho Kai, better known as Ho Kai, will also be discussed. Finally, in the fifth section, we draw together some of the threads of our discussion with reference to the features of the colonial situation and Hong Kong's metamorphosis from a British administered territory into a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.

Chinese People Under Colonial Rule

The British came ashore on Hong Kong Island in the early Victoria era to secure a station for the expansion of trade with China. On 26 January 1841, a British naval force led by Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer (1768–1850) raised the Union lack at the area now known as Possession Point, Sheung Wan, thus heralding a century and a half of British colonial rule in Hong Kong. The next year, China and Britain drew up the Treaty of Nanking whereby Hong Kong Island was ceded to Britain. On 23 June 1843, Manchu special envoy Qi Ying (1790–1858) arrived in Hong Kong to complete the procedures of ceding the territory; afterwards the Royal Charter gave Hong Kong a crown colony status, and Sir Henry Pottinger (1789–1856) became the head of the colonial government. London ruled Hong Kong through a Governor who was chosen for his office by the Secretary of State and was appointed by the Crown. Aided by a handful of local councils, the Governor was given considerable powers of decision and action listed in the Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions.

The home government kept control from afar, through dispatches of the Governor and replies from the Colonial Office. The Executive Council, which advised the Governor on all matters of policy, had been made up of ex-officiomembers before it was enlarged in 1896 to include two nominated unofficials — Sir C. P. Chater (1846–1926), an Armenian merchant from Calcutta, and J. Bell-Irving (1846–1925), a partner in the well-known firm of Jardine Matheson & Co. The Legislative Council assisted the Governor in law making and the management of public finance, and its composition remained practically unchanged until 1850 when two unofficials were nominated.5 The two councils had denied their membership to the Chinese and it was not until 1880 and 1926 that they were reconstituted to provide for permanent Chinese representation and to make the administration more efficient to keep the Chinese under its sway. In 1884, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Unofficial Justices of the Peace were each allowed to submit to the Governor the name of one of their members for nomination to the Legislative Council.6 Hong Kong was noted for its lack of democracy, at least as that term is usually understood. However, given the sojourner mentality of the transient population, it was generally exempt from much internal pressure for constitutional reforms.7

During the early 60 years or so of British rule, the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong people were Chinese by race,8 who voluntarily chose to leave their homelands for the British colony in search of employment and income. Captain Charles Elliott (1801–75), who took over as British Plenipotentiary to China, proclaimed in 1841 that all natives of Hong Kong or of China thereto resorting would become“subjects of the Queen of England”enjoying“full security and protection, according to the principles and practice of British law.”9 The land and sea frontier with China was drawn somewhat artificially. Whether the Chinese inhabitants were settled or migratory, of high or low social status, very few of them were completely indifferent to their mother country, to their compatriots and their problems. Notwithstanding their cultural closeness, politically mainland China was“foreign”to Hong Kong, as Hong Kong was“foreign”to mainland China. Some of the colony's Chinese acquired something of a unique status as Chinese British subjects, either by birth or by naturalization. The Chinese majority in Hong Kong were practically ruled by British law and defined by Britain as members of the same nationality in the colonial times.10

Chinese inhabitants in Hong Kong had overlapping identities that were derived not only from the different social worlds in which they lived their lives but also from their cultural roots mediated by some sense of nationhood and common heritage in China. The influx of Chinese continued for some time after Hong Kong's founding as a British settlement. Coming from various localities, the bulk of them were sojourners in a British colony on Chinese soil, having left their home regions to seek a floating life elsewhere, but nevertheless without breaking from their original culture. The close linkage with their country of origin and, sometimes, with relatives there was preserved through remittances, often accompanied by family letters, periodic visits on festival occasions or personal events to be greeted by family members and kinsmen, and the repatriation of the dead sojourners' remains/bones for reburial in their homeland. There was a mix of affiliations and loyalties on the part of the Chinese inhabitants — to family, clan and other customary bases of action — alongside with an aspiration and longing for a strong China.11 When the chips were down, it was always national allegiance that superseded and took precedence over everything else.

Elite Cooption and Mutual Goodwill

The 1911 Revolution, something of a cause celebrein the world press, kept the patriotic feelings of the Hong Kong Chinese at a high pitch. Crowds of people, individually or in batches,“daily gather outside the native newspaper office to learn the latest development.”12 On 6 November 1911, there was a false rumour of the capture of Peking by the revolutionaries. Without a clear leadership stracture in place, the Hong Kong people in ever increasing numbers swarmed into the streets where they held victory celebrations and expressed their joy, waving flags and holding high scrolls bearing the characters saying“Long Live the Han Dynasty”and“The Birthday of the Han Dynasty.”The Europeans in Des Voeux Road, Central and Sheung Wan were dumbfounded by the roaring fire-crackers and the rousing shouts of slogans. The excitement was“running at fever heat.”13Sir Frederick Lugard, Governor of the time, wrote of his eyewitness account of the scene:

This was the occasion of the most amazing outburst which has ever been seen and heard in the history of this Colony … The cracker-firing was contrary to law but was so spontaneous and absolutely ubiquitous throughout the Colony that it would have been impossible to check it — and an attempt to do so in the state of wild excitement which prevailed would probably have converted a thoroughly good-humoured and peaceable demonstration into riots and bloodshed.14

Though being swamped in a raging sea of patriotic masses, Lugard gave orders that no attempt to check the rallies and demonstrations should be made,“but that extra Police patrols should traverse the streets and see that no disturbance took place.”He remained in communication with the Captain Superintendent of Police and“was prepared to call out a Military patrol in a moment's notice should occasion arise.”15 In a telegram drafted to the Colonial Office, he described the nature of the rallies and street demonstrations as“ardently republican,”to a great extent owing to“the very intimate connection”between Hong Kong and China.16 Although the cracker firing did raise eyebrows at the time, Lugard thought fit not to intervene except where the celebrations overstepped the bounds of law and order, as the prevailing aspirations were anti-Manchu instead of anti-British. This enabled him to react sensibly to the popular sentiment.

Canton, which was just next door, was politically unstable, really“looked upon as a kind of weather-vane to indicate which way the wind of revolt has veered.”17 On the morning of 25 October, the new Tartar-General named Fung Shan was killed by a bomb on his way home, in spite of the presence of a strong bodyguard of soldiers. Then, the Canton merchants quickly took the lead in reaching a consensus on a peaceful transfer of power to the revolutionaries. Chang Ming-chi (1875–1945), the then Governor-General of Kwangtung and Kwangsi and the Viceroy of Canton, chose to step down from office, fleeing for safety to the British Consulate and choosing Hong Kong as a refuge.18 On 8 November, Lugard sent his aidede-camp on board to assure the ex-viceroy of protection and help him to take up temporary residence in a house prepared by a manager of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.19

How to protect Chang at a time when the vast majority of the local Chinese was furious over the Manchu regime? Lugard had an answer to this question. On 9 November, as there was a meeting of the Legislative Council, Lugard took occasion to appeal to the Chinese to treat Chang as“a guest in distress who sought the protection of the British flag.”“It is a British tradition that hospitality is never refused to those who seek it in distress, & I have every confidence that the Chinese community of this Colony, whatever their political sympathies may be, will be glad to afford hospitality to a guest who was lately a high official who has done his utmost to prevent bloodshed, and has, so far as we can judge, been wonderfully successful in his efforts to this end.”20 Early next morning, the streets were plastered with posters [in Chinese] to inform the Chinese populace of the Governor's wish that no affront must be offered to the ex-viceroy.

Much to the credit of the influential opinion of the Chinese Unofficials, but evidently on the advice of Lugard, the Chinese populace did not use Chang's self-imposed exile as a rallying point to create disturbances. To the pleasure of Lugard, the ex-viceroy“remained unmolested in any way”before he left Hong Kong en route for Europe on 17 November.21 It was later revealed that the Chinese Unofficials had come to know that“the opening of prisons and the liberation of all the cut-throats and robbers”which had led to much“terror and danger at Canton”was the act of the ex-viceroy just before his departure. Because of Lugard's appeal that the ex-viceroy“should be accorded hospitality and safety in Hongkong,”they had refrained from letting this be known by the public. Had it become known,“the indignation would have been so great that probably an organized attack would have made upon his house.”22 On this occasion, the Governor and the Chinese Unofficials co-operated to get things done.

On 12 November, a secret conference was held at Government House. In attendance were the Governor, the Colonial Secretary W. D. Barnes (1865–1911), the Registrar-General E. R. Hallifax (1874–1950), and the two Chinese Unofficials then serving concurrently on the Legislative Council, namely, Ho Kai (1859–1914)23 and Wei Yuk (1849–1921).24 Ho and Wei revealed that the local populace wished to hold a triumphal march through the streets to celebrate the establishment of the Canton Republic. Lugard declined“to wink at it”because he“could not give official sanction to a celebration of a partially effective revolution, while the Central Authority with whom [Britain] had Treaty relations remained ostensibly in power.”In reply, Ho and Wei assured Lugard that the celebration would be“apart altogether from politics.”Relief came on learning that Canton, the hometown of most of Hong Kong inhabitants and their immediate kin and even friends, had changed hands without bloodshed,25 a request that Lugard could not in good faith totally reject. He yielded on this count by allowing cracker firing from 12 noon to 2 pm, but it must be made clear in the press that the real cause of rejoicing was the peaceful establishment of a new government in Canton.26

In this way, although Lugard was far from entirely relieved of his anxiety with what he called“the state of wild excitement”that prevailed in Hong Kong, he was politically wise enough to adopt a conciliatory approach of compromise and to comply with the wishes of the local populace rather than turn up the heat.

Towards a Politics of Compromise

The pro-republican activism in Hong Kong was surging forward and developing in depth with the passing of time. Probably to the astonishment and displeasure of Lugard, the Chinese revolutionaries had set foot on Hong Kong to seek assistance from the local Chinese, especially those in higher positions,“both in advice and in money.”There was a rumour that Ho Kai had been requested by a communication from Hu Hanmin, the newly elected Governor-General of Canton, to accept the post of adviser in diplomatic matters. Two committees, formed in Hong Kong, raised an enormous amount of money to provide financial help to the Canton Republic.27 Indeed, there were volunteers asking for subscriptions of money on ships that navigated between Canton and Hong Kong. A newspaper report that appeared under the headline“Canton News”(South China Morning Post, 18 November 1911) revealed that some 1.5 million dollars“coming in from all quarters”had been raised and remitted from Hong Kong to Canton for the upkeep of the newborn republic. The newspaper report must have embarrassed Lugard very much, as he had been left in the dark about most of these activities until he learned them from the press, so much so that one may say that he had lost political control of the Chinese Unofficials in Hong Kong.

Lugard was mindful of the existence of the aforesaid two committees, presumably launched with the support and advice of Ho Kai and Wei Yuk who came out in staunch support of the republican revolution on a visible level. The committees attracted suspicion over exactly what they were up to. The need to clear up doubts became all the more urgent when Lugard discovered that open truculence towards the colonial authority was as prevalent in Hong Kong as it was across the border, as shown in the occurrence of disputes over jurisdictional rights between China and Hong Kong along their shared border. On 14 November, 12 Chinese armed with rifles and claiming themselves as revolutionary troops crossed the frontier from Chinese territory. Noteworthy also is the fact that on 17 November four to five fishing boats drove off the Police Launch in Mirs Bay for evading the customary collection of licence fees. The boat owners refused to pay and threatened to throw dynamite at the Hong Kong police, insisting that each of them had already paid five dollars to the revolutionaries in China.28 Lugard could no longer sit on his hands. As there was plenty to keep him awake at night, Lugard cancelled his acceptance of the Viceroy of India's invitation to be present at the Delhi Durbar.

Would the Chinese Unofficials be faithful and bearing true allegiance to the Crown if the demands of China and Britain upon their duty of allegiance came into conflict? On Sunday, 19 November, Lugard called an urgent meeting in the presence of Ho Kai, Wei Yuk and ten other prominent members of the Chinese community then serving on various Government boards and public committees, including but not limited to Lau Chu-pak (1867–1922),29 Chau Siu-ki (1864–1925),30 Ng Hon-tsz (1877–1936),31 Chan Kai-ming (1859–1919),32 and Ho Fook (1863–1926)33 — some of the most famous names that have left lasting impressions on Hong Kong. Well educated and fluent in the English language, they are well known and best remembered not only for their wealth, but for their philanthropic and public service to Hong Kong. Held in high esteem by their community, these influential magnates ranked just below the ruling expatriates at the top of the hierarchy.

To show his sympathy to the unfolding revolution and the condition of affairs that had arisen in China, Lugard stated at the aforesaid meeting that the leading Chinese were“right”and“entirely at liberty”to sympathize with the Revolution“if they thought the movement was likely to benefit their country and race.”Lugard told the Chinese leaders that he was prepared to withdraw the prohibition of Sun Yat-sen's landing in Hong Kong, on conditions that he did not reside there or carry on his revolutionary propaganda there. He also promised to resume the British side of the then government-owned Kowloon-Canton Railway, completed in 1910, which he had previously suspended upon the request of the Canton Government, if“the Canton Section were in a position to do so.”Lugard added:“In all Executive and Administrative matters, I was ready to co-operate with the provisional Government for the public peace and the re-establishment of trade and prevention of famine.”34

Significantly, Lugard blew the warning trumpet by thrashing out his guidelines with the leading Chinese residing in Hong Kong who were prepared to get involved in Chinese politics. He told them he had heard of the formation of two committees in Hong Kong in connection with“Canton affairs.”“So far their object was to re-establish trade, and put an end to the ruinous stagnation of the last few weeks,”he said,“they had [his] entire support.”“But so far as they were concerned with the purely political affairs of China, and were aimed at promoting the Revolution,”he would consider that“they should not have their domicile in Hongkong.”He made it clear that he had no objection to individuals sending their own money to Canton, for he was aware that“the provisional Government must be carried on in order to save life and property in which Hongkong men were deeply interested, that the soldiery must be paid, or there would be terrible bloodshed in which their own relatives would be in danger.”But he advised that“no fund in aid of the Revolutionary Government could be properly started in Hongkong, and no such fund could be advertised, or any company or association formed to promote it.”The leading Chinese were allowed to sit in on the meetings of these committees, but they could do so only in the region beyond Hong Kong.35

Lugard spelled out his reasons against Hong Kong's direct involvement in Chinese politics. In the first place, he said,“so long as the Manchu Government with [Britain] had treaties remained in power at Peking, and no recognised new Government had been set up, it would place the British Government in a difficult position if it could be alleged with truth that open and public support was being given in Hongkong to the Revolutionary party.”Secondly,“foreign Powers — Japan, Germany or others — would have cause of complaint, and perhaps urge this as a reason for taking sides on the present conflict — even for taking side with the Imperial Government against the new Party.”So, he looked to the leading Chinese to support him in“maintaining a correct attitude vis-a-vis the Peking Government and foreign Powers.”36

In a nutshell, from the perspective of Lugard, there were requirements to meet and fulfil if the Chinese Unofficials intended to enjoy the benefits and privileges of retaining council seats and appointive positions on the non-civil servant side of the colonial government. In a telegram to the Colonial Office on 20 November 1911, Lugard wrote:

I had no hostility whatever to the movement provided that certain well defined lines were not over-stepped as regards the public attitude which it was incumbent on a British Colony to adopt. This being so I wished them not to act as though they were conspirators in secret, but to freely consult me, and inform me of their proposed actions and if I thought in any case that they were over-stepping the lines I had indicated I would tell them so and suggest a better course.37

Ho Kai and Wei Yuk were keen to profess their continued allegiance to Lugard and gave him full support in his policies. Ho Kai, somewhat senior to Wei Yuk, was quoted as saying he had been elected to one of the aforesaid committees. However, he had withdrawn from it as soon as he knew that its emergence was in support of the efforts to re-establish trade and freight traffic between Hong Kong and Shanghai and the other Chinese ports that had been brought practicably to a standstill due to political uncertainty and the general feeling of unrest. At the meeting, Ho Kai made it clear that he would not benefit in a material way from the committee, which was incompatible with his status as a lawyer and a medical doctor. The committee, he assured Lugard, was not political and would not discuss political matters without the Governor's consent.38

Lau Chu-pak, then a Member of the Sanitary Board (later renamed and developed into the Urban Council in 1936), echoed a similar view. While admitting his status as the chairman of one of the committees, he emphasized that the object of his committee was purely commercial —“to ascertain how affairs were going on at Canton and how trade could be revived.”It did and would“keep entirely clear of the present Government of Canton, and be in no way mixed up with politics.”At the end of the meeting Ho Kai and Wei Yuk remained behind and praised the Governor for having held a talk that“had done the greatest possible good”and“had crushed the differences in the bud.”39

It is apparent that the words of the Chinese Unofficials were very pleasing to the ears of Lugard, who strongly believed that his remarks at the meeting“were throughout received with obvious pleasure and concurrence”by the Chinese Unofficials. He“had listened with the utmost satisfaction to the speeches made, and had heard with special pleasure of the correct attitude, and sound advice”given by them. He also felt that“the meeting broke up with much good-will,”for they“all heartily agreed”to his opinion.40 His undisguised appreciation for the cooperative attitude of the Chinese elites is revealed in his letter to the Secretary of State:

The situation here as you perceive is not without difficulty but the loyalty of the leading Chinese and their readiness to fall in with my wishes has surprised me … The leading men here are looked to and consulted by the Revolutionary leaders at every step. In these circumstances it is not easy to sail an even keel, but I have every hope that I shall be able to control the situation satisfactorily and to retain the confidence of the Chinese population in the British Government.41

Amid all the rejoicings for the triumph of the 1911 Revolution one cannot help regretting that the hectic demonstrations attracted crowds of spectators at hand ripe for lawlessness. Shops were looted and policemen were stoned. One newspaper office, because of its loyalist attitude to the Manchu Dynasty, came under attack.42 In consequence, the policemen had orders to carry revolvers in self-defence. Reinforcements were brought in from India with a view to bringing an end to the“considerable amount of rowdiness.”A Bill entitled“An Ordinance to amend the Peace Preservation Act, 1886”was passed into law in one single sitting of the Legislative Council on 30 November 1911, empowering magistrates to order flogging as punishment for criminals guilty of a number of offences including theft, assaults on the police, and refusing arrest. The all-council acceptance for the bill was made possible by, as Lugard himself phrased it, the“most loyal co-operation from leading Chinese residents, of course including the two Chinese members of Council”who“have not only done their utmost to cooperate with the Government, but have also followed my advice in many somewhat difficult matters on which they have come and asked it.”43 In anticipation of the return of more normal times to Hong Kong, Lugard wrote in a family letter to his younger brother Edward:

The situation here demanded active measures … I had daily route marches of troops with fixed bayonets through all the crowded thoroughfares, and adopted a thousand minor performances — personally interviewed the leading Chinese (with admirable results) etc. The result is I believe the thing is fizzling out rapidly, and what might have been a serious crisis, will escape almost unnoticed.44

The leading Chinese who had pledged loyalty to the Crown Colony were awarded with official appointments in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution. On 16 April 1912, Chan Kai-ming was gazetted a Member of the Sanitary Board for a term of three years, vice Lau Chu-pak, whose term of service had expired.45 Ng Hon-tsz was re-appointed as a Member of the Sanitary Board for a further period of three years with effect from 15 October 1912, on the expiration of the period of his former appointment.46 On 5 September 1913, Lau Chu-pak was appointed to serve on the Legislative Council in an acting capacity during the absence on leave of Ho Kai.47 On 20 April 1914, it was notified in the GazetteHo Fook was appointed as a Member of the Court of the University of Hong Kong, under the provisions of Statue 4 of the University Ordinance, 1911. Four days later, Chau Siu-ki and Ng Hon-tsz were re-appointed as Members of the Court of the University of Hong Kong for a further term of three years, on the expiration of the period of their former appointments.48

Perceived Switch of Allegiance

Was it practically possible for the Chinese Unofficials to develop political ties to the Mainland while in office but at the same time to continue in service under the British crown colony? The regretted departure of Ho Kai from the Legislative Council in 1914 is an eye-opener for us, showing how difficult it could be to serve simultaneously two sovereigns and to keep a foot in both camps, a balancing act of considerable difficulty and delicacy.

The official reason for Ho Kai's departure was that“owing to indifferent health”he“would not be prepared to accept an invitation to continue his services upon the Council,”49 a statement that conceals more than it reveals. This notion later was taken by a local newspaper, which devoted an editorial to the retirement, describing it as“a matter of much regret, particularly as it has been necessitated by failing health.”50 It would appear that Ho Kai was intent on standing down in style — even if not in a manner entirely of his own choosing. Saying farewell to the Legislative Council at the end of his tenure of office, Ho Kai declared that“in the future, as far as my failing health will permit, I shall, to the best of my ability, over be ready to co-operate with your Excellency and the members of this Council in promoting any measure for the good of this Colony.”51 Ho Kai died on 21 July 1914 at his residence in Robinson Road, at the age of 55, only five months after his retirement, and his rather premature death seemed to have reconfirmed the“health”reason for his stepping down from office.

There was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public as to the real reasons for Ho Kai's retirement, one-time the best kept secret in town. The funeral service of Ho Kai took place at the Protestant Cemetery, Happy Valley, on 22 July 1914. Those present included the Governor, Sir Francis Henry May, representatives of various government departments, the professions of law and medicine, and a large gathering of influential Europeans and Chinese. The Legislative Council session held on 30 July 1914 was marked by a resolution of the chairman which was passed in silence:“It was only on the 25th February of last that this Council recorded its great appreciation of the eminent services rendered to it and to the Colony by Sir Kai Ho Kai during the long period of 24 years during which he had been a Member of the Council, his seat upon which he was obliged to resign owing to ill health.”The chairman continued:“We have followed him to the grave with sorrow; we cherish his memory with respect; we treasure with admiration the example he has set us all of devotion to public duty.”52

In fact, Ho Kai was denied a political role in the colonial government of Hong Kong. Lugard's successor, Sir Francis Henry May, who was in office between July 1912 and February 1919, decided to carry out a rectification drive to flush out Chinese Unofficials of dubious or lukewarm loyalty to him. The de factodismissal of Ho Kai was all there in embryo well before the expiration of Ho Kai's fourth term of appointment to the Legislative Council. May sent a confidential dispatch to the Secretary of State on 16 June 1913:

I have had a conversation, in the presence of the Registrar General, with Mr. Wei Yuk … In the circumstances I am willing to acquit Mr. Wei Yuk of disloyalty … to this Government. While Mr. Wei Yuk still retains as much of my confidence as experience proves that it is safe to repose in any Chinese, I regret to say that I cannot say the same of Sir Kai Ho Kai. I am unwilling to make a recommendation which may possibly result in making an enemy to the Government of so clever a man as Sir Kai Ho Kai. I have, therefore, been occupied in collecting facts on which to base such a serious recommendation and I hope to be able to lay these facts before you shortly.53

Two months later, after having caused integrity checks into Ho Kai, May submitted confidentially to the Secretary of State to lay bare his decision on the issue:

I have the honour to inform you that, after very careful examination, I have come to the conclusion that I am unable, in the best interests of the Colony, to recommend that Sir Kai Ho Kai should be re-appointed to be a Member of the Legislative Council on the expiration of his fourth term of appointment in February 1914 … This Government, I regret to say, has lost confidence in Sir Kai Ho Kai … Sir Kai Ho Kai was intimately connected with all the intrigue leading up to the first revolution in Kwangtung: and he has been intimately connected with the Canton Government ever since … Formerly Sir Kai could be relied on for information and advice when the Government wanted it. Now this is not so … Indeed he has already applied for employment under the Chinese Government and was, I believe, offered a post but was not satisfied with the salary attached to it … He might become troublesome to this Government if he remained in Hongkong or obtained office in Canton.54

“Perhaps,”it was believed,“Sir Kai Ho Kai's fall will have a good effect on Mr. Wei Yuk.”55 The connection between the perceived disloyalty and the non-reappointment of Ho Kai is too evident to warrant further comment.

The two governors involved, Lugard and May, were uncomfortable with the Chinese Unofficials' warm relations with China (or, to be precise, Canton) without their prior knowledge. However, owing to different career backgrounds, they held dissimilar opinions on the question of double allegiance. Lugard was a military commander whom Britain sent as empire-builder to Nigeria, once part of the British Empire, where he led military expeditions on the march and became High Commissioner of Nigeria from 1900 to 1906. Because of policy disagreements with the Colonial Office and the health of his wife, whom he married in 1902, he resigned his African mandate and left Nigeria. He took the Governorship of Hong Kong in 1907 only because his wife was well enough to go with him to Hong Kong. His stay in Hong Kong between 1907 and 1912 was, to quote the late historian G. B. Endacott,“a brief interlude in a brilliant African career.”56 Lugard spoke no Chinese and was not familiar with Hong Kong and Chinese affairs. On leaving for Hong Kong, he was faced with a new political career“for which I feel less aptitude, and from which I shrink more,”as Lugard himself phrased it.57 This point has been put well, in a rather different context, by his biographer Bernard Mellor:

Nigeria and Hong Kong were, of course, poles apart. Neither his experience in Africa, nor his official briefing before setting out, nor the papers he read about Hong Kong problems and about his heart rending typhoon disasters did much to prepare him for what he called the ‘big subjects’ that faced him from his first days in office and which would continue to cross his desk for most of it.58

In trying to resolve political uncertainties and put an end to lawlessness, Lugard resorted to the cooperation of Chinese elites and the introduction of tougher new measures, evidenced in the deployment of garrison forces and the infliction of whipping for criminal offences. This military-minded yet paternalistic approach to governance in Hong Kong blended easily with his method of administration in Nigeria where he had exercised“Indirect Rule”through the traditional authority of the native notables.59 Lugard did not make the least effort to hide his belief in the“most loyal co-operation from leading Chinese residents”on whom he relied so heavily and for whom he came to have affection and respect.60 He probably might have thought of the Chinese Unofficials, who helped him ruled Hong Kong and figured prominently in their management of local affairs outside the formal organs of the colonial government, as primarily similar to the African tribal chiefs considered by Lugard to be fiercely loyal to their superiors in ultimate authority; hence his belief that he could nip the conflicting loyalties of the Chinese elite in Hong Kong in the bud, preferably reaching some kind of agreement and balance. The impact of his prior administrative experience in Africa is too obvious to be ignored, as indeed he testified to it in his diary (20 April 1892):

I regard them [the tribal chiefs in Uganda over whom Indirect Rule was exercised] as my best friends in the country, whose advice I always ask, but not as my rulers who shall dictate to me whether or not this or that course shall be pursued … it was not the British policy in the many countries I have lived in and seen to rule natives despotically where it was possible to rule them through their own chiefs and customs. Least of all here in Uganda where so elaborate a system of native administration existed ready to hand.61

Confronted with the troubled times of revolution in the closing months of 1911, Lugard asked the Chinese Unofficials to avoid secret deals and to“regard [him] as a friend who could be freely consulted, and who would sympathise with their legitimate aspirations.”62 In return, the Chinese Unofficials gave him warm support and reassurance when it was most hoped for. Though not expressly stated as such, Lugard stressed the need for good faith on both sides.

In stark contrast, Sir Francis Henry May had a long service record in Hong Kong well before he took office as Governor. He had embarked on Chinese studies before he joined the Hong Kong Civil Service as a Cadet Officer in 1881, then as Captain Superintendent of Police and Goal Superintendent. He was Colonial Secretary for almost a decade (1902–11) and twice served as Acting Governor before leaving Hong Kong on promotion to the Governorship of Fiji (then a British crown colony) early in 1910. He made a name both for his detailed knowledge of the sentiments of the Hong Kong Chinese and for his outstanding ability to handle the labour strikes against the health regulations for plague prevention in 1894 and the indigenous villagers' armed resistance against the British takeover of the New Territories in 1899. Thirty years of experience in ruling Hong Kong had taught him that the elite members of the Chinese community were politically sophisticated. It was written of him in 1938–39:

He had spent over thirty years in the Colony and, besides long administrative experience and unrivalled local knowledge, he had studied the language and local customs. No doubt some will maintain, however, that intimate acquaintance with local problems and local personalities may be an embarrassment rather than an asset and that it is the width rather than the depth of the experience that counts.63

Equally important in this regard is that the formative years of his life and work in Hong Kong were full of racially offensive epithets and rampant xenophobia. He had been around long enough to witness the anti-foreign sentiment of the local Chinese, expressed in a series of tumultuous protest movements — including the anti-French Insurrection of 1884, the anti-American Boycott of 1905–06 and the anti-Japanese Boycott of 1908 — which were suppressed only with difficulty. The protests gradually petered out, but not before causing considerable disruption to the British colony. He was away in Fiji in 1911–12 when the Manchu Dynasty was overthrown. On returning from Fiji on 4 July 1912 to assume the Governorship of Hong Kong, May immediately“noticed signs of aggressiveness and antipathy to Europeans on the part of the Chinese population,”64 when he was outraged by the fact that he almost fell victim to the bullet of a would-be assassin of Chinese descent.65 This rendered the new Governor, of expatriate origin, politically even more isolated. He had to adapt to a new-look Hong Kong that would appear so more unsettled politically than the one where he had been living and working.

In the immediate aftermath of the 1911 Revolution, patriotic movements rebounded most remarkably and the rift grew between the ruling body and the Chinese populace. Hardly had Hong Kong started to get its breath back after the cold douche of the Revolution, when there occurred a boycott in 1912–13 against the Hong Kong Tramway Company for its refusal to accept silver coins (minted in Canton) in payment of tram fares. The new Governor soon came to the unhappy discovery that Ho Kai was“very closely associated with”the behind-the-scenes instigators of the tram boycott, despite his later support for the passing of the Boycott Prevention Bill through the Legislative Council as a gesture to maintain a unified voice, particularly on major issues that came before the legislature. The tram boycott, which calmed down in February 1913, reflected very closely and in all seriousness the tenacity of affection with which Ho Kai clung to China, something May had recognized for a long time and beheved had been causing damage to the colonial government. It was doubtful that Ho Kai would fulfil all expectations of being a“representative of the Chinese,”at least as that term was understood by the new Governor.

For Ho Kai, the governorship of Sir Francis Henry May was the beginning of a new era. It was somewhat ironic but understandable that Ho Kai who had been bestowed a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.) in 1892 and the dignity of Knighthood in 1912 and very highly commented upon by successive governors for the many and varied achievements and faithful service he had rendered to Britain and Hong Kong, was unfortunately expelled from the nominated legislature in 1914 because the new Governor regarded him as an unworthy servant and did not trust him any more. The non-reappointment put an end to his 25 years of active participation in the public life of the Crown Colony that began when he took his seat in the Legislative Council for the first time in 1890.

Concluding Remarks

An analysis of the conflicting allegiance owed by the local elite has the potential to add a new dimension to the role of Hong Kong in Sino-British diplomacy, which was complex and unstable, and often additionally and inextricably mixed with interested groups and isolated individuals. The hearts of most of Hong Kong's population, either historically or today, have continued to beat for their ancestral land. In normal times, they remained comfortable with their Janus-faced identities. There were moments, however, when they were caught between the ire of China's Scylla and the Charybdis of their British overlords who were anxious to know where they stood, and forced them to take a stand for that which was right, that which was good, for each of their masters. The crisis moments in 1911–1914, arising from Hong Kong's vulnerability to political activities in the Mainland, brought the issue of double allegiance into sharper focus than it had ever been before. The governors were sensitive to sovereignty infringements even before they posed a real threat to usurp the powers of the colonial polity. The concrete manifestation of double allegiance of the Chinese Unofficials was a source of embarrassment, as far as British ruling class was concerned. The train of events in early twentieth-century Hong Kong is symptomatic of the occasional loyalty conflicts that went with the commonly founded multiple office-holdings in a host of quasi-political institutions, an issue to be reckoned with.

Lugard and May differed so much in personality and background and, consequently, in dealing with an occasion when the question of double allegiance was more heated than it ever was. Hong Kong's direct involvement in Chinese politics and the extension of political influence from up north into Hong Kong became apparent. Both governors were committed, to the utmost of their strength and ability, to put an end quickly to such a position. They would try and find room to accommodate certain demands as long as the government's position was not compromised. If the Chinese Unofficials allied themselves with China instead of Britain, not only were they likely to go against the oath of loyalty to the British Crown they had taken upon becoming members of the Legislative Council, their function as legislators and policy advisors to the colonial government as a whole would become futile due to the switch of allegiance. Lugard expressed the belief that the political intrigues arising from the spillover of the 1911 Revolution, however serious, could be kept at arm's length and settled by amicable discussion. Unlike his predecessor, May was more skeptical of the integrity and loyalty of the Chinese elites, having permanent concern and crisis fear over the transfer of allegiance. In this respect, the two governors were divided in their reactions to people and events.

When we digress into the issue of double loyalty, from multiple sides and settings, we could see beneath the surface of politics into the forces at work in government decision-making institutions. The colonial government ruled under a mandate from the British Crown, and its execution of power was morally justified by its claim to govern via consultation with community representatives. The Chinese Unofficials was a force to be reckoned with in Hong Kong not just because of their wealth but because they were an important conduit between the top echelons of the British colonial elite and the wide section of local inhabitants. It was their nominated positions as Chinese spokesmen for the local populace at the Council and advisory board meetings, which added to the political legitimacy of the colonial administration. By their wide network of local contacts and their articulate command in both Chinese and English shared by very few of their generation, they were enabled thereby to get close to the source of power. Nevertheless, for reasons quite extraneous to Hong Kong, they would at times appear to ally themselves with the neighbouring Chinese authorities. In illuminating the circumstances of how the Chinese Unofficials were poised between two sovereigns and how they managed to come out with a reasonable balance between conflicting roles, not once but many times, it has something to reveal about the manoeuvres within the colonial power structure which had to be done behind closed doors.

The resounding events of the memorable 1910s are interesting not only for what they tell us about the divergent personalities and styles of administration of two British governors, but also for the extra light they throw on the passions and desires of the Hong Kong Chinese elites and the factors that would make them stay or quit. It is difficult to distinguish, necessarily, between what is right and wrong, or what is good and bad. Although very westernized themselves, scores of the Chinese Unofficials were intent on playing a part in the modernization of China. And yet, as legislators and board members to whom the governance of Hong Kong had been committed, they had a duty, whether to Britain or to Hong Kong, to preserve an environment conducive to bringing affluence to Hong Kong, and to the Mainland as well. The option of withdrawal, through return to China for serving the new republic, could be curtailed by the aspiration to retain council seats and advisory board membership and, consequently, the pride inspired in the local community. Perhaps the Chinese elite in colonial Hong Kong were too complex for easy generalization, for even within this relatively small group there existed different political orientations and different levels of allegiance, as reflected in the variety of career paths of their choice.66 Hong Kong lacked the natural ties to bind the local elites, all had different interests and objectives, to the territory like a common citizenship.

One can say that the issue of multiple obligations that cropped up during the governorships of Lugard and May can be seen in a contemporary context. Time and again when China and Britain were divided in their views about Hong Kong affairs, the local Chinese might be inherently and ambivalently torn between two masters — in a pattern that was only too obvious after the signing of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future status of Hong Kong, when new factors such as a vast realignment of power relations within Hong Kong were creeping into people's minds. In the lead-up to China's resumption of sovereignty, when arrangements were mapped out for the smooth reversion of sovereign power from British to Chinese, this was the experience of the civil servants, the business tycoons, and the functional organizations representing a complete cross-section of the society, ranging from hawkers associations to white-collar groups, and not of the Chinese Unofficials only. At all these levels, there was a test of people's allegiances. Now that the handover is past and the constitutional Unk between the Central and SAR Governments in the context of One Country, Two Systems is enshrined in the Basic Law, the questions of how to incorporate regional diversity within an overarching political arrangement, and how to bind together the whole and the part into an effective entity, will remain a continuing debate within a living subject.

5 The Making of a Market Town in Rural Hong Kong: The Luen Wo Market1

Chan Kwok-shing

This essay aims to examine the economic and political meanings behind the building of a rural market town in Hong Kong's New Territories and the patterns and meanings of shares ownership of the market, which is run by a limited company.

William Skinner argues that analysing the Chinese marketing system can capture the peasant's social life beyond the narrow horizons of his village and the interlineage ties at regional levels. This approach challenges anthropological work on Chinese society, which has focused almost exclusively on the lineage village, thus distorting the reality of rural social structure.2 Unlike Skinner, and also other scholars such as Fei Xiaotong, who have treated the establishment of the market town as a natural development,3 Maurice Freedman rather pays more attention to how competition between lineage villages is manifested in the formation and control of the rural markets.4

Adopting Skinner and Freedman's analytical framework collectively in studying periodic markets in rural Hong Kong, scholars highlight the political and economic aspects in delineating the dynamic relationships between the villages.5 However, unlike those previous works laying great emphasis on local conflict as a prime reason for establishing rural markets, this essay intends to demonstrate that the formation of Luen Wo Market was not only in competition with the neighbouring Shek Wo Market. In addition, it was also closely associated with a great change in agricultural land use in Hong Kong and the government's agricultural policy in response to the political unrest in China in the late 1940s.

As the market was formed as a limited liability company, in which company shares were sold to raise capital, this essay will address the extent of involvement of the villagers in this building project. Attention is paid to the villagers of the Pang lineage in Fanling, where I conducted my fieldwork from the end of 1993 to early 1995. I argue that, though many rural markets in Hong Kong's New Territories were formed by issuing shares to raise capital, scholars nevertheless have ignored or not attempted to examine the meanings of the shares as property to those shareholders and how these meanings affect or shape the villagers' management of the property.6 As a result, those studies portray the ownership of the shares as stable or static and that all shareholders assume the same meanings concerning the property. The study of the Luen Wo Market scrutinises the process of how the shareholders manipulated or redefined company shares as power resources, family patrimony and inalienable property. It demonstrates the dynamics and patterns of shares ownership of a local market.

Profile of Luen Wo Market Town

Luen Wo Market town is located in Fanling, New Territories, near the former Anglo-Chinese border. It was leased to Britain for 99 years in 1898. In 1947, a group of local merchant-elite had come up with a plan for developing Fanling into an economic centre with a populous settlement. They were Pang Fu-wah, Li Chung-chong, Fung Ki-cheuk, Pang Lok-sam and Tang Fan-sun. Pang Fu-wah came from a wealthy family and was the village representative of the Pang lineage in Fanling from the mid-1940s to his death in 1969.7 Li Chung-chong was the chairman of the 1st Heung Yee Kuk (a significant government consultative group speaking for the New Territories indigenous inhabitants' interests)8 and the Justice of Peace. He lived in Ko Po village in Fanling, which had been settled only by people carrying the Li surname, and managed a salt business in Guangdong and Hong Kong.9 Tang Fan-sun was the chairman of the 6th and 7th Hèung Yee Kuk and came from the Tang lineage in Tai Po. Pang Lok-sam lived in Lung Yeuk Tau, Fanling and was the founder of a Christian church there. Also, he was the chairman of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 9th Heung Yee Kuk.10 Of these market founders, they were not only merchants (as registered in the company documents) but also powerful local elite, many of whom had chaired the Heung Yee Kuk. They planned to spend about HK$110 000 on buying up a total of 73 plots of land (amounting to 610 442 square feet), and the estimated construction costs of the market was about HK$230 000.11 To implement this extensive project, they initially formed a limited liability company in the name of Luen Wo Land Investment Company Limited and issued shares for raising capital. The shares were subscribed in the names of individuals, villages, and ancestral trusts, by villagers largely from the Fanling and Sha Tau Kok regions.

The Luen Wo Market was established in 1951. The name “Luen Wo” means “joined peacefully.” The market is situated in a convenient location, about a 15-minute walk away from Fanling railway station, where villagers can easily commute to buy and sell. There were 59 stalls selling seafood, meat and vegetables, and 90 dwelling houses and shophouses built around the market in the 1950s. The shops included commodity stores, rice shops, wood and construction material shops, restaurants and canteens, barber shops, photo-finishing shops, travel agents, dancing schools and a cinema.

Besides stalls situated in the central market with shelter, there were also a number of roofless stalls outside it. Most of the stalls and shophouses started doing business on the market's opening day. Hugh Baker observed in the early 1960s that the Luen Wo Market had to cater for a more cosmopolitan custom than did its neighbouring market — Shek Wu Market — in Sheung Shui, and its amenities included bars, which were used almost exclusively by members of the British armed services stationed nearby.12 Later, native place associations of different regions such as Nanhai, Panyu, Shunde and Dongguan, the Commercial Chamber of Chaozhou and the Fanling Rural Committee,13 were built. At night, vegetable farmers from the Fanling and Sha Tau Kok regions went to the market to sell their fresh and vegetables to wholesalers coming from urban Hong Kong. All these demonstrate that the Luen Wo Market, apart from providing local residents with a wide variety of goods and services, was also a meeting place as well as a political centre of the Fanling and Sha Tau Kok people.

Formation of the Market Town

The elderly Pangs of Fanling reminisced that, in the past, they usually attended Shek Wu Market in Sheung Shui, less than 15 minutes away, which was controlled by the Lius.14 But they were charged a higher fee for the weighing services, and the weighing scale was inaccurate. Though they always complained to the market owner, nothing improved. Moreover, as Nicole Constable points out, “the fees collected from vegetable hawkers were spent on social welfare projects in the Sheung Shui area and did not benefit the people of Fanling.”15 These factors helped motivate the people of Fanling to build and run a new market to protect their interest.

Nevertheless, establishing a market town, as in the case of Tai Po New Market,16 was an expensive venture and also probably politically dangerous. Therefore, the factor of discontent with the Lius' power was not sufficient enough in an economic sense to draw support from the Fanling people for the Luen Wo Market project. The building project was considered an attractive business venture only when two crucial external factors were emerging. They were: first, a major change in local agriculture as a result of the political unrest in China; and second, the Hong Kong government's changing agricultural policy. Both factors provided an attractive environment for the Luen Wo Market to be developed and to prosper.

At the end of the summer of 1950, approximately 700 000 Chinese fled to Hong Kong as they feared the Chinese Communist Party, which came to power in 1949.17 Most of these immigrants were expert vegetable growers and were mainly from Nanhai, Panyu, Shunde and Dongguan in Guangdong Province where there was a long tradition of vegetable growing for urban cities.18 Prior to the 1950s, more than 80 percent of agricultural land in the New Territories was reported to be under rice cultivation.19 But after that, the land for such economic activity dropped from 20 191 acres in 1954 to 16 796 in 1961 while the vegetable-growing area increased from 2254 acres in 1954 to 6172 in 1961. In the late 1940s in Fanling, for example, many plots of land with good water supply were rented to the immigrants for vegetable cultivation.20 They cultivated fast-growing vegetables (of around two to three months growing period) to satisfy the rapidly-increasing demand for fresh vegetables in Hong Kong.21 The attractive profit from vegetable growing was one factor that rapidly changed the land utilisation pattern of the New Territories within a relatively short period of time. In the 1950s in Fanling the average yearly income gained from rice cultivation was HK$161.21 per 0.166 acres of land, but from vegetables it was HK$558.7 in the same field.22 The indigenous rice peasants by and large did not switch to vegetable cultivation for two major reasons. First, by letting land to tenants for vegetable growing they made more money from their holdings than they could by cultivating rice.23 According to Lin Dao-yang's estimation of land rents in Fanling, tenants paid 181 catties of rice per 0.166 acres of rice land but 350 catties of rice for the same amount of vegetable land. Second, many of the indigenous rice peasants went to work in urban Hong Kong or overseas countries such as Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands where greater income could be earned.24

At the time, after harvesting their vegetables, farmers could sell them through the Vegetable Marketing Organisation, which was established by the government in 1946.25 In Fanling On Lok Tsuen, next to the market town, a collecting centre for vegetables was established. However, many farmers were reluctant to use the organization because it could not guarantee the sale of their vegetables at a good price26 and, at the same time, charged, for example, a 10 percent commission in 1970 for sales of vegetables.27 Consequently, to make more profits, many directly sold their products and livestock during the day-time in an open space in Fanling, now the site of Luen Wo Market. Their profit-oriented action ultimately created a prosperous street bazaar, with the potential to develop into a market in Fanling.

Meanwhile, in response to the unstable political situation in China in the late 1940s, the Hong Kong government encouraged the establishment of rural markets by local people. The 1946 government report recorded that “in the course of the year I obtained approval of the principle that private markets should be recognised and encouraged … I was impelled to follow this line because of the need for more market, the extreme likelihood that Government would not be able to build and administer them with a rapidity commensurate with the need.”28 The government adopted this policy to make Hong Kong more self-sufficient since political unrest in China affected the import of agricultural products to Hong Kong.29 At the same time, government officials claimed that “the filthiest and most indisciplined market town in the New Territories is, and remains, Shek Wu Hui (Stone Lake Market), near Sheung Shui … ”30 The Luen Wo Market project was therefore welcomed by the government. All in all, as a result of the government's encouragement and of the increasing numbers of farmers selling their fresh vegetables and livestock in the street bazaar of Fanling, an environment for a new market had been developed.

As mentioned, the Luen Wo Market project had the implication of economic competition with the Lius of Shueng Shui. This is vividly manifested by it holding the same marketing schedule as Shek Wu Market and having no Lius to own shares in the company. In retrospect, holding the same marketing schedule as neighbouring markets is a common strategy used to gain profit at the expense of rivals. For example, Woon Yuen Fong's study in Kai-ping, China, demonstrates that the Kuans who had not been on good terms with the neighbouring Lis, allied with other surname groups to build a new market and hold it on the same days as the Lis;31 in Hong Kong's New Territories, the Tai Po New Market competed with the Tai Po Old Market by holding the same market days, that is on a 3, 6, 9 schedule on the third, sixth, ninth (etc.) day of each lunar month.32 Similarly, Luen Wo Market was held on a 1,4, 7 schedule like Shek Wu Market, so villagers had to choose which market to visit. At that time, due to the inconvenience of local transportation, villagers would visit the nearest market but not both on the same day, especially when its business hours were quite short, normally from 6 a.m to 11 a.m. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine that the people of Fanling and Sha Tau Kok would most probably visit the Luen Wo Market, thereby challenging the Shek Wo Market's monopoly of the marketing business. Besides the clash of market days of these two markets, no Lius of Sheung Shui owned shares in the Luen Wo Market Land Investment Company. One of the Pang villagers succinctly puts it, “Everyone knows that the Luen Wo Market was to counter the Sheung Shui Lius' Shek Wu Market. It was formed by shareholders of many local villagers except the Lius.” The company documents supported his statement. They recorded that shareholders, by and large, were from the Fanling and Sha Tau Kok regions and no Lius from Sheung Shui subscribed to shares.33

Raising Capital: The Trend of Shares Subscription Rates

In 1948, “a suitable site (for building the Luen Wo Market) has been finally chosen on the north side of the Sha Tau Kok Road, a few hundred yards east of Fanling crossroad, the Luen Wo Land Investment Company started to buy up the private land involved,” said the government official.34

To implement this extensive building project, a limited liability company was formed to raise capital: 50 000 company shares (500 founders' shares and 49 500 ordinary shares) were issued at a cost of HK$10 each. A total of 500 founders' shares was subscribed by 115 villages, and 21 418 ordinary shares by villagers in names of ancestral estates or individuals (see Table 5.1).

Taking the Pangs of Fanling as an example. The Pang of Fanling Wai is a patrilineal descent group with corporate land holdings. As the 1905 land records show, one-third of the Pangs' land was set aside in a total of 115 ancestral estates,36 but there were only 17 estates subscribing to 475 ordinary shares (see Table 5.1). The largest subscription was 100 shares; the remainder of the estates owned 5 to 50 shares. Under individual holdings, a total of 621 shares was subscribed by 71 Pangs, but none of them subscribed to more than 50 shares. It manifests their lower subscription rate of shares in the name of ancestral estates and of individuals, as in the case of the Lius in the re-development of the Sheung Shui Shek Wu Market in the 1920s. Michael Palmer argues that, due to their conservative attitudes, the Lius perceived the building projects as an uncertain and risky investment.37 This monolithic explanation, however, does not apply well to the Pangs of Fanling. The Pangs recalled that their ancestral estates could afford to buy the shares but it took much time to call a meeting and have most trust members' consent. Due to these technical problems, many estates, with substantial land holdings in particular, did not subscribe to the shares. For instance, Tai Tak Tong, a lineage trust of the Pangs of Fanling with thousands of members, owned no shares in the company. Rather, buying shares by the individual Pangs was encouraged. It demonstrates that the Pang estates' limited involvement was due not to the villagers' conservative mentality but to the structural formalities of the trust constraining their use of the estate. So it explains why only 17 out of 115 estates of the Pangs were shareholders.

Table 5.1 The subscription of shares in 194835

Surname No. of shares subscribed by individuals No. of shares subscribed in names of estates
Pang 621 475
Tang 944 178
Hau 35 10
Man 78 175
Li 1429 1874
Chan 2 121 60
Others 12 414 1004
Sub-Total 17 642 3 776 Total: 21 418

As for the Pang individuals, their poor economic status actually limited their subscription of shares. This was because, by and large, they eked out a precarious living from cultivating rice, so a surplus could hardly be produced. Their indigent economic condition was evident in terms of the bulk records of trust members' deferred payment of land rent and monetary loans.38 As a result, the Pangs who could afford shares were limited. One of my elderly informants, for example, subscribed to five shares at a cost of HK$50 in 1948. He remembered that this subscription was indeed considerable at the time. As the current rice price in the late 1940s was about 40 cents per catty, HK$50 could buy more than 120 catties of rice harvested from more than 0.33 acres of land.39 It cost a quarter of annual harvests of his approximate 1.49 acres of land. He pointed out that he and other shareholders were motivated by sentiments of kinship to support the building project which was initiated by one of their prominent lineage members, Pang Fu-wah. In so doing, they had never considered that the shares would bring in a good or profitable return. In other words, their investments are not motivated by rational calculations of individual gain as neo-classical economists have suggested, but by the kinship sentiment. This echoes Karl Polanyi's idea of the embeddedness of economic behaviour in social relations.40 This convincingly explains why 29 out of 71 Pang shareholders had only a small holding in the company—21 villagers subscribed to one shares and eight villagers to two shares.

As time went by, these Pang shareholders have come up with different managing strategies of the shares in defining them as power resources, family patrimony and inalienable property. The following sections now turn to this discussion.

Shares as Power Resources: A Pang Family's Dominance of the Company

Though the Pangs had limited investment in the building project, they have actually played an active role in administrating the company and managing the market town. This has been the mode of Pang Fu-wah's family whose members have manipulated the shares and kinship network to gain, maintain and strengthen their power in the company.

The company is managed by a board of directors consisting of ordinary and permanent directors.41 Directors have power in managing the market and even to appoint any other qualified person holding more than 50 shares as an ordinary director, either to fill a vacancy or as an addition to the Board. In retrospect, the post of company director in the 1950s had not been monopolised by any particular surname group. The Chans had three members as company directors; the Fungs, one; the Laus, one; the Lis, eight; the Pangs, six; the Tangs, two; and the Wongs, two. But in the 1990s, except for one director whose surname is Wong, the remaining seats were monopolised by the Pangs and the Lis. These two surname groups also dominated the posts of managing directors and chairmen of the board of directors as shown in Table 5.2 and 5.3.

It is noted that Li Chung-chong is the father of Li Cheuk-nam and they come from Ko Po village in Fanling. For the Pangs, Pang Fu-wah and Chow Yin-cheong are a married couple. They had five sons, Hing-yin, Cheong-yin, Pun-wing, Pun-wai and Pun-ho. They were the members of the Pang lineage in Fanling.

Table 5.2 Names of the managing directors in the company

Year Managing directos
1951–1969 Pang Fu-wah
1969–1977 Li Cheuk-nam
1978–1992 Pang Hing-yin

Table 5.3 Names of the chairmen of the board of directors

Year Chairmen of the board of directors
1961–1968 Li Chung-chong
1970–1977 Chow Yin-cheong
1978–1992 Li Cheuk-nam
1993–now Pang Hing-yin

With special reference to Pang Fu-wah's family, Pang Fu-wah was an ordinary director in the company from 1947 to 196942 and managing director from 1951 to 1969. After his death in 1969, Pang Fu-wah's 1 000 shares were transferred to his wife who has been a company director since 1960. One year after her husband's death she was elected as Chairman of the board of directors and served in this position from 1970 to 1977. Her eldest son, Pang Hing-yin, became managing director from 1978 to 1992 and has been chairman of the board of directors from 1992 to the present; her second and third sons, Pang Cheong-yin and Pang Pun-wing, have been company directors from 1981 to the present. The following paragraphs depict how the Pang Fu-wah's family has manipulated the shares and kinship network to gain, maintain and strengthen their power in the company.

In 1965, the company stopped issuing more shares. Of Pang Fu-wah's family at that time, only he and his wife owned company shares. The shares held by Pang Fu-wah's fours sons were bought from other shareholders. In examining the shareholders' name lists from 1971 to 1993,43 a total of 2365 shares owned by individuals were subscribed by Pang Fu-wah's family members. That is, 1000 shares out of 2365 were transferred from Chow Yin-cheong to her second son, Pang Cheong-yin, in 1977; the remaining 1365 shares were originally owned by the Pangs (1015 shares) and other villagers (350 shares). Since all the Pang shareholders are lineage members, kinship relationships are considered a major factor for these family members to manipulate in buying other Pang shareholders' shares. Their continuous subscription of shares from other shareholders was a strategy for the maintenance and the increase of their domination in the company.

To reiterate, company directors are elected among shareholders holding more than 50 shares, or are appointed by the directors themselves from among these shareholders. When Pang Fu-wah's sons were elected as company directors in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, they already held a large number of shares. Pang Hing-yin had a total of 1000 shares in 1971; Pang Pun-wing, 690 in 1972; and Pang Pun-wai, 399 in 1977; and Pang Cheong-yin inherited 1000 shares from his mother in 1977. As a result of continual acquisition of other shareholders' shares, by 1993, Pang Hing-yin had increased his shares to 1560; Pang Cheong-yin increased his to 1016; and Pang Pun-wing and Pang Pun-wai increased theirs to 1000 each.

The company's regulations stipulate that for the election of directors, shareholders have one vote for the first to ten shares owned and an additional vote for every ten additional shares. Therefore, the more shares a shareholder owns, the more votes he is entitled to at an election.44 Thus when Pang Fu-wah's family members allied together to support each other in the elections, they could always and easily monopolise the post of director and play a dominant role in the company. When I examined the timing of their service as company director in relation to the number of their shareholdings, the result strongly supports my argument. In retrospect, Pang Hing-yin was elected as managing director in 1978 only after he owned 1000 shares in 1971. In 1977, Pang Cheong-yin and Pang Pun-wing owned 1000 and 690 shares respectively, and three years later in 1981, they were also elected as company directors and have served at this post up to present.

In sum, the case of Pang Fu-wah's family demonstrates ways in which a family group manipulated the shares as power resources for the maintenance and the increase of its domination in the company. Their continuous buying of the shares of other shareholders and the absence of shares to outsiders suggests that they transformed the shares (with transferable and alienable essence) into family property, which essentially sustained their family's powerful role in the company. But, besides holding large numbers of company shares, wealth, power and prestige of this family group should be taken into account for its success. Pang Fu-wah was born into a rich family, allowing him and his family members to afford many company shares. Moreover, his university education and knowledge of the world outside the village legitimised his active role in lineage affairs such as implementing the building of a lineage school in the 1930s and serving as village representative from the 1940s to his death. Furthermore, he was also the chairman of the 17th Heung Yee Kuk. His eldest son, Pang Hing-yin, inherited his status to serve as village representative from 1969 onwards and as the chairman of the Fanling Rural Committee from 1970 to 1988 to secure the Fanling people's interests. As for Chow Yin-cheong, she was the founder and chairman of the New Territories Women Welfare Association in the late 1960s. All in all, their active participation in local politics and community tasks, in fact, gradually garnered the villagers' support, thereby paving the way for them to maintain and increase their domination in the company.

As scholars have demonstrated, the Chinese elite must control certain resources, be they material, social, personal or symbolic, to enhance and maintain their dominance.45 The case of the local-elite family of Pang Fu-wah succinctly demonstrates that company shares are new but significant resources to be manipulated by those in south China, particularly where the lineage organisation and the ideology of patrilineal descent have been so powerful. In Fanling, Pang Fu-wah's family used the shares strategically to create, enhance and maintain their dominance. More significantly, the case of Chow Yin-cheong revealed that company shares could enable a marriedin woman to gain and exercise formal political and economic power, even beyond the village level, which were customarily denied or suppressed within the partrilineal structure. The patterns of shares ownership in this family case demonstrated the dynamic process of creating and maintaining elite power. It captured further the diversity of Chinese local elite's strategies and patterns of dominance.

Shares as Family Patrimony

Company documents recorded three cases of the Pangs (besides Pang Fuwah's family) transferring shares from father to son. But, as many Pangs pointed out, there was a large number of such transfers without registration in the company. The aim of this section is not to test whether male inheritance of shares was a common practice but to demonstrate the process of how the male inheritance of shares was negotiated and manipulated.

The elderly Pang, as mentioned earlier, holds five shares and a passbook of shares issued by the company to record dividends he has claimed. He points out that, though his five shares' value in 1948 was considerable, the total dividends he received from 1965 to 1974 amounted to HK$37.5 only. Despite this, he has been holding the company shares for more than 40 years with no intention of selling. What is his motivation for keeping the shares? In every conversation with him about the market, he mentioned his subscription of the shares to finance the building of the market and enthusiastically showed me the certificate and passbook of his shares. Based on this observation, I would argue that this Pang elder defined the shares as valuable property not in terms of its intrinsic economic value but in terms of its social value, which manifests or identifies his contribution to the Luen Wo Market project. Moreover, he does not care which son inherits the shares, obviously leaving his daughters out of his consideration. This manifests the way in which he is defining his shares as a patrimonial legacy attesting his contribution to the Luen Wo Market project.

Shares as Undivided Property

As mentioned, there were 500 founders' shares subscribed in the names of villages and 3776 ordinary shares in the names of ancestral estates. The Fanling Pangs, and also other villagers, have kept their founders' shares undivided since the formation of the market. This inalienable characteristic is ascribed not only to the lack of economic incentive for dividing the small value of shares among a large number of owners but also to its entitlement for the shareholders to bids for a weighing-scale franchise. In the Luen Wo Market, the right to collect public weighing-scale charges has been put out for bids and only villagers of the founders' holders are allowed to make a bid. Since the highest bidder can get a sizeable revenue in his exclusive right to collect weighing charges and is allowed to pay the remaining (two-thirds) amounts of the bid in ten monthly instalments, the founders' shares are therefore intentionally kept undivided by the Pangs for the potential economic benefits that entails.

The inalienable characteristic is also found in the ordinary shares subscribed by the Pang estates as the company records show that from the 1950s to 1993 no shares had been transferred. It suggests that when the Pangs held shares, like land, in the name of a trust, they became indivisible and inalienable property, income derived perpetually from which was to support ancestral worship. For example, Lun Sin Tso has 50 shares in the company. Its account book recorded that by 1971 the trust had claimed a total of HK$120 in dividend on shares paid for the period 1958–1969. This sum of money was saved to subsidise the ancestral worship. Of course, the dividend was small even in comparison to trust land rent which amounted to HK$1638 in 1971 but, up until now, no shares have been sold out. It demonstrates that the Pangs have defined their shares as corporately-owned and inalienable property, just like the land held in trust, to support collective worship in perpetuity.

Concluding Remarks

This essay has demonstrated that the Luen Wo Market was established at the historical juncture where the lineage villages' economic competition interwove with a major change in agricultural land use and the associated government policy in response to the political unrest in China. The villagers implemented this building project by forming a limited liability company to issue shares to the public for raising capital. The shares were subscribed in the names of village, ancestral estates, and individuals, by villagers largely from Fanling and Sha Tau Kok regions. Shareholders manipulated the shares as inalienable and indivisible property for collective interest, as patrimonal legacy memorializing one's contribution to community through the building project, or as power resources to build up and perpetuate their dominance beyond the village level through their large holdings of shares, which enabled them to manage and control the company.

6 Recording a Rich Heritage: Research in Hong Kong's “New Territories”

Elizabeth L. Johnson

Introduction: Research About Research

Research is influenced, perhaps more than we care to admit, by historical and political circumstances. These present opportunities, impose constraints, and influence what we study. These circumstances not only include trends within our disciplines, but also the contexts within which our work is done.

The New Territories, defined physically and temporally by colonialism, has presented one such set of circumstances. This small area of southeastern China has been the intense focus of research, in various disciplines, during the past 50 years. In many ways it was singularly accessible, providing a research setting that was virtually isolated from the political and economic changes affecting the rest of China, and seen as providing a sort of laboratory for the study of traditional south Chinese society. In the period leading to the reunification of Hong Kong with China, growing awareness of its distinctive identity not only provided an impetus for the development of museums devoted to the history and culture of Hong Kong but also led to a search for sources of information about its society and history.

It was the Museums Section of the Regional Services Department (later the Hong Kong Heritage Museum) that proposed that a book be written that would make accessible to the people of Hong Kong the research that had been done in the New Territories. The results of this research were widely scattered, published in articles and books printed in a number of different countries. The Heritage Museum asked that I do the survey of this literature and write a book that would synthesize the research that had been done. In 2000, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum published Recording a Rich Heritage: Research on Hong Kong's “New Territories.”

The book that was published, and this chapter, present my overview and analysis of research done there; it presents the results of research about research. The analysis that I present is my own. There may be others who do not share this perspective, although many New Territories scholars contributed their responses to this project. I can only briefly summarize the results of a complex, challenging, and rewarding project, and in so doing I hope that I do not misrepresent others' work. In a relatively brief chapter, I cannot possibly do justice to the richness of the research that has been done.

It is important to credit Barbara Ward, the first anthropologist to undertake research in Hong Kong, with first proposing such a project. In a paper read at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1981, she argued that information resulting from research that had been done, and information held in government files, should be brought together and published because, she said, we probably “know a great deal more about the New Territories than we ourselves actually realize.” She argued that the resulting book should be written for a general readership, including ordinary people in Hong Kong.1 She had planned to do such a project, but was prevented from doing it by her untimely death.

So, I approached this project with considerable trepidation, knowing that it had been proposed by such an experienced scholar. Its completion was made possible only with the generous help of many people. Most of the scholars represented not only contributed photographs but also read portions of the manuscript and gave valuable feedback. Some were especially generous in reading and commenting on the entire book. I would not have had the confidence to submit it without the benefit of their considered comments.

It was David Faure who reminded me that we must always remember to credit the sources of our information: the New Territories people who have, over the years, recorded their own histories and customs and their guidelines for managing their local society. They have made their documents, inscriptions, and oral accounts available to us, and have allowed us to interview them and observe their daily life and ceremonial occasions, thus making our research possible.

The Historical Development of New Territories Research

Due to the parameters of this particular writing project, the area included was not the entire New Territories, ceded by China on limited term in 1898. Research done south of the Kowloon hills was excluded, because it does not fall under the present Regional Council administration. This is logical, also, because the former villages in north Kowloon have had a very different administrative history from the rest of the New Territories. The research area was then divided according to the present Regional Council district boundaries, which helped to make the project manageable.

When I began this project, I thought I was reasonably familiar with most of the published information on the New Territories. I found, in fact, that there was far more, reflecting, in part, Barbara Ward's stated concern that books and articles have been published in widely scattered places. Joanne Poon, my research assistant, spent some months compiling the bibliography, and found 375 books, theses, and articles in English, 35 in Chinese, and nine in Japanese. I have since received a bibliography from Segawa Masahisa citing his four books and 15 articles that had not been found in our search. We cannot claim to have located everything, and I particularly regret that I do not have the language skills to include the Japanese sources, or to do full justice to those in Chinese.

The research reflected in this extensive body of publications and unpublished theses has been done by scholars in many disciplines, including history, anthropology, geography, planning, sociology, education, ethnomusicology, and law. Archaeological excavations also have been done in the New Territories, but these projects, and their findings, fall outside the scope of the project.

Although the research that has been done was focused on a small region of China, and done within the space of a few decades, I would not say that the resulting publications form a coherent body of literature. This may, in part, reflect the fact that the scholars were based in diverse disciplines and were from various countries. There are few overt debates among the writers, and less building on each others' ideas and findings than one might have expected. There have been fruitful collaborations among the historians, but not among the anthropologists, although a number were influenced by the work of an early researcher, Maurice Freedman. Their publications result, in my opinion, in a patchwork of information about the New Territories rather than a coherent body of knowledge.

The earliest published research was in the field of local history during the immediate pre-war period. This was done by the educator and amateur historian, Sung Hok-pang, whose articles appeared in both Chinese and English. During the 1950s, Lin T'ien-wei, Lo Hsiang-lin, Siu Kwok-kin and their students continued in the study of local history. Lo and Lin also began the important collection of local genealogies now housed at Hong Kong University.

In the late 1950s, James Hayes wrote the first of his impressive number of insightful articles and books, recording and analyzing information that he had gleaned from village documents, and learned from the ordinary people and local leaders with whom he came in contact in the course of his work as a government officer. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between government and people, advancing his thesis that in the pre-colonial and early colonial periods local communities were substantially self-governing. He also has analyzed their more recent interaction with government during the rapid economic development of the New Territories. During the 1970s he collected books, documents and genealogies that are now in public repositories.

Later historians, particularly David Faure, not only did important original research but also trained local university students and enlisted their help in research on New Territories history. In the early 1980s they began the collection and compilation of impressive bodies of information that now offer the potential for further research. One such project, begun in the late 1970s, resulted in the publication of three volumes on the historical inscriptions of Hong Kong,2 while the other, the Oral History Project, involved extensive interviews with local people in various districts. This research has resulted in detailed publications.

Barbara Ward was the first anthropologist to do research in Hong Kong, arriving in 1950. She returned periodically, and also engaged students in the anthropology of local society when she taught at Chinese University in the early 1980s. There was a rather long gap between her initial fieldwork and the work of other anthropologists, which did not begin until the 1960s. Marjorie Topley began her work on topics in religion and agriculture at this time. Many of the anthropologists working in the 1960s were students of Maurice Freedman, whose emphasis on lineage organization influenced others to study this topic. Freedman himself was prevented by poor health from spending much time in Hong Kong, but his influence was significant. During the past 20 years, the topics studied by anthropologists have become much more diverse, moving away from the earlier emphasis on lineages, although some students have continued to examine them in their contemporary context.

At The Chinese University of Hong Kong, faculty in the Department of Sociology began doing survey research in the New Territories in the 1960s. Students participated in this research, and some went on to work independently. Both local and foreign sociologists worked there at that time, doing research particularly on the changes in Tai Po district that resulted from the emigration of local people, immigration from China, and the building of the Plover Cove reservoir that necessitated the relocation of remote villages to the town of Tai Po.3

As programmes in local history, anthropology, and related disciplines have developed and strengthened in Hong Kong universities, a greater proportion of research and teaching in these disciplines has been done by scholars of Chinese origin, although some also have been trained abroad. Their language skills, cultural knowledge, and local contacts are great assets in their work. In recent years, some have been using the video recording of local events and ceremonies to great advantage.4 Earlier research in these disciplines was fairly evenly divided among scholars from Britain, the United States, and Hong Kong with only a very few from other countries. Many Japanese scholars have been working in the New Territories in recent years, but some work was done by them as early as the late 1970s.

It is important to take note of work on the legal and political history of the New Territories done in other disciplines. These publications form a small part of the whole, but are significant contributions. One major work is the book Unequal Treaty, by Peter Wesley-Smith, first published in 1980, which examines the legal status of the New Territories from a historical perspective5. Another is Lee Ming-kwan's study of the evolution of the Heung Yee Kuk, a body that became a powerful force in New Territories politics.6

The Politics of Research and Its Context

Why were the New Territories such an attractive place for research on Chinese society? Scholars' written reports rarely state why they made the decision to work there, rather than in Taiwan, the principal alternative until the 1980s. Certainly there were very few, if any, deterrents for foreign researchers. Official permission for research was not required. District officers made us welcome, and facilitated our research by introducing us to local people and giving access to the land records that were such important evidence of lineage and family economic relations. There was no official or unofficial expectation that research results be retained or made available in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the fact that English was the language of government made this a comfortable working environment for many outsiders.

Barbara Ward drew attention to what she called “the paradox of the preservation of the traditional” as a result of colonialism.7 This included conscious support for Chinese “customary law,” although recent writings have shown the pitfalls inherent in defining and implementing this concept.8 The New Territories government also has consistently recognized the land rights of the pre-1898 inhabitants, although they may have disagreed over their definition. This has meant that negotiations preceded village relocations, that villages were relocated rather than dispersed, that compensation was awarded for loss of agricultural land, that geomantic concerns were acknowledged, and that appropriate ceremonies were included in compensation terms. The earlier distinction between subsoil and surface rights was not maintained by the British, however, a policy that undermined the power of the powerful lineages that had charged rents on the basis of their claim to subsoil rights.9

Because of this paradox, it is my sense that much research was motivated by a sense of urgency, the need to record what remained of a distinctive way of life, somewhat artificially preserved, before it disappeared under the impact of rapid urbanization, immigration from China, and the emigration of New Territories people to Europe. This has meant that more effort has gone into the salvage of evidence of “traditional” indigenous New Territories life than to studying the course of rapid contemporary change, or the adaptations of recent arrivals.10 In saying this, I do not mean to imply criticism. In recent years we have become increasingly aware of the enormous diversity — by region, ethnicity, social class — that has existed within the unity that is Chinese society. By surveying the research done on the New Territories, I have learned that this is true even within this relatively small area and that, although we have a substantial body of information, there are many more questions that one would have liked to have had answered, but for which it is almost certainly too late.

New Territories anthropology, as published to date, does not seem to show the reflexivity and the concern with voice and authority and the protection of informants' rights that are pervasive in North American anthropology. Why might this be? Does it reflect the colonial context of research, in which few questions were raised? Does it reflect the pervasive Chinese respect for scholarship and academic authority? Are these concerns in fact there, but not yet expressed in publications?

It is my observation that the effects of the colonial context upon local life have not always been fully acknowledged, and that we often have assumed that our research areas were “purely Chinese.” This is less true for scholars working in the disciplines of sociology, law, and planning, and in those areas of history or anthropology that have been directly affected by government policies, such as land rights or emigration. In these cases, the colonial context, and the impact of specific policies, are explicitly addressed.11

What Do We Know? Divisions and Districts

To the extent that we have a coherent picture of New Territories society, much of this perspective has been provided by recent research in history. This research offers the advantage not only of considerable time depth, but also of addressing whole districts or regions.12 Furthermore, Hong Kong historians have used an impressive combination of information sources: gazetteers, local documents, and oral testimony. The use of this challenging mix of official and unofficial sources has made for a rich and highly informative set of histories. Thanks to the diligent work of a relatively small number of historians, and the students of some of them, we have a good overview of the history of most of the New Territories, with materials collected that will enable this work to proceed further.

Hong Kong anthropologists, many of them with an impressive command of written Chinese, also have made good use of documentary materials. Those working more recently have made creative use of both historical and anthropological perspectives.13 Anthropological research, by the nature of the discipline, is almost always focused on the village community or market town as the unit of study, with little comparative perspective. Furthermore, these studies often portray a community at one particular moment, and a diachronic perspective is gained only if the anthropologist returned for further research, as did Rubie and James Watson, for example. What one gains from anthropological studies is the immediacy of direct observation and experience of daily life, with all its complexities and contradictions, and a depth of insight into the workings of particular communities.

One of the great benefits of doing this project was that it impressed on me the diversity of New Territories society, despite its small geographical area. This diversity has many possible bases: time depth of settlement, ecological relationships and the richness or poverty of the subsistence base, sub-cultural differences based on dialect or occupation, power relationships with other communities, and ease of communication with market towns and the growing urban areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon.

It is my view that there is growing evidence for a hypothesis first advanced by James Hayes and later articulated by others:14 that two rather fundamentally different manifestations of Chinese society may have developed in the New Territories. It is hard to present this without risk of over-simplification and over-generalization, but the existing research suggests strongly that the long-settled and wealthy single lineage Cantonese speaking communities of the plains were quite different from those of the later arrivals who settled the poorer hill lands. The former were well-connected to gentry and powerful higher-order lineages elsewhere in the delta, and exercised power throughout many areas of the New Territories by claiming sub-soil rights. They competed with each other for power and territory, and most were also characterized by extreme internal inequality.15 At present we lack adequate information on the lower class people within these communities, and on their nearby tenant villages, although considerable work has been done on hereditary slavery and bonded servitude in this context, primarily by James Watson.

The communities of the hill lands and islands were more likely to be Hakka and multi-surname. From about the beginning of the nineteenth century they began to gain power, and formed defensive alliances16 that eventually divided the New Territories into a changing pattern of nesting and interlocking groups. The evidence that we have suggests that their internal relations, and relations with each other, were characterized more by cooperation than by competition, and that internal class distinctions were relatively unimportant.

Another important distinction within New Territories society was that between land- and water-based people, deriving from the demands of their occupations. Despite earlier assumptions to the contrary, the water-based people were indisputably Han Chinese in their social organization and cultural patterns.17 They were economically interdependent with land people, and sometimes cooperated in temple renovations. They lived separately, however, and were kept separate by discriminatory practices. There is ample evidence for this,18 and the stigma has diminished only as their distinctive way of life has disappeared. Those land-based people who supplemented their livelihood with maritime pursuits did not share this stigma except, perhaps, for those people known as “Hoklo,” who lived and worked at the margins between the two subsistence types, and about whom we know little.19

One of my concerns in approaching this project was the requirement that the information be organized by district. Would there be a reasonable balance of information among the nine districts? Would there be any information at all for some districts? To what extent are they natural units of social organization, focused on market towns? I found publications on all districts, although three are less well-represented than the others. One of the three is Tuen Mun, which is the product of a fairly recent demarcation; here there is substantial information on the former boat dwellers of Castle Peak Bay published by Eugene Anderson,20 but little yet published on the land population. Sha Tin is also under-represented, but we have Goran Aijmer's work on immigrant vegetable farmers and Hakka hill villages,21 and publications by Patrick Hase, who continues to write on this area. David Faure also includes Sha Tin in his comprehensive study of the eastern New Territories. Another under-represented district is the recently demarcated Kwai-Tsing District, where Douglas Sparks did work on Chiu Chau immigrants, but this deficiency is counterbalanced by the weight of information on Tsing Yi and adjacent Tsuen Wan, contributed particularly by James Hayes, who was district officer and town manager there.22 It is Hayes who also provided most of the available information on Islands District, although others have also contributed.

Several other districts have a reasonable balance of information, although in each case this is primarily the result of the work of a small number of people. For Sai Kung we have information on boat dwellers23 and on ethnic relations among land people in the market town,24 with historical and comparative perspective provided by David Faure's work,25 as is also the case for Tai Po and North districts. Anthropologists have also worked in these two districts, on Hakka and immigrant communities26 and large lineage villages.27 Patrick Hase has published on Sha Tau Kok, in North District, and it is his work, and Faure's, that suggests that this district, of all of them, may be the most artificial, having the least resemblance to a natural region. It is divided between the Hakka communities in the eastern mountainous area bordering Mirs Bay and oriented to the Hakka market towns to the east, and the communities of the plains, formerly oriented to Shenzhen. Furthermore, it has three significant market towns, while the other districts have only one.

Yuen Long district was also formerly oriented to Shenzhen as its major market, although Yuen Long was a substantial market town in its own right. There is rich information for this district, particularly due to the prolific publications of Rubie Watson and James Watson, but also in the work of many other anthropologists and some historians. Through Howard Nelson's work, we have insight into a small multi-surname village cluster,28 but most work is focused on the large and powerful single-lineage communities.

What Do We Know? Research Topics

If one focuses on economic life, and its social correlates, there is a surprising amount of information on boat-dwelling people, deriving from Ward's work in Sai Kung and Anderson's research on the more recent arrivals to Castle Peak Bay. As this way of life underwent dramatic change, and now has virtually disappeared, their work is especially valuable. There is, in contrast, relatively little information on the economics of agriculture and other land-based productive activities, such as handicrafts and various trades. The annual rhythms of rice agriculture disappeared in the 1960s, undermining the associated ceremonial life.29 Most research on agriculture is concerned with the transition to vegetable farming, primarily by immigrants, and it is this literature30 that helps to correct the disproportionate overall emphasis on people descended from the pre-1898 inhabitants. Studies of the developing “new towns” also address the changing society of immigrants to Hong Kong31 and the relationships between them and the earlier inhabitants.

The emigration of New Territories people to England is an economic adaptation of the past 40 years that has been facilitated by their particular political status. It is a difficult subject to study because the research must be done abroad as well as in Hong Kong, but it is a highly important feature of contemporary New Territories society. James Watson addressed this in both his original and later research, and at least one other study has included this topic.32 The extent of earlier emigration from some districts is known primarily from temple inscriptions and oral accounts.

There is relatively little detailed information on the earlier marketing patterns, marriage networks, and market areas in the New Territories and adjacent regions of China, although many authors refer to them, as well as to the changes that resulted from the tightening of the border and the growing attraction of Hong Kong's urbanizing areas. Some authors also include information on struggles for control of market towns in their analyses of inter-lineage competition.33 An important original contribution is James Hayes' proposal of the concept “coastal market town” for the distinctive daily markets that served both land and boat people, as opposed to periodic markets.34

With regard to social organization, one term that we have used almost without question is “village.” One might say the same for “household,” except for Nelson's important work on village houses.35 Many writers draw attention to the various Chinese terms for the residential clusters that we lump under the English term village, but this concept merits further analysis. Two recent theses have drawn attention to the difference between two types of houses in lineage villages: those that can be sold and those that are considered to be inalienable ancestral property.36

With respect to ethnicity, there is now a growing body of literature on Hakka people,37 counterbalancing the earlier emphasis on Cantonese speakers. Some of this literature explicitly addresses questions relating to the distinctiveness of Hakka identity and self-definition. Several studies are concerned with ethnic relations, focusing on both indigenous and immigrant groups.38

Gender has been a relatively neglected topic, although recent work has begun to correct this imbalance, especially as women's rights to land in the New Territories have become a political issue. One can think of various explanations for this neglect: the fact that most historical documentary materials were written by and for men, that most researchers have been male, and that the earlier preoccupation with lineages and property would lead to an emphasis on men. In recent years there have been publications on marriage patterns and women's kinship relations and obligations, women's economic roles, and their songs and laments.39 The importance of women's role in the domestic worship of gods and ancestors has long been recognized, although not studied in detail. We do have detailed information, however, on women's roles as shamans or spirit mediums, through the work of Potter and Liu.40

With regard to religious practice, one insight that emerges from research is its embeddedness in social relationships, and its association with social events. In disciplinary terms we often treat religion as a separate topic, but this seems inappropriate in the New Territories context. Religious ceremonies that honour deities also serve to express the unity of their sponsoring social groups — villages, village alliances, and market towns — and emphasize the social bonds associated with territory.41 Ancestor worship at all levels, from the household to the higher-order lineage, emphasizes another organizing principle, that of kinship. Occupational groups and other types of associations also have their own regular ceremonies. From the literature, one is continually reminded that offering and sharing food, specifically pork, are fundamental features of these ceremonies, and heavily charged with meaning.42

Since many of these types of ceremonies continue at present, it may be possible to record details of religious practice that we still, surprisingly, do not have. There are very good analyses of death ritual,43 but we still lack detailed descriptions of the various forms of ancestor worship, as well as many of the other types of annual and occasional rites, all of which should be analyzed in comparative perspective. An exception is the ta tsiu, which has been well studied and recorded in various media by both local and Japanese scholars.44

A significant body of publications exists analyzing the opera performances that are an essential part of ceremonies honouring deities and appeasing ghosts. Barbara Ward wrote insightfully on the ritual functions of these performances and the priest-like activities of the actors who conduct them. Chan Sau-yan and his students have studied the improvisational aspects of these rural operas.45

Concluding Remarks. The Demarcation of Research: Borders

For nearly 100 years, the New Territories was separated from the rest of China by an artificial border, the nature and permeability of which changed over time. It is now changing again, and this is reflected in some recent research, which includes the broader adjacent regions of the Pearl River Delta and eastern Guangdong. One such recent publication is appropriately entitled Unity and Diversity,46 and as such research progresses we shall gain a better understanding of the broad unities underlying the increasingly evident diversity in this complex region of China.

This chapter and the publication on which it is based are also artificially bounded by the terms under which the research was done. This no doubt limits their usefulness, as the New Territories has not existed in isolation, but I hope that they may provide a foundation for building connections with the broader region.


7 The Contribution Made by Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) Through the Hong Kong Government Education System and Its Pupils, to the Modernization of China1

Gillian Bickley

Given the feeling (particularly intense at the time when the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong back to Chinese sovereignty at midnight on 30 June 1997) that Hong Kong has played and can still play a part in influencing the development of China, it is interesting to consider what influence the Hong Kong government education system may have had on China in the second half of the nineteenth century (shortly after Hong Kong came under a British administration) and also what the influence was of the man whom contemporaries called the “Founder of Hong Kong Education.” Do the results of such a study give any clue as to the future influence of the Hong Kong government education system within China?

Such a study does not seek to ignore the contribution of Hong Kong's first western managed schools, which were conducted by missionaries, but more attention has previously been given to their history.2 And in any case, after the first few years of the period under study, these schools also came under the government system which, from then onwards, has given them a valued and financially supportive framework for their operation.

Personal influence is unquantifiable but may be testified to in various ways. As for the influence of a foreign education system on members of another culture, this seems likely to be related to numbers exposed to the system, including its organization, curriculum and target languages taught. Also relevant are expressions of motivation and result, as perceived from both sides of the situation.

At a time when intercourse between China and the West was increasing, following the signing of the Convention of Peking, Frederick Stewart arrived in Hong Kong in February 1862 as the first headmaster of the new Hong Kong Government Central School for Boys, and inspector of all Hong Kong government schools, to implement a new Hong Kong government initiative in education for Chinese in Hong Kong. His personality and work soon inspired confidence, praise and admiration and, on 30 June 1865, he became the first head of the government Education Department.3 Promoted outside the department in 1881, Stewart continued to be the government's prime advisor on educational matters until his early death in September 1889.4 Stewart's position was unique. Never again would a single individual have sole responsibility for the entire Hong Kong government education system, including the headship of its premier school.

Table 7.1 Influence of Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) on Hong Kong education

Frederick Stewart's direct influence on Hong Kong education operated in two main spheres: the Hong Kong Government Central School (of which he was headmaster) and the remainder of Hong Kong government supported education (which included the government village schools and the non-government grant-in-aid schools, which — as Inspector of Schools — he examined and inspected).
Hong Kong Government Central School A 15 February 1862 – 7 March 1878
B 7 March 1878–19 May 1881
C 19 May 1881 – 29 September 1889
Hong Kong government education (omitting the Central School) D 15 February 1862 – 7 March 1878
E 7 March 1878– 25 March 1879
F 25 March 1879– 29 September 1889
Arrival in Hong Kong
Departure on home leave
Replaced as Inspector of Schools
Resignation as headmaster

In 1879, his alma mater, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, awarded hirn the honorary degree of LL.D, “in consideration of his general ability and attainments and his success in furthering the interests of education”5 in Hong Kong. A scholarship, which his Chinese former pupils founded in his honour in 1884, was accompanied with an address, speaking of “their grateful regard and profound esteem for yourself personally, and your most valuable services and work in connection with education in this Colony during a period of more than twenty years.”6 After his death, the official British organ, The Pall Mall Gazette, published an obituary which read: “In Dr. Frederick Stewart… the colony loses one of its ablest officials, and one of the most modest of men. He first went to Hong Kong nearly thirty years ago as inspector of schools and headmaster of the Central School, and the very high position which that institution has attained is due entirely to his efforts.”7 George Bateson Wright, Stewart's successor as headmaster, asserted that “Dr. Stewart will ever be famous as the Founder of Education in the Colony”.8 The Aberdeenshire newspaper, The Fraserburgh Herald, wrote: “During his short, and eminently useful career he has done a work in this important colony [Hong Kong], which few could have accomplished in a long lifetime, a work whose influence is being felt all over the Asiatic Continent.”9 For well over half a century, a notable personal tribute was consistently made by former pupil, Sir Robert Ho Tung, the first Chinese to be knighted by the British Crown, and Stewart's pupil at the Central School for several years. From Stewart's death up to at least the second world war, he took his family twice a year to pay respects at Stewart's grave in the Hong Kong Protestant Cemetery, and provided in his will for the continuing maintenance of the grave, along with his father-in-law's and his own.

Earlier History of Western Involvement in Education in Hong Kong; and the Continuing Western Desire that Education Should Play a Role in Christianizing, Westernizing or Liberalizing

Schools had been established in Hong Kong from 1841 onwards by western missionaries. But by the time Stewart arrived, the most prominent had been discontinued. This was partly for reasons of finance and personnel, but mainly because they had failed in their primary objective, which was to train a native ministry for the conversion of China. The scale of missionary endeavours had been comparatively modest, however. No early missionary school had offered a western education to such large numbers as the Hong Kong Government Central School for Boys was to do.

From 1848, responding to the suggestion of its Chinese Secretary, the independent missionary Karl Gützlaff, the Hong Kong government had given an annual subsidy to some traditional Confucian schools, established by the Chinese themselves, and consequently, the government also exercised a degree of inspection. Several years later, a very little English was being taught in these schools, by pupils of St. Paul's (a missionary college of which the Anglican Bishop George Smith was Warden, ex officio). For various reasons, successive suggestions for a government school, where English would be taught, did not bear fruit until 1861, when the government adopted the Board of Education's proposal to centralise the teaching of English in one superior government school, and discontinue it in the existing government aided schools. This proposal, written by the Rev. James Legge, of the London Missionary Society, contained various supporting arguments. The school would improve the standard of English attained, elevate by example the other schools in Hong Kong, and improve communication and understanding between the government and Chinese residents of Hong Kong. It would also send out an influence beyond the territory of Hong Kong, “which shall be widely felt in China, enlightening and benefiting many of its people. ”10 The chairman of the Board of Education was George Smith, missionary Bishop of Victoria (with authority over Anglicans in China as well as in Hong Kong) and he recommended the appointment of Frederick Stewart for this work. The participation of these two leading missionaries in the establishment of the new Hong Kong government education system indicates their approval. In fact, they were glad to see the task of general western education finally taken into the government's hands. On the other hand, the vision that they had for the system was that it would lay the groundwork of westernization and liberalization, which they believed would lead in due course to the Christianization of the Chinese mainland.

Table 7.2 A comparison of Hong Kong Chinese students studying western knowledge, and learning a western language (usually, English) in 1893 and March 1997

Studying “Western Knowledge” 1893 2 357 max March 1997 126 694 max
Learning a Western Language 1677 max 126 694 max

Like the missionary educators who preceded him, Stewart himself arguably sought initially to bring knowledge of the Christian gospel.11 Certainly he later focused on the enrichment of the individual personality, which was made possible by education. “Education is intended first for the benefit of the taught,”12 he wrote.

The Central School

Over the years, various individuals repeated the view that the Hong Kong Government Central School (which later changed its name to Victoria College and then to Queen's College, the name it still bears) was a means of influencing China.

Table 7.3 Hong Kong Government Central School enrolments 1862–1905

The number of individuals on the school roll is significantly smaller than the sum of annual enrolment totals. Address to Frederick Stewart
Sun Yat-sen's number and date of enrolment
Number currently on the roll
Approximate number that had left the school
Approximate total number of individuals on the cumulative roll
Calculated by adding annual enrolment figures 1862–March 1878 4 369 1862–end 1889 11 584
Indicated by school roll information and other sources by 3 March 1878 2 000+ 5 April 1884 2 746
Indicated by Headmaster Bateson Wright's annual report 3 February 1905 1416+ c. 9 000 c. 10 400
In all classes in all schools, some would have been non-Chinese Only those then enrolled as candidates for HKCE English Language form five (age approx. 15–16) examination. Some would have been non-Chinese

Writing in 1869, Frederick Stewart himself said, “the more the boys are scattered over the [Chinese] Empire the greater, it is to be hoped, will be the good done, and the better will the school and the instruction given in it be appreciated.”13 In 1877, Hong Kong Governor Sir Arthur Kennedy saw Stewart's Government Central School as “an atom to leaven the whole mass of China sooner or later; if a sensible educational system be persevered in here.”14 A formal address written in Chinese, presented to Stewart, in March 1878, by “Chinese merchants, parents of children who are being, or have been, educated at the school,” announced: “Your fame has spread throughout the Middle Kingdom.”15 In early 1884, when many of Stewart's former pupils subscribed to establish the Central School Stewart Scholarship in his honour (all 23 committee members and 56 subscribers were Chinese),16 several westerners were roused to enthusiasm by the spirit, which this seemed to indicate. It was well-recognized that “China … does not take to Western science as a cat laps milk”;17 but the foundation of the scholarship seemed to indicate that a breakthrough had been achieved, by which, ultimately, western education might be welcomed in the vastness of China itself. Sir George Phillippo, the Chief Justice, explained his own view of the harmonizing role which education could play in the mutual relations of Britain and China; and he expressed the hope that, “a mutual respect will be felt between the Government of China and Hong Kong, and that not only we but the whole of the scholars of the Central School will be appreciated throughout that vast empire ….”18 Phillippo was, of course, conscious of difficulties in the relationship particularly of Britain and China, and hoped that, “the difficulties we have experienced in the long past will all evaporate.”19 He hoped that the former pupils of the Hong Kong Government Central School would be instrumental in promoting this new harmony.20 In January 1888, Hong Kong Governor Sir William Des Voeux said (as quoted in 1905): “The chief point I consider admirable about this school is its missionary purpose and work. The young men that complete their course of studies here are scattered over the vast empire of China and cannot fail to disseminate those western ideas that they have acquired in this school and that appreciation of British Govemment impressed upon them by their residence in this British colony.”21 In January 1905, George Bateson Wright agreed with this view. “His Excellency rightly grasped the situation, but I venture to doubt that its full magnitude could have been realised by him. Say 9,000 boys have left this College and one-third are scattered on the mainland: then we have a small army of 3,000 unpaid missionaries spreading Western ideas.”22 Eighteen years earlier, in 1887, Stewart's school had provided a nucleus of pupils for the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, which in turn led to the establishment of the University of Hong Kong in 1911, and the later growth of the modern tertiary sector in Hong Kong. When each of these institutions was founded, people spoke out then also with a similar vision of mutually beneficial interaction with the Chinese Mainland.

The curriculum, which Stewart initiated, managed and developed at the Central School was bilingual and bicultural, with equal time given to the Chinese and English languages and to the Chinese curriculum and western studies. Explicit evidence of his reasons for this has been preserved. Stewart did not wish to denationalize the boys and also he considered that a good knowledge of ones own language (in this case, Chinese) was a precondition for learning a foreign language (in this case, English). It may be supposed also, that Stewart shared the views previously expressed by the missionaries, who had earlier promoted a bilingual and bicultural education in their now defunct schools. They believed that, unless the Chinese boys (whom they hoped would be the conduits for the transmission of Christianization to the Chinese Mainland) had a sound traditional Chinese education, they would be despised by their fellow countrymen and have no influence among them.

Quite possibly, Frederick Stewart, also, took into account a similar point. Without a sound Chinese education, his Central School pupils would not be valued, might not readily be employed in China and would consequently have limited opportunity to transmit to their fellow countrymen the western education and western ideas which they had received at their Hong Kong school.

Certainly, Hong Kong Government Central School pupils did obtain employment, influence and prosperity in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland, and beyond. Stewart's Annual Reports as Inspector of Schools for 1868, 1870 and 1871 give general information about this. The 1868 report indicates that the employment desired by pupils was at “mercantile houses” and the Chinese Customs Service.23 The 1870 report states: “In the course of the year, 95 boys left school. Of these, forty are in business, some as interpreters, some as clerks, some as assistant compradores, some as assistants in Chinese shops, some as brokers, printers, and so on. Some have gone to California, some to Japan, others to Tientsin (Tianjin), Shanghai, Foochow (Fuzhou), Canton (Guangzhou), Macao, Saigon, Annam, and Bombay, while 25 remain in Hong Kong.”24 The report for 1871 states: “Of the … boys who left during the year, fifty are known to have obtained lucrative employment … Of those who have obtained employment, 33 are known to be in Hong Kong, Canton and adjacent places; two in Swatow (Shantou); one in Foochow; seven in Shanghai; three in Japan; one in San Francisco; one in Annam; one in Singapore; and one in Bombay.”25

The reputation and influence of the school continued to spread. As evidence of this, on 21 January 1876, The China Mail reported that, “On the gate of the Government Central School buildings, an official notification is posted up, couched in Chinese, informing the parents of boys on the roll of the school that the Chinese Government wishes to select thirty scholars of the Central School for employment in connection with the Foochow Arsenal. Parents desirous of having their boys included in the list to be forwarded to the Chinese Government for selection of candidates, are requested to send an application to that effect to the Head-master of the Central School in the course of the first week after the Chinese New Year.”26 The following day, The China Mail commented further on this: “The fact that an official notification, inviting thirty candidates for employment in connection with the Foochow Arsenal, should be posted at the gate of the Government Schools [sic],27 is a gratifying evidence that… our school system has achieved a marked success. Established, as it primarily was, to confer on the native population the blessings of education, the Chinese provincial authorities have thus intimated in a most unmistakable manner their belief in its satisfactory working. Nor is this all. The effect of this recognition upon the status of the school, will, as regards the Chinese population of the Colony, be of immense value. Hitherto the education imported under Mr Stewart's auspices has been rather deemed a stepping-stone to foreign employment than to the much-coveted posts at the disposal of the Chinese Government. … the step now taken by the Foochow authorities has … satisfactorily recognised the value of our local institution, and we have little doubt that its results will be beneficial. This is not, indeed, the first time that scholars have been similarly invited to come forward, but it is, if we recollect rightly, the first time that the invitation has been conveyed in a formal manner, and the solution placed in the hands of the Inspector of Schools.” On 2 March 1876, The Daily Press reported that 28 had been “drafted for service in the Foochow Arsenal.”28 As The Daily Press wrote: “It must be gratifying to all concerned that the Chinese Government have such a keen appreciation of the acquirement of the scholars educated in these schools as to draw from them so many of the native clerks for the customs, and most of the engineer and naval cadets for their various arsenals.”29

In December 1876, His Excellency Kuo Sung Tao visited the Central School on his way to take up the position of first Chinese Ambassador to the Court of St James (that is, to England) and was highly interested and impressed by what he saw.30 A year later, at the Central School Prize Day held on 26 January 1877, Governor Sir Arthur Kennedy commented on the “list of the boys who left the school during the year 1876”, saying, “I think that if there was any argument needed to show the very great use this school has been to the community generally, and to the Chinese community especially, we have it in simply looking over this list. I see that no less than 23 have gone in one batch I believe to the Foochow Arsenal. The parents of those boys must know very well that their sons would never have been selected and accepted for employment in that place but for the education received in this school. I am reminded that this is really the only institution in China[,] in this vast country containing a population of some 400,000,000 of inhabitants where people at the Arsenal could have found boys competent to undertake the duties which have been assigned to these 23 boys. This fact speaks volumes for the utility of the Central School. Looking down the list I see that some have gone away to discharge the duties of clerks in mercantile houses, banks, and so on; some as engineers — clerk to merchants, clerk to storekeepers, ‘assistant in his father's shop,’ ‘clerk to his uncle,’ are among the entries. The education these boys have received here has fitted them for these duties, and there can be no doubt that education will form a great bond of union between the Chinese community and this school. Another entry here is ‘clerk at the Civil Hospital,’ another ‘clerk to merchants at Shanghai’; ‘clerks in various places.’”31

In March 1878, 137 of “the old Chinese Pupils of the Government Central School, Hong Kong” had their names inscribed on an elaborate 26 inch high silver cup, which they presented to Frederick Stewart prior to his return to Britain on his first home leave after 16 years' work in Hong Kong. The Stewart Cup also bore the words, “We have all benefited by your timely instruction”.32 It seems likely that even more than this number had achieved significant success and prosperity by this time.

When on his way to Britain two weeks later, Robert Hart, inspector general of the Imperial Customs in China, spent 20 to 22 March in Hong Kong, and expressed gratitude to Hong Kong Governor John Pope Hennessy, “for what had been done for the Foochow Arsenal, for the works at Tientsin, by the Government School of Hong Kong. At the Foochow Arsenal and at Tientsin and the other places where the Chinese have works the Chinese youths educated here were found most useful in the sphere they were there placed in.”33

Subsequently, in 1879, a newspaper article stated that, “large numbers leave [the Central School] every year to occupy important and responsible situations in connection with the Chinese Government. The training they receive makes them most valuable acquisitions to the authorities at Peking”.34

The careers of a few former pupils of the Central School have been documented in detail by a handful of scholars,35 although much more work could be done. They became prominent in many areas. Like Sir Robert Ho Tung, Central School pupils Ho Kai (1870–1872) and Wei Yuk were also knighted. Both became members of the Hong Kong Legislature. Many became compradores and successful businessmen.

A Leavening Process

Apart from helping thousands of individuals to personal fulfilment, employment and various degrees of success in their individual careers, what further influence did the school actually have? Did this match the expectations that had been held? There is some evidence that it did. A newspaper article, published in 1879, at the time of the award to Frederick Stewart by the University of Aberdeen of an Honorary LL.D. (Doctor of Laws), states: “not a little of that struggle after liberty and advancement which is now becoming visible in the mass of Conservatism in China can be traced to the influence of the Hong Kong Central School. In fact, for many years a leavening process has been going on in the southern provinces of the Empire; and Sir Arthur Kennedy, the late [i.e. former] Governor of Hong Kong, on a notable public occasion,36 said that for this state of things credit was mainly due to Mr Stewart and his labours.”37

It seems true that Stewart's Central School provided part of the whole cluster of western influences, which — in symbiotic relationship with many other factors — led to vast changes in China. It contributed, for example, towards the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen. Sun joined the Central School two months after the establishment of the Central School Stewart Scholarship. Possibly he was influenced to do so by the publicity then given to the School and to its possible influence on China. In 1911, he overthrew the Manchu Empire and founded the Chinese Republic. In 1923, two years before his death, Dr. Sun visited the University of Hong Kong. In the speech he gave there, Sun expressed the debt that he owed to Hong Kong for the example it provided him with of a liberal society. He said that, when as a young man he formulated his ideas for change in China, “He thought of the beautiful streets [of Hong Kong], the artistic parks and wondered why Englishmen could do such a thing on this barren rock within seventy or eighty years. Why could not China, in the last four thousand years have a place like this?”38 Further, Sun attributed the plans he then formed, to work for the overthrow of the Imperial regime in China, to the force of this example. “He got the revolutionary idea in this very place, in the colony of Hong Kong.”39 Hundreds of other young men who, like Sun, were also educated in Hong Kong during the period of Stewart's direction and influence in Hong Kong education, also played a role in the modernisation of China. A thesis devoted to the study of Chinese revolutionaries in Hong Kong describes a total of eight revolutionary attempts, directed against the Chinese Manchu Empire, which were directly organised in Hong Kong, during the period 1895–1911.40

Only some of the pupils of the Central School became revolutionaries, however. Many were loyal servants of the Qing Dynasty and many, equally, of the Hong Kong colonial government. Many were prominent in public life. Some became philanthropists. For example, Ho Kai founded the Alice Nethersole Hospital, named after his English wife. Robert Ho Tung became prominent in educational philanthropy. Very many had an influence through the professions and mercantile activities in Hong Kong, on the Chinese Mainland, and beyond.

Extension of the Influence of the Hong Kong Government Education System as a Whole

As for Frederick Stewart's influence in and through the field of Hong Kong education as a whole, this may be considered in several areas, of reducing intensity and increasing diffusion.41 At the core is his work at the Hong Kong Government Central School, which he founded in 1862. At the same time, there were the other government managed and government aided schools, two categories of which Stewart managed or supervised also from 1862. From 1873, when Stewart established the Grant-in-Aid Scheme, which was offered to all non-government schools that wished to participate and were willing to do so in accordance with the provisions of the scheme, the number of schools, school personnel and pupils, who came under his direct personal inspection, partial direction, and influence, increased steadily and continually. Even prior to the introduction of the Grant-in-Aid Scheme, Stewart had already exerted an influence on non-government schools — the Catholic Schools for example — by the pattern he offered, particularly as shown at the Central School.42 The anonymous pamphlet, The Central School, Does it Justify its Raison d'Etre? by a Catholic apologist, similarly understands that the Central School had a role as an example to indicate to the Chinese Schools what a good school should be like.43

As a consequence of the introduction of the Grant-in-Aid Scheme, with its “standards” and “payments for passes” in the various standards, it was necessary to provide graded class-books for use in the Chinese-medium schools, in the “subjects of the standards”. This was done; and the books were used beyond the Hong Kong government education system, not only in those Chinese-managed Hong Kong schools, which had made the decision to remain unaided by, and thus beyond interference from, the Hong Kong government, but also in schools within Imperial China itself.44 As early as 1878, Stewart wrote: “The School Book Committee's series is rapidly advancing in public estimation. Several of the Missions in various parts of China have introduced the books into their schools, and speak highly of them. ”45

Extension of Western and Western-influenced Curriculum Content to Greater Numbers in Hong Kong, Including Girls

When the Hong Kong government education system was initiated in 1862, the Central School became not only the single government school in Hong Kong where the English language and western knowledge were taught to Chinese boys, but the largest school in Hong Kong as a whole, teaching these subjects in conjunction with Chinese subjects to Chinese pupils. In 1873 and 1874, several further initiatives were taken, which also led to considerable change. The introduction of the Grant-in-Aid Scheme in 1873 resulted in a much higher percentage of the Hong Kong school-age population (including girls as well as boys) attending school. The new graduated textbooks, already mentioned, written for voluntary use, to support the graded examinations held under the Grant-in-Aid Scheme, were expected also to spread into the government village schools as a whole.46 Also in 1873, Stewart's re-introduction of instruction in the English language into one village school47 (at Aberdeen),48 was seen by him as an experimental first step towards reintroducing it more widely in the village schools (some already attended by girls) as a whole. The following year, 1874, after Stewart stressed the importance of the western subject of geography (not part of the traditional Confucian curriculum), some village schools introduced the subject.49 Much later, in 1888, shortly before his death, Stewart supported a renewed initiative to offer a western education to Chinese girls through the medium of English. His 27 years' contribution to the development of education in Hong Kong thus saw a gradual extension — to an increasing number of schools (including schools which remained outside the government system) — of both western-style education and the teaching of the English language; over the same period, there were increases in the overall numbers of pupils attending school, as well as in the number of girl pupils, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the school-age population.

Overall Numbers in Hong Kong Government Schools

When seeking to evaluate influence, as already stated, the question of numbers seems important. But it is impossible to give even an approximately precise estimate either of the numbers of pupils in Hong Kong itself who were reached by the Hong Kong government education system under Frederick Stewart, or — from 1868 (when the Central School was first opened to non-Chinese boys) — of those among these who were Chinese. What is clear, however, is that the number of Chinese reached by any formal western educational influence then was very small compared with today.

In 1862, when the system began operation, the total enrolment for the year in the government schools as a whole — all of which Frederick Stewart either managed or supervised — was 733. These schools included the Central School and the so-called village schools.50 In 1877 — the last year in which Stewart enjoyed stable and continuous work directly involved in Hong Kong education — the annual number enrolled in Hong Kong government schools as a whole was 2 146.51

Table 7.4 Pupils in the Hong Kong government education system 1862–1889

Grant-in-aid schools (by annual enrolments) 1873–1877 3 500 1873 to end 1889 41 766
Government-aided schools 1862-March 1878 17 600 1862 to end 1889 41000
Central School (snippets of information) numbers of individuals on the cumulative roll As of 3 March 1878 2 000+ By 15 April 1884 2 746 (Sun Yat-sen's enrolment)
No means of knowing how many were Chinese/non-Chinese. Most Chinese pupils studied a Chinese curriculum.
Mainly Chinese/Eurasian; but a sizeable proportion was non-Chinese
The education of Chinese/Eurasians at this school, 1862–1889 at least, was at a higher level than elsewhere in the education system.
A few (probably fewer than 50) of the 17 600 enrolments pre March 1878 represent Chinese pupils who learnt some English. (In 1873, English was added to Chinese instruction in the government school at Aberdeen.)
Some of the 23 400 enrolments post February 1878 represent Chinese pupils who would have learnt some English. In 1878, English Teaching was introduced into government schools in Wongneichung, Wanchai and Saiyingpun (ISsRepl879, para. 4). In August 1883, Bateson Wright, when Acting Inspector of Schools, observed some boys at the government district schools at Saiyingpun, Wanchai, etc. “who possessed a sufficient knowledge of English to do themselves credit by a more advanced Course of Study at the Central School.” (HdCScRepl883, para. 5, HKGG, 3 May 1884, pp. 501–502.)

Although the Central School roll has not survived, indications of the number of individuals who attended the school can be found.52 The lyrical translation from the Chinese of the parting congratulatory address of, “the teachers [most of them Chinese] of the Central School and Government Schools throughout Hong Kong”, delivered on 3 March 1878, four days before Stewart went on home leave for the first and only time, contains a plain fact: “A multitude, upwards of two thousand in number, have listened to your words. ”53 Sun Yat-sen joined the school on 15 April 1884. His enrolment number was 2746.54 Stewart's successor, George Bateson Wright's annual headmaster's report for 1904 suggests that the number of individual pupils who had been enrolled in the school was now well over 10 000. The number currently on the roll was 1416, and, he speculates, “Say 9,000 boys have left this College … ”55

From 1867, the school had been open to pupils other than Chinese. From time to time, and in varying numbers, pupils who were British, German, Hindu, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Parsee, Portuguese, and Eurasian — these last, children of mixed English and Chinese background — also attended. Eurasians may have been admitted earlier than 1867. No data exist to indicate the proportion of total enrolments represented by the Chinese alone during the whole period 1862–1889, or even the proportion of Chinese and Eurasians taken together. There is no doubt, however, that Chinese and Eurasians were the majority. This point is important to the view we take of the contribution made by the pupils of the Hong Kong government education system to the modernisation of China, given the reasonable assumption that Chinese persons would have had more influence on China than non-Chinese: an assumption that Christian missionaries then, as now, share and which informs their concern to establish and extend church leadership by the Chinese themselves.

As for the numbers who attended the government-aided and government-supported village schools, during the period of Stewart's direct influence, the total enrolments — again calculated from figures given in the category, “Total Enrolment for the Year” — were as follows.56 From Stewart's arrival in Hong Kong in 1862, up to just before his departure on leave in March 1878: a maximum, say, of 17 600;57 and from 1878 up to the end of 1889, just after his death: a maximum, say, of 41 000.58 These pupils, probably with few exceptions, were Chinese. As in the case of the Central School, there is no way of using the figures in the Inspector of Schools' annual reports to calculate how many individuals these enrolments represent. In the case of the Central School, however, the additional information, already described, shows that the number of individuals on the school role is significantly fewer than the sum of annual enrolment totals over a period of years. In other words, if a pupil remained, for example, two years at the school, his presence contributes twice to any such periodic total, based on the annual enrolment figures. The Inspector of Schools' reports and other sources suggest that most pupils at the village schools remained a very short time. If pupils stayed on average only one year, then the enrolment numbers and the numbers of individuals who attended the schools during this period are the same. If they stayed an average of two years, the numbers should be halved; if they stayed an average of six months, doubled. If re-enrolments of the same pupil, within a year, were counted separately, the total numbers would be lower.

As for the schools, which joined the important and influential Grant-In-Aid Scheme introduced in 1873, the number of enrolments for the school years 1873–1877, inclusive, up to the time Stewart departed on home leave in 1878, calculated from figures in the Inspector of Schools' official reports, was 3500; and up to the end of 1889, the year Stewart died, as 41 766.59 In the case of these schools also, there is no way of saying how many individuals these total enrolments represent, nor how many of them were Chinese pupils.

For many of these individuals who attended the village schools and the grant-in-aid schools, the direct impact of the Hong Kong education system for westernization, modernization or liberalization was probably not profound. Indeed, in 1895, Governor Sir William Robinson, made conscious of the conservative attitude of the people through their non-cooperation with government measures to contain a recent outbreak of bubonic plague, ruled that government subsidies in future would be given to support teaching which would “tend to educate the rising generation of Chinese to more enlightened views and ideas, and to dispel the ignorance and blind superstition, which have proved, and still are proving, such a stumbling block to the promotion of their moral and physical well-being.”60 Nevertheless, spending time within a system produces an effect, however intangible. And who knows what resonances were produced by the government inspector's regular inspections and examinations, given his well-documented kindliness, courtesy and ability, his scholarship and discipline? Certainly, as shown in his annual reports as inspector, Stewart himself responded vividly to the pupils and teachers he met in the schools. Who knows what impact their encounters with him had on each of them?

We have seen that, although it is impossible to determine with much accuracy how many Chinese individuals (nor how many individuals in total) received some schooling within the Hong Kong government education system during Frederick Stewart's time, it is possible to establish maximum numbers. Similarly, although it is also impossible to deduce how many Chinese pupils were educated in western knowledge, and how many studied a western language, during this period, a maximum number can again be suggested.61 Additionally, if we extend our period of enquiry to read through the reports of the Education Department, following Stewart's death, we find that for the one year 1893, there is a crude indication of what the answers might be for that year alone. The Inspector of Schools' report for 189362 indicates that there were in 1893 at most 1677 Chinese pupils63 at all stages studying the English language; and at most 2357 studying western knowledge64 from its most rudimentary levels up to a level approximately equivalent to Form Five level in modern Hong Kong (and British) terms; Grade Nine, in American terms. The present writer is confident in asserting that the number of pupils as a whole (including Chinese pupils) studying at the higher levels would have been very few indeed. As we know, the Central School, which Stewart founded, continued to offer (under the successive new names of Victoria College and Queen's College) the highest level of western education in Hong Kong to Chinese pupils. Yet in the same year, 1893, only 42 pupils presented themselves for examination in the top class at that School (all 42 of these took colloquial, reading, arithmetic, dictation, grammar, geography, composition, history, algebra, Euclid, general Intelligence, Shakespeare; half took English to Chinese translation, Chinese to English translation and bookkeeping, and five took Latin.).65 The other government and government-aided schools would have had no pupils at all working at this, the highest, level. Of the 152 Chinese pupils undergoing a European education in Chinese in government-supervised schools, only six passed at the highest standard of the Grant-in-Aid Scheme.66 Quite likely, of the 1677 pupils67 reported as studying English in 1893, most left school with what the nineteenth century referred to as “a smattering” only of English.

As for the total number of Chinese living and working in nineteenth century Hong Kong, while the numbers were relatively few compared to today, they were steadily increasing, although impeded on a number of occasions by extraordinary events, which temporarily interrupted this development (the outbreak of Bubonic Plague in 1894 is a notable example).68 The fact that the Hong Kong government education system accommodated the population changes of both the nineteenth and the twentieth century, while remaining today essentially recognisable as the system that Frederick Stewart put in place, suggests that he created an efficient and appropriate system that is still capable of continuing to grow and develop and to embrace ever greater and greater numbers.

Future Influence

On his first day in the Hong Kong Government Central School classroom, in 1862, Stewart and the assembled Chinese pupils had no common language. During the remainder of the nineteenth century, the total number of Chinese in Hong Kong who learnt some English clearly numbered several thousands, but — most probably — there were not nearly as many as one hundred thousand of them, in all, perhaps not 50 000, who learnt any English at school. By March 1997, however, the situation had changed. In that one year alone, 126 694 people felt sufficiently confident to register to sit an English language examination at school-leaving (Form Five) level. Additionally,69 the number of full-time equivalent students in Hong Kong degree-awarding institutions in the one academic year 1996–1997 was 62 673, and most of these tertiary students — mainly Chinese — needed to read English language texts in their studies. In other words, the increase in the numbers of Chinese people in Hong Kong who have learnt some English (and who have also studied western — which we now consider international — knowledge) and also of those who have learnt the English language to a fairly high level is vast. The possible degree of influence of the Hong Kong government education system on the continuing modernization of their Chinese motherland, through them, must also be vastly greater than during Frederick Stewart's time. Yet, as we have seen, the influence of the Hong Kong government education system, then, through its pupils, was considered remarkable enough.

Table 7.5 Frederick Stewart and the Hong Kong government education system's direct influence on educational institutions in Hong Kong and China, 1862-

Most influence
Hong Kong Government Central School, 1862-
—> Medical College for Chinese (1887)
—> University of Hong Kong (1911)
Existing schools that later joined the Grant-in-Aid Scheme, 1862-
Grant-in-aid schools, 1873-
Government-managed and government-aided schools, 1862 -
Other schools in Hong Kong, 1862-
Mission schools in China, 1878-
Least influence
Frederick Stewart's arrival in Hong Kong
Introduction of the Grant-in-Aid Scheme
Stewart reports that several mission schools in China have introduced the school textbook committee's books into their schools

In 1992, Hong Kong columnist, Margaret Ng, suggested her own perception that in speeches made in 1987 and 1989, Hong Kong's penultimate Governor, then Sir David (now Lord) Wilson, revealed, “an almost romantic determination to deck out Hong Kong like a glittering bride for her historical destiny,” her return to China.70 Such a view (whether really held by Lord Wilson or not) implies a desire that Hong Kong should become finished and complete. However, the documented attitude that has been attractive to more people, and which has been returned to again and again during the period from 1841, has been that which perceives the value of Hong Kong to lie in its being always in the process of growth; as being indeed tied to, but nevertheless separate from, or special in China.

Up to midnight, 30 June 1997, several of Hong Kong's citizens expressed views to indicate their hope that, on the expiry of the New Territories lease on 30 June 1997, modern Hong Kong as a whole, shaped by its extensive contact with the western world, would continue to be a leaven for China. There is no doubt that the process and conduct of education will again be crucial in contributing to or denying this outcome.

Acknowledgements: The author wishes to thank Dr. Verner Bickley, MBE, for his continuing interest in her work on Nineteenth Century Hong Kong education and his valuable contributions to its understanding. She also thanks Miss Nicole Ho for her assistance in the creation of the tables provided with this chapter.

8 The Use of Sinology in the Nineteenth Century: Two Perspectives Revealed in the History of Hong Kong1

Wong Man-kong

Of the three reasons for the “eventual acceptance of Sinology as an academic subject,” as suggested by Wolfgang Franke (1912– ), the third reason, “practical requirements in the wake of colonial expansion,”2 is of particular relevance for students of Hong Kong history. This chapter investigates the historical connotations of “practical requirements” that made possible the pursuit of sinology, as illuminated through the cases of James Legge (1815–1897) and Ernest John Eitel (1838–1908).3

Legge and Eitel had worked for the London Missionary Society (LMS) for about 30 years and 14 years respectively before the former became the first Chinese professor at the University of Oxford for 21 years and the latter a civil servant of the Hong Kong government for 18 years. LMS China missionaries began studying the Chinese language from the 1810s. This paper thus begins with an attempt to outline the origin of the use of sinology among LMS China missionaries. The latter part tackles questions about the uses of sinology for the missionary cause and the colonial administration in Hong Kong. This chapter also examines the uses of sinology, or practical requirements behind their pursuit of sinology, and covers briefly their academic contributions.4

The Origin of the Use of Sinology in LMS's China Missions

LMS started its China missions in Southeast Asia while China was not open to Christian missions. To be equipped with skills and knowledge in Chinese language and culture was a feasible objective. The foremost example was Robert Morrison (1782–1834), who was considered “the first really professional English sinologist.”5 He dubbed himself “an Anglo-Chinese.”6Of course, it was not to denationalize his British identity; rather, he wanted to show his sympathetic attitude toward Chinese to his western audience. He applied his sinology for missionary the cause through translating the Bible and writing religious tracts. More importantly, he founded the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca, and contributed generously to its library. In 1823, the library holdings reached 3 380 volumes in which there were 2 850 Chinese titles. After a decade, its holdings increased to “several thousand volumes” of which most were “scarce and valuable.”7 The library sufficed the college a centre for “sedentary scholar-missionaries” nurturing the first generation of missionary-sinologists, who were able in “bridging the gap between scholar-missionary and itinerant preacher.”8 Notable ones included William Milne (1785–1822), Walter H. Medhurst (1796–1857), David Collie (d. 1828), and Samuel Kidd (1804–1843).

They promoted the missionary cause with the assistance of Sinology. They translated the Bible, wrote religious tracts, and edited the Chashisu Meiyue Tongjichuan, a periodical known as Chinese Monthly Magazinein English, and theIndo-Chinese Gleaner.9Of the enormous amount of religious tracts,10 those compiled and written by Medhurst were especially noteworthy while he modified the way by which the religious message was presented. He considered that the Chinese were proud of their cultural heritage, therefore the focus of his tracts was to “appeal to the Chinese by portraying missionaries as scholar-teachers similar to those in Chinese traditions.” In doing so, he placed an “increasing emphasis on secular subjects, such as history, geography and matters of general interests in his writings.”11 Furthermore, they translated popular texts and wrote sinological essays to promote studies in Chinese society and culture. Examples also include Milne's translation of the Sacred Edict, Collie's translation of the Four Booksand Kidd's encyclopedic piece — China.Moreover, the use of sinology was thought to deepen the roots of the missionary cause. Milne expected the next generation of China missionaries would be able to “thoroughly leam to speak, read and write the language of the people among whom they are to labor;” and to “labor for a full acquaintance with their [Chinese] religion, customs, laws, and modes of thinking; and endeavor to state the holy doctrines, and precepts of Christianity, with the utmost possible simplicity, taking Jesus and the Apostles and their examples.”12 In other words, Milne considered the need to be equipped with sinology was of equal importance with cultivating Christian religiosity.

In addition, some missionary-sinologists assisted western traders and diplomats. Morrison was again an outstanding example. When he began his missionary work, he faced a lot of restrictions from the Qing government and the East India Company (EIC). After he was hired by the EIC, many barriers were removed.13 He felt a profound tension, however. The more he partook of diplomatic work, the less he could directly involve himself in missionary work. Having been appointed the “Chinese Secretary and Interpreter” of the British diplomatic mission to China led by William John Napier (1786–1834), he felt a struggle in his mind. His reflection reads: “I am to wear a vice-consul's coat, with king's buttons…It is rather an anomalous one for a Missionary. A vice-consul's uniform instead of the preaching gown!”14 He led himself out of his profound tension through promoting the study of Chinese language in Britain. This could be vividly illustrated in a conversation that he had with his children,

John: What is the use of studying Chinese, Papa?

Father: China and all that concerns it, are of considerable commercial importance to England, and knowledge of commercial affairs is promoted by knowledge of the language. To the Christian Philanthropist, there is no other living language of equal importance, because there is no other language so extensively known amongst men, as the Chinese, I therefore infer that the utility of studying Chinese is very great.

John: But there is no use in everybody studying it.

Father: Certainly not; but I should like to see ten or twenty good Chinese scholars in England. It is said that his present Majesty, when a Prince, was very fond of Chinese architecture, furniture, &c. I wish King George the Fourth would endow a Chinese fellowship or two …

Mary: Why, there is a Dr. Morrison knows a good deal about Chinese, and has written and published an English and Chinese Dictionary, and some other books about Chinese.

Father: Yes; but he lives in China. I want some Chinese scholars in England.15

Probably due to persuasion from Morrison and George Staunton (1781–1859), the University College, London, began Chinese language courses. Returned from Malacca, Kidd became the first professor of Chinese language and literature at the University College.16 But the chair had remained vacant since he died in 1843. Sinology in Britain was at low ebb. Denis Twitchett (1925–) laments:

The early incumbents of the new posts taught basic Chinese to a handful of aspiring missionaries, consuls and diplomats, but they did little to persuade their academic colleagues of the importance of their studies, and cannot be said to have established a profession.17

While Chinese language training in Britain remained almost nonexistent, western merchants and officials in China had to depend on a handful of western linguists—merchants, missionaries, or diplomatic staff—who had accomplished certain proficiency in the Chinese language. While this group of people was small in size, it had been very difficult for the Hong Kong government to recruit them as they had better opportunities in Shanghai and other treaty ports in China. The Hong Kong government thus sought assistance from China missionaries, like Karl Gützlaff (1803–1851), William Lobscheid, Legge and Eitel.

The Use of Sinology for the Missionary Cause: James Legge

When Legge began his pursuit of sinology, its use for the missionary cause was direct. Kidd taught him some Chinese at the University College. After he began his missionary work in Malacca, he had more opportunities and resources to learn the language. It took him less than two years to finish a lexicon, which was indeed to append the phrases in the dialects of Guangdong and Fujian to “a collection of English and Malay Phrases.” The collection was at first compiled in 1840 by Alfred North (1807–1869), an American missionary in Singapore. While there was no standard orthography of Chinese characters, he conformed to the method by Samuel Brown (1801–1880) and Elijah Coleman Bridgman (1801–1861) in their handling of Cantonese, and the method by Medhurst, Samuel Dyer (1804–1843), and David Abeel (1804–1846) in their handling of the Fujianese. Noting the shortcomings, Legge commented on his work as follows,

The Editor has in conclusion to request the indulgence of scholars, better acquainted with the Chinese language than himself, to the many errors that they will discover in the work. He trusts notwithstanding these things that the book will be found serviceable in Schools, for which it is principally got up, and to those who are beginning to lisp their ideas in Chinese.18

A book review criticized that the lexicon was of a loose structure, and it was considered to be rather useful for the Chinese to learn English.19 It was indeed adverse to the original design—to equip its readers to learn Chinese. Consequently, it was never reprinted.

What came next in print by Legge was the Rambles of the Emperor Ch'ing Tih in Keang Nan, whose role was to copy-edit the text that Ho Tsun-sheen (1817–1871) translated. Legge's original objective was to translate the Chinese classics, and his first choice was the Shujing.But he knew he was unable to complete it all by himself. While Ho Tsun-sheen had accomplished certain proficiency in English from Calcutta, Legge sought help from him. But Legge soon realized that Ho's knowledge about the Chinese classics was not enough to translate the Shujing.Instead, he chose a popular ramble, the travel account of Zheng De emperor (1492–1521, reign 1506–1521).20

After the Opium war, missionaries projected a good prospect for Christian missions in China. The re-translation of the earlier version of the Chinese Bible that Morrison and Milne produced was one of key issues. They had the first working meeting in Hong Kong. The project, however, caused endless debates over the accurate translation of “God” in Chinese, generally known as the Term Question. The Term Question reinforced Legge's interest in studying the Chinese classics. Early in 1844 he followed Morrison's rendering and used the term Shen.From 1848 onwards throughout his missionary and academic career, he used a different term, Shangdi.To his growing knowledge of Chinese culture, the term Shangdishared significant parallels with the divine in Christian connotations. In 1852, Legge wrote, “My thesis is—that the Chinese possess a knowledge of the true God, and that the highest Being whom they worship is indeed the same whom we worship.”21 In 1877, Legge remarked again, “there is so much in Confucianism about God, of which we can avail ourselves in setting forth our fuller truth.”22 In doing so, it would be beneficial for missionary cause, as Legge argued,

Of course the missionary must condemn all this worship of inferior beings; but in doing so, let him freely recognize the difference that there is in Confucianism between God and them. The worship of them will disappear when the Christian system has been fully made known throughout the empire. It is contrary to Christianity, just as the Roman Catholic worship of saints and angels is contrary to it. Possibly traces of it may long remain in the literature and directories of worship of Christian China, just as traces of the Popish errors of our forefathers in England and other Protestant countries remain in their literature and ecclesiastical directories to the present day.23

While Legge considered that Shangdimeant the Supreme Deity in Chinese culture, he translated the term Shangdias “God” in the Texts of Confucianism, a part of the Sacred Books of the East.An anonymous writer published an open letter to F. Max Müller (1823–1900), professor of Comparative Philology at the University of Oxford and the general editor of the Sacred Books of the East, in which he criticized Legge's usage of the terms “God” or “Heaven” in rendering Dior Shangdiin the Chinese classics.24 Legge regarded his translation accurate as it matched the Chinese theory about the divine. He wrote that “I took no advantage of my position to introduce a new rendering of Ti[Di] and Shang Ti [Shangdi] so as to give to the book a coloring of my own views.” He also thought that Chinese scholars supported his position over the Term Question. He claimed that “a majority of Chinese scholars accept my rendering with approval.”25 In addition, he mentioned that “a great majority of the Protestant missionaries in China use Ti[Di] and Shang Ti[Shangdi] as the nearest analogue for God.”26

Here, it is not intended to examine if Legge's idea concerning the Confucian notion of the Supreme Being was empirically accurate.27 Rather, it is meant to emphasize that Legge wanted to place the missionary cause within Chinese culture while he rendered God as Shangdiin the Chinese language. In his inaugural lecture at the University of Oxford in 1876, he spoke of his intellectual Odyssey in which he acknowledged how his missionary career in Hong Kong transformed him as a student of Chinese classics. He said as follows,

in order to [achieve] our permanent success, all the classical books of the Chinese, covering the whole field of thought through which the sages of China had ranged, and containing the foundations of the religious, moral, social, and political life of the people, should be translated and discussed by some one scholar more fully and critically than single books had been dealt with by individuals…I never wavered in my conviction that such an undertaking was good, and even necessary to the success of missionary labor in China.28

In 1880 when he defended his position in the Term Question in 1880, he again stressed the value and the need to study the Chinese classics for the missionary cause. He explained,

I entered forty years ago on a careful examination of the classical books of China with no other purpose but to qualify myself to fulfill to the best advantage the duties of a missionary. When I began to publish the result of my studies, I had the benefit of missionaries more than of any other class of possible readers in my mind.29

Like his translation of the Confucian classics, his comparative study of Confucianism and Christianity served missionary cause as well. He first presented his ideas to his missionary colleagues. In 1877, although he did not attend the general conference of the Protestant missionaries in Shanghai, he wrote a paper to be presented at the conference, in which he discussed three issues in Confucianism, namely God, man, and the moral duties and social relations of man. He concluded his paper with an urge to evangelize China as well as to embrace a respect among the missionaries for the Confucian teachings. He explained:

Let no one think any labor too great to make himself familiar with the Confucian books. So shall missionaries in China come fully to understand the work they have to do; and the more they avoid driving their carriages rudely over the Master's grave, the more likely are they soon to see Jesus enthroned in his room in the hearts of the people.30

Later, he published his essays on the comparative study of Chinese religions in a substantial volume. It was originally a collection of lectures delivered at a Presbyterian college in 1880. He gave altogether four lectures with an emphasis on Confucianism and its religious elements. He also studied Taoism. Doubtless, his lectures reaffirmed Christianity the superior position over Confucianism and Taoism.31

On the other hand, he considered that studying Chinese religions would help deepen one's understanding of Christian theology. He pointed out:

The study of them [Chinese religions] continues to be a duty, full of interest and importance. The result of it will throw light on the religious nature and wants of man, and show how adapted Christianity is to supply those wants and satisfy that nature. They will even help to give us, I believe a better understanding of Christianity itself, and a more vivid apprehension of its doctrines.32

In 1883, he presented the Religious Tract Society a synopsis of his reflections on the whole duty of man as prescribed by Confucianism and Christianity. This tract consisted of two parts. First, Legge showed that there were religious elements in Confucianism. Second, he examined in what ways Christianity was superior to Confucianism. In short, he outlined the following grounds on which Christianity is better than Confucianism.

  1. It is superior to the Confucian teaching because it attaches so much greater importance to the duties of religion, and gives so much fuller a disclosure of their reasonableness and nature.
  2. The Christian teaching is superior to the Confucian because it makes God the Guardian of all the duties obligatory on men even in their social relations.
  3. Still looking merely at the duties springing out of the social relations, the Christian teaching is superior to the Confucian, because the motive on which it requires their discharge is nobler and more powerful.
  4. The Christian teaching in regard to the five relations of society themselves is better than the Confucian.
  5. The Christian teaching of human duty is superior to the Confucian, because it is commended and enforced by the perfect example of its Author.33

Legge consistently asserted and acted upon his conviction that Confucianism occupied an important position in Chinese history and culture. While he examined the value of Fa Xian (337ca–422ca)'s travel account, he again stressed that Confucianism was “the orthodoxy of China.”34

As a China missionary for more than three decades, Legge was interested in the history of Christianity in China. In 1888, his translation of the inscription of the Nestorian tablet in Xian was published, in which he also wrote an essay on the significance of the tablet and outlined the history of Christian missions in China. Of the different issues that he mentioned in the history, his view on the Rites Controversy is of special significance. The Rites Controversy and the Term Question are, in some ways, parallel to each other because both touched the question of the extent to which Christian beliefs to be adapted to various aspects of Chinese culture. He asserted, “during the K'ang-hsi [Kangxi 1654–1722, reign 1662–1723], evils that had been growing among the missionaries themselves reached a head.” Following that, he wrote,

Ricci [1552–1610] had been too liberal in his views about the use of religious terms and ritual practices, not only for the Dominicans and Franciscans, but also for some of his Jesuit brethren. Did the Chinese really mean GOD when they spoke of Tien[Tian] (Heaven) and Shang Ti [Shangdi] (the Supreme Ruler)? And might the converts be permitted still to use those terms? Was it really religious worship which they paid to Confucius, and to their parents and ancestors in their mourning rites, or merely the expression of their grateful homage to the Sage, and of their filial piety? Ricci had replied to these questions in the affirmative. About the terms I entirely agree with his opinion, nor do I altogether differ from him about the ritual practices. But as time went on, the differences among the missionaries became wider, and their controversies waxed hotter.35

Furthermore, as mentioned in the essay, some missionaries whom Legge admired were all his predecessors, such as Morrison, Milne, Dyer, and Medhurst. They achieved well in sinology. He reminded China missionaries to cultivate care and sympathy toward the Chinese. He also advised them to avoid competition among themselves. These were admonitions that an experienced missionary would offer. He concluded:

The Empire is in fact being covered with a network of small churches, gathered from among the middle classes and poor. Of the real Christianity of the majority of their members I have no doubt…If none of them have declared themselves fully and like Hsu Kwang-hsi [Xu Guangqi, 1562–1633] on the side of Christianity, some of them are efficient helpers in the benevolent and medical departments of the missions…There are many great scholars and skilful organizers in the Protestant camps; some contemplating institutions of a higher educational character than have yet been established. Success to every well-contrived endeavour! Yet their dependence must be on the power of truth; their armour must be that of righteousness; their weapons must be forbearance and sympathy.36

His professorial career with a strong orientation towards Confucianism at the University of Oxford from 1876 to 1897 was indeed an extension of what he had begun in Hong Kong between 1843 and 1873. Apparently, the intention to achieve a lasting Christian impact among the Chinese strongly reinforced him to study the Chinese classics and Chinese religious traditions. A China missionary himself for more than 30 years, he developed an interest in revisiting the history of his predecessors in China.

The Use of Sinology for the Missionary Cause: Ernest John Eitel

The origin of Eitel's pursuit of sinology was rooted in his missionary activities. In 1862, he arrived in China as a missionary of the Basel Missionary Society, and he began his missionary work in Lilang of Guangdong where he started to nurture his profound interest in things Chinese. He taught in Chinese while other German missionaries did it by the Lepsius, a method of transliterating Chinese characters by German alphabets. It was encouraging for him to see his pupils made better progress.37

Furthermore, his interest in Hakkalogy was profound, a result of his extensive missionary experience among the Hakkas. From 1862 to 1865, he preached among the Hakkas in Lilang. As he later joined the LMS, he preached in Boluo of Guangdong where many Hakkas inhabited.38 Though in 1870 he moved to Hong Kong where he took charge of the mission office, he was still responsible for the Boluo mission. He studied the history of the Hakkas by collecting “both oral tradition and these genealogical records.”39He developed a sympathetic attitude towards the Hakkas. He considered that the Hakkas would have been successful in overthrowing the Qing throne with the Taiping rebels. “The fact that a handful of Hakkas contrived to raise such a powerful rebellion which but for the ill-advised and thankless interference of the foreign powers would most certainly have resulted in the downfall of the Manchu dynasty,” he wrote.40 His thought was that the Taiping would have advanced the progress of Christianity in China. “Due to the local wars between the Hakka and Punti in Guangdong and Guangxi, and the prominent Hakka involvement in the Taiping Rebellion,” a recent article pointed out “the Hakkas drew the attention of foreign scholars, missionaries, travelers, and writers.”41 Eitel was certainly one of them.

Another reason for his interest in Hakkalogy was to better understand this ethnic group whose religious orientation was different from that of the native Han of Guangdong and Fujian. Eitel considered that the Hakkas were less bigoted, which meant that they had “a tendency towards monotheism, less emphasis on the worship of state-sanctioned deities, and less emphasis on Buddhist than Taoist beliefs.”42 Indeed, there were a number of missionaries, Rudolf Lechler (1824–1908) being the prominent example, who also thought better of the Hakkas.43

Moreover, he was a student of Chinese Buddhism. In 1870 he compiled the Handbook for the Student of Chinese Buddhism, which qualified him a PhD to be awarded by the University of Tubingen, his alma mater.Legge found it very useful and wrote that “the difficulty occasioned by the Sanskrit words and names was removed.”44 The handbook is still regarded a standard reference for studies in Chinese Buddhism.45 The handbook laid down a solid foundation for him and others to study Chinese Buddhism, and it brought him a greater respect among the westerners in Hong Kong. From December 1870 to February 1871, for instance, he was invited to give lectures on Chinese Buddhism in the City Hall, a centre for cultural activities in Hong Kong.46 His lectures were later published, Buddhism: Its Historical, Theoretical and Popular Aspects.47 In the first part, “An Historical Event in History,” he paralleled the life of Buddha with that of Jesus. He distorted the Buddhist image:

Shakyamuni Buddha—we are told—came from heaven, was born of a virgin, welcomed by angels, received by an old saint who was endowed with prophetic vision, presented in a temple, baptised with water and afterwards baptised with fire, he astonished the most learned doctors by his understanding and answers, he was led by the spirit into the wilderness, and having been tempted by the devil, he went about preaching and doing wonders. The friends of publicans and sinners, he is transfigured on a mount, descends to hell, ascends up to heaven,—in short, with the single exception of Christ's crucifixion, almost every characteristic incident in Christ's life is also to be found narrated in the Buddhist traditions of the life of Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha.48

When he looked into the history of Buddhist missions in China, he compared it with the history of Christian missions in East Asia. He considered that the two missionary movements shared some similarities. He wrote, “these Buddhist missionaries went out, in the first instance, with even greater self-abnegation than Roman Catholic priests, as mendicant monks; secondly, they followed in the wake of trade; and thirdly, they were backed by imperial influence and diplomacy.”49 Moreover, he believed that Christian missions had a potential for a greater success in China than that achieved by Buddhism. He wrote that “it took Buddhism three hundred years before it obtained official recognition, and many centuries more, before the mass of the people was influenced by it; and who will then speak of the failure of Protestant Missions, which during the first forty years of their operations in China gathered over 15,000 native communicants into the Christian Church?”50 He concluded his argument with a claim that Buddhism was introduced into China to prepare the ground for Christianity. He even considered that Buddhism “acted like a dissolving acid, undermining the existing religious systems, and thus preparing the way for a new religion to enter,—for Christianity.”51

In the second part, “theoretical system” of Chinese Buddhism, he evinced his strong reservations in relation to Buddhist doctrines. He considered that there were two fundamental weaknesses of Buddhist doctrines. First, he regarded that “Buddhist scripture did not observe the wise reticence with regard to natural science.” Second, Buddhism could not be the real healing to human weakness which ultimately made the morality impossible, despite the fact that “the strong point of Buddhism lies in its morality.”52 After all, he explicated his total rejection of Buddhist doctrines. He regarded it “a philosophical myth.”53

Having deplored the doctrines, he criticized Buddhist religious practices as polytheist. He wrote as follows,

You have seen multitudes of men and women bowing down before idols of clay, offering their gifts, addressing them in earnest words of prayer and praise and thanksgiving, consulting the oracle by throwing lots in their presence and receiving a slip of paper issued in the name of the individual deity in the ambiguous terms of Delphi; you have noticed the reverence, the trust, the fervour with which—not the priests indeed—but the common people appeal to these legions of god.

Surely many, even of the common people, may be able to distinguish the idol from the divinity it represents, but it is undeniable that even they have before their minds during the act of worship the idea of a personal being of great power, mighty to save, to bless, to avert misfortune.…Buddha is to them simply the highest God, the Deus maximus. Bodhisattvas(and Arhats) are demi-gods. The former is God in esse, the latter are gods in posse.Both Buddha and Bodhisattvas, are worshipped and relied on as God by Northern Buddhists.54

On the other hand, he affirmed that there were six merits in the Buddhism. First, “it started with the recognition of sin and evil as the heir-loom of mortal man.” Second, “it pointed out in the strongest terms the impermanency and hollowness of everything earthly.” Third, “it exhorted its devotees to extend love and charity to man and beast.” Fourth, “it marked selfishness, lust and passion as the chief enemies of human happiness.” Fifth, “it pointed out the superiority of the inward life over outward existence.” Sixth, “it taught its adherents to look away from earthly sensual objects to regions invisible and inspired them—at least to a certain extent—with hopes of immortality.”55 Not surprisingly, he meant merits by a Christian standard. The first and fourth merits can be understood along with the Christian teaching that human nature being sinful; then, the second and sixth merits matched the Christian teaching that man needed eternal life. And, the third merit coincided with the Christian teaching that man should love one another and God's creatures.

From the scholarly point of view, his lectures on Chinese Buddhism were less meticulous than the Handbook for the Student of Chinese Buddhism.However, his lectures were certainly much favoured from a missionary point of view. In evaluating Buddhism, both its weakness and its merits, he unfailingly used Christianity as his measure. Where Buddhism appeared unlike Christianity, it was weak. He also used the history of Buddhism in China to project that the future of Christian missions would be an even greater success in the future. In so doing, the value and the need of the Christian missions in China was reinforced.

In December 1872, he gave his public lectures on Feng Shuiat the City Hall, which he published in the subsequent year.56 He confronted Feng Shuiin his missionary work. “Since my arrival in China I have had a great many practical collisions with Feng-shui, and having for many years collected notes on the subject and studied its literature in all branches,” he wrote.57He had a sympathetic attitude towards the philosophy behind the practice of Feng Shui.He considered it a “Chinese physical science” that was also a Chinese “emotional conception of nature.” As a missionary, he had no hesitation to denounce that “the deepest root of the Feng-shuisystem grew out of that excessive and superstitious veneration of the spirits of ancestors.”58 He regarded Feng-shuia “foolish daughter” from “a wise mother,” to vividly express his mixed judgement, out of which he elaborated as follows:

It starts with a few notions of astronomy or rather astrology, hazy, and obscure, but respectable enough, considering that it was more than two thousand years ago that the Chinese took hold of them. It is based on a materialistic scheme of philosophy, which had studied nature, in a pious and reverential yet in a very superficial and grossly superstitious manner, but which trusting in the force of a new logical formulae and mystic diagrams, endeavoured to solve all the problems of nature and to explain everything in heaven above and on the earth below with some mathematical categories.59

If what has been mentioned about his use of sinology for the missionary cause can be regarded as indirect use, what follows would probably be regarded as direct use. Like Legge, he was involved in the debates of the Term Question. In 1876 he made a short but critical two-paged comment in the annual report of the English Religious Tract Society. Henry Blodget (1825–1903), a senior American missionary, refuted it in a seven-page counter-argument and published it in London.60 At the beginning of his two-page comment, Eitel remarked that the interpretations and their application in cultural adjustment with the Chinese culture had been a source of conflict and division among the Catholic missionaries during the late Ming and the early Qing China. He used “the learned Jesuits” to represent the English and German missionaries, who supported the use of the term “Shangdi.”On the other hand, he labelled the American missionaries “the ignorant Dominicans.” “They then adopted the word ‘Shin’ [Shen],… whilst the phrase ‘Pai shin’ [Baishen], i.e ‘worshipping ‘shin’ [shen], is the standing idiomatic designation of idolatrous worship all over China,” he remarked.61Finally in his statement, he hoped that the question could be settled in 1877 when the general conference of Protestant missionaries was held in Shanghai. His choice of “Shangdi”was for rendering “God” and “shen”for “god/ false god/ gods.”62 Not surprisingly, Blodget was mad at the notion of the American missionaries being “the ignorant Dominicans.”63

Moreover, another notable accomplishment of Eitel's pursuit of sinology was A Chinese-English Dictionary in the Cantonese Dialect.Like many China missionaries who tried to remove the language barrier,64 he understood that a good dictionary would promote the missionary cause by helping its readers become acquainted with the Chinese language. At first, the Tonic Dictionary of the Chinese Language in the Canton Dialectthat Samuel Wells Williams (1812–1884) compiled was used as the base on which Eitel commenced his dictionary project. But after two years of research and study, he found that “part of it which refers to the written language, had to be entirely recast.” Eventually, he finished a Cantonese-English dictionary, which he believed to be useful for “the students of the Cantonese Dialect” and the “students of the general written language of China.” In addition, Eitel earned his reputation as a knowledgeable sinologist in Hong Kong. The fact that the dictionary received public funding in Hong Kong revealed that sinology was perceived to be of a wider use. “I owe a debt of gratitude to the Legislative Council of this Colony and to the Hongkong General Chamber of Commerce for the material assistance granted me at the outset, without which encouragement I could not have ventured upon the undertaking of this work,” he acknowledged.65

Both Legge and Eitel developed their sinology to serve the missionary cause, but the government sought assistance from them, for their sinology would help consolidate the colonial administration. After the office of Superintendent of Trade moved to Shanghai in 1854, “there was, apart from the Missionaries, not a man left in Hongkong thoroughly acquainted with both the written and spoken and languages of China.”66 The lack of properly trained interpreters created a gap in the communication between the government and the people. Reported by William Tarrant (d. 1872), a short story had it as follows:

Magistrate: Collins,—Collins, I say.

Collins: Your Honor!

Magistrate: Did not that witness say fan kwaiin his evidence?

Collins: He did, your Honor!

Magistrate: Then take him out of the Court and give him three lashes!

(Lashes administered).

And now, Interpreter, tell the witness that when he speaks of an English in this Court he must call him hung mo kwai.The truth probably was that the witness said, after having given his evidence, “fan kwai” i.e. “may I go home?” for the words fan kwai“foreign devil,” mean, when pronounced in a different tone, fan kwai, to go home.67

Apparently, the case was innocent, and the message behind the story was to call for effective communications between the government and the Chinese people. In addition to their participation in the development of education, both Legge and Eitel served in other capacities where an advanced understanding of the Chinese language and culture was necessary.

The Use of Sinology for the Colonial Administration: James Legge

When Hercules Robinson (1824–1897) became the Governor of Hong Kong (1859–1865), he introduced reforms. Robinson carried out two schemes, namely the founding of the Central school and the cadet system. Legge was connected with Robinson's administration in an unofficial capacity. He served on the Board of Education (which on an advisory basis) through which he proposed establishing the Central school. The school became a major channel for the Chinese to receive modern and English education.68

Legge also trained newly recruited civil service cadets. The objective was “to supply the Civil Service in Hong Kong with an efficient staff of Interpreters.” More importantly, it prepared the capable cadets to hold “the higher offices in the Civil Service of Hong Kong” after they passed the Chinese language requirement and two years of “approved Service as Interpreters.”69 A certain level of proficiency in the Chinese language was required for cadets to be promoted to senior positions in the government. This proposal was at first brought to the attention of the Legislative Council in March 1861, and Robinson officially submitted the scheme to London in July 1861. The scheme was approved, and its regulations were announced to the public in the Hong Kong Government Gazetteon 12 October 1861. Next year, the Hong Kong government recruited three graduate cadets from the University of Cambridge, namely Malcolm Struan Tonnochy (1840–1874), Walter Meredith Deane (1840–1906), and Cecil Clementi Smith (1840–1916).70 When these three cadets reported for duty in Hong Kong, Legge began to teach them the Chinese language. No doubt, Legge was the best choice at that time in Hong Kong while his voluminous essays on the Term Question and parts of The Chinese Classicswere published. It was always his wish to see the cultural and language barriers removed between the colonial government and the Chinese population. He wrote, “My idea from 1844 was that the administration of the Colony would not be thoroughly satisfactory, till many of the offices in it were filled by men having a practical knowledge of the Chinese language, and a sympathy with the people.”71

Textbooks for teaching Chinese language to the cadets were both the Chinese and the English versions of the Bible as well as Legge's translation of Confucian classics. His choice of textbooks well reflected the use of sinology at the time. At one level, sinology served the missionary cause. The translation of the Bible was a good example. By 1862, there had already been a few editions of the Chinese Bible. From various editions of the Chinese Bible, Legge had good and bad examples of translation ready in hand. The cadets graduated from the University of Cambridge and, accordingly, were members of the Church of England.72 Because they were familiar with the Bible, they could focus on Chinese language usage while reading the Chinese Bible. At another level, Legge intended to bridge cultural differences between China and the West. His translation of Chinese classics was a good example, and he used his work with the intention of conveying to the three cadets a sympathetic and understanding attitude towards the Chinese people.73

After he took up the professorial chair of Chinese at Oxford, the Colonial Office once explored the feasibility of sending successful Hong Kong cadets to Oxford to receive a year of training in the Chinese language under Legge. Not a single cadet was, however, sent to study under him at Oxford.74

The Use of Sinology for the Colonial Administration: Ernest John Eitel

Eitel was at first invited by Arthur Edward Kennedy (1810–1883, Governor of Hong Kong: 1872–1877) to serve the government in an unofficial capacity. First, he was appointed chairman of the Schoolbook Committee to prepare “a set of three graduated readers after the pattern of the Irish National Schoolbook Society's publication.” This appointment was aimed at helping “conciliate objections” to the grant-in-aid scheme introduced in 1873, which caused bitter opposition from the Catholic Church and some Westerners in Hong Kong.75 The origin of the problem was that proper textbooks for secular education in the Chinese language were not adequate. Therefore, the use of Confucian or any other Chinese texts in aided school was regarded as the government's promotion of “heathenish” education. Being a missionary and sinologist, Eitel knew the sensitivity in the religious and education sides.

In addition, Eitel served on the Board of Examiners. The board was created to monitor the progress of in-service Chinese language training and to manage and issue the “certificates of proficiency in Chinese Colloquial.” It came into being because Governor Kennedy used it in lieu of hiring cadets from Britain to save money. Besides, the office of the Superintendence of Chinese studies was created, Eitel held the office in an unofficial capacity.76

In 1879, Eitel resigned from the LMS and took up the office of the Inspector of schools. At one time, he was the Governor's Chinese secretary. Some of his studies in sinology began to bear a clear implication for political needs. He studied the Mui-tsaiproblem, a subject of immediate political importance in Hong Kong.77 By that time there was pressure from Hong Kong and London to check against the kidnapping, selling and buying of young girls and women. John Pope Hennessy (1834–1891; Governor of Hong Kong: 1877–1882) paid special attention to this problem. Chinese merchants and social leaders met and petitioned Hennessy to form the Po Leung Kuk with the aim of suppressing the selling and buying of kidnapped persons. In so doing, they could “stamp out a vicious trade” and “retain the custom of Mui-tsai, a custom which mattered only to Chinese families rich enough to purchase unwanted girls or girls from impoverished homes as bond servants until a marriageable age.”78 Eitel was appointed a member of the “committee of enquiry into the related question of the kidnapping of girls.” One of his important duties was to translate all correspondences relating to the issue. He studied the notions of social institutions in Chinese societies, and asserted that the time for any legislation to abolish the Mui-tsaisystem was premature. His conclusion reads:

  1. Chinese domestic servitude is so peculiar, and differs so widely in its essential characteristics from negro slavery, that it cannot be logically brought under the provisions of any English enactment regarding that form of slavery. Police prosecution of Chinese domestic servitude under any law made with reference to negro slavery would therefore constitute an act of very doubtful legality.
  2. Chinese domestic servitude appears to be a low form of social development when judged by the advanced standard of European civilization, but when judged by the relative standard of Chinese civilization, founded on entirely different principles, it has its legitimation as the best possible form of social development under the circumstances. Absolute condemnation of Chinese domestic servitude would therefore be an act of moral injustice.
  3. Chinese domestic servitude is not an excrescence on but a necessary part of the patriarchal order of things which characterizes the social life of the Chinese residents of Hong Kong. To prohibit Chinese domestic servitude in totowould therefore constitute an act of violence, as striking at the very roots of the social organism, the results of which would in all probability be harmful to the Chinese and embarrassing to the Government.
  4. Chinese domestic servitude, hitherto upheld in Hong Kong by the conservative tendencies of the patriarchal organism in China, is bound by the laws of nature to yield eventually to the progressive tendencies of modern society. Undue interference with this process would therefore be an act of injudicious intolerance.79

The report served as the base on which the government tolerated the Muitsaiproblem. “As a result of its report,” according to George Endacott (1901–1971), “the Po Leung Kuk, a society for the protection of women and girls, came into being.”80

Furthermore, Eitel took the subject of “slavery in China” seriously. He examined Chuo Geng Luthat was written by Tao Zongyi (1316ca.–402). Tao studied different notions of slaves in Chinese history. Eitel translated parts of Chuo Geng Luto illuminate the differences of the following: “captives whose lives have been spared,” “prisoners of war,” “free man,” “male and female slaves,” “convicts,” and “children to the manor born.” Besides, he discussed the ways that slaves could be released: “liberation and exemption from the status of slavery,” and “discharging slaves as freed man.”81 His translation supported his former claim that the Mui tsaiwas not a Chinese equivalent of the western institution of slavery.

In 1886, Eitel finished a study on the Chinese law of testamentary succession. He examined the Lu, Statue Law, from which he translated relevant parts for western readers. He considered such a study to be significant in Hong Kong. “By the law of the Colony any will or testament made by a Chinese resident of Hongkong will have to be interpreted and dealt with, by the Supreme Court of Hong-kong, if I am not mistaken, in accordance with the principles of the law of inheritance as understood in China,” remarks Eitel.82

Concluding Remarks

Last but not least, he wrote Europe in China, a comprehensive history of Hong Kong. Alan Birch (1924–1999) reviewed Eitel's skills and knowledge as a historian.83 Here, it is only meant to highlight his use of history for the justification of British rule. He considered that Britain has a “divine mission” to civilize Asia.84 Furthermore, he merged his religious commitment into his historical perspective. “If the reader is once clear as to what it is that the past of history of Hongkong shews the purport of the establishment of Hongkong to have been in the providence of God, he will have no difficulty in determining, with regard to the public measures or public men of any period, whether they marred or promoted the Colony's progress towards fulfilling its divine mission,” he writes.85 It might be taken as his justification for leaving the missionary work and spending 18 years to work for the Hong Kong government.

Legge and Eitel represented different scholarly orientations in sinology, and their academic contributions were different. Legge studied and translated the Chinese classics, extended his scope to compare Chinese religions, and to reflect on the history of Christian missions. Eitel studied the Hakkas, Chinese Buddhism, Fung-shui, Cantonese dialects, and Chinese customs. How to account for their differences is an interesting question, and it is here intended only to do it from the perspectives of circumstantial factors. Legge took up a “sedentary” approach to observe Chinese culture, like his predecessors did it in Malacca through reading and translating Chinese scriptures and books. When he moved to Hong Kong in 1843, Legge continued what he had been doing at Malacca. It should be noted that the Hong Kong that he encountered was a changing world where the population grew rapidly from 16 000 in 1843 to 117 500 in 1867, and to be around 124 200 in 1873 due to the great influx of immigrants.86 Instead of studying what the immigrants brought with them to this rapidly changing world in Hong Kong, Legge seemed to be more interested to return to the Chinese scriptures where he saw the persisting elements in the Chinese culture. On the other hand, Eitel entered into the interior parts of Guangdong province in the 1860s, an unchanging world as a sharp contrast with Hong Kong, where the practices of Chinese religions and customs confronted his mission work. He supplemented his “sedentary” approach with “participating” observation in his quest of knowledge about the popular practices in Chinese Buddhism and Feng Shui. Despite their differences in the scopes of their studies, they both took up subjects in a meticulous and scholarly manner. This might be due to their disposition and their substantial education background.87

The missionary cause was at first a major practical requirement behind their pursuit of sinology. The consolidation of the colonial administration became another practical requirement, although none of them would have originally anticipated it. Compared to Legge, Eitel developed a deeper connection with the colonial administration. So did his sinology. From a broader view of Hong Kong history, the consolidation of the colonial administration required a better communication between the British and the Chinese people. Improvement in communication had to begin with education, with reform of the colonial administration, and with the reliable and faithful translation of messages being put through Government House and the court. Legge helped establish the Central School and train civil service cadets. Eitel helped on similar platforms and served the following positions: examiner of officials who received in-service language training, translator and editor of textbooks to be used in schools, inspector of schools, and interpreter of Chinese customs and institutions.

9 The Guangxi Clique and Hong Kong: Sanctuary in a Dangerous World

Diana Lary

A House in Hong Kong

In the spring of 1929, Li Zongren slipped into Hong Kong, and established himself in his house at 92 Robinson Road. His great venture to control central China had just collapsed in ruins, and his home province, Guangxi, was about to fall into the hands of rebellious subordinates. Li's Robinson Road house was a roomy, three storey foreign-style house, rented for the sum of HK$90 per month. It was on the slopes of the Peak, cool and breezy (essential in the days before air conditioning) and yet quite close to the centre of Hong Kong. Li needed a lot of space, because his entourage, the people who were sharing his exile in Hong Kong and depended on him for support, numbered more than 20. They were his close family and some of his immediate subordinates.1

Li Zongren was one of the leaders of the New Guangxi Clique (xin guixi), a group of young officers who had joined the Guomindang in 1925, played dramatic roles in the Northern Expedition to unify China between 1926 and 1928, and then fallen out with Chiang Kai-shek as he tried to exert absolute control over the Guomindang military and political world. The outcome of the falling out was defeat and exile.

Li was not the first defeated warlord2 to live in the Robinson Road house. It was the house in which Chen Jiongming lived when he fled from Guangdong in 1925 after his defeat at the hands of Guomindang forces as they unified the province before the Northern Expedition. Nor was Li the last warlord to live there. Li Jishen, a major Guangdong military figure and close associate of the clique, moved into it when he was released from house arrest in Nanjing in 1931. He actually bought the house, for HK$20 000, and owned it until the early 1950s; by that time he had gone over to the communist side and was living in Beijing. He sold the Hong Kong house in an exccess of patriotism during the Korean War and gave the proceeds to the PLA.3

The house was one of many Hong Kong houses and flats maintained by warlords from south China as second residences, for times when they needed to escape from hot water on the Mainland. Warlord careers were inherently insecure; they soared rapidly and just as rapidly plunged to disaster and even total collapse. These careers could as easily be revived — but only if the warlord could first escape from the jaws of defeat, and avoid falling into the hands of his enemies. The first impulse when faced with imminent defeat was to flee. Few warlords were killed by their victorious opponents, but the warlord system was built on mistrust, and most warlords instinctively shied away from running the risk of throwing themselves on the mercy of their victors. Detention or house arrest became a danger under the Guomindang. Li Jishen was arrested in Nanjing in early 1929 when he appeared to side with the clique in their conflict with Chiang Kai-shek.4

Republican China was an insecure place for men involved in political and military affairs. One historical twist, which saved them from the worst of the vicissitudes that such careers involved, was that along the fringes of China there were places of refuge, where a politician or a warlord could find safety for long enough to recoup his position. These places of sanctuary allowed many careers to continue which might otherwise have been ended much sooner. By extension they perpetuated the divisions of China in the 1920s and 1930s.

Warlord Refuges

Warlords were quite sanguine about the likelihood of defeat. When it came they saw it as temporary, a prelude to a comeback — in the ancient saying, “the eastern mountain rises again” (dongshan zaiqi). They had well-rehearsed scenarios to deal with a defeat. Escape from China was the first priority. From south China this was usually quite easy, given the large number of exit routes available. The second priority was to have a suitable refuge prepared. The retreat had to be a strategic one, not a panicky one, with destitution lurking in the immediate future. Warlords had to preserve their status and their face by living a dignified life while away from home. They needed adequate facilities to house and support their family and close retainers adequately — i.e. a large house, which would also be a base from which to keep in touch with their armed forces at home, and a suitable place in which to receive those with whom they would negotiate their returns. All this presupposed housing arrangements made in advance, with adequate funds in place to maintain it and its temporary inhabitants.

Defeated warlords did not want to go far away from China. The political situation was bound to change rapidly, and if they were too far away they would be in no position to return to power. For the southern warlords, Hong Kong was the ideal choice for refuge. A base in Hong Kong was a form of insurance in the risky business of warlordism, a haven from almost inevitable defeat or betrayal, a place to keep in touch easily with friends and colleagues still at home, and the place from which to plan and launch their comeback. Hong Kong was a home away from home.

Huang Shaoxiong, with Bai Chongxi Li Zongren's closest associates, was disarmingly frank in defining what Hong Kong meant to the warlords of South China:

Because Hong Kong was the backstage for political activities in Guangdong and Guangxi, if we wanted to find a political way out [from our difficulties in 1929] we had to go there.5

Political and military figures in flight made for a foreign-controlled part of China. Huang Shaoxiong again:

In various places in China foreigners had arranged cosy nests (anlewo) as refuges for Chinese military and political power holders. Men falling from power in Guangxi or Yunnan went to Vietnam; men falling from power in Guangdong went to Hong Kong; men falling from power in the Yangzi Valley went to Shanghai; men falling from power in North China went to Tianjin; men falling from power in the Northeast went to Dalian. Heaven never sealed up all the exits. Once you reached a leased territory or a colony, so long as you did not annoy the local authorities, all of them offered some kind of welcome.6

Without places of refuge the warlord system, which lasted in its intense form from 1916 to 1928, and in modified form from 1928 to 1949, would have been much less durable. Very few warlords managed a whole career without having to flee to areas under foreign control. Many of the northern warlords were in and out of power so often that they were like jack-in-the-boxes — a period in power, followed by time out in their villas in Tianjin and Dalian. Feng Yuxiang followed a typically idiosyncratic path; when he fell from power in 1925, he went to the Soviet Union. He was back again in less than a year.

Guangxi warlords sometimes had to leave Guangxi by the province's back door, through Vietnam, but they did not stay there. Hanoi offered no refuge; they were harassed by French officials and hurried on their way. Their resting place while they were out of power, the place where they could recuperate, rebuild their careers and cultivate their connections and alliances was Hong Kong. Its location, in a period when travel was still by water, was critical. Hong Kong was the focal point for the West, North and East Rivers; it was connected north up the coast to Fujian and Shanghai, west to Beihai and Hanoi. All waterways led to Hong Kong.

The Guangxi warlords used Hong Kong as a place of retreat and recuperation for most of their careers. Their sojourns in Hong Kong are mentioned in the many biographies of the Guangxi Clique members, some published long ago and now reissued, others still coming out from the prolific pen of Cheng Siyuan, Li Zongren's long time lieutenant, at that time a very young aide to Li and now, at an advanced age, still writing about the clique in Beijing.

Hong Kong as a Refuge

Hong Kong had a long history of giving sanctuary to political dissidents. It had been the base for the anti-Qing, pro-Republican movement, in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The activities of Sun Yat-sen and his followers were centred in Hong Kong, which was the base for the many small-scale anti-Qing risings in Guangdong. Hong Kong was the channel for financial support, the place for training, and for the collection and purchase of arms. It was a centre for the publication of revolutionary materials. Sun himself was banned from Hong Kong for a long period,7 but its role in the revolutionary movement was not diminished by his absence. Later on, in the early Republic, Hong Kong continued to be a place from which Sun masterminded his repeated essays on establishing a base in Guangdong, though Sun also spent long periods in the French Concession in Shanghai. The Chinese political and warlord worlds were not sealed off from each other. Sun Yat-sen often had to make deals with warlords in his efforts to establish himself in Guangzhou, with the Yunnan and Sichuan warlords, who helped him to power and then betrayed him in 1918, and with Chen Jiongming, who did the same in 1922. The negotiations usually started in Hong Kong.

The balance could shift the other way. Chen himself had to flee to Hong Kong in 1923. He was an exception to the comeback rule. He never returned to power, and spent the rest of his life in Hong Kong. He died in poverty in Hong Kong in 1933, so poor that his family could not afford a new coffin, and he was placed in the coffin, which his aged mother (then over 80) had already prepared for herself.8

After the establishment of the Guomindang capital in Nanjing (1928) Hong Kong's role expanded; in addition to defeated warlords, more numerous than ever after the unification of China, losers in the Guomindang faction fighting, especially for those who were Cantonese, started to establish bases in Hong Kong. Wang Jingwei had a permanent establishment there, which he needed given the ups and downs of his career. In 1929 he set up an “alternative” Guomindang government in Hong Kong, at his house in Happy Valley.

The details of warlord intrigue covered in the now extensive literature on the period can be mind-numbing, and often impossible to keep clear. Books on warlords tend to cover all the ins and outs of individual careers, with details so profuse that they obscure the larger and general aspects of the warlord system. Here we will try to simplify the complexity, by looking only at a brief period, the crisis year for the Guangxi Clique, 1929, and show how a complex series of events was resolved, and also what a key, if inactive, role Hong Kong played in the resolution of the crisis.

The 1929 Crisis

The players

Settling the 1929 Crisis involved a large cast of players, typical for the complex negotiations that the “rearrangement” of a warlord career demanded. These were the players directly involved in the 1929 crisis:

Li Zongren, Bai Chongxi and Huang Shaoxiong, the leaders of the Guangxi Clique, and of the main warlord groups opposing Chiang. The three had worked together for five years, and had most recently controlled an area from Beijing to Guangxi, with Bai in Beijing, Li in Wuhan and Huang in Nanning.

Chen Jitang, the recently established warlord of Guangdong, still with only a tenuous hold on power, and apparently favouring Nanjing.

Wang Jingwei, Chiang's main contender for leadership of the Guomindang, now temporarily eclipsed, but actively planning his comeback and looking for military allies.

Lu Huanyan and Yang Tenghui, junior Guangxi officers temporarily in charge in Guangxi (from July 1929). They were formally allied with Chiang Kai-shek but were anxious to bring Li, Bai and Huang back to power.

Guangxi Clique's defeat

In early 1929, the Guangxi Clique lost its power in central and north China, the bridgeheads in Wuhan and in Beijing it had won control of at the end of the Northern Expedition. The clique had become increasingly open in its challenge to Chiang's authority, and in its desire for autonomy. Chiang moved against the clique as a first step in eliminating independent warlord power within his nominal sphere of rule. The next candidates for subordination were Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan. By June 1929, the clique had been kicked out of central and northern China and was about to lose control in Guangxi, betrayed by subordinates who went over to Nanjing.

Li Zongren managed to get to Hong Kong from Wuhan without major problems, but Bai Chongxi barely escaped from Beijing. When he saw the danger he was in, he went into the German hospital there, and immediately left by the back door, wearing a false beard and dark glasses. He was then smuggled out of Beijing in a packing case, to Tianjin where he slipped on to a southbound steamer.9

In defeat, the clique showed its ability to operate as a troika: as soon as he got to Guangxi (via Hong Kong) Bai Chongxi went to the army, and launched an abortive attack into Guangdong; Huang Shaoxiong was in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, “attending to financial affairs;” and Li Zongren was settled in Hong Kong to deal with “foreign affairs” (waishi). He started a preliminary round of complex negotiations and intrigues aimed at restoring the Guangxi Clique's to full power. All three failed in their efforts. In July the clique lost Guangxi and Bai and Huang were forced to withdraw, and joined Li in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong negotiations

Once the clique had lost its last hold on the Mainland, the negotiations for its return to Guangxi went into high gear. Now all the players listed above were either in Hong Kong or had personal representatives there. In what amounted to a prolonged informal conference, they met each other separately in an extended round of dinners, teas and meetings, to explore possibilities for alliances, to work out terms and conditions and to look for possibilities of compromises. The negotiations were delicate and intricate; the various players carried on competing and contradictory negotiations simultaneously, a form of international bargaining in miniature.

Other warlords (or their representatives) besides the key players tried to get involved in the process, creating new possibilities but ones which advanced their own interests more than they did the clique's. The only group not represented in Hong Kong was the one which had precipitated the final stage of the crisis — the young officers who actually overthrew the clique in Guangxi, and were then themselves driven into the west of the province by Lu and Yang. Li Mingrui and Yu Zuoyu had turned to communism. By late 1929 they were in a remote area of westernmost Guangxi with a young communist cadre from outside — Deng Xiaoping — and were about to set up their own soviet.

The negotiations in Hong Kong set the Guangxi Clique on a new tack — one in which they tacitly accepted a reduced role for themselves in Chinese affairs. They rejected the blandishments of the many potential allies who approached them (see below), and instead concentrated on the arrangements necessary to reestablish themselves in their own province. These were achieved by the end of the year the clique leaders had regathered their strength and were back in Guangxi. The Guangxi Clique's time out was over, and they were once again established as the unquestioned leaders of the province.

The crisis of 1929 continued into 1930, with many twists and turns and much bad blood. Back in control of their forces, the clique mopped up their opponents. The communists were ejected from the province and set out on a mini Long March through the hills to Jiangxi, where they joined the central Soviet. The officers who had rebelled against the clique were either killed in fighting or had to flee to Hong Kong. Yu Zuoyu's cousin, Yu Zuobo, who had paved the way for his cousin's adventure, fled to Hong Kong in late 1929. There were casualties. In June 1930, Lu Huanyan was shot by his bodyguard in the New Asia Hotel in Guangzhou.10 In August, Yu Zuobo was murdered in Shenzhen.11 The instigators of the murders were not named — but they stood as a warning of how nasty the warlord game could be.

In 1930, the two provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi went to war, a reprise of the wars, which jolted the two provinces in the early 1920s. The final irony of the succession of contradictory events was that in 1931 they formed a long-lasting alliance with Chen Jitang, to oppose Nanjing.

Hong Kong's Attractions as a Base

The complex and messy crisis of 1929 and its outcome depended on the Guangxi leaders having a safe place from which to make their comeback. This was the role of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was a comfortable and convenient place for the Guangxi warlords, as for most other southern warlords; it was secure, stable and familiar. Many of the Guangxi warlords were Cantonese speakers. They were at home in Hong Kong, so much so that some of them kept part of their family in Hong Kong permanently. Li Zongren's older son spent much of his childhood and youth in Hong Kong with his mother, so that his education would not be disturbed by the vicissitudes of his father's career. His mother, Li Zongren's first wife, a gentle soul, lived there with her son while Li's glamorous second wife Guo Dejie stayed at her husband's side.12

Living in Hong Kong, a place where the rule of law ran, presented an unbeatable form of personal security. In addition, Hong Kong supplied all the needs of a warlord out of power. The stability and the efficiency of the society guaranteed an ideal base for planning future activities in China.

Information and intrigue

Hong Kong was ideal as a place for collecting and sharing information, both formal and informal. Formal information came through newspapers, which in Hong Kong were much freer than on the Mainland. Informal information was trawled from the continuous stream of gossip, which flowed through hotels, restaurants and the streets; before telephones limited gossip to two people at a time, gossip could be spread more liberally. Intrigues between individuals and groups were carried out in the same hotels and restaurants, and in offices and private houses.

Warlords had to be circumspect in their dealings with each other. They used intermediaries and subordinates for much of the work. They could not seem too eager for new alliances, especially in the aftermath of defeat, when potential allies might see them as easy marks, but they could not afford to be too choosey either. They operated within a system in which it was understood that no alliance lasted forever, nor did any division. Huang Shaoxiong quoted the opening sentence of the Sanguo yanyi:

In the general scheme of things under Heaven, unity will eventually be divided, and division will eventually be united (tianxia dashi he jiu bi fen, fen jiu bi he).13

Hong Kong was the place for substantive intrigue, the place where schemes were hatched and delicate negotiations about changing sides in the ever shifting warlord alliances took place. It was much easier for emissaries to meet in a crowded and cosmopolitan place than it was for them to go into the heart of an alien camp. A defeated warlord newly arrived in Hong Kong would start immediately into rounds of negotiations — and would be sought out by others. Li was visited at his home by representatives of Zhang Zongchang and Sun Chuanfang, two of the most important of the defeated northern warlords, shortly after he established himself in Hong Kong. They wanted to come to Hong Kong from Dalian to talk to Li, but he rebuffed them. Their representatives were quickly followed by Chen Jiongmimg and Shen Hongying. Li had never taken the field against Chen, but he had defeated Shen, a major Guangxi warlord, in 1925. Only four years later Shen saw no problem in them forming an alliance — though Li did.14 Li was also courted by political figures. Zeng Qi of the Youth Party came to see him four or five times, trying to get Li to abandon the Guomindang and form a new political force.15

The level of attention Li received must have convinced him that the career of the clique was not over, and encouraged him to persevere. At first Li operated on his own, but when Huang Shaoxiong arrived in Hong Kong, he plunged in too and then took over the negotiating role after Li was forced to leave in October (Bai Chongxi did not take part. He was too forthright in his manner to make a good negotiator). Direct contacts continued with former warlords and with politicians. In November, Huang Shaoxiong met Wang Jingwei, who had just returned from Europe and was living at his “underground Centre” in Happy Valley. He and Huang toasted each other in 100 year old Napoleon brandy while they discussed the possibility of an alliance between Wang and the Guangxi Clique. Hong Kong was not a good place for secrets. News of the meeting soon got out, and Chen Jitang complained to the British authorities, in his capacity as ruler of Guangdong, that “Huang Shaoxiong was taking part in political activities while in Hong Kong, and disturbing the public order.” He was told to leave within three days, which he did, returning in secret to his home in Guangxi.16

Huang kept up his contacts in Hong Kong after he left; they were useful when he split with Li and Bai the next year. His emissaries then met Chiang Kai-shek's in Hong Kong, and the terms and conditions for the departure of the disgruntled Huang were discussed. Not until they were completed to his satisfaction did Huang leave Guangxi for Nanjing in 1930.17


Hong Kong was one of a number of places where warlords could arrange for the supply of one of the basic requirements of the warlord system; arms and ammunition. After the First World War, when China as a whole came under an official arms embargo, Hong Kong, like Shanghai, Tianjin and Dalian, became a base for arms dealers.18 The purchase of weapons would be arranged through Hong Kong, though the weapons would be delivered on the Mainland. These weapons sales were handled by a cast of disreputable dealers, some shadowy, some very flamboyant, who took advantage of the tacit acceptance which Hong Kong gave to people of questionable honesty and probity. It was often difficult for these people to function in treaty ports, where they came under the direct control of their consuls, but Hong Kong authorities asked few questions about people with ambiguous backgrounds. Among the dubious characters who flourished in Hong Kong was Maurice Two-Gun Cohen, who purveyed arms to many of the southern warlords in the late 1920s and 1930s.19 Hong Kong was in effect a permanent arms mart for south China, one which published few details on its activities.


Warlords needed large sums of money, both while in power and when they were out of it. Where they got it and how they held on to it was a secret matter. Even in the most frank of warlord memoirs the discussion of money is circumspect. All one can safely say on the matter is that Hong Kong banks acted for the southern warlords as the Swiss banks have done for the insecure elites of the world since the 1930s. The Guangxi warlords did not need large amounts of money for themselves. They had reputations for being modest in their personal needs, but their plans for the future called for them to have money salted away outside China. This they undoubtedly had, though it had to be augmented with transfers from Guangxi. In the spring of 1929, Li Zongren supplied the needs of his many subordinates in Hong Kong through a grant of HK$70 000 from Huang Shaoxiong, still the governor of Guangxi. Huang left Guangxi with no funds in the early autumn of 1929,20 but was soon living adequately in Hong Kong, and preparing for his return to Guangxi. Money had been “found” in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government

Hong Kong was very useful for southern warlords, but this was a one-sided pattern; the warlords did little for Hong Kong. The British authorities tolerated them; they showed little anxiety over the presence of warlords in Hong Kong. They kept a close eye on them, but they seldom interfered with their activities so long as they were discreet and did not destabilize trade with China. Understanding these basic ground rules, most resident warlords were careful not to offend the British authorities, and lived quietly.

When this rule was breached, or when Hong Kong's major partners on the Mainland complained, then the Hong Kong authorities would act to make their allies happy, and would quickly expel the warlords who had upset their friends. Li Zongren had to leave in the autumn of 1929, after the Nanjing government appealed to the Hong Kong government to kick him out, on the pretext that he was in contact with Feng Yuxiang, Nanjing's major opponent of the day. Li was still treated with courtesy. Two members of the Hong Kong gentry, Lo Xuhe and Zhou Shouchen, came to see him at the behest of the Hong Kong government and suggested that the time had come for a trip abroad. Li went along with the charade, got visas for himself and some close colleagues for France, but then went instead to Hanoi, where he met a harsher face of colonialism. He and the other travellers were forced to go through a humiliating experience with French customs and immigration, in which the intent was clearly racist.21

Why were the Hong Kong authorities so accommodating to warlords? It is easy to suppose that, because Hong Kong was used as a base for warlords in retreat, the base from which they returned to China once circumstances allowed, that therefore the British authorities in Hong Kong were directly involved in supporting warlords, to the detriment of China. This was probably not true in this instance, since the Guangxi leaders received no direct help from the Hong Kong authorities. Another possibility, that they simply did not know who was coming and going, is clearly not true. A third, put forward by Huang Shaoxiong, with a touching faith in western law, that the Hong Kong authorities were required to offer sanctuary by international law,22 seems improbable, not least because none of the warlords ever mentioned consulting a lawyer to apply for political asylum. He may have been thinking of what happened to Sun Yat-sen in London, when he was protected from Qing vengeance by the intervention of British law.

The answer is probably a simpler one. The Hong Kong authorities were primarily concerned with continuing trade in South China. In a situation in which it was hard to predict from week to week who would be up, who down, and where causing present offense might mean offending future leaders, the authorities served their long-term goals best by giving guarded sanctuary to whoever needed it — a privilege not extended to people who truly threatened the status quo, communists and other political radicals. The practice of limited sanctuary actually suited everyone.

Hong Kong continued to act as a haven for warlords after 1929. Chen Jitang himself had to flee there in 1936, when he was betrayed by his own subordinates who returned Guangdong to the embrace of Nanjing. The giving of sanctuary lapsed during the Japanese occupation, but increased enormously in the Civil War and after 1949 Hong Kong became a permanent resting place for former warlords and politicians. The last desperate days of 1949 saw an exodus of all who could get away from the Mainland. Many moved into the houses or apartments which they already owned. The two senior Guangxi leaders went elsewhere, to Taiwan (Bai Chongxi and some of his closest subordinates) or the USA (Li Zongren) but others moved only to Hong Kong (Huang Xuju). Huang apparently only acquired his residence in Hong Kong just before the fall of the Mainland. There were rumours for a long while that Hong Kong would be the gathering point for a Guangxi Clique return to the Mainland, but it never materialised.

Concluding Remarks

The activities of warlords had very little to do with Hong Kong's own history. They showed little interest in what was going on there, and certainly not at the early signs of political activism, unions and strikes — both anathema to all warlords. Their only interest in the place was as a stable, comfortable refuge.

The comfort was physical rather than psychological. Not far from the front of their minds was the awareness of what Hong Kong symbolized, as a foreign colony, and of what their own contributions were to the disunity of China. Huang Shaoxiong turned his fertile mind to wondering what he and his colleagues were doing, as modem minded military men, engaging in old-fashioned warlord politics. They were intelligent, educated and patriotic young men — still in their late 30s. They had nationalist credentials; they had played a major part in the Northern Expedition. And yet they seemed to be set on perpetuating the disturbed and confused world of their predecessors, the old warlords, the illiterate men raised in the bandit world. Huang could only explain the contradiction by imagining himself and his colleagues as players in a tragedy, which was being directed by some unknown hand.23 He also gave a nod towards Hegelian dialectics, in talking about the mysterious but implacable logic within complex events.24 These rather windy metaphysics were the only explanation he could find for the tragedies, the deaths and the material losses that the warlord system perpetuated.

At the time, the clique leaders and their confreres took a nonchalant approach to living in and using a part of China occupied as a foreign colony. They called themselves nationalists, but their nationalism was not yet centripetal, it would not sacrifice their regional interests to those of the Centre. In the shifting relationship between the nation and the region, the region still won.25 Seven years later, when they came to the service of the nation, it was clear that the divisions within China had contributed to Japanese success. In 1938, Li and Bai commanded Chinese troops in the only major Chinese victory over the Japanese — their victory at Taierzhuang was the only one in a dismal list of defeats in 1937 and 1938. But it was too late to stop the Japanese conquest of much of China.

10 Business and Radicalism: Hong Kong Chinese Merchants and the Chinese Communist Movement, 1921–1934

Chan Lau Kit-ching

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is difficult to come to grips with the extent and intensity of the radical nature of the political changes the people in China and the Chinese in British Hong Kong experienced at the beginning of the last century. From the 1911 Revolution China, with which Hong Kong was inextricably bound notwithstanding its status as a British colony, encountered republicanism, warlordism, and communism, all for the first time and in quick succession in less than two decades. Communism was without doubt the most dreaded and regarded as the most radical by the Chinese, especially by the “haves” among them.

Since its retrocession to China in mid 1997, Hong Kong has increasingly been described as “under the rule of the merchants” (shangren zhigang),1 as if this is a new phenomenon under Chinese sovereignty. In fact, the power and influence of the merchants date back to the early history of British Hong Kong. During the British period, the big British hongs exercised considerable influence over the colonial government but, for the most part, at least until the Second World War, they had little direct involvement with the Chinese community.

Leading Chinese merchants, naturally unlike their British counterparts, formed the elite of the Chinese community and were greatly responsible for moulding the opinion of the local populace in the territory. The leadership role of the important Chinese merchants was largely derived from, besides their wealth, the fact that they were the stable and permanent sector in the British colony and, in some cases, from their command of the English language which turned them into effective links between the ruler and the ruled at the grass-roots level.2 Since the late nineteenth century, local Chinese responses to the major political events in China reflected, in no small measure, the attitude and concern of the Chinese merchants towards these happenings and their ramifications in Hong Kong.

Knowledge as to how the Chinese merchants worked themselves upward and became the elite of the Chinese society in Hong Kong, a process which developed steadily from the 1870s, is assumed in this context. Suffice it to say that the leading Chinese merchants shared among them several major status symbols which enabled them to exercise real influence in the peculiar colonial setting of Hong Kong during the period under discussion: directorship of Tung Wah Hospital (Donghua yiyuan) and the Po Leung Kuk (Baoliangju), membership of the District Watch Committee (Tuanfangju) which “ranked at the top of the hierarchy of Chinese societies in terms of its political status, influence and prominence,”3 and appointment as unofficial Justice of the Peace and unofficial member of either the Legislative Council or Executive Council or both. There were many instances of individual prominent Chinese merchants concurrently holding multiple appointments.

The power and influence of the Hong Kong Chinese merchant elite were further augmented by two other factors. First, the merchants had close ties with the leading local professionals, lawyers, doctors, accountants, and others. Secondly, the merchants effectively disseminated their views and popularized their attitudes through the major local Chinese newspapers, prominent among which in the 1920s and 1930s were the Huazi ribao, Xunhuan ribao, Huaqiao ribao and Gongshang ribao. Each and every of the four newspapers could reasonably be labelled as the mouthpiece of the Chinese merchants.

This chapter attempts to study the attitude of the Chinese merchant elite in Hong Kong towards the beginning of the Chinese communist movement, which focused substantially in the Guangdong region and therefore invariably had an immediate bearing on Hong Kong. The years 1921–1934 formed a distinct time span in that 1921 marked the birth and 1934 the temporary demise of the Chinese communist movement in Guangdong. There were two equal periods of six years each: 1921–1927 and 1928–1934. The first period was marked by major political events in the region in which communism was clearly discernible. Communism continued to have a distinct presence in Hong Kong in the second period of six years despite the absence of specific communist-related incidents as in the earlier period.

Period Marked by Major Events, 1921–1927

The Hong Kong seamen's strike, 1922

What started as a strike of seamen extended to a general strike in which more than 120 000 workers stopped work. Hong Kong was paralyzed. It has now been established that the few communists in Guangdong and Hong Kong had little to do with the outbreak and sustenance of the strike.4 However, the British colonial government in Hong Kong believed otherwise. The governor, Sir Reginald Stubbs, was firmly of the opinion that the strike was a communist plot hatched under the direction of the Bolshevist agents in Guangzhou.5 His view was generally shared by British consular officials and naval officers in the region.6

What is important here is that this interpretation of the nature of the strike was echoed by the Chinese merchants who were immediately thrown into a difficult situation. As directors of Tung Wah Hospital, the Po Leung Kuk and other charitable organizations, they were entrusted with the social mission of caring for the needy and the poor and were expected to be the champions against social injustice. As merchants, they were naturally concerned about their economic well-being which was gravely threatened by the strike. Driven by these considerations the merchants, represented especially by Robert Ho Tung (He Dong), actively played the role of mediator among the seamen, the shipping companies, and the colonial government.7

At the same time, the Chinese merchants were, like the colonial government, convinced of the political nature of the strike and the communist role in it. They were therefore anxious to curb the power of the Hong Kong Seamen's Union which they regarded as a dangerous labour union under the sway of communism. The two Chinese merchant representatives who served on the Legislative Council at that time, Lau Chu Pak (Liu Zhubai) and Chow Shou-son (Zhou Shouchen) were even more anxious than the colonial government to put radical labour unionism and Bolshevism under control. It is significant that at a meeting of the Executive Council at the height of the strike and after the government had banned the Hong Kong Seamen's Union, both Lau and Chow strongly opposed the Governor's suggestion to consider reinstating the union as a conciliatory gesture to the strikers. They insisted that the government must not “retreat one inch” and that labour unions, which they believed “had strong Bolshevist support,” had to be suppressed at all cost.8 Ironically, the Governor was displeased with the behaviour of the Chinese leaders. In his report on the strike to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in mid March, Stubbs was “highly critical of the leading members of the Chinese community … who, he claimed, had not been of the ‘slightest use’ in either ‘calming the fears of the ignorant populace’ or obtaining information which would have enabled the Government to deal with intimidation.”9

The merchant leaders were clearly confused about their social functions in the presence of communism. Their behaviour in the seamen's strike contradicted their traditional role of caring, if only for their own interest, the socially underprivileged, in this case the workers, as seen in their involvement in Tung Wah Hospital, the Po Leung Kuk, and other charitable organizations. Moreover their distrust of communism made them reluctant to consider conciliatory measures which they feared would encourage the spread of radicalism in the long run.

The merchant corps incident, 1924

This incident underlined the close relationship between the Chinese merchant communities in Hong Kong and Guangdong. While the communists conceivably played a greater role in this incident than in the Hong Kong Seamen's Strike, in reality direct communist involvement in this instance was not predominant or clearly identifiable.10 What happened was that the incident was the climax of strong merchant discontent built up since Sun Yat-sen's return to Guangdong at the end of 1920. The Guangdong merchants were bitterly against Sun's administration almost in every respect. What is important, however, is that the merchants perceived, and therefore portrayed, the incident as a communist conspiracy.

The Guangdong merchants had set up militias of their own in different localities in Guangdong for some years before the incident. The mission of these militias naturally was to protect merchant interests which, from the merchants' point of view, became increasingly threatened by disturbing political trends and social ills, a large part of which was caused by the policies adopted by Sun's government. The merchants' suspicion of Sun was greatly intensified by his association with the Bolshevists and the Chinese communists.11

The Merchant Corps Incident was triggered by the move to form some kind of headquarters in Guangzhou to coordinate the command of the various militias and, more importantly, by Sun Yat-sen's confiscation on 10 August of a large shipment of arms ordered by the Guangdong merchants. The merchants made many attempts to retrieve the arms from the government and were in fact willing to pay the government a certain sum of money for the shipment to be released back to them. The incident was much publicized by the merchants in Guangzhou under the names of the various organizations with which they were closely related. These organizations, which were essentially mercantile and charitable in nature, included the Guangzhou General Chamber of Commerce (Guangzhou zhongshanghui), The Nine Charitable Halls (Jiushantang), Society for the Maintenance of Business (Shangye weichihui), Wenlan Academy (Wenlan shuyuan), different chambers of commerce in the province, and others. Copies of the merchants' appeals, which were characterized by severe censure of Sun Yat-sen's government, were sent to the merchant bodies in Hong Kong and elsewhere.12

When appeals, agreement to pay, mediation attempts by various parties had all failed to achieve the desired result, the merchants threatened to strike and to close their shops for business. The merchants' behaviour elicited a strong reprisal from Sun Yat-sen who succeeded in gaining the support of the various military factions then in Guangzhou. In the course of inflicting punishment on the merchants, different bands of soldiers brought about much destruction, especially in Xiguan, a prosperous district in Guangzhou.13 The Guangzhou merchants, for some reasons, were too confident of themselves and failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities for compromise.

During the turmoil, the Guangdong and especially the Guangzhou merchants were clearly anxious to arouse the support and sympathy of their counterparts in other parts of China and overseas, particularly those in Hong Kong. Every attempt was made to update them on developments of the crisis which was blatantly and graphically depicted as a communist plot. There was a clear attempt to arouse fear in communism, which was not only depicted as calling for the sharing of wealth and property, but of wives and husbands. In short, communism was painted as a terrible evil from Soviet Russia and a grave threat to social stability and economic prosperity.14

The Chinese merchants in Hong Kong clearly identified themselves with the merchants in Guangdong. There was more than sympathy and identification. Disruption of business in Guangdong invariably had a severely adverse impact on Hong Kong. It has to be remembered that many provincial associations (tongxianghui) had long been concerned about law and order in their places of origin in Guangdong and had raised funds for the local merchant militias to better equip themselves with arms against bandits and other security threats. It should also be borne in mind that Chen Lianbo, the merchant corps commander who was wanted by the Guangzhou government, escaped to Hong Kong immediately after the outbreak of the incident. He was warmly accepted by the Hong Kong mercantile community and was to become an influential and prominent social figure in the colony within a short period of time.15

Apart from being sympathetic and concerned, the Hong Kong merchants took action to support their Guangdong counterparts. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce (Huashangzhonghui), Tung Wah Hospital, Chinese newspapers, especially the Huazi ribao, and other merchant organizations in the colony, acted together as a communications link between the merchants in Guangdong and their sympathizers outside of Guangdong. On many occasions during the Merchant Corps Incident, Chinese merchant bodies in different parts of the world, China, and even localities outside Guangzhou in Guangdong sent messages of support to the merchants in Guangzhou through one or more Hong Kong merchant organizations. Conversely, the merchant organizations in Guangzhou communicated with the outside world through the Hong Kong merchant network.16 The Chinese press in the British colony was all out in its attack on Sun's government and all other political elements suspected to be in collusion with Sun Yatsen. Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong were particularly important in forging public opinion in support of the merchants in Guangdong in that Chinese newspapers in Guangdong were prohibited from criticising Sun's government.17

The final suppression of the Merchant Corps Incident shocked the merchant community in Hong Kong. People in the colony were confronted with pictures of horrible killing and burning in the newspapers. The extent of destruction in reality must have been colossal in that urgent relief was organized by the Hong Kong Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Tung Wah Hospital and other merchant bodies. The crisis was so severe that the Hong Kong government which had hitherto tried hard to steer clear of Guangdong politics, was reported to have indicated that it “would not discourage attempts at sending up provisions and giving charity to war victims but a strictly non-partisan attitude would have to be adopted.”18 The important point is that the Chinese merchants and, through them, the people in general in Hong Kong linked this graphic scene of horrible waste and loss with communism and the communists.19

The Guangzhou-Hong Kong strike-boycott, 1925–1926

The communists contributed significantly to the ignition of the strike in Hong Kong. They also played an important part in first creating, and then maintaining, the structure and mechanism which enabled the strike, which later became a boycott against the British colony, to last for 16 months. The communist role, however, was not conspicuous to the ordinary eyes in that the communists were subsumed under the Guomindang identity. Both the Guomindang and the CCP were anxious to underplay the communist participation in order to disarm suspicion and maximize the effect and power of nationalism and anti-imperialism.20

However, the British government in Hong Kong, still led by Sir Reginald Stubbs, was again convinced of a communist plot, under the camouflage of Chinese nationalism, against British and foreign imperialism. The view was shared by British merchants, the English press, and in fact the entire foreign community in Hong Kong. Consequently, all the walkouts, intimidation of workers, and other strike-related activities were ultimately linked to the communists and Russian Bolshevist agents in Guangzhou.21

While there was clear evidence of an outpouring of nationalism on the part of many Chinese in Hong Kong, it was also clear that the Chinese elite in the colony was strongly supportive of the colonial administration and was in complete agreement with the government assessment, evaluation, and interpretation of the nature of the strike-boycott. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that the British colonial government could not have survived the unprecedented crisis the way it did had it not been for the unreserved and, indeed, unexpected support of the Chinese upper class which was largely made up of important merchants and some prominent Chinese professionals with whom they freely mixed in the same social, political, and business circles. One popular venue for them to socialize among themselves was undoubtedly the Chinese Club (Huashang huisuo) which was founded by Chinese merchant leaders at the end of the nineteenth century, with Ho Tung elected as its first chairman in 1899.22

For the British colonial administration, the most critical point of the long drawn out strike-boycott was perhaps at the beginning when large numbers of workers and students went on strike and left Hong Kong, largely as a result of the negotiation and organizational skills of a number of communists, particularly the well known labour activist, Deng Zhongxia.23 The British colony was threatened with total paralysis in all areas of life.

In response to the government's campaign to discourage workers from striking and leaving the colony and to minimize the effect of intimidation on them, Tung Wah Hospital worked out an attractive compensation scheme in case of injury or death for the retention of its own Chinese staff.24 In the mean time it operated its publicity mechanism at full gear and collaborated with other important Chinese merchant organizations in the colony in presenting the image of the strike-boycott as a communist plot for both local and overseas Chinese consumption.25

Notwithstanding the tremendous effort made to stop the workers' departures from Hong Kong, many did leave, creating an acute labour shortage in the territory. The Hong Kong government urgently needed volunteers to man essential services. For this they understandably turned for help to the expatriate community and not the local Chinese community. The manager of Butterfield and Swire, G. M. Young, was appointed as the Controller of Labour with an office in City Hall.26 No significant headway was made in the provision of essential labour until Tso Seen-wan (Cao Shanyun), a lawyer, was appointed Assistant Controller of Labour and took matters over from the government. The response of the affluent Chinese to Tso's call for voluntary service was swift and overwhelming. The government and expatriates were simply amazed by “the immediacy and scale of Chinese response.”27 Around 3 000 Chinese volunteered for service and by the end of July the government was able to report that the “collapse of the strike” was in sight.28

In retrospect, Robert Kotewall, one of the two Chinese representatives in the Legislative Council, unequivocally attributed the government's success in maintaining peace and order during the strike to two reasons:

They were first, the cooperation of almost the entire Foreign Community and the Chinese of the upper and the middle class with the Government; and, secondly, the close co-operation between the Government and the Chinese representatives.29

Even the expatriates fully acknowledged the role of the influential Chinese and its importance. This sense of appreciation can perhaps be capsulized by a comment made by a missionary who was in Hong Kong at the time. He referred to the influential and affluent Chinese as “Chinese of character” who “had a real stake in the Colony, and whose ‘loyalty’ to the Hong Kong government left ‘nothing to be desired’.”30

After the initial crisis was over, the strike evolved into a boycott, organized in Guangdong, against Hong Kong. During the lengthy boycott, the leading Chinese merchants became involved, as in the previous case of the Hong Kong Seamen's Strike, in negotiations with the various organizations in Guangzhou, especially the so-called Strike Committee, with the view of restoring normalcy to business in Hong Kong.31 Whatever stance the Hong Kong Chinese merchants might have adopted during the negotiation process, they did not once depart from the conviction that the communists, who had initiated the strike in the first place and were now in control of the Strike Committee, were the chief culprits responsible for their heavy financial losses. For the time being, the merchants felt that they had to bide their time as they saw the communists, incorporated in the Guomindang which had the Guangzhou government under its control, as having the upper hand.

The Nanchang and Guangzhou uprisings, August-December 1927

The Hong Kong Chinese merchants' perception of the strength of the communists underwent a drastic change in 1927. In the spring of that year, the Guomindang strong man, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), severed relations with the communists and launched the famous Party Purge Movement (Qingdang yundong). The Guangdong communist leadership made the decision to move the provincial communist headquarters to Hong Kong to avoid complete destruction before ordering the rank-and-file members to disperse and go underground. For the first time to the people in Hong Kong, communism and communists were now clearly identified as such without disguise. Communism could not hide so conveniently behind anti-imperialism or plain nationalism as the case might be, and communists could no longer pass as Guomindang members. What was even more important perhaps was that they were not only seen clearly, but also increasingly as losers, who nonetheless were capable of causing horrendous loss and destruction in their fall and defeat. The Nanchang Uprising in August and Guangzhou Uprising in December highlighted this changed situation.

Even before the Nanchang Uprising, the first military endeavour in the Chinese communist movement, the plight of the communists in Guangdong and the desperate attempts of many communists and communist suspects to escape to Hong Kong were publicized in the British colony almost on a daily basis in the Chinese press.32 Newspaper reporting also revealed the existence of close anti-communist cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The colonial authorities made no secret of the movement and activities of the agents of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau (Guangdongsheng gonganju) in the colony, the arrests made by the Hong Kong police, the trials and deportation in many cases of the communists and alleged communists.33

In the Nanchang Uprising, which began early in August, He Long and Ye Ting were ordered to push southward with their troops to the East River or Chaoshan region in Guangdong where Zhou Enlai had been active for some time. Zhang Tailei, who had only recently arrived in Hong Kong as the top communist leader was instructed by the central party leadership to go to the East River region to help with the preparations for the arrival of He and Ye. The plan was to reach Guangzhou.34 The movements of the troops of He and Ye were widely reported in Hong Kong. The collapse of their military position at the end of September when they had to evacuate from the Chaoshan area drew even greater public attention. Again through the newspapers patronized by the merchants, the Chinese community was made fully aware of the many arrivals and arrests of the communists fleeing by boat from Haifeng and Lufeng, places near to the sea in the Chaoshan area.35

All this media coverage of the communist plight failed to prepare the Chinese population for the shock of the Guangzhou Uprising which broke out on 11 December 1927. The Hong Kong merchants were particularly hard hit and distressed. The uprising lasted only two days but the destruction of life and property and the horror with which such destruction was brought about was totally disproportionate to the length of the event. The city of Guangzhou became desolate, business came to a total standstill, there were graphic scenes of brutal killings, and streets were strewn with dead bodies, including those of children.36 When business suffered in Guangzhou, the Chinese merchants in Hong Kong invariably also suffered. Much of the pillage and carnage was in fact caused by anti-communist action rather than by the communists. However, to the Chinese merchants and people in Hong Kong, communists were the roots of it all.

Period Not Marked by Specific Events, 1928–1934

It has been seen that the previous six years were packed with specific momentous events. This was not the case with the following six years, 1928–1934. However, communism by no means disappeared from the Guangdong/Hong Kong region, or from the consciousness of the Chinese merchants in the British colony. In fact, the enforced compliance of the communists in Hong Kong to the radical Li Lisan and Wang Ming Lines during part of this period of necessity gave rise to considerable visibility and a high profile which were entirely incongruous with the actual strength of the communist position in the territory.37

Attention might be gainfully focused on the Shantou mercantile community in Hong Kong in that there was a substantial number of Shantou merchants in Hong Kong who maintained close ties with their counties of origin. For some time before 1927, communist leaders, notably Peng Pai, had been active among the peasants in the Chaoshan region. During the few years before the Guangzhou Uprising, there were times when counties in the region, notably Haifeng and Lufeng, turned “red” under the spell of intensive communist influence and control.38 It has been seen that what began as the Nanchang Uprising was later extended to North Guangdong and eventually to the Shantou area.

Despite the catastrophic outcome of the Guangzhou Uprising, the communists persisted with their efforts in the Chaoshan region. A communist plot, allegedly “on similar lines” to the Guangzhou Uprising, was apparently uncovered by the authorities in Shantou.39 These disturbances caused great panic, many deaths and severe destruction to property. The Haifeng Lufeng region was a stark reflection of the gravity of the situation: “The ‘Red Terror’ policy had been enforced in Haifeng ever since the first uprising of April 1927; with the second occupation of the county city in September, the slaughter intensified. The Soviet adopted it as policy in November, with its resolution on ‘The Elimination of the Counterrevolutionaries,’ whereby all collaborators with the ‘enemy’ were to be shot. When the Peasant Association and the labour unions instructed their members to investigate and seize counter revolutionaries, this was interpreted as license[sic] to kill them on the spot. Those who offered them refuge would meet the same fate, their houses would be burned down, and their wealth forfeited. The same applied to anyone found in possession of valuables belonging to the rebels and traitors or offering them assistance.” The extent of the loss of life and property on that occasion is evident in the following statistics: “… a conservative estimate of 5 000 would seem near the mark … In all, some 14,180 houses in Hai-Lu-feng were destroyed; at five persons per household, this would constitute about one tenth of the houses in the two counties. Up to the end of January [1928], 451 walled villages had been destroyed. Two separate reports put the economic losses in Hai-Lu-feng at about ¥62 000 000.”40 Expectedly, missionary work in the area was violently dislodged. According to one reliable Catholic source, 108 Chinese Catholic Christians were killed in Haifeng and foreign and Chinese Catholic priests, including Father Lorenzo Bianchi (Bai Yingqi) who years later was to become bishop of Hong Kong, had to flee the region at the end of 1927 and early in 1928.41 Records of the missionaries of the Presbytherian Church of England, one of the two major Protestant organizations working in the area, contain graphic details of the horror and desolation created in the locality by the communists.42

Reports of these events became quickly and widely circulated in the Shantou community in Hong Kong. A mechanism of close and regular communication existed between the Shantou merchants in Hong Kong, many of whom aggregated in the Nam Pak Hong (nanbeihang) area, which is situated between the Western and Central districts on Hong Kong Island, and their families and business associates in the Chaoshan region.43 There were also numerous eyewitnesses of the destruction in that allegedly “by December there were 30 000 Hai-Lu-feng refugees in Hong Kong.”44 Some of the refugees did not only provide information on the communist activities back home, they also served as informants and proved to be of great service to both the Hong Kong authorities and the Guangzhou public security agents stationed in the colony in the arrest and conviction of communists and their associates who had fled the Chaoshan region. Moreover, by this time, the distance between the Shantou mercantile communities in Hong Kong and Guangdong was markedly reduced by the increasingly common use of telegraphic communication. For instance, at the beginning of 1930, the Association of the Provincials of Hailufeng (Hailufeng tongxianghui) in Hong Kong received wireless telegraphic news from Hailufeng of the crisis and trouble created in the locality by an escalation of communist activities.45 Their distress and horror over the suffering caused by the communists to their relatives and business associates back in China unquestionably contributed significantly to the strong anti-communist tradition which had by then firmly taken root among the merchants in the Guangdong/Hong Kong region.

Encouraged by the establishment of an anti-communist regime in Guangzhou and the heavy losses suffered by the communists in 1927, the British Hong Kong government maintained close relations with the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau in its attempt to eliminate the communist presence in the colony. There is clear evidence that the Hong Kong authorities formally requested for assistance in the suppression of communism in the colony to the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau in the late 1920s and early 1930s.46 There were numerous raids on suspected communist hideouts and premises. Many communists or communist suspects were arrested, tried, imprisoned, or deported during the period.

The Chinese merchants expectedly welcomed and endorsed the anti-communist stance adopted by the government. Endorsement was not just a matter of attitude. It assumed a tangible form in the District Watch Force which provided the Hong Kong Police with substantial additional manpower in the arrests of communists and people suspected to be communists. The force, which worked closely with the police, was almost entirely financed by Chinese merchants. The District Watch Force rose from 122 members making 606 arrests in 1927 to 140 members making 1 236 arrests in 1934. Many of the arrests made especially between 1927 and 1932 were those of communists and communist suspects, often as the result of searching passengers who arrived in or left Hong Kong by ship. In the “Report of the Inspector General of Police for the Year 1929,” specific reference is made to a raid mounted by both the police and district watchman on 29 September on “a Communist Meeting in full swing at a Chinese Temple on the outskirts of Kowloon City.” More than 50 people were arrested and the leaders were later banished.47 A recent study underlines the predominant financial support of the Chinese merchants: “When the financial state of the District Watch Force is considered, it is important to recall that it continued to be funded by local Chinese business men augmented by a small annual donation of $1 600 (later $2 000) which Government made to the Fund between the early 1870s and 1893 and from 1903 to 1936. There has been no change in this important financial principle since its inception in 1866.”48 The Chinese merchants' support for the anti-communist action was also clearly reflected in the Chinese newspapers which they patronized. The Huaqiao ribao in particular devoted a good deal of coverage to the ruthless attempts made by the Guangdong authorities to suppress the communists in the province.49 The result was the emergence of a popular consensus that communism and the communists were bad for society and therefore were to be shunned and eradicated.50

Concluding Remarks

The Chinese elite in Hong Kong since the beginning was largely made up of important merchants, many of whom were closely associated with top Chinese professionals in the colony. The close affinity between the two groups is clearly reflected in the glowing references to some of the foremost Chinese community leaders at the time, such as Lau Chu-pak, Ho Tung, and Robert Kotewall, in the magazine of the Student Union of the University of Hong Kong which, since its beginning in 1911, had been a key venue where local professionals studied and trained.51 The merchants also advanced and maintained their leadership position through being perceived as the main providers of charity and welfare to the underprivileged Chinese,52 and participation in public services in the colony. From the late nineteenth century, the British colonial government became increasingly aware of the importance of the Chinese elite in the smooth administration of the colony. Such awareness culminated in the Guangzhou-Hong Kong strike-boycott of 1925–1926, which the British colonial government considered, and certainly portrayed, to be a communist crime.

Communism was certainly not the first form of radicalism that the Hong Kong merchant elite had been confronted with by the early 1920s. It has been seen that, during the period in question (that is the earliest period of the Chinese communist movement) the Chinese merchants in Hong Kong, as well as their counterparts in Guangdong, were firmly opposed to the new ideology and its outworking in the region. However, it must not be mistaken that the Chinese merchants were, and had invariably and consistently been, against radicalism of any form. An obvious example was their enthusiastic endorsement and practical support of the 1911 Revolution which successfully ushered in republicanism, something radical at that time in China's history. In 1913, more or less the same group of revolutionaries, whom the merchants had earlier supported, launched the so-called Second Revolution against President Yuan Shikai. But this time, merchant support was not forthcoming.53 There was therefore no fixed pattern in the merchants' attitude towards radicalism and radicals. What or who was supported one time might not be supported another time. This inconsistency is clearly reflected in the merchants' attitude towards communism and the communists. The period under discussion here was perhaps the time when the merchants in Hong Kong were most united, most uncompromising, and most vehement in their opposition to communism in the history of the Chinese communist movement. What has perhaps been consistent and expected about the merchants' behaviour is that it is ultimately governed by business considerations and what is best for the promotion of their influence, position, and status in the society of Hong Kong.

From the early 1920s to the mid 1930s, the main centres of communist activities in Guangdong were Guangzhou and the Chaoshan region. These were, significantly, the two business centres in Guangdong which the Hong Kong merchants were most connected with and concerned about. Communism was regarded as the principal culprit in causing severe business disruption in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and the Chaoshan district in the Hong Kong Seamen's Strike, The Merchant Corps Incident, the Guangzhou-Hong Kong Strike-boycott, the Guangzhou Uprising in 1927, and in the ensuing years.

The question of the attitude towards Sun Yat-sen came up repeatedly during much of the first six year period of the present time frame because of Sun's adoption of the “alliance with Soviet Russia and admission of the communists” (liene rong gong) policy. Britain had always been consistently anti-Sun Yat-sen from the beginning of the Revolutionary Movement at the end of the nineteenth century. There might be changes in the degree of distrust and dislike but, in the main, these sentiments characterized Britain's attitude towards Sun for about 30 years before his death in 1925.54 However, it has previously been suggested that this was not the case as far as the relationship between the merchants in the Hong Kong/Guangdong region and Sun was concerned. There were multiple reasons for the merchants' rejection of Sun Yat-sen since his return to Guangdong in the early 1920s. One important reason was certainly their genuine fear of communism and the communists.

During the period 1921–1934 the merchants' anti-communist stance was not unique in Hong Kong. In fact, the entire Hong Kong society could be said to be anti-communist. The British colonial government was anti-communist and adopted increasingly harsh suppressive measures against communism with the removal of the communist-infested Guomindang regime in Guangzhou as a result of the Party Purge Movement. The merchant elite played a significant role in the creation of an anti-communist environment in Hong Kong. This was done mainly through the moulding of Chinese opinion as a result of the merchants' influence over the major Chinese newspapers, and through the merchants' control of the local job market. It has to be remembered that the Chinese merchants, apart from the government and the foreign firms, provided the bulk of employment opportunities in the colony. Consequently, anti-communism during this period transcended class divisions and was commonly shared by different social classes.

11 Made in China or Made in Hong Kong? National Goods and the Hong Kong Business Community

Chung Wai-keung


Guohuo, national goods, was a term being used from the early 1900s to refer to goods produced in China by Chinese owned and managed factories.1 It was a notion that emerged in the context of a series of boycott campaigns against foreign goods from the early 1900s and, in particular, against Japanese goods in the 1930s. A national reaction to foreign invasion, the boycott of foreign goods encouraged the use of national goods produced by the Chinese. Many activities were formed to promote the use and sales of guohuo. These activities ranged from distributing handbills to organizing factory vending strategies and exhibitions of the product. The campaign was, as a whole, considered to be successful in arousing the Chinese and the overseas Chinese to use Chinese goods.2

Were goods, produced by Chinese manufacturers in Hong Kong, national goods? According to the Provisional Standards for Chinese National Goods (Guohuo zanding biaozhun) promulgated by the Chinese government in 1928 and its later versions,3 they could be. According to the standards, products were classified as national goods as long as they were produced by Chinese owned and managed factories, with Chinese workers and raw materials of Chinese origins. The only problem with the Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers was that their production was in a British colony. This alone made their products non-national. Even though the goods met the standards for Chinese national goods, they were considered as foreign goods with heavy import duties added to them. The Hong Kong manufacturing community had tried many times to persuade the Chinese government to grant “national goods” status to their products but was denied every time. Ironically, even though Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers had never been recognized officially as national goods manufacturers, they had organized seven annual exhibitions of guohuo between 1938 and 1951 to exhibit products that were mainly produced in Hong Kong.

This chapter attempts to give an account of how the Hong Kong Chinese manufacturing community used the notion guohuo to refer to their own products before and after the Second World War, when this status was actually denied by the Chinese government. The use of the notion guohuo for the industrial exhibition was given up after 1951. Instead, the term Chinese-capital industrial products (huazi gongye chupin), which made the products still carry a Chinese identity, was used to refer to the products exhibited in the annual exhibitions. The English title of the exhibitions, however, was Exhibition of Hong Kong Products, which instead carried a Hong Kong identity for the products. Based on business news in the Chinese newspaper Wah Tsz Yat Po (China Mail) between 1935 and 19404 and other sources for the later period, this paper provides an analysis on this changing identity of the Hong Kong business community before and after the war.

The Creation of a Chinese Identity

Hong Kong was basically a trading port with little industrial production before the 1930s. Industries in Hong Kong started to develop in the late 1920s and early 1930s and increased rapidly in scale only until the final few years before the Japanese occupation in 1941. There were probably about 200 major factories in Hong Kong during the late 1930s.5 Because of the small size of the local market, products from Hong Kong were intended mainly for export to China (mainly south China), Southeast Asia and, in lesser quantities, to America and Europe.6 Since after the Chinese government had gained back her custom autonomy in the late 1920s, the Hong Kong factories had lost their competitive power over foreign goods. Although predominantly owned and managed by the Chinese, Hong Kong goods were treated as foreign goods simply because of Hong Kong's status as a British colony.7 Because of the heavy import duties that were added to the Hong Kong products, Chinese manufacturers in Hong Kong became less competitive. They could not benefit much from the extensive business networks developed by the Hong Kong traders in China that had contributed 40 percent of Hong Kong's total import export trade.8 At more or less the same time, the Imperial Preference under the Ottawa Agreement of 1932 gave Hong Kong products a chance to enter part of the British Imperial market with favorable import tariffs. The inherited discrimination against the colony's industrial products by the Imperial market, however, limited the potential market for Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers.

Mainland China, especially south China, used to be a major market for Hong Kong products. According to a survey of 112 Chinese owned factories,9 most factories reported multiple markets for their products. 70 out of the 112 factories, or 62.5 percent, reported that they exported to China (mostly south China). Except for a few factories whose products were either cheap enough or remained competitive for other reasons, most factories claimed that the China market had shrunk to be almost non-existent after the Chinese government increased import duties.10 The real impact of the rise in Chinese import duties cannot be calculated, since no official data is available for the quantity and value of exports to China. The above survey, however, reported that because of sudden changes in the Chinese market, Hong Kong's weaving industry had shrunk from a total of more than 600 factories of various sizes in 1929 to just about 130 in 1934. The Weaving Association, which mostly involved larger factories, used to have about 60 member factories, but the number decreased to around 30 factories by 1934. A knitting factory in 1936 reported that sales in China had reduced from 30–40 percent to 10 percent of its total sales since the rise of import duties.11 In the same survey, 92 factories, or 82 percent of the factories, reported Southeast Asia (and some parts of India also) as their major market. And 38 factories, or only about 34 percent of surveyed factories, reported that their products had a local market (six reported that the local market was their only market).12

Due to the fact that during that time there existed no organization that could represent Chinese manufacturers in Hong Kong, a few key Chinese manufacturers created one in 1934.13 The main function of the organization was to coordinate Chinese manufacturers in Hong Kong to persuade the Chinese government to grant them, if not a totally equal status to the indigenous Chinese goods, at least a favorable status for export of Hong Kong goods to the China market.14 Originally, the organization was to be named the Hong Kong Overseas Chinese National Goods Manufacturers' Union (Qiaogang guohuo changshang lianhehui).15 The title explicitly indicated how they identified themselves and that they would like the Chinese government to see them as national goods manufacturers. The name finally decided upon was the Chinese Manufacturers' Union of Hong Kong. The part “of Hong Kong” was seldom seen in most contexts after its creation, which again may mean they wanted to emphasize more on the Chinese and not on the Hong Kong origin of the organization. By discussing, formally and informally, with provincial officials in Guangdong and central officials in Nanjing, the union constantly requested for more competitive marketing conditions for its products. The requests, however, were never granted.16

Hong Kong products were not considered as Chinese products in mainland China. In Southeast Asia, however, the situation was different. Probably based on a looser definition of “Chinese,” Hong Kong's products were considered just as Chinese as products from the Mainland. For example, Hong Kong manufacturers were invited by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1935, along with other manufacturers in Hankou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen, and Fuzhou, to participate in an exhibition of Chinese goods in Singapore.17 Similar exhibitions in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) also invited Hong Kong to participate.18 Hong Kong products had captured a large market in Southeast Asia especially after the boycott of Japanese goods resulting from the Sino-Japanese conflicts.

The Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers might not have considered actively creating an image of national goods manufacturers for themselves yet when they decided to participate in a National Goods Exhibition. In 1938, The Propose to Use National Goods Group (Chang yong guohuo tuan), founded by the Hong Kong YMCA and YWCA, proposed to the Chinese Manufacturers' Union to organize a National Goods Exhibition in Hong Kong to promote the use of guohuo in the colony. First reacting passively to this proposal, the union accepted the suggestion but worked slowly on the preparation and did not finalize the exhibition's rules and regulations until 20 days before it was due to begin.19 The reaction from the manufacturers, moreover, were not good either,20 partly because there wasn't enough time for the manufacturers to prepare for the exhibition, and partly because they were not sure about the benefits that they could get from the participation. In the first few days after the official announcement of the exhibition, only 20 factories agreed to send exhibits. The union managed to have about 80 factories and companies agreed to participate before the opening of the exhibition on 4 February 1938.21


Figure 11.1

Despite the fact that the exhibition was called Exhibition of Chinese Products (Zhongguo huopin zhanlanhui), or more commonly Guohuo zhanlanhui, most of the participants were actually Hong Kong-based factories and companies, with very few of them from the Mainland.22 Hong Kong goods became guohuo in the exhibition. The identity would certainly be familiar within the Southeast Asia overseas Chinese population, but it might not be that popular for the local market. I have yet to find more evidence on this matter but, based on the limited evidence that I cite below, the notion of guohuo was seldom used to market Hong Kong-made products in Hong Kong. From the manufacturers' advertisements that I collected,23 I found very few factories and companies in Hong Kong that used the notion guohuo to promote their goods.24 For companies that had business both in China and in Hong Kong, most used the notion guohuo on their advertisements in China but not in Hong Kong. For example, Tian Chu, a prominent figure in the National Goods Movement (Guohuo yundong) in China, put the term guohuo on an advertisement in China but not for one in Hong Kong.25


Figure 11.2


Figure 11.3

Probably because of the uncertainty of this idea, the Chinese Manufacturers' Union used many ways to advertise the exhibition and to promote the idea of using (and buying) guohuo to the Chinese resident of Hong Kong. These included radio broadcasts; newspaper advertisements; posters hung on buses, ferries, and in theatres; letters to every school; and requests to bookstores to display books on the National Goods Movement, etc.26 To attract more people to come, the exhibition also provided entertainment such as new style opera and traditional Cantonese opera.27

The opening ceremony of the 1st Guohuo Exhibition sheds light on how the Chinese Manufacturers' Union and the Hong Kong government defined this event. It was quite clear that, through the exhibition, the union was trying to introduce a Chinese identity for Hong Kong goods to the public.28 The opening declaration of the exhibition given by Ip Lan Chuen, chairman of the union, used a lot of Chinese-identity notions to refer to the event.29 By using phrases such as “national calamity” (guonan), “love one's country” (aiguo), “national resurgence” (minzu fuxing), and “fellow countrymen” (guoren), Ip was trying to suggest at the same time that Hong Kong Chinese should identify themselves with the Mainland.30 Also, he associated the industrial development of Hong Kong with that of the Mainland, and suggested that to love our country, we should use guohuo; even though the guohuo at the exhibition were actually Hong Kong products (Xianggang huo).31

In contrast to the Chinese definition of Hong Kong products given by Ip Lan Chuen, the speech given by Sir Robert H. Kotewall, Kt., then president of the union but also member of the Executive Council of the colony, represented a perspective that the colonial government might have adopted. In his speech, Sir Robert used notions such as “Hong Kong products” (Xianggang chupin), “Chinese people” (huaren) and “Hong Kong Chinese people” (Xianggang huaren).32 The use of these Hong Kong-identity notions carried a latent implication of a distinction between Hong Kong and China.33 The use of huaren, as an ethnical term, rather than zhongguo ren might also be used to avoid the political connotation that the term zhongguo ren might carry. The Hong Kong Chinese were only ethnic Chinese who happened to be living in Hong Kong. In his speech in 1940, during the 4th National Goods Exhibition, he emphasized the role of the Hong Kong government in the development of the Hong Kong industry. Rather than seeing Chinese manufacturing businesses as part of the Chinese national economy, his speech reassured that the local economy was the Hong Kong colonial government's responsibility.34

Made in China or Made in Hong Kong?

After the first exhibition, the public reaction on guohuo was better than expected by the union. Thereafter, the exhibition became the union's regular annual activity. The strategy of calling Hong Kong goods “national goods” remained unaltered for the next six exhibitions.35 Even though exhibits from China became more visible, the exhibition was still dominated by Hong Kong goods. For example, at the 4th Guohuo Exhibition, an agent in Hong Kong organized about 20 Shanghainese factories to participate, but the made-in-China guohuo were all put under a special section of the exhibition site and were separated from the remainder of the exhibits.36 The promotion of guohuo by the union in Hong Kong, therefore, might not really mean guohuo from China. Even though, they did promote guohuo from China at the same time, and could be considered as one of their patriotic acts,37 the promotion of Hong Kong goods, now named vaguely as guohuo, was still their first priority.

The union's latent definition of their guohuo as made-in-Hong Kong products was obvious when we look at their relationships with other organizations that were at the same time promoting the use of guohuo in Hong Kong. The key national goods organization (guohuo tuanti) in Hong Kong was the Chinese National Goods Production and Sales Association (Zhonghua guohuo chanxiao xiehui). It was originally the Friday Lunch Gathering Society (Xingwu jucanhui), a group of key Shanghainese bankers and entrepreneurs which had actively participated in the National Goods Movement when they were in China.38 A Hong Kong branch of the jucanhui was established in 1938, when key participants of the jucanhui fled from Shanghai and settled in Hong Kong after the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.39 The Chanxiao xiehui was established later, in 1940.40

These people represented the most authentic group that had been involved in the National Goods Movement in China. Even though both were talking about how to promote guohuo, the Chinese Manufacturers' Union, however, had never developed any intimate relationship with them. Ip Lan Chuen was one of the committee members of the Chanxiao xiehui, but his involvement probably was merely symbolic. Philip Gockchin (or Guo Quan), the then chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese Chamber of Commerce, was also being invited to be one of the committee members, but this again was more as a symbolic act. It was mentioned that the Chanxiao xiehui had helped to prepare the 3rd Guohuo Exhibition,41 but this was never acknowledged in any document from the union that I have come across. So, very likely, they may have played a minor role in the Hong Kong Guohuo Exhibition, or at least the union did not want to talk about it. Another event that shows the distance between them was in 1939, when both groups sent investigation teams to Macau to see if it was suitable for investment. The two teams went separately.42 There were a few other guohuo tuanti in Hong Kong, but all had few connections with the union.43

The differences in what the union and the Chanxiao xiehui actually wanted to promote were again obvious when we look at how they tried to organize the sales outlets for their respective guohuo. Guohuo in China had been organized to sell through the China Products Company (Zhongguo guohuo gongsi). A branch, therefore, was established in Hong Kong to serve the same purpose. The company was set up in 1938 with China Bank (HK) Co. and Communications Bank (HK) Co. as the key shareholders. A group of factories and people with Shanghai origin also held some shares. The company sold made-in-China guohuo, but it is not certain if they also sold made-in-Hong Kong guohuo. The shareholders' list indicates that only very few Hong Kong factories and people held shares and they were in very small quantities.44 Ip Lan Chuen, for example, held 315 shares which constituted less than 0.25 percent of the total. This may very well indicate that the China Products Company in Hong Kong had few ties with the Hong Kong industrial community.

Rather than using the newly established China Products Company as an outlet, the Chinese Manufacturers' Union actually tried to set up its own guohuo gongsi right after the first guohuo exhibition.45 Because of the success of the exhibition, a meeting was held by the union to discuss with the exhibition participants what they should do in the future to promote the sales of guohuo. The participants concluded that they should organize a Chinese products department store as an outlet for the guohuo. The company was named as Chinese Products Co. Ltd. (Zhongguo huopin youxiangongsi) and articles of association of the company were passed a few days after the decision. Interestingly, even though the company was going to be registered in Hong Kong, the company was organized in a typical Chinese way when we look at how the company's articles of association were written.46

According to the plan, manufacturers in Hong Kong could rent booths in the department store to sell their products.47 While the exact purpose of setting up the company is far from clear, it sounds like the company was set up for the sales of local guohuo, (i.e. Hong Kong products) as their main business. Guohuo from other places of the Mainland probably would be sold on a conditional basis. The company, however, was never established. According to news reports, a few meetings were scheduled after the horse racing and football season in Hong Kong had started, and were cancelled because of insufficient attendance.48 Manufacturers probably lost interest since they might not be sure about the sales and therefore were not willing to commit capital to the company.

Market-driven Identity

I have yet to discover any direct evidence that may determine why the Chinese Manufacturers' Union decided to use guohuo to refer to products that were actually made in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, I would like to argue that it was very likely that the adoption of the notion guohuo was a pragmatic market expansion strategy. When the union was organized, there was a debate on whether Hong Kong manufacturers should move north to explore the Mainland market or move south to develop the Southeast Asian market.49 Based on the socio-political context during the wartime, no matter where Hong Kong manufacturers went, they could have benefited from using a guohuo label.

The only way for Hong Kong products to compete with other foreign goods in the China Market was to be considered guohuo, so that import duties could be lower and prices could then be more competitive. The adoption of the guohuo identity in a public way, such as organizing an exhibition under the title guohuo, then might actually be part of the strategy to persuade the Chinese government. To label products as guohuo was also a good marketing strategy to promote sales in China and the crowded-with-refugees local market, when Guohuo yundong in China had already succeeded. This unilateral adoption of the guohuo label was, of course, not totally successful. Rather then granting Hong Kong manufacturers a vast market, the most direct response from the Chinese government in terms of assisting Hong Kong manufacturers was to suggest they move (neiqian) into Guangdong. Substantial assistance, including cash subsidies was provided. Most manufacturers, however, responded to this suggestion in a very conservative way but some factories did move into Guangdong.50 At this point, Hong Kong manufacturers had already given up hope that the Chinese government would change its mind and had decided they should look for export markets outside China.51

Sales of Chinese guohuo became very good in Southeast Asia in the late 1930s, and was much better than in the Hong Kong market.52 Guohuo exhibitions were organized by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce in different Southeast Asian cities as early as 1915.53 The overseas Chinese, especially those in Southeast Asia, had a strong preference for Chinese-made goods. A guohuo label, an authentic one, certainly guaranteed good sales in the Southeast Asian market. The union issued its own guohuo certificate to Hong Kong products as a proof of their Chinese origin.54 The Guohuo exhibition in Hong Kong was an additional way to sort out, with strict examination, authentic Chinese goods (mostly Hong Kong-made, though) by displaying them publicly.55

Having failed to convince the central government to allow Hong Kong products to enter the China market as indigenous products, the union changed its strategy, instead asking for the issue of a National Goods Certificate (guohuo zhengmingshu) from the government as a proof of authentic “Chineseness” for the Southeast Asian market.56 The proposal was turned down again as might have been expected. The Ministry of the Economy, however, agreed instead to issue an “Overseas Chinese industrial products certificate” as a guarantee of authenticity to qualified Hong Kong manufacturers. The criteria were relatively more flexible and most Hong Kong manufacturers should be qualified.57 It was quite clear how eager Hong Kong manufacturers wanted to be seen as guohuo producers simply because of market considerations.


Figure 11.4


Figure 11.5

A guohuo label could also be used as a marketing strategy for the Hong Kong local market. Most companies in Hong Kong did not use it as a selling point simply because it might not work for the Hong Kong local population. The notion guohuo was first considered for local market use when refugees from the Mainland constituted almost half of the Hong Kong population.58 In 1931, the population of Hong Kong was 840 473 and remained steady until 1937, when 100 000 refugees arrived in Hong Kong. Another 500 000 came in 1938 and yet another 150 000 in 1939.59 When a significant, and indeed, overwhelming proportion of Hong Kong's populace was from China, and thus more familiar with the nationalistic notion of guohuo, it became a feasible strategy to promote the sales of products manufactured in Hong Kong by using the notion. Some local manufacturers did, in fact, adopt the strategy, and used it in their advertisements.60

Concluding Remarks: “Hong Kong People Use Hong Kong Goods”

The use of guohuo to refer to Chinese made products in Hong Kong was finally given up in 1951, probably in reaction to political changes in the Mainland.61 The annual industrial exhibition, which to a large extent was an exhibition for Hong Kong goods, now was renamed as Exhibition of Hong Kong Chinese-capital Industrial Products (Xianggang huazi gongye chupin zhanlanhui). Without the nationalistic connotation that guohuo carried, huazi still implied an ethnic identity distinguishable from other kinds of capital. The English title of the exhibition, which was not for ordinary Chinese to read, however, did not have the “Chinese-capital” part and was simply called Exhibition of Hong Kong Products.


Figure 11.6

During the 1950s, the major market for Hong Kong products was still export markets. To what extent a Chinese identity (claimed as huazi or Chinese capital) could help to cultivate the overseas market during that time still needs further research, but obviously an ethnic Chinese identity would probably help connect a product to the widely spread Chinese business networks that could be found in East and Southeast Asia.62


Figure 11.7

The alternative identity, a Hong Kong identity, was first mentioned in 1954 but was becoming mature in the late 1950s when the population of Hong Kong reached 3 000 000. In response to this potential local market, the Chinese Manufacturers' Union launched a new campaign. During the 15th Exhibition of Hong Kong Products, the slogan “Hong Kong People Use Hong Kong Goods” was promoted as a way to support the industrial growth of Hong Kong.63 Both the chairman and the government official who attended the opening ceremony urged Hong Kong manufacturers not to neglect this potential market.64 Once again, the identity of products was changed as it was driven by a new market. Old identities, on the other hand, faded out from public awareness when there was no practical need for them. The highly vaunted notion of guohuo status disappeared in most documents published later about the history of the Exhibition of Hong Kong Products. In an essay that provided a historical review of the exhibition, all past exhibitions were called “exhibition of industrial products” (gongzhanhui), a contemporary term that was not used until the late 1950s.65

12 Hong Kong's Economie Relations With China 1949–55: Blockade, Embargo and Financial Controls

Catherine R. Schenk

Hong Kong's post-war relations with China were rocked by three shocks associated with the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949. The first was the blockade of Shanghai and the Pearl River by retreating nationalist forces and subsequent air raids on shipping. The second was the embargo on trade with China, Hong Kong and Macau piloted by the USA in 1950 and reinforced by a United Nations embargo in 1951. The third was the freezing of US$ assets owned by Chinese, which was imposed by the Americans in December 1950. Together, these constraints on China's foreign trade are widely credited with ending Hong Kong's traditional entrepot role and encouraging instead the manufacturing sector of Hong Kong. They also, however, created opportunities for Hong Kong traders and shifted the direction of their international trading links.

This chapter will explore the genesis and impact of these successive shocks to Hong Kong's economic relations with China. New evidence will be presented from the archives of the Hongkong Bank (HSBC), Foreign Office, Treasury, Bank of England and the US State Department.1

Nationalist Blockade

Trade with communist-occupied north China was initially disrupted by the uncertainty associated with the changeover of political control. In the first months after the communist take-over, trade was conducted either on a barter basis or using privately supplied foreign exchange. Towards the end of March 1949, three Hong Kong steamers chartered by local Chinese merchants departed from Hong Kong for Tianjin to resume trade on a barter basis.2 The communist authorities limited imports to essentials to conserve foreign exchange, resulting in losses for Hong Kong merchants who had held contracts dated from before the liberation. The Commodities Exchange Bureau in ports in North China required all inessential imported goods to be returned to Hong Kong. The ensuing congestion and uncertainty brought trade with Hong Kong to a virtual halt by mid-May 1949.3

Conditions eased through June, but the bombing of the Anchisesin Shanghai and the announcement by the KMT (Guomindang) on 26 June that communist held ports were to be blockaded forestalled the resumption of trade. The blockade included the mining of the Yangzi River as well as air and sea attacks. After the fall of Canton to communist forces at the end of October 1949, the blockade was extended to the Pearl River, with the further disruption of shipping from Hong Kong.4 Despite protests by the British and the Americans,5 the blockade was formally lifted only in late May 1950.6

The blockade was initially effective all the way up the Chinese coast but in the first part of July the KMT lost control of islands off Taku, which made any blockade of Tianjin or Qingdao impossible. From mid-July, the KMT concentrated its attention on blockading the port of Shanghai and so ships destined for ports further north (Qingdao, Tianjin, Yingkou) were left relatively unmolested.7 Foreign ships were very active in running the blockade. In particular, Jardine Matheson and Co. and Butterfield and Swire ran 30 000 tons of cargo to north China from August to mid-October 1949.8 In September 1949, these two companies were agents for five out of 15 sailings from Hong Kong to Tianjin.9 The American Isbrandtson line dominated the trade to Shanghai. Four Isbrandtson ships were engaged in runs to Shanghai from the beginning of September 1949, suffering varying degrees of interference, especially on their return journeys to Hong Kong. The East China Foreign Trade Control Bureau reported that, from the beginning of June to the end of October 1949, goods imported into Shanghai using private foreign exchange amounted to US$8.5 million, £1.44 million, and HK$30 million.10

Nevertheless the damage caused by the blockade to the trade of Shanghai was substantial. The communist newspaper, Economics Weekly, reported in January 1950 that 50 000 tons of shipping (equivalent to more than half the Shanghai shipping stock after the KMT retreat) had been sunk or damaged as a result of raids by nationalist aircraft.11 A variety of steps were taken to ensure the continuation of supplies into Shanghai. To evade the blockade, goods were initially shipped at night but this proved too hazardous because of the destruction of buoys and navigational aids. The shortage of willing sailors was countered with a policy to compensate families of crewmembers killed while transporting essential military or government supplies. Other government incentives included grants and loans to salvage damaged shipping, and air defence stations established as safe havens for shipping along the coast from Shanghai to Jiujiang.

The Northern ports of China recovered relatively quickly, helped by the loss of competition from Shanghai.12 In September 1949, total imports into Tianjin doubled and exports increased 50 percent over August to exceed the pre-war level. While about 90 percent of Shanghai's trade was conducted by State Trading Companies, the state was responsible for only about one third of the trade of Tianjin. Of the other two thirds, foreign merchants accounted for 21 percent of exports and 5 percent of imports. Just over half of exports from Tianjin were destined for the USA and 41 percent for Hong Kong.13 The Shanghai manager of the Hongkong Bank reported that during the blockade:

Certain small coasters, run by local mushroom companies have traded between Hong Kong and Shanghai but their high freight rates and uncertain services inspired little confidence, and most traders preferred the train routes to Tientsin (Tianjin) and Tsingtao (Qingdao).14

There were a total of 97 departures from Hong Kong to China and North Korea between 29 September and 26 November 1949,15 close to half of which were in November. On average about one ship set sail for these ports each day in September and October. British flag ships dominated the traffic, accounting for just over half of the total sailings. Butterfield and Swire were the agents most involved in this trade, contracting 19 departures, mainly to Tianjin. Panamanian ships were the next most common, accounting for 18 departures, half of which were destined for North Korean ports.

By contrast, in September and October only seven vessels set sail for Shanghai and most were intercepted by the Nationalist Navy and charged “squeeze” in return for continuing their journey. The American ship Flying Traderof the Isbrandtsen Line reached Shanghai on 3 October with freight worth HK$100 per ton and paid $HK25 per ton in bribes.16 It carried cigarette paper and machinery from New York, cotton from Karachi, rubber from Colombo and Singapore and a wide selection of industrial goods from Hong Kong including chemicals, dyes, pharmaceuticals and oil.17 Of 13 ships which left Hong Kong for Shanghai after 23 October, only four succeeded in reaching the port and returning with varying degrees of risk, delay and damage.18 Another Isbrandtsen ship, the Sir John Franklin, was heavily shelled and unable to leave Shanghai, prompting a public protest from the US State Department.

Foreign businesses in China complained bitterly about the impact of the blockade on their profits and the lack of official response from their governments. The Americans officially acquiesced to the blockade as part of their ebbing support for the nationalist cause. Despite Britain's detachment from the KMT and imminent recognition of the communist government, it was unwilling to antagonise the Americans by sending naval ships to break the blockade.19 Finally, from 1 November 1949, the British Navy announced that it would protect British ships outside Chinese territorial waters (a three mile limit) while on their voyage to Chinese ports. Despite the continued American recognition of the KMT, at the end of 1949 the US Isbrandtson ship Flying Arrowwas shelled by nationalist forces as it approached Shanghai. The CIA reported that “the Nationalists have explained that the action was taken to prevent the vessel from suffering certain destruction by mines. The real motive, of course, was their determination to prolong the isolation of Shanghai by sea.”20 From the beginning of 1950, after the USA change of policy with respect to Taiwan, the blockade became indiscriminate and the US Navy agreed to operate rescue missions as a humanitarian gesture for US ships in danger.21

Despite this protection, the UK Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong advised in December 1949 that “the blockade in the mouths of the Yangzi and the Pearl Rivers continued to be regarded as dangerous.”22 From early November there was a queue of at least six ships waiting to run through the Nationalist guard ships at the mouth of the Yangzi River. Some returned to Hong Kong or were diverted to ports further north.23 In November only four vessels entered Shanghai and six were able to clear the port. The next month, no ships were able to enter and only one ship cleared.24 In November, by contrast, 49 ships entered Tianjin and 28 entered Qingdao (of which 16 were from Hong Kong). In the same month 42 ships cleared Tianjin, and 24 cleared Qingdao (of which 13 were destined for Hong Kong).25

Because the world's trade with China focused on Hong Kong for transhipment, the main impact for Hong Kong was the accumulation of goods which had been imported for re-export to China. Through bills of lading were difficult to contract which left goods in Hong Kong awaiting transport aboard charters willing to run the blockade. This built up to a critical congestion of merchandise and shipping through the second half of 1949.26 By July 1949, 50 000 bales of raw cotton were stored in Hong Kong awaiting export to Shanghai.27 The Hongkong Bank and other British banks operating in China and Hong Kong were put under increasing pressure. Merchants incurred large losses, and letters of credit offered by the banks to traders had to be extended.

After the fall of Canton to the communists in October, the nationalist blockade was extended. At first, motor junk traffic with the southern port of Shantou thrived on the shortages of goods in China. Junks charged an extra fee for running the blockade which amounted to about HK$20 per 100 catties of commodities so that a medium sized junk could earn HK$10 000 for each trip. The main commodities in this trade were evaporated milk and kerosene.28 Larger ships began to trade with Xiamen and Shantou in November 1949. At the beginning of the month, however, two British ships, the Sin Kingand the Cloverlock were bombed during daylight in Shantou so that ships in future loaded at night and were left unattended during the day.29

In the case of the Pearl River blockade, all but junk traffic was excluded by November 1949 after KMT destroyers intercepted the SS Kwai Wah.30Junks were small enough to evade nationalist guards by negotiating shallow rivers but the traffic was irregular and subject to interception, claims for ransom, and confiscation of cargo. After the loss of Sam Chau Island, KMT naval vessels operated from Lin Tin Island and the rewards for blockade-running tempted more traffic into the trade.31 The continued exchange of essential commodities prevented shortages and kept prices from rising excessively in both Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The most lucrative commodities were flour, industrial chemicals, dyestuffs, medicines and sugar.32 Figure 12.1 shows that Guangzhou was the most important destination for Hong Kong products in 1947 but it lost its place to Macau in 1948. Once the embargo was enforced, trade with Macau dominated Hong Kong's exports carried by junks. Macau was used increasingly as a transhipment point for trade with China.33


Figure 12.1 Tons of Cargo in Junks leaving Hong Kong

Figures 12.2 and 12.3 show that the total value of trade between Hong Kong and China increased through 1949 despite the blockade. This was particularly true for exports, which increased both in terms of value and also as a percentage of total Hong Kong exports. Part of this increase, of course, was due to rises in the market prices of traded goods due to shortages and because of the extra cost of shipping.34 In November 1949 it was reported in Qingdao, for example, that merchants were exporting cloth to Hong Kong at a loss of 20 percent but then bought goods in Hong Kong, which they sold at a profit of 40 percent.35 Given the potential for profit, traders found ways to transport their goods through ports other than Shanghai and between July and mid-September an estimated 130 000 tons of cargo was shipped from Hong Kong to Chinese ports.36 The main commodities shipped to China were steel bars, chemicals, rubber tyres, petrol, kerosene, vehicles, copper wiring, medical supplies and bulk paper. On their return voyage the ships carried bean curd/cakes, and food items.


Figure 12.2 Hong Kong's trade with China 1949–55


Figure 12.3 Hong Kong's trade with China as a %of total trade

The overall impact of the blockade on the trade of Hong Kong is difficult to determine. The disruption tended to be short-term as new trade routes were found to Shanghai overland via Tianjin or by rail or air to south China and then to Hong Kong either directly or via Macau. The Pearl River blockade was even more short-lived as the KMT forces were weakened by the time the embargo began. In the longer term, trade was distorted not only by the blockades but also by the uncertainty and administrative changes associated with the war with Japan since 1937, the civil war in China and then the establishment of the communist regime. The cumulative effect was to increase the importance of Hong Kong's trade with North China as compared to south China. Hong Kong's exports to north China comprised only 8–9 percent of total exports to China in the late 1920s compared with 21 percent in 1947 and 42 percent in 1948. Conversely, 80 percent of Hong Kong's exports to China went to south China in the late 1920s compared with 63 percent in 1947 and 37 percent in 1948.

Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the blockade tested the ingenuity of the Chinese merchants and their western partners in evading these obstacles. It should be noted in this context that traders in Hong Kong were generally optimistic that the communist regime would eventually restore stability to the Chinese economy and so improve economic relations with Hong Kong. The blockades prolonged the disruptions of the civil war in China into the period in which the West instituted more formal (and effective) trade sanctions. The optimism among Hong Kong and British business about the stability promised by the unification of China under the communists proved to be unfounded in the longer term due to these later sanctions, but the embargoes left the promise of the communist administration untested.

Western Embargoes

In November 1949 the USA imposed an embargo on exports of strategic goods to China. This was followed by a more general embargo on trade in December and a UN resolution imposing an embargo on trade with China in May 1951. The trade embargoes imposed by Western governments in the wake of the communist take-over are more deeply researched in the existing literature than the blockade or financial controls discussed in this paper. Given the importance for the future prospects of Hong Kong, however, there has been relatively little detailed research on the role of Hong Kong in the development of the embargo policy. This section will first identify the importance of Hong Kong to the Anglo-American deliberations over trade restrictions, and then examine the impact of the embargo on Hong Kong's trade.

Development of the embargo policy

From the outset, the positions of the US and the UK on the approach to a new communist regime in China were very different. The British hoped to maintain the status quoas far as possible, and to encourage the continuation of political influence through commercial links. The importance of China to the prosperity of Hong Kong (now a strategically as well as economically important British outpost) was of considerable influence in this policy, which culminated in the recognition of the communist regime in January 1950. For the Americans, political rather than economic considerations were most influential, and the changeover in China fell into the Cold War ethos of American foreign policy. The Americans were much more active in supporting the nationalist cause and more determined to resist the legitimacy of the communist regime.

In early 1949, once the communists had gained control of parts of North China, the Americans began to plan a trade embargo. From the start, it was obvious that British co-operation in any embargo was essential because of the importance of Hong Kong as the pivot of China's international trade. The official American position was that “British co-operation, with particular reference to the entrepot centre of Hongkong, would be essential to the effectiveness of US controls” over strategic exports to China.37

Groves, of the British Embassy in Washington, was called into the State Department in February 1949 to be questioned about the possibility of imposing controls on Hong Kong's trade with China to prevent Chinese supplies reaching the USSR.38 Groves was non-committal but was subsequently informed that the State Department had developed a scheme for control of trade in Hong Kong and he was invited to view it.39 Groves initially demurred but finally saw the State Department plans at the end of March. Groves insisted on what was to become the British line on such trade restrictions: that restricting the trade of Hong Kong alone would not suffice — ports like Macau and Manila would need to be included to prevent the entrepot business merely shifting away from Hong Kong and to another centre.40 Exports from American-occupied Japan would also have to be restricted to prevent materials reaching China. The American response was that Hong Kong was the only really active port in the area and was the only one to be considered. They agreed, however, that their plan would require the co-operation of the UK, SCAP and possibly other European states.41

The UK was asked formally for their opinion on 21 April 1949.42 They stalled, unwilling to act against the interests of Hong Kong despite increased pressure from the State Department after the fall of Shanghai. Opinion was split between departments such as the Foreign Office, Treasury, Colonial Office and Board of Trade, but provisional views were finally given to the State Department at the end of May. Control of exports from the UK to China posed no problem, although they could not guarantee the support of the rest of the OEEC. The problem was that Britain would also have to impose controls on exports to its colonies such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya. Even these controls would be ineffective without restrictions on trade elsewhere in the Far East such as Japan and Manila. Otherwise trade would merely be diverted away from British colonies to their detriment. In conclusion, the Foreign Office solicited specific proposals from the USA, which could be discussed at a technical level in London.43

American officials duly arrived in London on 20 June 1949. The American plan was to control exports to China of arms and strategic goods that were currently restricted in trade with Eastern Europe (known as 1A goods). In addition, however, they wished to add certain other items such as oil and petroleum products, mining and steel making equipment, transport and power generating equipment, which were important to the Chinese economy (known as IB goods).44 They suggested that such an embargo should start with the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore and that, once in place, efforts to attract other participants should be made.45 The British position was that new controls would be administratively and politically difficult to impose and they doubted the usefulness of trade controls in general as a political tool. Furthermore, the embargo would threaten British interests in China and, finally, there would be considerable damage to entrepots such as Singapore and Hong Kong if the embargo were not geographically complete.46

The ministerial position was not established until the end of July 1949, at which time it was agreed that the UK would not extend existing control on transhipments in Hong Kong and Singapore until the Belgian, French and Dutch had agreed to do the same in their territories. Importantly for the Americans, ministers also insisted that SCAP should conform to the embargo. Once these other parties had agreed, the UK would control the first category of goods, i.e. arms and strategic material, but they were not willing to extend control to the industrial products suggested by the Americans. They suggested instead that British, American and Dutch oil companies should be asked not to sell oil to China in excess of China's domestic civilian requirements.47

Not surprisingly, the Hong Kong governor was strongly opposed to any further control on transhipments in Hong Kong.48 He re-iterated that this would merely divert trade elsewhere and also added the point that smuggling was rife in the waters around Hong Kong which would make such controls impossible to enforce. If controls were to be imposed, they should be initiated at source rather than in Hong Kong. He also noted that three US oil companies were actively selling oil to China on barter terms; indeed a Caltex tanker had been sent to Shanghai as soon as the port was opened and was only stopped by the nationalist blockade. This smacked of some disagreement between the American government and US business. There was also a danger that China would react by cutting off essential food exports from Canton to Hong Kong.49 The Governor, therefore, supported British policy. British representatives in Nanjing also warned that any Chinese retaliation would be aimed at Hong Kong. Furthermore, an embargo on industrial goods would merely push China towards autarky, which would generate suffering for the Chinese people and UK business interests.50

At the beginning of August the Americans formally expressed their disappointment in the British response, suggesting that this cast doubt about the possibility of a joint approach to communism in Asia. They insisted on the importance of an embargo on industrial goods and asked for talks with the UK to be resumed.51 Dening expressed the British position (agreed in London by the Secretary of State):

At the moment we are concerned only with the survival of our business interests in China. If they do not survive, then we shall have lost the trading machinery with the aid of which we hope, in due course, to convince Mao Tse-tung and his boys that there is some advantage in playing with the West. We should also lose all our contacts with China, and the Communists would recede still further into the arms of Moscow.52

The response to the Americans was couched somewhat differently. It was asserted that the basis of the disagreement was whether export controls would influence Chinese political policy, since communist governments tended not to link trade with politics. Secondarily, it was noted that the UK believed that a continued commercial presence in China was desirable to exert pressure and influence where possible.53

Towards the end of 1950, the British began to reconsider the possibility of joining the USA in an economic embargo on China. The British assessment included controls on financial transactions as well as commercial trade but the Bank of England was not optimistic about the effectiveness of such a policy. At the beginning of December Graffety-Smith advised that “My guess would be that any economic blockade would be fairly useless in view of the long coastline, the neighbouring countries and the innate qualities of smuggler which are present in every Chinese.”54 The Bank's advice was that a trade blockade would have to be extended to Hong Kong, Indo-China, Burma and Siam, and would kill off Hong Kong's entrepot trade and local industry if all leaks were closed.

On the financial side, there was the possibility that Chinese-owned assets held in Hong Kong could be blocked or controlled. Exchange controls would be very difficult to impose, however, since it was difficult to distinguish a Chinese resident from a Hong Kong resident. It was also noted that such controls would make Hong Kong's entrepot business more difficult. Finally, since food imports from China were bought with HK$, it was impossible to prohibit the flow of HK$ to the Mainland without causing hardship in Hong Kong.55 Heasman concluded that “As long as Hong Kong continues on anything like the present basis it may be possible to stop some of the gaps but I am doubtful if all of them could ever be completely closed.” Anyway, the integration the Hong Kong and Chinese economies was too entrenched to over-ride for political reasons.

In mid-January 1951 it was agreed that a joint Anglo-US group would study the sanctions question, and an inter-departmental Working Party on Economic Sanctions Against China was set up at the end of January to determine the British response.56 The advice of the working party was that existing controls on the export of strategic materials from the UK could be enhanced. A total embargo, however, would need to be extended to neighbouring states (including Hong Kong and Malaya), and would also need the co-operation of India and Pakistan, which was unlikely to be forthcoming. Restrictions on shipping would need the co-operation of all UN members including India, Panama and South Africa, which might not join. Such a move would also hurt UK shipping interests. A naval blockade would be an extreme measure, which would invite retaliation and hostility from other members of the Commonwealth such as India. Financial measures would not be sufficient on their own to stop trade and would bring sterling into disrepute.

Finally, the repercussions of an embargo on the UK and on Hong Kong were assessed. The trade loss to the UK was not expected to be very significant. UK companies were already reducing their presence in China, although they might still be confiscated in retaliation, putting British citizens at risk. The embargo would also threaten Commonwealth solidarity, especially with India and Pakistan. The repercussions for Hong Kong were, of course, more serious. There was a potential loss of 45 percent of exports, the loss of essential imports of food and raw materials, and a rise in unemployment. If Hong Kong was no longer an entrepot, its value to China would be reduced which paradoxically might encourage the Chinese to attack, generating a loss of British prestige in the East. If made effective, therefore, a total embargo could lead to the loss of Hong Kong to China.57 The working party concluded that a selective embargo could be recommended but that shipping and financial controls should be used only if necessary to make such an embargo effective.

Despite British reluctance, on 18 May the UN accepted the Additional Measures Resolution to impose an embargo on trade with China. Among abstentions were the Commonwealth countries of India, Pakistan, and Burma, and the Asian state of Indonesia. The UK was swept along with the UN resolution and Hong Kong's trade with China was severely limited for the next decade.58

Impact of the embargo on Hong Kong's trade with China

Export controls were first imposed in Hong Kong in the second half of 1949 to conform to the UK policy to restrict strategic goods reaching China. Export licences were also implemented (on petroleum exports, for example) to ensure that Dollar Area imports into Hong Kong generated US$ earnings for Hong Kong exporters to China. These early controls, however, did not affect trade significantly because of the narrow range of goods to which they were applied, and the relaxed attitude to licensing.59

Instead, in the months leading to the Korean War in the summer of 1950, Hong Kong benefited from China's re-stocking boom when both prices and volumes of exports to China soared. Rationalization of China's trading policy and the resurrection of communications also revived trade. In terms of Chinese exports, the Hongkong Bank reported that in 1950, “the development of interior collecting centres through the Government Trading Organisations, better transport, and unification of the country, released larger quantities of export commodities than have been available for many years. Many small exporters dropped out, but the larger and more experienced ones, both foreign and Chinese, had generally a successful year.”60 In 1950, British liners made 31 voyages between the UK and China and 97 trips from the UK to Hong Kong compared to a total of 97 in all of 1948.61 The rise in Hong Kong's exports to China was even more dramatic than the rise in imports. Figure 12.3 shows that Hong Kong's exports to China soared from 15–20 percent of total exports in 1949 to 40–45 percent in the first half of 1951.

Gradually, the American trade restrictions began to affect Hong Kong's commerce. In April 1951, J. F. Nicoll, Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong, wrote to the Colonial Office to complain that the US consulate was threatening non-US firms in Hong Kong with the loss of licences to import US branded goods if they happened to be exporters to China.62 The Colonial Office agreed that this was objectionable but that the US Consulate should not be challenged since the State Department appeared to believe that Hong Kong's trade controls were very firm when in fact they were quite ineffective. The policy was not to rock the boat. The Foreign Office minuted that “we had ourselves noticed elsewhere the State Department's optimism about Hong Kong's controls. The Colonial Office at any rate are apparently under no illusions.”63

The UN embargo declared in May 1951 threatened more serious consequences for Hong Kong. From June, Hong Kong imposed more widespread controls on trade with China, in particular on exports of cotton and rubber. Figures 12.2 and 12.3 show that the drop in exports in the second half of 1951 is sharp indeed, but in part represented a return to the levels that had prevailed in the late 1940s.64

The US State Department believed that the main impact of existing controls by 1952 was to reduce business profits in Hong Kong rather than increase unemployment.65 It was recognized, however, that any further controls would affect employment adversely, and consumption standards would fall if imports of food from China were stopped. Hong Kong imported about 80 percent of its meat from China and about one-half of its vegetables in amounts that were equivalent to about US$30 million per annum. Indeed, recorded trade of meat imports was believed to underestimate actual imports by about one-half, based on comparing recorded imports with actual slaughters in 1950 and 1951.66 The prospects for increasing trade any further with other countries were not considered very bright, given the large efforts already made in this direction and the imminent return of Japan as a competitor in shipping and port facilities.

Most analyses of the impact of the embargoes are on the basis of recorded trade and ignore evasions of controls for which the Hong Kong market was renowned. Goods could be smuggled directly to mainland China or exported to Macau for re-shipment to China. Macau did not operate effective controls on trade with China because of the nature of the local administration and the vulnerability to Chinese retaliation. Although statistics are by definition impossible to collect, some indication of the volume of such trade is available.

From 1949 to the end of 1951, Hong Kong's recorded exports to Macau were very volatile. There was a substantial increase towards the end of 1949 and through the first few months of 1950, which then subsided until the first half of 1951 (after the tightening of the US embargo). In the wake of export restrictions in the second half of 1951, trade declined to a relatively stable level of HK$5–10 million per month through to the end of 1955. Since almost all exports from Hong Kong to Macau were destined ultimately for communist China, this increases the value of exports bound for China by HK$60–120 million per year during the UN embargo. In October 1951 the State Department observed that

since the imposition of embargoes on strategic goods exported to Communist China, the Chinese Communists have utilised Macau both as a transhipment point for the physical movement of strategic materials and as a place to contact and make deals with business agents from other countries who can operate in Macau with a minimum risk of government surveillance and interference.67

In addition to recorded trade, State Department intelligence indicated that “there is a substantial volume of exports of strategic goods from Macau to Communist China which have been imported into Macau through various channels, such as smuggling from Hongkong.” In particular 2 000–2 500 tons of petroleum products were reportedly exported to China each month.68

Evidence on smuggling activities is necessarily patchy and anecdotal. In September 1951, the Chief of Naval Operations reported that the UN embargo “has had no apparent effect on the China trade” and that China's imports continued to be mainly strategic materials related to the war effort.69 Furthermore, “The main transhipping point continues to be HK, however, India and Burma are becoming increasingly important in this capacity.” Banks in Hong Kong were also reported to be involved in financing Burmese overland exports of rubber and cotton. The report concluded that “all evidence indicates that smuggling activities are increasing very rapidly … smuggling is carried on chiefly between Hong Kong, Macao, Kowloon, and Canton; even shipments from Okinawa have been noted. The largest volume of smuggling seems to be in petroleum products, but large quantities of pharmaceuticals, rubber, and tires also find their way into China by this means.”

From 1952 to 1954 there was a short-lived attempt to compile balance of payments statistics for Hong Kong which included estimates for smuggling. These were compiled by “a competent Chinese official” whose appointment was prompted by a visit to Hong Kong by a representative of the Bank of England.70 These put smuggled merchandise exports at £6 million in 1952 and £4 million in 1953, based on information about seizures which were believed to be a fairly consistent proportion of total trade.

It is important to recognize, therefore, that the embargoes did not sever the economic links between China and Hong Kong. Despite the controls on exports of cotton and rubber to China imposed in June 1951, Hong Kong remained one of China's most important non-communist sources of many imports. Cotton was imported from Pakistan and Egypt and rubber was imported from Ceylon, but most other products came from Hong Kong either directly or via Macau. Together, these five territories comprised 90 percent of China's imports from non-communist countries in 1952.71 In this sense, Hong Kong became a more important trading partner for China after the embargo than it had been before. This was especially true for goods that could not be imported from the Eastern Bloc including pharmaceuticals (antibiotics and sulpha drugs), machinery and dyes.

Although Hong Kong's recorded exports to China fell substantially both in absolute terms and as a percentage of Hong Kong's total trade after 1951, imports from China remained a stable proportion of total imports. This generated a trade deficit with China, so that Hong Kong remained an important source of foreign exchange for mainland China. Because Hong Kong currency was convertible to most other currencies through the free exchange markets in Hong Kong, China's revenue from these exports was particularly valuable.

It should also be remembered that Hong Kong's trade with China was affected by factors other than trade embargoes. Political campaigns in China, such as the Five-Anti Campaign of early 1952, disrupted economic activity and therefore trade. The move toward autarky was influenced not only by the western powers' obstructive trade policy but also by financial controls imposed at the end of 1950. These will be discussed in the next section.

US Dollar Freezing Order

The third blow to the recovery of Hong Kong's relations with China was the freezing order issued by the American government on 16 December 1950. This froze all Chinese-owned US$ assets and had far-reaching implications for the banks still operating in China. Hong Kong bank accounts were not frozen but all transactions involving a Chinese name had to be vouched for to establish that there was no communist connection.72 Hong Kong branches of Chinese companies were considered to be “tainted” and had their US$ assets frozen.73 Most importantly, the freezing order encouraged the movement toward barter trade organised by Chinese official trading organisations.

As early as June 1949, Reed, Manager of the National City Bank in Shanghai, suggested to the Hongkong Bank that the State Department intended to freeze Chinese US$ assets.74 This prompted the Foreign Office to ask the US Treasury directly if this was their intention75 to which the US Treasury denied any such plans and suggested that this was a proposal from the National City Bank itself.76

Nevertheless, from the beginning of 1950 the Hongkong Bank anticipated a freezing of Chinese dollar accounts. In mid-1950, Dunkley of the Tianjin branch enquired whether funds could be shifted from account of the Bank of China to a special Hongkong Bank account to keep the funds from any potential action by the USA. Raikes, of the New York branch replied that, due to increased hostility of the US government towards the communist regime, “it would be a dangerous policy for us to try in any way to cover up in our books funds held here which we know are an account of the (Bank of China).” He concluded that “should a freezing order be put in force there is no doubt that our books would be closely inspected and all funds held in Special Accounts for our China Agencies would have to be fully explained.”77 By 13 December, days before the freezing order, the Bank of China account in the New York branch of Hongkong Bank was closed, although the New York branch's Tianjin account held US$ for account of the Bank of China which were used to finance trade.78

The Chinese authorities also anticipated a freezing of US$ accounts. In January 1950, the Shanghai manager of Hongkong Bank reported that, in anticipation of a freezing of Chinese assets, US$ credits of six banks had been transferred to Russian account in the USA.79 These were all banks that traded in foreign exchange for the Bank of China. The Chinese also shifted their US$ to Swiss bank accounts which they hoped to conceal from the American Treasury. In March 1950, HSBC and Chartered Bank received instructions to open accounts in their own names in New York for the Bank of China and to receive US$3 million each from the Chemical Bank Trust Co. The Bank of China then instructed them to transfer these funds less US$100 000 in each case to the Swiss Banking Corporation New York for account of the Societe Banque de Suisse in Zurich.80 In the event, the US$ secreted in Switzerland proved difficult to use and provoked a serious conflict between Hongkong Bank and the Bank of China in 1951. Because of the implications for British interests in China, it is worth going into some detail on this point.

On 9 December 1950, days before the freezing order was announced, the Hongkong Bank opened a Letter of Credit in favour of Jardine Matheson and Co. through the Swiss Bank Corporation in Zurich.81 The funds were transferred from the New York branch of the Hongkong Bank to the Swiss Bank (New York) for account of its Zurich office. A week later, these funds were frozen. The Hongkong Bank tried to get the funds released through the Swiss consul and Jardine Matheson applied to the US Treasury with no result. Eventually the part of the funds related to goods that had actually been shipped was released but US$986 616 remained frozen.

In December 1951, the Bank of China tried to force Hongkong Bank to make a deposit in the Hong Kong branch of the Bank of China equal to the HK$ equivalent of the frozen US$. Since this contravened the freezing order, Hongkong Bank refused. The Chinese authorities personally threatened the manager of the Hongkong Bank in Shanghai with court action. In a telegram from the Hong Kong office, Yoxall (manager in Shanghai) was reminded that “you must realise that any action of ours that could be construed as getting round the American Freezing Order would lead to most serious consequences to our New York Office and to the Bank as a whole. We would receive no sympathy from the British Authorities.”82 Yoxall tried to find a way around the impasse by suggesting that the frozen funds in the Swiss account might be freed to finance Japanese imports to China but the New York office refused.83 Under considerable personal pressure, Yoxall urged that the Bank of China's wishes be complied with. At the end of December, he wrote to Adamson in Hong Kong that “I can only urge you to use all your influence with the Authorities to effect release of funds, available to the Bank of China, for the equivalent of the outstanding balance of this L/C (letter of credit).”84

The dispute was dropped during the San-fan and Wu-fan movements but was raised again by the Bank of China in June 1952 after Hongkong Bank decided to close its Shanghai operations.85 As one of the conditions for allowing the Shanghai branch to close, the Chinese insisted on being reimbursed for these frozen dollars. In December, Yoxall blamed the hardening of the Chinese attitude to the closure of branches on the ill will caused by the frozen Swiss bank credit.86 This episode shows how the freezing order generated suspicion and ill-feeling on the part of the Chinese toward foreign business.

As well as these banking difficulties, the freezing order encouraged the Chinese to require that all trade be on a strict barter basis. In February 1951, Russell of Arnhold Trading Company called on Yao Laian, chief buyer of the Chinese National Import Corporation and was told that the CNIC would conduct business almost entirely on a barter basis due to fears of further freezing orders. If trade on this basis was not forthcoming, then the Chinese were willing to look to become self-sufficient.87

New export regulations required that no goods were to leave China until imports of an equal value (or foreign exchange) had arrived in China.88 This would avoid outstanding contracts, which might be captured by future freezing orders. In March, a Barter Exchange was established in Shanghai to connect importers and exporters and applicants for foreign exchange.89 Since most foreign traders and banks could not accept the shipment of goods without payment in advance, or tying the sale of their goods to sales of Chinese products elsewhere, trade with China through private foreign interests was drastically reduced. Hong Kong retained some business by virtue of the speed of the turnover of trade through the port (essential in barter trade), but the onerous conditions also reduced trade for Hong Kong.

The US$ was not the only exchange control imposed on Chinese trade. In August 1949 the British imposed controls on debits from Chinese sterling account. Shao has suggested that this “secret government action” was on a par with the American freezing order of December 1950.90 He further asserts that “little evidence is available to reveal the circumstances” in which this decision was taken by the British.91 In fact there is a wealth of correspondence in Foreign Office, Treasury and Bank of England papers, which reveal that this move was not commensurate with the later American policy.92

The UK measures were not aimed at restricting China's legitimate trade but at stopping “cheap sterling” transactions through Chinese accounts. The problem was that sterling area goods were ostensibly consigned to China but were diverted to the USA and paid for in Chinese account sterling. UK exchange control required that all US imports of sterling area goods were paid for in US$. In August 1949, it was decided to impose controls on debits from China's sterling accounts in order to ensure that such payments were related to legitimate imports from the sterling area. These restrictions did not, therefore, constrain trade more generally in the way that the US freezing order did.

Concluding Remarks

This chapter has addressed the genesis and impact of three major shocks to economic relations between Hong Kong and mainland China in the period 1949–55. The trade embargoes are widely discussed in existing literature but less attention has been paid to the importance of the nationalist blockade of 1949/50 and the freezing of Chinese-owned US$ balances at the end of 1950. These two measures had important implications for Sino-Hong Kong relations that aggravated the impact of the western trade embargo. The blockade prolonged the disruption of trade caused by the changeover of administrative control and the attempt to stabilise the Chinese economy after three years of inflation and civil war. The freezing order was arguably as important as the embargoes in encouraging the move to autarky by the Chinese government, because it destroyed confidence in the use of foreign exchange, driving transactions to low level barter. When examining the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China in these critical years, this chapter has shown that all three external shocks need to be considered together to explain the changing trade patterns of the region.


Introduction History of Hong Kong and History of Modern China: Unravelling the Relationship

1. An excellent article by Sung Yun-wing on the history of The University of Hong Kong fully illustrated how Hong Kong Chinese elites contributed to China in history, see Sung Yun-wing, Wei Zhongguo erli: Gangda de huigu [A British university in Hong Kong for China: a retrospect], in Xueyuan: a Biweekly of the Student Union of the University of Hong Kong, No. 12 (September 1970), pp. 1–2.

2. Chan Lau Kit-ching, From Nothing to Nothing: the Chinese Communist Movement and Hong Kong, 1921–1936 (New York: St. Martin' Press, 1999), pp. 7–9.

3. See Anthony Neoh, “Regulation and development of the financial markets,” in Wang Gungwu and Wong Siu-lun (eds.), Towards A New Millenium: Building on Hong Kong's Strengths (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong, 1999), pp. 29–61; “Corporate Governance in Mainland China: Where Do We Go from Here?” in Peter K. Cornelius and Bruce Kogut (eds.), Corporate Governance and Capital Flows in a Global Economy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 431–443.

4. See Michael Yahuda, “Hong Kong: A New Beginning for China?” in Judith M. Brown and Rosemary Foot (eds.), Hong Kong's Transitions, 1842–1997 (New York: St. Martin Press, 1997), pp. 192–210.

Chapter 1 The Common People in Hong Kong History: Their Livelihood and Aspirations Until the 1930s

1. G.B. Endacott, A History of Hong Kong (London: Oxford University Press, 1958); James Hayes, The Hong Kong Region, 1850–1911: Institutions and Leadership in Town and Countryside (Hamden: Archon Books, 1977) and The Rural Communities of Hong Kong: Studies and Themes (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1983); Elizabeth Sinn, Power and Charity: the Early History of the Tung Wah Hospital, Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989); Carl Smith, Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1985); Ming K. Chan, Labor and Empire: the Chinese Labor Movement in the Canton Delta, 1895–1927, Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 1975; and Tsai Jung-fang, Hong Kong in Chinese History: Community and Social Unrest in the British Colony, 1842–1913 (N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1993).

2. Mr Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of Hong Kong, November 1882, Colonial Office, Eastern No. 38, CO 882/4 Public Record Office, London. An extract of this report may be found in David Faure (ed.), A Documentary History of Hong Kong: Society (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997), pp. 29–48.

3. Mr Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of Hong Kong. p. 11.

4. ibid. p. 12.

5. ibid. p. 18.

6. ibid. p.41.

7. G. H. Choa, The Life and Times of Sir Kai Ho Kai, Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1981); Carl Smith, “A sense of history,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 26 (1986), pp. 144–264 and vol. 27 (1987), pp. 117–253; Elizabeth Sinn, Power and Chanty.

8. Hennessy to Carnarvon, 27 September 1877, in Papers Relating to Restrictions upon Chinese at Hong Kong, British Parliamentary Papers, China No. 27, Hong Kong 1862–1881 (Irish University Press, 1971), p. 2.

9. Surveyor General to Colonial Secretary, 8 May 1877 in Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 3–4, quotations from p. 4.

10. Enclosure 1 in No. 23, Hennessy to Earl of Kimberley, 15 July 1880, in Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 47–49.

11. No. 3 Earl of Kimberley to Hennessy 14 May 1880, No. 18 Hennessy to Earl of Kimberley, telegraphic, received 18 July 1880, and No. 19 Hennessy to Earl of Kimberley, 8 July 1880 in Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 6–9, and 17–22.

12. Enclosure 6 in No. 19 in Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 31–33. For Ho Kai's comments, see G. H. Choa, Life and Times, pp. 78–86.

13. No. 41 Hennessy to Earl of Kimberley, 29 April 1881, in Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 65–66.

14. Enclosure 2 in No. 41, Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 71–74.

15. Journal of the Hong Kong Institute of Social Research, vol. 1, 1965, cited in David Faure, ed. A Documentary History of Hong Kong: Society (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press 1997), p. 257.

16. No. 45 J.M. Price to Colonial Office, 15 August 1881, Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 90–91.

17. ibid. p. 93.

18. No. 34 War Office to Colonial Office, 2 May 1881, Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 62–63.

19. No. 47 Earl of Kimberley to Hennessy, 20 August 1881, Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 113–115.

20. Enclosure 2 in No. 42, Statement of HE Governor Sir John Pope Hennessy KCMG on the Census Returns and the Progress of the Colony, Restrictions upon Chinese, pp. 76–86. The 1881 census lists the occupations of 69 220 persons and makes fascinating reading for a cross-section of Hong Kong life at the time. Aside from the figures listed in the text here, the census reports 16 428 servants, 6 473 coolies, 980 chair coolies, 1 315 brothel keepers and inmates, 1 439 stone cutters, 1 083 rice pounders, 200 portrait painters, 13 match makers all living in the villages, 55 midwives only one of whom lived in the villages. The report may be found in Sessional Papers 1881.

21. Report on the Census of the Colony for 1911, Sessional Papers 1923, p. 103.

22. Report on the Census of the Colony for 1921, Sessional Papers 1921, p. 163.

23. Report from the Hong Kong Commission of 1886–1887 on the History of the Sale, Tenure and Occupation of the Crown Lands of the Colony, 1887, pp. 33–34.

24. ibid. p. 35.

25. Elizabeth Sinn, “A history of regional associations in pre-war Hong Kong,” in Elizabeth Sinn, ed. Between East and West, Aspects of Social and Political Development in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1990), pp. 159–186.

26. A. E. Wood, Report on the Chinese Guilds of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1912.

27. Cf. Fung Chi-ming, “History at the Grassroots: Rickshaw Pullers in the Pearl River Delta of South China, 1874–1992,” Ph.D. thesis, Hong Kong University, 1996.

28. “Information concerning the guilds of masons, bricklayers, shipbuilders, carpenters and contractors,” in Clementi Papers, Miscellaneous Papers 1902–1911, ff 49–78, Rhodes House, Oxford.

29. Mr. Chadwick's Report, p. 12.

30. “Information concerning the guilds, etc.” p. 52.

31. ibid. p. 14.

32. ibid. p. 14.

33. ibid. p. 52.

34. ibid. p. 5.

35. Ouyang zaibie tang jiapu 1919, p. 22b.

36. Report of the Census of the Colony of Hong Kong, 1931, Sessional Papers 1931, p. 134. Including the boat population and New Territories villagers, the Chinese population amounted to 817 000 people.

37. Economic Resources Committee (Hong Kong), Factory and Home and Cottage Industries Sub-committee, The Report with Minutes of Proceedings, Appendices and Illustrated Memo on Sericulture, Pig-breeding, Tobacco, Cotton, Fruit and Vegetable Growing, 1920.

38. ibid. pp. 5–6.

39. Report of the Housing Commission, Sessional Papers 1923, p. 111.

40. ibid. p. 125.

41. Report, Housing Commission 1935, in Sessional Papers 1938.

42. ibid. p. 16; this particular principle was left out of the recommendations of the commission as well.

43. ibid. p. 17.

44. R.H. Butters, Report on Labour and Labour Conditions in Hong Kong, Sessional Papers, 1939.

45. ibid. p. 157.

46. ibid. pp. 161–162.

47. ibid. p. 162.

48. ibid. pp. 158, 162, 163.

49. ibid. p. 135.

50. Dai Dongpei, Gangqiao xuzhi, Hong Kong: Yongying guanggao she, 1933, pp. 117–128.

Chapter 2 Religion in Hong Kong History

1. For more details on the varieties of organized religion in Hong Kong, see B. H. K. Luk, “Religion and custom,” in T. L. Tsim and B. H. K. Luk (eds.), The Other Hong Kong Report (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1989), pp. 317–332.

2. Xianggang Tianzhujiao shehuiquanbuochu (compilers), Xianggang di zongjiao (Hong Kong: Holy Spirit Study Centre, 1988), pp. 6–9.

3. Ibid., pp. 12–53.

4. B. H. K. Luk, “Religion and custom,” in The Other Hong Kong Report 1990 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1990), pp. 573–575.

5. Xianggang Tianzhujiao shehuiquanbuochu (compilers), op.cit., pp. 60–64; Yongming, Xianggang Fojiao yu Fosi (Buddhism and Monasteries in Hong Kong) (Hong Kong: Po Lin Monastery, 1993), pp. 127–129.

6. Xianggang Tianzhujiao shehuiquanbuochu (compilers), op. cit., pp. 70–72. Huang Zhaohan and Zheng Weiming, Xianggang yu Aomen zhi Daojiao (Taoist Religion in Hong Kong and Macau) (Hong Kong: Calvarden Ltd., 1993), pp. 10–45.

7. For example, the Buddhist nun Liao Fengming is a very popular presenter of Buddhist ideas in both print and video media.

8. Yongming, op. cit., pp. 110–115; Huang and Zheng, op. cit., p. 16.

9. Yongming, pp. 53–55; Huang and Zheng, pp. 22–26.

10. Elizabeth Sinn, Power and Charity: the Early History of the Tung Wah Hospital, Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989). Carl T. Smith, Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen and the Church in Hong Kong (Hong Kong, Oxford University Press, 1985).

11. Ke Dawei, Lu Hongji and Wu-Lun Nixia, Xianggang Beiming Huibian (Historical Inscriptions of Hong Kong), 3 volumes (Hong Kong: Urban Council, 1986).

12. Sinn, op. cit., pp. 12–17.

13. A. E. Sweeting comp., Education in Hong Kong Pre-1841–1941: Fact and Opinion. Materials for a History of Education in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1990), pp. 25–30; 36–39.

14. Smith, op. cit., chapters 6 and 7.

15. For the concept of littoral culture, see Paul A. Cohen, Bewteen Tradition and Modernity: Wang T'ao and Reform in Late Ch'ing China (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1974).

16. Luo Xianglin, Xianggang yu Zhong-Xi Wenhua zhi Jiaoliu (Hong Kong: Institute of Chinese Culture, 1961), pp. 43–75. Cf. Cohen, ibid.

17. Sweeting, op. cit., pp. 35; 228–231.

18. Yongming, op. cit., pp. 49–50.

19. Ibid., p. 71.

20. Ibid., p. 70.

21. Ibid., pp. 117–129.

22. Graeme Lang & Lars Ragvald, The Rise of A Rrefugee God: Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993).

23. B. H. K. Luk, “The emergence of a civil society in Hong Kong,” in A. Acharya (eds.), Human Rights and Democracy in Asia (forthcoming).

24. B. H. K. Luk, “Religion and custom,” in Tsim and Luk (eds.), op. cit., pp. 328–332.

25. Tian Yingjie (Ticozzi), Xianggang Tianzhujiao Zhanggu (Hong Kong: Holy Spirit Study Centre, 1983), pp. 1–4.

26. For details, see Luo Guang, Jiaoting yu Zhongguo shijieshi (Taichung: Kuangchi Press, 1961).

27. For details, see Thomas Ryan, SJ, The Story of a Hundred Years: the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME) in Hong Kong, 1858–1958 (Hong Kong: Catholic Truth Society, 1959).

28. Sweeting, op. cit., p. 35.

29. Ryan, op. cit.

30. Smith, op. cit., chapters 8 and 9.

31. Ryan, op. cit., Ticozzi, op. cit.,

32. Luo Guang, op. cit., Ticozzi, pp. 215–220.

33. David M. Paton, R. O., The Life and Times of Bishop Ronald Hall of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, [Anglican] Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao and the Hong Kong Diocesan Association, 1985), pp. 125–148.

34. Ibid., 188. A. E. Sweeting, A Phoenix Transformed: the Reconstruction of Education in Postwar Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 197–199.

Chapter 3 The Sunday Rest Issue in Nineteenth Century Hong Kong

1. It was calculated in November 1997 that the total salary of Hong Kong employees for one day amounts to 700 million dollars. See Ming Pao Daily (19 November 1997).

2. See Montreal Gazette (19 November 1994); Winnipeg Free Press (3 April 1993; 5 August 1993); Financial Post Daily (22 July 1993). See also A. H. Lewis, Critical History Of Sunday Legislation From 321 To 1888 A. D. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1888; Reprint, William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1997).

3. In 1875, all Sundays with five more days were prescribed as public holidays. In 1912, the law was amended to include all Sundays and 12 other days as holidays. The number of days further increased to 16 days apart from Sundays. At present, the public holidays include all Sundays and 17 other days. See Hong Kong Ordinance, No. 6 of 1875, No. 5 of 1912, No. 1 of 1947 and No. 9 of 1950.

4. Friend of China (24 April 1844).

5. Friend of China (4 May 1844). Please also refer to Appendix I.

6. Friend of China (15 June 1844).

7. Norton-Kyshe, The History of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong, reissued in 1971, (Hong Kong Vetch and Lee, 1898), Vol. 1, p. 53.

8. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 105.

9. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 407.

10. China Mail (25 October 1856).

11. J. C. Whyte, graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1847, appointed second police magistrate in 1862, acting judge of the court of summary jurisdiction in 1863, 1866, 1869, and a provisional member of the legislative council in 1866, died in 1871. See Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 39, 51, 81, 172, 174, 177.

12. Daily Press (14 October 1867). Please also refer to Appendix III.

13. China Mail (23 January 1867).

14. Hong Kong Mercury (14 June 1866).

15. Daily Press (14 October 1867).

16. China Mail (1 May 1879). See also Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 284.

17. Ibid.

18. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, pp. 511–512.

19. China Mail (2 May 1879).

20. China Mail (1 May 1879).

21. Historical and statistical abstract of the Colony of Hong Kong, 1841–1930 (Hong Kong: Noronha & Co., 1932).

22. China Mail (18 June 1888).

23. The petition to the governor (9 November 1888). Great Britain, Colonial Office, Original Correspondence: Hong Kong, 1841–1951, Series 129 (hereafter CO 129) /250 p. 149.

24. China Mail (18 April 1889).

25. According to the 1964 edition of the Hong Kong Law Book, the Sunday Cargo Working Ordinance was still valid, although with some amendments made in 1829, 1934 and 1939.

26. Times (London) (25 July 1890).

27. Annual Report of the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association, 1890. CO 129/250 p. 169.

28. Daily Press (18 October 1890). Also see Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol 11, p. 423.

29. China Mail (19 November 1890).

30. Dawson (secretary of the Missions to Seamen) to Lord Knutsford (Secretary of State for the Colonies) (8 September 1890). CO 129/1248, p. 785.

31. F. Henderson (General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong) to W.M. Deane (acting Colonial Secretary) (15 December 1890). CO 129/250, pp. 176–178.

32. Machintosh (Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce) to S. Ashton (President of the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association) (31 October 1890). CO 129/250 p. 156.

33. Memorandum by J.J. Keswick (1 April 1891). CO 129/250 pp. 180–182. Also see Daily Press (18 October 1890).

34. See Daily Press (21, 22, 23, 28 October 1890). China Mail (18 October; 18, 20 November 1890). Hong Kong Telegraph (18, 21 November 1890).

35. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 420.

36. Telegraph (London) (October 1890).

37. Daily Press (29 January 1891).

38. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 433.

39. Daily Press (1 August 1891).

40. See Hong Kong Blue Book, 1892.

41. See Hong Kong Blue Book, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895.

42. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 455.

43. The newspapers are the Friend of China (1842–1859), the China Mail (from 1845), the Daily Press (from 1857), the Hong Kong Mercury (1866) and the Hong Kong Times (1873, 1876).

44. China Mail (1 May 1879).

45. Friend of China (1 and 2 May 1844).

46. Daily Press (14 October 1867).

47. Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. Vol. 2, p. 474.

48. An Ordinance to amend the Regulation of Chinese Ordinance was passed in 1897. See the Hong Kong Government Gazette (8 May 1897).

Chapter 4 Governorships of Lugard and May: Fears of Double Allegiance and Perceived Disloyalty

1. Notable examples include: Jung-fang Tsai, “The Predicament of the Compradore Ideologists: He Qi (Ho Kai, 1859–1914) and Hu Li-yuan (1847–1916),” Modern China, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1981), pp. 191–225; Pauline Chow Lo-sai, “Ho Kai and Lim Boon keng: A Comparative Study of Tripartite Loyalty of Colonial Chinese Elite, 1895–1912” (M.A. thesis, University of Hong Kong, 1987); Chan Kwong-tak, “Local Chinese Elites in Hong Kong and the Problem of Divided Loyalties: The 1905 Anti-American Boycott and The 1908 Anti-Japanese Boycott” (B.A. thesis, University of Hong Kong, 1987).

2. The term “Chinese Unofficials” is used here to include unofficials of both “Chinese” and “Eurasian” descents, as it was the case, that half-Chinese Elites like Chan Kai-ming and Ho Fook, born and brought up in Hong Kong, self-addressed themselves as “Chinese gentlemen and merchants” (zhonghua shens hang). The term zhonghua shenshang was embroidered on a satin scroll presented on 28 April 1912 as a souvenir from the local Chinese elites to Sir Frederick Lugard. Owned by Lugard's descendents, this satin scroll is put on deposit at the University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU.

3. Some examples of the expanding research efforts in this field are: Norman Miners, Hong Kong Under Imperial Rule, 1912–1941 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1987); Steve Y. S. Tsang, Democracy Shelved: Great Britain, China, and Attempts at Constitutional Reform in Hong Kong, 1945–1952 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1988); Chan Lau Kit-ching, China, Britain and Hong Kong, 1895–1945 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1990); K. C. Fok, Lectures on Hong Kong History: Hong Kong's Role in Modern Chinese History (Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1990); Edmund S. K. Fung, The Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat: Britain's South China Policy (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1991); Ming K. Chan (ed.), Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842–1992 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1994); James T. H. Tang, “From Empire Defence to Imperial Retreat: Britain's Postwar China Policy and the Decolonization of Hong Kong,” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (1994), pp. 317–337; Li Hongxi, Zhou Bing & Liu Xihai (eds.), Xianggang miyue: rijiang hetan midang (Secret diplomacy regarding Hong Kong: confidential archives of Japan-Jiang Jieshi peace talks) (Hong Kong: Lee Man Publication, 1995).

4. Quoted from CO 129/187, enclosure 4 in Hennessy to Beach, 19 January 1880, 51, in which Sir J. P. Hennessy, Governor of Hong Kong in 1877–82, tried to justify his decision to appoint the first Chinese to the Legislative Council.

5. The names of the Chinese who were appointed as Unofficial Members of the Legislative Council up to 1941, together with the years they served on the council, are listed as follows: Ng Choy (1880–82, alias Wu Ting-fang), Wong Shing (1884–90), Ho Kai (1890–1914), Wei Yuk (1896–1914), Lau Chu-pak (1913–22), Ho Fook (1917–21), Chan Kai-ming (1918), Chau Siu-ki (1921, 1923–24), Chow Shou-son (1921, 1922–31), Ng Hon-tsz (1922–23), Tso Seen-wan (1929–37), Chau Tsun-nin (1931–39), Lo Man-kam (1935–41), Li Shu-fan (1937–41), Li Tse-fong (1939).

6. G. B. Endacott, Government and People in Hong Kong, 1841–1962: A Constitutional History (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 97–108.

7. Demands for a greater measure of popular representation were made by British residents to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1916 and again in 1919, both times unsuccessfully.

8. Hong Kong's population was overwhelmingly Chinese who formed 94 percent of the total in 1848 and over 97 percent in 1855. See the Census Returns in Hong Kong Government Gazette, 5 April 1856, p. 2.

9. J. W. Norton-Kyshe, The History of The Laws and Courts of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Vetch & Lee Ltd., 1971), pp. 1; 4–6.

10. On the subject of the legal nationality of the people in Hong Kong, see Robin M. White, “Hong Kong's Nationality and the British Empire,” Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1989), pp. 10–42; Chiu Wai-fu, “Nationality and Identities of Hong Kong People in Transition to 1997” (M.A. thesis, Leicester University in association with University of Hong Kong, 1994), pp. 8–18.

11. For a discussion of the interaction of class, kinship, dialect and national loyalties, see Fung Chi Ming, “History at the Grassroots: Rickshaw Pullers in the Pearl River Delta of South China” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Hong Kong, 1996), chaps. 1–3.

12. China Mail, 23 October 1911.

13. Wah Tsz Yat Po (Chinese Mail), Hong Kong Daily Press, 1 November 1911.

14. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November 1911, pp. 196–197.

15. Ibid., p. 197.

16. CO 129/381, enclosure 5 in Lugard to Harcourt, 20 November 1911, p. 212.

17. South China Morning Post, 27 October 1911.

18. CO 129/381, enclosure 2 in Lugard to Colonial Office, telegrams, 9 November 1911, p. 204.

19. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November 1911, p. 197.

20. Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Lugard Papers: soldier, administrator and author, including correspondence & papers as Governor of Hong Kong, 1907–12, p. 45.

21. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November 1911, p. 197.

22. CO 129/381, enclosure 5 in Lugard to Colonial Office, 20 November 1911, p. 216.

23. Born in Hong Kong, Ho Kai was the fourth son of the Rev. Ho Fuk-tong (1817–1871) of the London Missionary Society. Ho Kai held qualifications in both law (Lincoln's Inn) and medicine (University of Aberdeen). Back to Hong Kong, he played an important part in the founding of the Hong Kong College of Medicine (1887), the Alice Memorial Hospital (1887), and the Kwong Wah Hospital (1911).

24. Born the son of the head comprador of the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, Wei Yuk was educated through the medium of English in his birthplace Hong Kong, England and Scotland. Back to Hong Kong, he married the daughter of Wong Shing (1825–1902), who was among the first few Chinese sent to study in the United States, as well as the second Chinese to serve on the Legislative Council.

25. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November 1911, p. 198.

26. South China Morning Post, 14 November 1911.

27. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November, 1911, pp. 198–199.

28. CO 129/381, enclosure 7 in Lugard to Colonial Office, 21 November 1911, p. 218.

29. Before his appointment as Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council in 1914, Lau Chu-pak had served as chairman of the Po Leung Kuk, director of the Kwong Wah Hospital, and chairman of the Tung Wah Hospital board of directors. His son, Lau Tak-po (1887–1955), was founder and managing director of the Hong Kong & Yaumatei Ferry Co., Ltd.

30. Father of Chau Tsun-nin (1893–1971), an Oxford graduate who practised as barrister-in-law in Hong Kong. Like his father, Chau Tsun-nin successfully embarked on a wide variety of commercial undertakings and held important posts in different Government boards and public-welfare institutions.

31. Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council in 1922–23 and compradore of Shewan Tomes & Co. Ng Hon-tsz served, at various times, on the District Watch Force Committee, the Sanitary Board, the Tung Wah Hospital Committee, the Tsan Yuk Hospital Committee, and the Council of the University of Hong Kong.

32. Acting Legislative Councillor in the year 1918. Chan Kai-ming took part in matters of public interest and, together with Ho Kai, Wei Yuk, Lau Chu-pak and Chau Siu-ki, founded the Kwong Wah Hospital. He was a generous donor in support of the activities of the Queen's College, his old school, and the University of Hong Kong.

33. Brother of Robert Ho Tung (1862–1956), father of Ho Shai-chuen (1891–1938), one-time president of the Hong Kong Chinese Medical Association, and grandfather of Stanley Ho Hung-sun, a prominent businessman in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho Fook founded, with others, the Chinese Merchants Union (the forerunner of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce).

34. CO 129/381, enclosure 5 in Lugard to Colonial Office, 20 November 1911, pp. 212–216.

35. Ibid., pp. 213–216.

36. Ibid., p. 213.

37. Ibid., pp. 212–213.

38. Ibid., p. 214.

39. CO 129/381, enclosure 5 in Lugard to Colonial Office, 20 November 1911, pp. 215–216.

40. Ibid., p. 216.

41. CO 129/381, Lugard to Harcourt, desp., conf., 23 November 1911, p. 200.

42. China Mail, 18 October 1911; South China Morning Post, 22 November 1911.

43. The quote is from Lugard's speech in the Legislative Council introducing the amending bill. See Hong Kong Hansard, 30 November 1911, p. 244.

44. Letter, Lugard to his brother Edward, dated 23 December 1911. Quoted in Margery Perham, Lugard: The Years of Authority, 1898–1945 (London: Collins 1956), pp. 360–361.

45. Hong Kong Government Gazette, 19 April 1912, p. 265.

46. Hong Kong Government Gazette, 18 October 1912, p. 528.

47. Hong Kong Government Gazette, 5 September 1913, p. 372.

48. Hong Kong Government Gazette, 24 April 1914, p. 134.

49. The quote is from May's speech in the Legislative Council announcing the retirement of Ho Kai. See Hong Kong Hansard, 26 February 1914, p. 28.

50. China Mail, 27 February 1914.

51. Hong Kong Hansard, 26 February 1914, p. 29.

52. Hong Kong Hansard, 30 July 1914, p. 79.

53. CO 129/401, May to Harcourt, desp. conf., 16 June 1913, p. 360.

54. CO 129/403, May to Harcourt, desp., conf., 18 August 1913, pp. 124–129.

55. R. Griffin's minute, 2 October 1913, Ibid., pp. 122–123.

56. G. B. Endacott, A History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1958), p. 269.

57. Private letter, Lugard to his brother Edward. Quoted from Margery Perham, Lugard: The Years of Authority, 1898–1945. p. 283.

58. Bernard Mellor, Lugard in Hong Kong: Empires, Education and a Governor at Work, 1907–1912 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1992), p. 16.

59. For a discussion of the style of British colonial administration in Africa, see A. A. Thomson & Dorothy Middleton, Lugard in Africa (London: R. Hale, 1959), pp. 70–71; L. H. Gann & Peter Duignan, The Rulers of British Africa, 1870–1914 (London: Croorn Helm, 1978), p. 212; Jeremy J. White, Central Administration in Nigeria, 1914–1948 (Dublin: Iris Academic Press, 1981), p. 13.

60. The quote is from Lugard's speech in the Legislative Council introducing the amended Peace Preservation Ordinance. See Hong Kong Hansard, 30 November 1911, p. 243.

61. Margery Perham (ed.), The Diaries of Lord Lugard, Volume Three, East Africa, January 1892 to August 1892 (London: Collins, 1959), p. 190.

62. CO 129/381, enclosure 5 in Lugard to Colonial Office, 20 November 1911, p. 213.

63. G. R. Sayer, Hong Kong, 1862–1919: Years of Discretion (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1975), p. 111. This book was published posthumously.

64. CO 129/399, May to Harcourt, desp., conf., 31 January 1913, p. 355.

65. Hong Kong Telegraph, 5 July 1912. The reasons for the attempted assassination of Sir Francis Henry May are not fully understood.

66. Leaders of the Chinese community chose very different career paths. To give a few examples: Ng Choy (1842–1922), the first Chinese to serve on the Legislative Council, resigned before the expiry of the tenure of his seat, leaving Hong Kong so as to join the Chinese Imperial Service as Legal Advisor and Interpreter. Li Yuk-tong (1851–1936), another prominent figure, contributed his talents and abilities towards his fellow countrymen in various aspects and, notably, he distinguished himself as Treasurer of the Kwangtung Provincial Government after the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912. Wei Yuk, on the other hand, continued to serve the community of Hong Kong after the retirement of his fellow legislator Ho Kai, being awarded the C.M.G. in 1918 and knighted in 1919.

Chapter 5 The Making of a Market Town in Rural Hong Kong: The Luen Wo Market

1. In this essay, Hong Kong place names are spelt according to A Gazetteer of Place Names in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1960). Names of places in China are romanized in pinyin. For the names of persons and ancestral estates, I have followed the common usage.

2. See William Skinner, “Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China,” Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 24 (1964), pp. 1–43.

3. See Fei Xiaotong, Xiangtu Zhongguo [Earthbound China] (Shanghai: The Shanghai Asociation of Observation, 1947), p.30.

4. See Maurice Freedman, Chinese Lineage and Society: Fukien and Kwantung (London: Athlone Press, 1966), pp. 91–96.

5. See Hugh Baker, A Chinese Lineage Village: Sheung Shui (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968); Cheng Sui-kwan, “Yuen Long New Market: Its Origin and Development,” South China Studies, Vol. 1, pp. 124–133; Robert Groves, “The Origins of Two Market Towns in the New Territories,” in The Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (ed.), Aspect of Social Organization in the New Territories (Hong Kong: Ye Olde Printerie Limited, 1964), pp. 16–20; Michael Palmer, “Lineage and Urban Development in a New Territories Market Town,” in Hugh Baker and Stephen Feuchtwang (eds.), Old State in New Settings (Oxford: JASO, 1991), pp. 70–106; Rubie Watson, Inequality Among Brothers: Class and Kinship in South China. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 72–77.

6. See Hugh Baker, A Chinese Lineage Village: Sheung Shui, pp. 190–193; Cheng Sui-kwan, “Yuen Long New Market: Its Origin and Development,” pp. 124–133; Michael Palmer, “Lineage and Urban Development in a New Territories Market Town,” pp. 70–106.

7. For details, see discussion below.

8. The chairman is elected by the Heung Yee Kuk members, and is the chairman of the Rural Committee consisting of village representatives.

9. See The Oral History Project, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. North District Interview Reports.

10. See Nicole Constable, Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong (California: University of California Press, 1994), pp. 175–177.

11. All figures concerning the market are collected from the company documents of the Luen Wo Market Land Investment Company Limited. The documents are kept in Hong Kong Government Business Registry.

12. Hugh Baker 1968: 17.

13. It is an advisory body established throughout the New Territories. It serves as a channel of communication between the government and the villagers. Members of this committee consist of village representatives who are elected by local householders.

14. See Hugh Baker, A Chinese Lineage Village: Sheung Shui, pp. 190–193 and Michael Palmer, “Lineage and Urban Development in a New Territories Market Town,” pp. 70–106.

15. See Nicole Constable, Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong, p. 177.

16. Robert Groves, “The Origins of Two Market Towns in the New Territories,” p. 19.

17. Edward Szczepanik estimates that the population of Hong Kong in 1954 was about two million. There was yet another influx of an estimated 140 000 immigrants from China during 1955–56. See Edward Szczepanik, The Economic Growth of Hong Kong (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), pp. 25–27.

18. See Jack Potter, Capitalism and The Chinese Peasant: Social and Economic Change in a Hong Kong Village (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), p. 59; C.K. Yang, A Chinese Village in Early Communist Transition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), p. 31.

19. C. T. Wong, “Uses of Agricultural Land: Some Changes in New Territories Farming Patterns,” in The Hong Kong Branch of Royal Asiatic Society (ed.), The Changing Face of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Olde Printerie Ltd., 1971), p. 17. The government also estimated that more than 40 percent of two-crop paddy land was used for growing additional crops of vegetables during the winter season. See The New Territories Administration (NTA), 1960 Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1960), p. 21.

20. C.T. Wong, “Uses of Agricultural Land: Some Changes in New Territories Farming Patterns,” p. 17.

21. The New Territories Administration (NTA), 1960 Annual Report, p. 21.

22. Ibid.

23. See Lin Dao-yang, Report of a Trial Survey of the Economic Conditions of Sixty Families in the New Territories of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Chung Chi College, 1957), p. 21.

24. For the study of the emigration of the indigenous villagers in the New Territories, see James Watson, Emigration and the Chinese Lineage: The Mans in Hong Kong and London (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975).

25. The aim of this organisation was to ensure fair and steady returns to vegetables producers and reasonable selling prices to consumers. See Hong Kong Government (HKG), 1951 Hong Kong Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1951), p. 55.

26. See also Jack Potter, Capitalism and The Chinese Peasant: Social and Economic Change in a Hong Kong Village, pp. 91–94 and Goran Aijimer, Economic Man in Sha Tin: Vegetable Gardeners in a Hong Kong Village (London: Curzon, 1979), pp. 78–79.

27. Hong Kong Government (HKG), 7970 Hong Kong Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1970), p. 63.

28. See The New Territories Administration (NTA), 1946 Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1946), p. 3.

29. Personal communications with Dr. Patrick Hase, the ex-district officer of the New Territories.

30. See The New Territories Administration (NTA), 1947 Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1947), p. 4.

31. Woon Yuen Fong, Social Organization in South China, 1911–1949: The Case of the Kuan Lineage of Kai-Ping County (Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1984), pp. 66–67.

32. Robert Groves, “Militia, Market and Lineage: Chinese Resistance to the Occupation of Hong Kong's New Territories,” p. 39; Robert Groves, “The Origins of Two Market Towns in the New Territories.”

33. Though in the shareholder's name list in 1957 and 1977 I found two Lius who together subscribed to a total of ten shares, they were not from Sheung Shui.

34. See The New Territories Administration (NTA), 1948 Annual Report (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1948), p. 5.

35. I classified these individual shareholders by different surname groups because, checking the shareholders' name list, I found that most shareholders bearing the same surname were registered under an identical address. Therefore, it is safe to classify these shareholders by their surname.

36. Chan Kwok-shing, The Dynamics of Patrilineal Descent: Property Transfer in a Chinese Lineage Village (Unpublished thesis, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1996), p. 20.

37. Michael Palmer states that the trusts of the Lius indeed possessed substantial land holdings which could allow them to support the building project. But in order to have cash for investment in the development of the market, the Lius would have to sell or mortgage the trust lands. Finally they did not agree to commit so much land to this kind of venture. See Michael Palmer, “Lineage and Urban Development in a New Territories Market Town,” pp. 78–80.

38. Chan Kwok-shing, The Dynamics of Patrilineal Descent: Property Transfer in a Chinese Lineage Village, pp. 24–25.

39. Ibid, p. 39.

40. See Karl Polayni, “The Substantivist Revolution,” in Edward LeClair and Harold Schneider (eds.), Economic Anthropology: Readings in Theory and Analysis (New York: Holt, Rinchart & Winston, 1968), pp. 122–143.

41. Shareholders who own more than 1000 shares are permanent directors. Any person who owns 300 shares is eligible for election as an ordinary director. The founders' shareholders have the right to appoint any person as a permanent director in the company. Any person who subscribed to at least 50 ordinary shares is qualified for the post of ordinary director, but has to stand for reelection after two years.

42. As the company documents have shown, all the market founders were company directors.

43. From 1971 to 1993, records of share transactions were not available for 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1991. It cannot be said for certain whether there were any transactions during these years.

44. But the company also stipulates that no shareholder should have more than 100 votes each.

45. See Joseph Esherick and Mary Rankin, Chinese Local Elites and Patterns of Dominance (California: California Press, 1990).

Chapter 6 Recording a Rich Heritage: Research in Hong Kong's “New Territories”

1. Barbara E. Ward, “Rediscovering our Social and Cultural Heritage in the New Territories,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 20 (1980), pp. 116–124.

2. See David Faure, Bernard H. K. Luk, and Alice Ngai-ha Lun Ng, “The Hong Kong Region According to Historical Inscriptions,” in David Faure, James Hayes, and Alan Birch (eds.), From Village to City (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1984), pp. 43–54.

3. Two of the resulting publications are: Morris Berkowitz, “Plover Cove Village to Tai Po Market,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 8 (1968), pp. 96–108 and “The Fading of Earthbound Compulsion in a Chinese Village: Population Mobility and its Economic Implication,” in Ambrose Y. C. King and Rance P. L. Lee (eds.), Social Life and Development in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1984), pp. 105–126.

4. I refer to the work of Choi Chi-cheung and Liu Tik-sang, in particular.

5. Peter Wesley-Smith, Unequal Treaty 1898–1997: China, Great Britain and Hong Kong's New Territories (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1998).

6. Lee Ming-kwan, “The Evolution of the Heung Yee Kuk as a Political Institution,” in From Village to City, pp. 164–177.

7. Ward, op. cit. p. 121

8. See, for example, Michael Palmer, “The Surface-subsoil Form of Divided Ownership in Late Imperial China: Some Examples from the New Territories of Hong Kong,” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1 (1987), pp. 1–119.

9. Ibid.

10. There are many exceptions in the work of sociologists, planners, and government officers, most concerned with urbanization.

11. See, for example, Graham Johnson, “Leaders and Leadership in an expanding New Territories Town,” China Quarterly (March 1977), pp. 109–125.

12. See, for example, David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society: Lineage and Village in the Eastern New Territories, Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1986).

13. See, for example, the work of Rubie Watson and James Watson.

14. James Hayes, “Postscript,” in The Hong Kong Region 1850–1911 (Hamden: Archon Books, 1977); Judith Strauch, “Community and Kinship in Southeastern China: The View from the Multilineage Villages of Hong Kong,” Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. XLIII, No. 1 (November 1983), pp. 21–50; David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society: Lineage and Village in the Eastern New Territories, Hong Kong; Michael Palmer, op. cit.

15. See, for example, Rubie Watson, Inequality Among Brothers: Class and Kinship in South China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

16. David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society.

17. Barbara E. Ward, “Varieties of the Conscious Model: The Boat People of South China,” in Michael Banton (ed.), The Relevance of Models for Social Anthropology (London: Tavistock Publications Ltd., 1965), pp. 41–60.

18. One of the many examples is Choi Chi-cheung, “Reinforcing Ethnicity: The Jiao Festival in Cheung Chau,” in David Faure and Helen Siu (eds.), Down to Earth: The Territorial Bond in South China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1996), pp. 104–122.

19. Patrick H. Hase, “The Alliance of Ten: Settlement and Politics in the Shataukok Area,” in Down to Earth, pp. 123–160; James Hayes, “The Community of Cheung Chau,” in The Hong Kong Region 1850–1911, pp. 56–84.

20. Eugene Anderson, Essays on South China's Boat People (Taipei: Orient Cultural Service, 1972).

21. Goran Aijmer, “Expansion and Extension in Hakka Society,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 7 (1967), pp. 43–79; Goran Aijmer, Economic Man in Sha Tin: Vegetable Gardeners in a Hong Kong Valley, (London: Curzon Press, 1980).

22. James Hayes, Tsuen Wan: Growth of a ‘New Town,’ and its People (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993).

23. Barbara E. Ward, “Kau Sai: An Unfinished Manuscript,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 25 (1985), pp. 27–118, and other publications by Ward.

24. Fred C. Blake, Ethnic Groups and Social Change in a Chinese Market Town (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1981).

25. David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society.

26. Judith Strauch, “Middle Peasants and Market Gardeners, The Social Context of the ‘Vegetable Revolution’ in a Small Agricultural Community in the New Territories, Hong Kong,” in From Village to City, pp. 191–205.

27. See, for example, Hugh Baker, A Chinese Lineage Village: Sheung Shui (London: Frank Cass & Co., 1968).

28. H. G. H. Nelson, ‘Ancestor Worship and Burial Practices’, in Arthur P. Wolf (ed.), Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 251–278.

29. James Hayes, ‘The Traditional Background: Hong Kong Villages in the 1950s’, in Patrick H. Hase and Elizabeth Sinn (eds.), Beyond the Metropolis: Villages in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Ltd., 1995), pp. 17–34.

30. Strauch, 1994; Aijmer, op. cit.

31. See, for example, Johnson, op. cit.; Douglas Sparks, ‘Interethnic Interaction— a Matter of Definition: Ethnicity in a Housing Estate in Hong Kong’, Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 16 (1976), pp. 57–80; Patrick H. Hase, ‘The Work of the District Officer, and His Role in New Town Development’, in The New Territories and its Future (Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1982), pp. 51–60; James Hayes, Tsuen Wan: Growth of a ‘New Town’, and its People.

32. James Watson, Emigration and the Chinese Lineage: The Mans in Hong Kong and London (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). Selina Ching Chan, Tradition Inherited, Tradition Reinterpreted: A Chinese Lineage in the 1990s. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Trinity, Jesus College, University of Oxford, 1995.

33. See, for example, Robert Groves, “Origins of Two Market Towns in the New Territories,” in Aspects of Social Organization in the New Territories, (Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1964), pp. 16–26.

34. James Hayes, “Postscript,” in The Hong Kong Region 1850–1911, pp. 194–201.

35. H. G. H. Nelson, “The Chinese Descent System and the Occupancy Level of Village Houses,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 9 (1969), pp. 113–123.

36. Chan op. cit.; Chan Kwok-shing, The Dynamics of Patrilineal Descent: Property Transfer in a Chinese Lineage Village. Unpublished thesis, Master of Philosophy, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1996.

37. For examples in the New Territories, see, among others, chapters by Nicole Constable and Elizabeth Johnson in Nicole Constable, ed. Guest People: Hakka Identity in China and Abroad (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996).

38. Choi, op. cit., Blake, op. cit., Ward, 1985; Sparks, op. cit.

39. Recent examples include: Ruble Watson, “Chinese Bridal Laments: The Claims of a Dutiful Daughter,” in Bell Yung, Evelyn Rawski, and Rubie S. Watson (eds.), Harmony and Counterpoint: Ritual Music in a Chinese Context (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 107–129; Rubie S. Watson, “Girls' Houses and Working Women: Expressive Culture in the Pearl River Delta 1900–41,” in Maria Jaschok and Suzanne Myers (eds.), Women and Chinese Patriarchy (London: Zed Books Ltd., 1994), pp. 25–44; Chan Wing-hoi, Traditional Folfaongs in the Rural Life of Hong Kong. Unpublished M.A. thesis, the Queen's University of Belfast, 1985; Elizabeth Johnson, “Grieving for the Dead, Grieving for the Living: Funeral Laments of Hakka Women,” in James L. Watson and Evelyn Rawski (eds.), Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 135–163.

40. Jack M. Potter, “Cantonese Shamanism,” in Arthur P. Wolf (ed.), Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975), pp. 207–231; Liu Tik-sang, Becoming Marginal: A Fluid Community and Shamanism in the Pearl River Delta of South China. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1995.

41. David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society.

42. Examples include: James L. Watson, “From the Common Pot: Feasting with Equals in Chinese Society,” Anthropos, Vol. 82 (1987), pp. 389–401; Rubie Watson, Inequality Among Brothers: Class and Kinship in South China; David Faure, The Structure of Chinese Rural Society..

43. See, for example, Watson and Rawski, op. cit; Patrick H. Hase, “Observations at a Village Funeral,” in From Village to City, pp. 129–163.

44. An example is Choi Chi-cheung, “Studies on Hong Kong Jiao festivals,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 30 (1990), pp. 26–43.

45. Barbara Ward, “Not Merely Players: Drama, Art, and Ritual in Traditional China,” Man (N.S.) Vol. 14, No. 1 (1979), pp. 18–39; Chan Sau-yan, Improvisation in a Ritual Context: the Music of Cantonese Opera (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1991); also publications in Japanese by Tanaka Issei.

46. Liu Tao Tao and David Faure (eds), Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities in China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1996).

Please note that these endnotes do not attempt to give comprehensive or representative coverage of work on the New Territories; they simply credit materials cited in the text.

Chapter 7 The Contribution Made by Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) Through the Hong Kong Government Education System and its Pupils, to the Modernization of China

1. The following abbreviations are used: CM: China Mail; HKGN: Hong Kong Government Notification; EdReps: Gillian Bickley, The Development of Education in Hong Kong, 1841–1897: as Revealed by the Early Education Reports of the Hong Kong Government, 1848–1896 (Hong Kong: Proverse Hong Kong, 2002); ISsRep[n]: Inspector of Schools' Annual Report for [year]; [Ag]HdCScRep[n]: [Acting] Headmaster of the Hong Kong Government Central School for Boys Annual Report for [year]; HKGG: Hong Kong Government Gazette.

2. For example, by the Rev. Carl T. Smith.

3. HKGG (24 June 1865), p. 351.

4. ISsRepl889, 27 May 1890, para. 14, HKGG (5 July 1890), pp. 627–636, EdReps, p. 337.

5. Aberdeen University Senate Minute (Aberdeen University Archives, MS U 370/2), quoted in Gillian Bickley, [FSB1878f], Gillian Bickley Collection, p. 8. One may speculate that the person who brought this to the attention of the Senate may have been former Central School pupil, Ho Kai, then a medical student at Aberdeen University. It was Ho Kai who penned the address for the inauguration of the Stewart Scholarship in 1884. (See CM, 15 February 1884, p. 3, c. 2. “The address … is very tastefully and beautifully got up and the wording does credit to our young Chinese barrister.” Ho Kai is the “young Chinese barrister,” mentioned as the writer of the address.)

6. CM, 16 February 1884, p. 3, c. 3.

7. Obituary, Pall Mall Gazette (7 October 1889), p. 6, c. 1, courtesy, Mrs. Jeannine Alton.

8. George Bateson Wright, HdCScRepl889, 10 January 1890, para. 4, HKGG (10 May 1890), p. 425.

9. “Death of an Eminent Buchan Man in Hong Kong,” in The Fraserburgh Herald (8 October 1889), [Communicated]. (Courtesy, Mrs. Fiona Murray.)

10. HKGG (6 April 1861), pp. 106–107; 107; EdReps, p. 70, para. 11.

11. See Gillian Bickley, The Golden Needle: The Biography of Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) (Hong Kong: David C Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, 1997), particularly pp. 78–82; 86.

12. ISsRepl868 (15 February 1869), para. 9, HKGG (6 March 1869), pp. 92–97, EdReps, p. 116.

13. Ibid.

14. CM (26 January 1877), pp. 2–3.

15. CM, 2 March 1878, p. 3, c. 2, transcribed in Gillian Bickley, [FSB1878f], p. 1, Gillian Bickley Collection.

16. They are listed in CM, 16 February 1884, p. 3, c. 3.

17. Editor's note, appended to a letter to the Editor, CM (25 May 1886), p. 3, cc. 4–5.

18. CM (18 February 1884), p. 3, cc. 2–6, cc. 5–6.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. HdCScRepl904, 19 January 1905, para. 14, HKGG (3 February 1905), pp. 110–113.

22. Ibid.

23. ISsRepl868 (15 February 1869), paras 6 and 7, HKGG (6 March 1869), pp. 92–97; EdReps, p. 116.

24. ISsRepl870 (28 February 1871), para. 14, HKGG (18 March 1871), pp. 115–119; EdReps, p. 139. The original spelling of Chinese names is preserved throughout all direct quotations.

25. ISsRepl871 (15 February 1872), para. 19, HKGG (2 March 1872), pp. 98–101; EdReps, pp. 149–150.

26. CM (21 January 1876), p. 3, c. 1.

27. The school was spoken of as two schools, referring to the fact that both EngHsh and Chinese curricula were taught at it; one in the morning, one in the afternoon.

28. Daily Press (2 March 1876), p. 3, c. 6.

29. Further notices of the progress of these boys: their journey, arrival, reception, living accommodation, number of meals and pay, as well as the request for more boys which was made, appeared in The China Mail as follows: 1 February 1876, p. 2. c. 1 (copied from the [Hong Kong] Chung Ngoi San Po); 21 February 1876, p. 3, cc. 1–2; 29 February 1876, p. 2, c. 6; 4 March 1876, p. 5; 2 March 1876, p. 2; 1 March 1876, p. 2.

30. Kuo Sung Tao's comments are quoted from in, Gillian Bickley, The Golden Needle, op. cit., p. 141.

31. “Exhibition Day at the Government Central School,” CM (26 January 1877), p. 2, cc. 4–6; p. 3, c. 1.

32. Gwenneth Stokes, Queen's College: Its History 1862–1987 (Hong Kong: Queen's College Old Boys' Association, 1987), pp. 20–21.

33. Gillian Bickley, The Golden Needle, op. cit., p. 211.

34. CM (21 April 1879), p. 3, cc. 2–3; republished from The Aberdeen Free Press.

35. See for example Gwenneth Stokes, Queen's College: Its History 1862–1987, op. cit.; Alice Ng Lun Ngai-ha, Interactions of East and West: Development of Public Education in Early Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1984); Carl T. Smith, Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1985); Gillian Bickley, The Golden Needle, op. cit.

36. Reported in CM (26 January 1877), pp. 2–3, already partially quoted above.

37. CM (21 April 1879), p. 3, cc. 2–3; republished from The Aberdeen Free Press.

38. Account of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's visit to the University of Hong Kong, CM (20 February 1923), reproduced in, Jen Yu-wen and Lindsay Ride, Sun Yat-sen: Two Commemorative Essays (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1977), pp. 21–22.

39. Ibid.

40. Chen Man-ju, Chinese Revolutionaries in Hong Kong, 1895–1911. Referred to in Ng Lun Ngai-ha, op. cit., p. 147, and p. 147, note 57.

41. See Tables 7.1 and 7.5 associated with this chapter: “Influence of Frederick Stewart (1836–1889) on Hong Kong education” and “Frederick Stewart and the Hong Kong Government education system's direct influence on educational institutions in Hong Kong and China, 1862-.”

42. “In the case of the Catholic College, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the Central School has been a most powerful stimulus to the Bishop to bring it to its present condition.” Frederick Stewart, London, Report to “Robert G. W. Herbert, Esq., etc. etc. etc.”, 15 November 1878. (CO/129/183/349r. - 392r.), transcribed in Gillian Bickley, [C015Nov3], p. 24, Gillian Bickley Collection.

43. The Central School, Can it Justify its Raison D'être? Hong Kong, Noronha &Sons, 1877, p. 32.

44. ISsRepl877 (8 February 1878), para. 20, HKGG (6 July 1878, pp. 299–300A), EdReps, p. 196.

45. Ibid.

46. ISsRepl873 (21 February 1874), para. 26, EdReps, p. 166.

47. Frederick Stewart explains that this was, “a name which has been given to all the Government schools except the Central School.” ( ISsRep l873 (21 February 1874), para. 3, HKGG (7 March 1874), pp. 103–107, EdReps, p. 159.) The present writer considers that this term initially reflected the perceived status of these schools with reference to the various categories of school on the Chinese Mainland. As stated by Alice Ng, these categories were, from highest to lowest: imperial school, imperial clan school, royal school, prefectural schools, district schools, academies, village schools, and charity schools. (Ng Lun Ngai-ha, op. cit., pp. 15–16.) The later distinction between aided and supported Government Village Schools did not yet exist.

48. In 1873, English was added to Chinese instruction in the government school at Aberdeen. See ISsRepl872 (3 February 1873), paras 10–14, EdReps, pp. 156–158; ISsRepl873 (21 February 1874), para. 12, EdReps, p. 161; ISsRepl874 (17 February 1875), para. 9, EdReps, p. 168; ISsRepl875 (5 February 1876), para. 10, EdReps, p. 177.

49. ISsRepl874 (17 February 1875), para. 6, EdReps, pp. 167–168.

50. See note 47, above.

51. These figures are taken from ISsRepl877, 8 February 1878, HKGG (6 July, 1878), pp. 259–300A, Table VIII, “Summary of Enrolment and Attendance at the Government Schools for the last Sixteen Years” (not in EdReps), showing, for 1862–1877 inclusive, Total Enrolment for the Year; Maximum Daily Average, (monthly average); Minimum Monthly Enrolment; and Minimum Daily Attendance (monthly average). The figures report on the Central School, the government managed, and the government-aided schools (but not the grant-in-aid schools).

It is this Table that Stewart quotes in his Report to “Robert G. W. Herbert, Esq., etc. etc. etc.”, 15 November 1878 (CO/129/183/349r. - 392r.), when defending the record of the government schools, as well as the management of government education as a whole. The figure Stewart uses in this report, for comparison between his first year in office (1862), and the school year (1877), immediately preceding his one year's leave of absence, is that of The Minimum Daily Attendance (monthly average). One may wonder, therefore, whether it is this data that we should use in the present context also. However, Stewart's purpose was different, to address the question, “Are the present village schools overcrowded?” He sought to show that, although there had been no “falling back” in numbers, the village schools were by no means full. The data that will be used here derives from the same table, but in the different category, “Total Enrolment for the Year.”

For the sake of those who might wish to consider this data further, it is pointed out that, in his report to Robert Herbert of 15 November 1878, Stewart writes of this figure as referring to, “the Minimum Daily Attendance.” It is worth noting, also, that the same four categories of total had appeared in the Reports on Education for many years, but the terminology applied to them had varied. It is only from ISsRep l874, that the four sets of figures are described as in the Report for 1877, thus: “Total Enrolment for the Year; Maximum Daily Average (monthly average); Minimum Monthly Enrolment; and Minimum Daily Attendance (monthly average).” From ISsRep l870 -ISsRep l873, inclusive, they were described as: “Total Annual Enrolment; Maximum Regular Attendance; Minimum Monthly Enrolment; and Minimum Regular Attendance.” In ISsRep l865, and from ISsRep l867 — ISsRep l869, inclusive, they were described as: “Maximum Enrolment; Maximum Attendance; Minimum Enrolment; and Minimum Attendance.” In ISsRep l866, they were described as: “Maximum No. Enroled; Maximum Attendance; Minimum No. Enroled; and Minimum Attendance.”

52. See Table 7.3, “Hong Kong Government Central School Enrollments 1862–1905,” for a different presentation of the following data.

53. Address of the teachers of the Central School and government schools throughout Hong Kong, CM (3 March 1878), p. 3, cc. 2–3.

54. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who first enrolled as a pupil at the Central School on 15 April 1884, was Number 2746 on the Register (The Yellow Dragon, Vol. 37, 1937, p. 94).

55. HdCScRepl904, 19 January 1905, para. 14, HKGG (3 February 1905), pp. 110–113.

56. See Table 7.4, “Pupils in the Hong Kong Government Education System 1862–1889,” for a different presentation of the same data.

57. See Tables (not in EdReps) appended to ISsRepl877, 8 February 1878, HKGG (6 July, 1878), pp. 300B-305. Calculations based on Table VIII, “Summary of Enrolment and Attendance at the Government Schools for the last Sixteen Years” (p. 302), show total enrolments for the 16 years 1862–1877, inclusive (calculated from the data in the category, “Total enrolment for the Year” (see note 51 above), as 19 637. By reference to Table VI in this group, it is clear that Table VIII includes enrolments at the Central School. Omitting the approximately 2000 individuals enrolled at the Central School over the same period (see above), the number of enrolments at the village schools, during the period 1862–1877, inclusive, must be about 17 600.

58. See Tables (not in EdReps) appended to ISsRepl889, 27 May 1890, HKGG (5 July 1890), pp. 637–646. Table VIII, “Summary of Enrolment and Attendance at the Government Schools for the last Twenty-five Years [1865–1889]” (p. 641) extends the data provided in ISsRep l877. Calculations based on the combined data of the two tables show total enrolments for the years 1862–1889, inclusive (calculated from “Total Enrolment for the Year” (see note 51 above), as 43 938. Omitting the 2746 individuals enrolled at the Central School as of 5 April 1884 (and rounding down to take some account of those who enrolled at the Central School between this date and 1889), the number of enrolments at the village schools, during the period 1862–1889, inclusive must be, say, about 41 000.

59. The data relating to the government schools, in the Table, “Comparative Statistics of Government and Grant Schools,” presented in Ng Lun Ngai-ha, op. cit., Appendix III, appears in the original sources as, “Total Enrolment for the Year.” Ng (p. 164) does not give a precise reference for her data, simply stating, “Compiled from the statistics given in the reports of the Inspector of Schools.” Her data for 1873 to 1889 may however be found in ISsRep l889, 27 May 1890, HKGG (5 July 1890), pp. 627–636, para. 5, EdReps, p. 324. The total for the grant-in-aid schools, derived from her data, for the years 1873–1877 inclusive, is 3500 and, for the years 1873–1889 inclusive, 41 766.

60. ISsRepl895, 21 May 1896 (HKGG Supplement, 1896, pp. CCVII-CCXII), para. 15, EdReps, p. 422.

61. Unfortunately for present purposes, school-leaving or other public examinations, taken by a majority of pupils — which provide a good basis for such statistics in very recent times — appeared later in Hong Kong's history. See Table, “A comparison of Hong Kong Chinese students studying ‘western knowledge’ and learning a western language (usually, English) in 1893 and March 1997,” for a different presentation of the same data.

62. ISsRep l893, HKGG 62 (5 May 1894), pp. 350–356, with further tables, pp. 357–369, EdReps, pp. 390–403 (the further tables are not included in EdReps).

63. See note 65 below.

64. This figure is based on ISsRep l893, 9 April 1894, HKGG (5 May, 1894), pp. 350–356, para. 8, EdReps, pp. 395–396. Among the “126 schools … under the supervision of the Education Department in the year 1893,” 24 schools gave “to 3120 scholars of English, Portuguese, Indian or Chinese extraction an English education …” In six of these 24 schools, “1615 chiefly Chinese scholars” were given “an English education (combined with classical Chinese teaching).” Additionally, 152 Chinese children were being given “a European education in the Chinese language”, and 62 (in eight Kaifong schools) were receiving an “Anglo-Chinese education.” In seven other schools “under European supervision,” “393 scholars [it is assumed that these are not Chinese] received in two schools a purely English education, and 528 [it is assumed that these are Chinese] scholars receive in five schools a European education in the Chinese language.” Those studying a western curriculum totalled at most, therefore, 2,357.

65. Table I, HdCScRep l893, 24 January 1894, which shows the Total Number of Boys examined in each year, 1884–1893, inclusive.

66. See Table XIII, “Results of the Examination of the Grant-in-Aid Schools in 1893, under the provisions of the Scheme of 15th September 1883,” HKGG (5 May 1894), p. 365. The class of school referred to was “Class III.” And the highest standard was “Standard VI.” C.M.S. Victoria Home and Orphanage (Girls) had two of these pupils and Berlin Mission (Girls) had four.

67. See note 64 above. Deducting the number of those stated to be studying “in the Chinese language,” we reach a total of 1,677 who seem to have been learning a western language.

68. See for example, ISsRep l894, 4 May 1895, para. 4, HKGG (17 August 1895), pp. 883–887, p. 883, EdReps, pp. 404–105; and ISsRepl895, 21 May 1896, para. 4 (“Supplement” to HKGG, 1896), pp. CCVII-CCXII, p. CCVII, EdReps, p. 415.

69. Taking into account seven only of the eleven degree-awarding institutions — those which have a joint recruitment exercise.

70. Margaret Ng, “Will Patten [Governor Chris Patten] speak for Hong Kong or himself?” South China Morning Post (8 October 1992), p. 10, cc. 1–4.

Chapter 8 The Use of Sinology in the Nineteenth Century: Two Perspectives Revealed in the History of Hong Kong

1. The author wishes to acknowledge the encouraging and constructive comments from three anonymous reviewers. I remain responsible for all the mistakes and merits in the paper.

2. Wolfgang Franke, “European Sinology in the 19th century,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 24, No. 4 (December 1997), p. 896.

3. Lo Hsiang-lin, Hong Kong and Western Culture (Tokyo: Center for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1963), pp. 22–37.

4. As compared with Eitel, Legge had received more scholarly attention. A substantial review of Legge's scholarship in the perspectives of comparative religions, see Norman Girardot, The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). For a general view on missionaries' contributions to sinology, especially in the area of philology, see David B. Honey, Incense at the Altar: Pioneering Sinologists and the Development of Classical Chinese Philology (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 2001).

5. J. L. Cranmer-Byng, “The First English Sinologists; Sir George Staunton and The Reverend Robert Morrison,” in F. S. Drake (ed.), Symposium on Historical Archaeological and Linguistic Studies; on Southern China, South-East Asia and the Hong Kong Region (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1967), p. 252.

6. Robert Morrison, China: A Dialogue, for The Use of Schools: Being Ten Conversations, between A Father and His Two Children, Concerning The History and Present State of That Country (London: James Nisbet, 1824).

7. R. L. O'Sullivan, “The Anglo-Chinese College and The Early ‘Singapore Institution,”’ Journal of Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 61, No. 2 (1988), p. 48.

8. There were, of course, a number of itinerant missionaries who did not have any interest in things Chinese. They “devoted to the more purely evangelical and immediate purpose of going among the people and ‘spreading the word.’” Brian Harrison, Waiting for China: The Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca, 1818–1843, and Early Nineteenth Century Missions (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1979), pp. 86–7.

9. Alexander Wylie, Memoirs of Protestant Missionaries in China; Giving a List of their Publications and Obituary Notices of the Deceased (Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press, 1867), pp. 19–20.

10. According to Wylie, the numbers of the religious tracts that these missionaries wrote were as follows: Milne wrote 19 Chinese items, Medhurst wrote 59 Chinese titles and 7 Malay titles, Collie wrote 9 Chinese titles, and Kidd wrote 6 Chinese titles. Ibid., 13–19, 27–40, 46–70.

11. Jane Kate Leonard, “Walter Henry Medhurst: Rewriting the Missionary Message,” in Suzanne Wilson Barnett and John King Fairbank (eds.), Christianity in China; Early Protestant Missionary Writings (Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press, 1985), pp. 47–59.

12. Robert Morrison (comp.), Memoirs of the Rev. William Milne, D. D. Late Missionary to China and Principal of the Anglo-Chinese College; compiled from Documents written by the Deceased; to which are added Occasional Remarks (Malacca: Mission Press, 1824), pp. 115–16.

13. Lindsay Ride, Robert Morrison: The Scholar and the Man (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1957), p. 10.

14. Elizabeth Morrison (comp.), Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison, D.D., F.R.S., M.R.A.S., Member of the Society of Asiatique of Paris, & c. c; with Critical Notices of His Chinese Works by Samuel Kidd, and An Appendix Containing Original Documents, 2 vols. (London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1839), Vol. 2, p. 524.

15. Morrison, China: A Dialogue for the Use of Schools, pp. 117–19.

16. As a Chinese scholar, Mr. Kidd occupied in the circle of literature an important space which it will be very difficult to fill by another. His recent work, entitled ‘China,’ [China, or Illustrations of the Symbols, Philosophy, Antiquities, Customs, Superstitions, Law, Government, Education, and Literature of Chinese (London: Taylor and Walton, 1841)] was derived from original sources, and could have been written by one only who was able fully to avail himself of that large Chinese library to which, as Professor, he had daily access, and which, originally the property of the late Dr. Morrison, was subsequently transferred to University College by the trustees of that great and honoured man.” See, John Woodwark, A Sermon, Occasioned by the Sudden Death of the Rev. Samuel Kidd, Late Missionary, and Principal of Anlgo-Chinese College at Malacca; and subsequently, Professor of the Chinese Language and Literature, in University College, London (London: T. Ward and Co., 1843), p. 24.

17. “Chinese Studies in Britain: A Review Article,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 3d ser. 5, no. 2 (1995), p. 246.

18. James Legge (ed.), A Lexilogus of the English, Malay and Chinese Languages; Comprehending the Vernacular Idioms of the Last in the Hok-keen and Canton Dialects (Malacca: Mission Press, 1841), “Preface.”

19. Chinese Repository, Vol. 11, No. 7 (1842), p. 389.

20. Tkin Shen [He Tsun-sheen] trans with a preface by James Legge, The Rambles of the Emperor Ch'ing Tih in Keang Nan: A Chinese Tale (London: Longman, 1843), Vol. 1, pp. v-vii.

Later in 1865, Legge acknowledged the difficulties of translating the Shujing in the preface. He wrote, “The Author has often heard Sinologues speak of the difficulty of understanding the Shoo [Shujing], and hazard the opinion, that, if we had not the native commentaries, we should not be able to make out the meaning of it all.” James Legge trans. The Chinese Classics (Oxford: Oxford University press, 1893; repr., Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1960), Vol. 3: The Shoo King or The Book of Historical Documents, p. vi.

21. James Legge, The Notion of the Chinese Concerning God and Spirits: with an Examination of the Defense of an Essay, on the Proper Rendering of the Words Elohim and Theos, into the Chinese Language, by William Boone, D. D., Missionary Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States to China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Register Office, 1852), p. 23.

22. James Legge, Confucianism in Relation to Christianity; A Paper Read before the Missionary Conference in Shanghai, on May 11th, 1877 (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1877), p. 3.

23. Ibid., p. 6.

24. The inquirer had already developed his understanding of the notions of Tian, Di, and Shangdi in the Chinese classics. An Inquirer, “A Letter to Prof. F. Max Muller on the Sacred Books of China, Part I,” in The Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3 (1880), pp. 161–87.

25. James Legge, A Letter to Professor F. Max Muller, Chiefly on the Translation into English of the Chinese Terms Ti and Shang Ti in Reply to A Letter to Him by “Inquirer” in The Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal for May-June 1880 (London: Trubner and Co., 1880), p. 4.

26. James Legge (trans.), The I Ching, The Sacred Books of China, No. 16, The Sacred Books of the East (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899), p. xx.

27. In fact, recent scholarship repudiates the notion that Shangdi in the Chinese Classics is the Chinese equivalent to God, as prescribed by the Christian doctrines. Fu Pejung, “The Confucian Heaven and the Christian God,” in Peter K. H. Lee (ed.), Confucian-Christian Encounters in Historical and Contemporary Perspective (Lewiston: Edwin Meilen Press, 1992), p. 216. Xu Zhuoyun [Hsu Cho-yun], Zhongguo Wenhua da Fazhan Guocheng [The Development of Chinese Culture] (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1992), pp. 3–17. See also, Zhang Jingxian, “Lun Zhongguo Gudai Shangdi-guan zhi Tedian” [On the characteristics of the Concept Shangdi in Ancient China], Lishi Jiaoxue 1992/2 (1992), pp. 2–6.

28. James Legge, Inaugural Lecture, on the Constituting of A Chinese Chair in the University of Oxford; Delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, October 27, 1876 (Oxford: Trubner and Co., 1876), p. 26.

29. Legge, A Letter to Professor F. Max Muller, p. 19.

30. Legge, Confucianism in Relation to Christianity, p. 12.

31. James Legge, The Religions of China; Confucianism and Taoism Described and Compared with Christianity (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1880), pp. 277–78.

32. Ibid., pp. 286–87.

33. James Legge, Christianity and Confucianism Compared in Their Teaching of the Whole Duty of Man (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1883), pp. 24–36 in passim.

34. James Legge, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms; Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-hein of Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399–414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1886), p. 7.

35. James Legge, The Nestorian Monument of Hsi-an Fu in Shen-hsi, China; Relating to the Diffusion of Christianity in China in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries with the Chinese Text of the Inscription, a Translation, and Notes and A Lecture on the Monument; with a Sketch of Subsequent Christian Missions in China And Their Present State (London: Trubner & Co., 1888), p. 58.

36. Ibid., pp. 64–5.

37. Wilhelm Schlatter. Geschichte der Basler Mission 1815–1915: Mit besonderer Beruecksichtigung der Ungedruckten Quellen 3 Vols (Basel: Verlog der Basler Missions buchhandlung, 1916), Vol. 2: Die Geschichte der Basler Mission in Indien und China., pp. 319–20.

38. From the mid-sixteenth century onwards, more Hakkas moved into Boluo. for details, see Myron L. Cohen, “The Hakka or ‘Guest People’ Dialect as a Sociocultural Variable in Southeast China,” in Nicole Constable (ed.), Guest People Hakka Identity in China and Abroad (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), p. 45.

39. Ernest John Eitel, “An Outline History of the Hakkas,” China Review, Vol. 2 (1873), p. 160.

40. Ibid., p. 162.

41. Nicole Constable, “Introduction: What Does it Mean to be Hakka?” in Guest People, p. 13.

42. Nicole Constable, Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), p. 186.

43. Other names include George Campbell and Wilhelm Oehler. For details, see Ibid., pp. 23–5.

44. Legge, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, p. vii.

45. Robert Dunn (comp.), Chinese-English & English-Chinese Dictionaries in the Library of Congress: An Annotated Bibliography (Washington: Library of Congress, 1977), pp. 13–4. See also, Muriel Detrie, “Chinese Buddhism in Western Eyes: Analysis of a Cross-Cultural Phenomenon,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1997), p. 860.

46. Ernest John Eitel, Europe in China; the History of Hongkong from the Beginning to the Year 1882 (London: Luzac & Company, 1895), p. 472.

47. Buddhism: Its Historical, Theoretical And Popular Aspects (Hong Kong: Lane, Crawford & Co., 1871; 3rd ed. Hong Kong: Lane Crawford & Co., 1884).

48. Ibid., p. 15.

49. Ibid., pp. 21–2.

50. Ibid., pp. 35–6.

51. Ibid., p. 51.

52. Ibid., pp. 59–63.

53. Ibid., 90.

54. Ibid., pp. 137–8.

55. Ibid., pp. 94–5.

56. Eitel, Europe in China, p. 516. Ernest John Eitel, Fengshui: The Science of Sacred Landscape in Old China (London: Trubner & Co., 1873; 4th ed. London: Synergetic Press, 1984).

57. Eitel, Feng-Shui, 3. Eitel's view influenced some China missionaries while many of them had to confront the tremendous influence from Feng Shui in their missionary work. Timothy Richard, for instance, learned about it from reading Eitel's book. See, Forty-five Years in China; Reminiscences by Timothy Richard, D.D., Litt.D.(London: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1916), p. 81.

58. Eitel, Fengshui, p. 51.

59. Ibid., pp. 68–9.

60. The Chinese Term for God: Statement and Reply (London: T. Williams, 1877).

61. Ibid., pp. 3–4.

62. Ibid.

63. It was recorded that “Dr. Blodget took a great interest in the perennial Term Question and published a pamphlet in English advocating the use of the term Lord of Heaven [Tian Zhu], following the Roman Catholics.” A. H. Smith, “In Memoriam. Rev. Henry Blodget D. D.,” Chinese Recorder, Vol. 34 (1903), p. 508.

64. For examples, William Lobscheid wrote Grammar of the Chinese Language (1864), and John Chalmers compiled English and Cantonese Dictionary (1878). By 1884, the Catholic printing house of Nazareth published 28 dictionaries in 12 languages. See, K. C. Fok, Lectures on Hong Kong History (Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1990), pp. 1–14.

65. Ernest John Eitel, A Chinese-English Dictionary in the Cantonese Dialect, revised and enlarged by Immanuel Gottlieb Genahr (Hong Kong: Kelly & Walsh, 1910), “Preface to the First Edition.”

66. Ernest John Eitel, “Chinese Studies and Official Interpretation in the Colony of Hongkong,” China Review, Vol. 6, No. (1877), p. 5.

67. Cited in Eitel's article, Ibid.

68. Wong Man Kong, James Legge: A Pioneer at Crossroads of East and West. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Educational Company, 1996), pp. 72–79.

69. “Colonial Office paper ‘Hong Kong Cadetship.” Cited in Steve Tsang ed. Government and Politics: A Documentary History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University press, 1995), pp. 149–50. There was a notorious case of corruption involving Daniel R. Caldwell, the Registrar-General, that became a catalyst for the introduction to the cadet system. See, Christopher Munn, Anglo-China: Chinese People and British Rule in Hong Kong, 1841–1880. (Richmond: Curzon, 2001), pp. 290–328.

70. Henry J. Lethbridge, “Hong Kong Cadets, 1862–1941,” in Hong Kong: Stability and Change; A Collection of Essays (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 34.

71. James Legge, “The Colony of Hong Kong,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 11 (1971), p. 188.

72. Before 1873, the academic degrees awarded by Oxford and Cambridge Universities “were barred to non-Anglicans.” Antony Lentin, “Anglicanism, Parliament and the Courts,” Religion in Victorian Britain 4 vols. (London: Open University Press, 1988) Vol 2: Controversies, p. 89.

73. Concerning the correspondences relating to Legge's teaching, see the correspondence between Mercer and Duke of Newcastle, dated 9 April 1863, to be kept at the Colonial Office Records (thereafter, C.O.) 129/92, 2–5. Regarding the reports on the performance of these cadets, see for example, “Dr. Legge's Report of examination in Chinese” dated 12 January 1864, sent by Mercer to Duke of Newcastle, C.O. 129/97, 41–6. There were defects in the training of the Cadets. Legge complained that “there should have been no diverting them away from their proper business of study, until they had given proof of their proficiency by actual interpretation in the Supreme Court.” See, Legge, “The Colony of Hong Kong,” p. 189.

74. “Preliminary training at Oxford of young man,” dated 31 March 1877, C.O. 129/180, 414–443. See also G. B. Endacott, A History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 168. According to Lethbridge, “there were no candidates for Hong Kong at this particular time (1867–1879).” This period of interregnum was due to the changes in the recruitment of civil servants for British overseas colonies. For details, see Lethbridge, “Hong Kong Cadets, 1862–1941,” pp. 34–37. When the cadet system was reintroduced in Hong Kong in 1878, James Haldane Stewart Lockhart was chosen who studied the Chinese language under Robert Douglas at King's College, London. Shiona Airlie, Thistle and Bamboo: The Life and Times of Sir James Stewart Lockhart (Hong Kong: Oxford University press, 1989), pp. 12–13.

75. Eitel, Europe in China, p. 511.

76. Ibid., p. 481.

77. This was at first prepared on 25 October 1879 for the Governor's reference. It was later inserted in Correspondence Respecting the Alleged Existence of Chinese Slavery in Hong Kong (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1882), pp. 49–57. Correspondence was included in China, Vol. 26: Correspondence and Reports, Conversations, and other papers relating to the affairs of Hong Kong, 1882–1899 (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971).

78. Henry Lethbridge, “The Evolution of a Chinese Voluntary Association in Hong Kong: The Po Leung Kuk,” in Hong Kong: Stability and Change, pp. 78; 80–81.

79. Ernest John Eitel, “Report on Domestic Servitude in Relation to Slavery,” in Peter Hodge (ed.), Community Problems and Social Work in Southeast Asia: the Hong Kong and Singapore Experience (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1980), pp. 56–57.

80. Enadcott, “A Hong Kong History: Europe in China, by E. J. Eitel: The Man and the Book,” Journal of Oriental Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 & 2 (1957–58), p. 50.

81. Ernest John Eitel, “Slavery in China,” China Review, Vol. 10, No. 4 (1882), pp. 283–84.

82. Ernest John Eitel, “The Law of Testamentary Succession as Popularly Understood and Applied in China,” China Review, Vol. 15 (1886), p. 150.

83. Alan Birch, “The Lamb and the Dragon; Sino-Western Cross-cultural Influences upon Hong Kong History,” a paper read to the conference on Hong Kong: Its People, Traditions, and Culture, organized by the Center of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong, 15–16 April 1983.

84. Eitel, Europe in China, pp. iv-v.

85. Ibid., p. 290.

86. Ng Yen-tak, The Early Population of Hong Kong: Growth, Distribution, and Structural Change (Occasional Paper, Department of Geography, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1984).

87. Legge earned his M.A. from the University of Aberdeen in 1835 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from New York University in 1842, while Eitel earned his M.A. from the University of Tubingen in 1860 and earned his Ph.D. from the same university in 1871.

Chapter 9 The Guangxi Clique and Hong Kong: Sanctuary in a Dangerous World

1. Li, Zongren and Tang Degang, Li Zongren huiyi lu [The Memoirs of Li Zongren] (Nanning: Guangxi Renmin Chubanshe, 1988), pp. 430–431.

2. The term militarist is more polite than warlord, and in a technical sense more accurate for generals holding substantive positions in an organized army, but junfa (warlord) was the term in common usage at the time, and has continued to be so. The only people who did not use the term were those it described. No moral judgment is intended by the use of the term here.

3. Li, Zongren and Tang Degang, Li Zongren huiyi lu, p. 430.

4. Li's detention was much shorter than that of Zhang Xueliang, the Manchurian warlord, arrested by Chiang Kai-shek in 1937 after the Xian Incident and held under house arrest for over fifty years.

5. Huang, Shaoxiong, Wushi huiyi [My Fifty Years of Recollections] (Taibei: Longwen Chubanshe, 1989), p. 239.

6. Ibid, p. 255.

7. Bergere, Marie-Claire, Sun Yat-sen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977), p. 68.

8. Kang, Baishi, Chen Jiongming zhuan [The Biography of Chen Jiongming] (Hong Kong: Wenyi Chushi, 1978), pp. 100–101.

9. Cheng, Siyuan, Bai Chongxi zhuan [The Biography of Bai Chongzi] (Beijing: Huayi Chubanshe, 1995), p. 31.

10. Cheng, Siyuan, Wode huiyi [My Recollections] (Beijing: Huayi Chubanshe, 1994), p. 44.

11. Mo, Jijie and Chen Fulin (eds.), Xin Guixi shi [The History of the New Gui Clique] (Nanning: Guangxi Renmin Chubanshe, 1991), p. 247.

12. See Li, Xiuwen, Wo yu Li Zongren. [Li Zongren and Me] (Hong Kong: Zhongyuan Chubanshe, 1987).

13. Huang, Shaoxiong, Wushi huiyi, pp. 252–253.

14. Li, Zongren and Tang Degang, Li Zongren huiyi lu, p. 430.

15. Ibid, p. 431.

16. Huang, Shaoxiong, Wushi huiyi, p. 240.

17. Cheng, Siyuan, Bai Chongxi zhuan, p. 44.

18. Chan, Anthony, Arming the Chinese: the Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920–1928 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1982), pp. 41; 106–107.

19. Before he started on his business in what he called “sewing machines,” Cohen claimed to have been Sun Yat-sen's bodyguard. See Drage, Charles, The Life and Times of Two-gun Cohen (New York: Funk and Wagnals, 1954), pp. 213–216.

20. Cheng, Siyuan, Wode huiyi, p. 129.

21. Li, Zongren and Tang Degang, Li Zongren huiyi lu, p. 432.

22. Huang, Shaoxiong, Wushi huiyi, p. 255.

23. Huang, Shaoxiong, Wushi huiyi, p. 224.

24. Ibid, p. 253.

25. See Mitter, Rana, “Complicity, Repression and Regionalism: Yan Baohang and centripetal nationalism, 1931–49,” Modern China, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January, 1999), pp. 46–47 and Lary, Diana, Region and Nation: the Kwangsi Clique in Republican Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), p. 211.

Chapter 10 Business and Radicalism: Hong Kong Chinese Merchants and the Chinese Communist Movement, 1921–1934

1. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, “Marshalling the SAR's Tycoons,” in the Analysis column, South China Morning Post, 28 June 2000. This controversial article clearly, if indirectly, reflects the tremendous influence of the important businessmen in the SAR.

2. Special reference to the importance of knowledge of English is made in Chan Wai Kwan, The Making of Hong Kong Society: Three Studies of Class Formation in Early Hong Kong (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), pp. 108–109.

3. Poon Pui-ting, The Mui Tsai Question in Hong Kong (1901–1940), with Special Emphasis on the Role of the Po Leung Kuk, M.Phil thesis, University of Hong Kong, 2000, p. 73 and Appendix 7 in pp. 217–220.

4. Chan Lau Kit Ching, From Nothing to Nothing: The Chinese Communist Movement and Hong Kong 1921–1936 (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1999), pp. 21–26.

5. See, for example, Reginald E. Stubbs to Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies, tel., 28 February 1922, Colonial Office (hereafter CO) 129/474.

6. Chan Lau Kit-ching, “The Perception of Chinese Communism in Hong Kong 1921–1934,” China Quarterly, Vol. 164 (December 2000), p. 1046.

7. See the mediating role of the Chinese leaders, especially Ho Tung, in Chan Wai Kwan, The Making of Hong Kong Society, pp. 188–191.

8. Chan Wai Kwan, ibid., pp. 189–190. Also see Liu Fuzhong (etal.), Liugong Zhubai xingshu [A brief biography of Lau Chu-pak] (Hong Kong, 1922), p. 9a.

9. Sheila Elizabeth Hamilton, Private Security and Government: A Hong Kong Perspective, 1841–1941, Ph.D. thesis, University of Hong Kong, 1999, pp. 84–85.

10. For example, there is no reference at all to the Merchant Corps Incident in Alexander Pantsov, The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution 1919–1927 (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2000).

11. Chan Lau Kit-ching, China, Britain and Hong Kong, 1895–1945 (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1990), pp. 159–167.

12. Numerous statements made by these organizations are found in Huazi ribao (ed.), Kouxiechao [The Canton Volunteers Arms Case] (Hong Kong, 1924), II.

13. Graphic photographs of the destruction are found in Huazi ribao (ed.), ibid., at the end of II, III, and IV.

14. Writings of this nature are found in abundance in Huazi ribao (ed.), ibid., II.

15. Chen became so well established in Hong Kong that he was recruited by the Japanese as a collaborator to help with the administration of the territory during the Japanese occupation. See Robert Kotewall's confession and explanation of the behaviour of the so-called renegades who included himself, Chen Lianbo, and others, in C0968/120/1/40135. Also see Stephenie Po-yin Chung, Chinese Business Groups in Hong Kong and Political Change in South China, 1900–25 (London: MacMillan Press Ltd, 1998), pp. 122, 124.

16. Examples of such messages are seen in Huazi ribao, (ed.), Kouxiechao, II.

17. A Huazi ribao article on the press censorship in Guangzhou is found in Huazi Ribao, ibid., II, pp. 10–11.

18. China Mail, 17 October 1924.

19. See, for example, Chen Dingyan and Gao Zhonglu, Yi zhong xiandai shishi dafanan: Chen Jiongming yu Sun Zhongshan, Jiang Jieshi de enyuan zhenxiang [A reconsideration of a case in modern history — the truth about the relationships of Chen Jiongming with Sun Yet-sen and Chiang Kai-shek] (Hong Kong: Berlind Investment Ltd, 1997), pp. 383–389.

20. For the communist role in the strike-boycott, see Chan Lau Kit-ching, From Nothing to Nothing, pp. 53–11.

21. Chan Lau Kit-ching, China, Britain and Hong Kong, 1895–1945, pp. 197–202.

22. Cheung Kwai-yeung, Huashang huisuo bazhounian jinian tekan [Special issue celebrating the centenary of the Chinese Club] (Hong Kong: Chinese Club, 1997), pp. 12–15.

23. For Deng's role in igniting the strike in Hong Kong, see Daniel Y. K. Kwan, Marxist Intellectuals and the Chinese Labor Movement: A Study of Deng Zhongxia (1894–1933) (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), pp. 105–113.

24. See letter to the directors of the hospital from the staff, 8 July 1925, in Gechu xinbu [Correspondence with various places], 1925, in the Tung Wah Hospital Archives.

25. Tsai Jung-fang, Xianggangren zhi Xianggangshi [History of the people of Hong Kong] (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 145–146.

26. Butterfield and Swire (Hong Kong) to Butterfield and Swire (London), 19 June 1925, in Swire Papers, JSS II 2/4, Box 40, in School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London.

27. Martin Barnett, Tramlines: The Story of the Hong Kong Tramway System (Hong Kong: South China Morning Post Ltd., 1984), p. 47.

28. Austin Coates, Quick Tidings of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 111. Also see Butterfield and Swire (Hong Kong) to Butterfield and Swire (London), 31 July 1925, in Swire Papers, JSS II 2/4, Box 40.

29. R. H. Kotewall's memorandum on the strike-boycott to Sir Claud Severn, Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong, 24 October, 1925, in C0968/120/1/40135. Kotewall as well as Ho Tung were Eurasians who, generally, were not treated as white by the expatriate community in Hong Kong. The Eurasians on the whole moved more in Chinese than western circles, Cheung Kwai-yeung, Huashang huisuo bazhounian jinian tekan, pp. 17–18.

30. Thomas W. Pearce to F. H. Hawkins, Foreign Secretary of London Missionary Society, 20 August 1925, Incoming Letters, South China, Box 24, in The Archives of the Council of World Mission, in School of Oriental and African Studies Library.

31. Tsai Jung-fang, Xianggangren zhi Xianggangshi, pp. 153–157.

32. See, for example, the Huazi ribao of the period.

33. The names of the agents sent to Hong Kong by the Guangdong Provincial Security Bureau appear freely in the Chinese newspapers, see for example, Huazi ribao of the period.

34. Chan Lau Kit-ching, From Nothing to Nothing, pp. 82–85.

35. See, for example, the Huazi ribao of the period.

36. Many graphic records and photographs of the tragedy are found in the papers of Jay Calvin Huston, United States Consul-General at Guangzhou at the time of the uprising, housed in the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. A few of the photographs are reproduced in Jonathan Spence and Annping Chin, The Chinese Century: A Photographic History (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996), pp. 90–93.

37. Chan Lau Kit-ching, From Nothing to Nothing, pp. 105–176.

38. See, for example, Cai Luo (etal.), Peng P ai zhuan [A biography of Peng Pai] (Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe, 1986), the whole book.

39. Lancelot Giles, British Consul at Shantou, to Miles Lampson, British Minister in Beijing, 15 February 1928, Foreign Office 228/3706.

40. Fernando Galbiati, P'eng P'ai and the Hai-Lu-Feng Soviet (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985), pp. 332–335.

41. Liu Yunxun (ed.), Haifeng tianchujiao qishiwunian daishiji (1873–1948) [The chronology of the seventy-five years of the Catholic of Haifeng, 1873–1948] (Hong Kong: Xianggang tianchujiao shehui chuanpochu, 1991), pp. 39–40.

42. See, for example, Horace F. Wallace, Chairman of the Swatow Mission Council, to P.J. Maclagan, Secretary for the Foreign Mission's Committee, 7 December 1927, and T. W. Douglas James, Secretary of the Swatow Mission Council, to Maclagan, 4 March 1928, in Box 34, Files 2 and 3 respectively, in The Presbyterian Church of England Foreign Mission's Committee Archives, in School of Oriental and African Studies Library.

43. For information on the Shantou community in Hong Kong and the history of the first hundred years of the Nam Pak Hong, see B. A. Douglas Wesley Sparks, Unity is Power: The Teochiu of Hong Kong, Ph.D. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1978, pp. 29–32; and Nanbeihang gongsuo chengli yibo zhounian jinian tekan 1868–1968 [The hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Nam Bak Hong, 1868–1968] (Hong Kong, 1968).

44. Galbiati, P'eng P'ai and the Hai-Lu-Feng Soviet, p. 336.

45. Huazi Ribao, 5 February, 15 March 1930.

46. Chen Qingyun, Director of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau, to the National Government in Guangzhou, July 1931 (Quangzong series #3/1/386), 2–3, in Guangdong Danganguan, Guangzhou.

47. Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Administrative Reports for the Year 1929, Appendix K. For a recent study of communist action in Hong Kong in the late 1920s and early 1930s, see Zeng Qingliu, Zouchu lishi de kungu: Guangdong yierjiu qingnian de qunti zouxiang yu dang zuzhi de chongjian [To walk out from the historical dilemma: the 129 Guangdong youth group and the reconstruction of the organization of the party] (Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi chubanshe, 2001), pp. 3–18.

48. Hamilton, Private Security and Government: A Hong Kong Perspective, 1841–1941, pp. 88–93.

49. See Huaqiao ribao of the period.

50. Tsai, Xianggangren zhi Xianggangshi, pp. 162–164.

51. For example, see obituary of Lau, references to Ho Tung and Kotewall in The Hongkong University Union Magazine, Vol.1, No. 2 (September 1922), p. 4; Vol.1, No. 3 (January 1923), p. 2; and Vol. V, No. 1 (October 1927), p. 6 respectively. It is therefore not difficult to explain the almost total lack of response on the part of the local Chinese students, whose parents were largely from the affluent middle-class, to the strike and communist activities in Hong Kong from the early 1920s to the early 1930s, Hans W. Y. Yeung, “Bookworms, Dandies, and Activists: Student Life at HKU in the 1920s and 1930s,” in Chan Lau Kit-ching and Peter Cunich (eds.), An Impossible Dream: Hong Kong University from Foundation to Re-establishment 1910–1950 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 139–161.

52. The outstanding exception here was the opposition of not a few leading Chinese, notably Lau Chu-pak, to the abolition of the mui tsai practice, see Poon, The Mui Tsai Question in Hong Kong (1901–1940), with Special Emphasis on the Role of the Po Leung Kuk, pp. 61–62.

53. Chan Lau Kit-ching, China, Britain and Hong Kong, 1895–1945, pp. 65–131.

54. Chan Lau Kit-ching, Anglo-Chinese Diplomacy 1906–1920 in the Careers of Sir John Jordan and Yuan shih-k'ai (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1978), the whole book, and Chan Lau Kit-ching, China, Britain and Hong Kong, 1895–1945, pp. 65–176.

Chapter 11 Made in China or Made in Hong Kong? National Goods and the Hong Kong Business Community

1. There is no direct study on Chinese national goods and the related campaign in English. The most comprehensive sources in Chinese on this topic are in Pan Junxiang (ed.), Zhongguo Jindai Guohuo Yundong [National Goods Movement in Modern China] (Beijing: Zhongguo Wenshi Chubanshe, 1995); Pan Junxiang, “Guohuo Yundong yu Dongnan Yanhai Chengshi de Jindaihua” [National Goods Movement and the Modernization of Southeast Coastal Cities] in Zhang Zhongli (ed.), Dongnan Yanhai Chengshi yu Zhongguo Jindaihua [Southeast Coastal Cities and the Modernization of China] (Shanghai: Shanghai People's Publishing, 1996), pp. 521–554; Pan Junxiang, Jindai Zhongguo Guohuo Yundong Yanjiu [A Study on National Goods Movement in Modern China] (Shanghai: Shanghai Shehuikexue Chubanshe, 1998).

2. The campaign had also facilitated China's industrial development and urban development. See Pan, Dongnan Yanhai Chengshi yu Zhongguo Jindaihua.

3. Pan, Zhongguo Jindai Guohuo Yundong, pp. 497–501.

4. Wah Tsz Yat Po (hereafter WTYP) was discontinued after the Japanese occupation.

5. There is no reliable estimate on how many factories there were in Hong Kong during this period. Different statistics are available on the numbers but, since they might be using different standards of counting, the numbers do not match. Based on a few estimates and statistics, it is believed that there were 419 factories in 1934, 541 factories in 1936, which had increased to 1 200 before the Japanese occupation, see Yu Cheng wu and Liu Shuyong (eds.) Ershi shiji Xianggang [Twentieth Century Hong Kong] (Beijing: Zhongguo Da Baikequanshu Chubanshe, 1995), p. 142. Wang Chuying mentioned that there were at least 600 factories before the war, see his Xianggang gongchang diaocha [A Survey on Hong Kong Factories] (Hong Kong: Niancao Xinwen Qiyie Gongsi, 1947). Chen Datong, on the other hand, estimated that there were about 2 000 factories of various sizes before 1941, see his Bainian shangye [A Hundred Years of Commerce] (Hong Kong: Guangming wenhua shiye gongshi, 1941). The numbers might include factories of all sizes, and a large number of these so-called factories probably were only family-owned workshops. The two surveys on the Hong Kong industry, Xianggang gongshang ribiao (1934) and Chinese Manufacturers’ Union (1936), respectively reported 112 and 189 major factories in Hong Kong in 1934 and 1937. The 1938 Hong Kong Directory listed 198 factories with their phone numbers. Since telephone was not widely used by the ordinary family, this list probably did not include most of those family workshops since they might not have a phone.

6. There is no official data on the amount of export and destinations of the Hong Kong made products. According to the two pre-war surveys done on Hong Kong factories, Hong Kong products were mainly exported to Southsouth China and Southeastsoutheast Asia before 1932 (before China's increase in import duties), and mainly to Southeast Asia after that, with probably an insignificant amount to other parts of the world. South China here mainly refers to Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. Some goods were also sold in the Shanghai market. See also Xie Bocheng, “Xianggang Zhongguo Huopin Zhanglanshi he Changshanghui de Guanxi [Hong Kong Chinese Goods Exhitibition Room and its Relationship with the Chinese Manufacturers' Union],” in Pictorial Record of the 6th Exhibition of Chinese Products, p. 5.

7. For those companies that were originally based in China but also produced in their Hong Kong's branch factories, their products might still be considered as “guohuo.” Tian Chu's Hong Kong production was considered as “guohuo”, but was under constant inspection to make sure that no “foreign” element was involved. See Chen Zhengqing (ed.), Wu Wenchu qiyie shiliaoTianchu weijingchang juan [Historical materials on Wu Wenchu's Enterprise — Tianchu Monosodium Glutamate Factory Volume] (Shanghai: Shanghaishi Danganguan, 1992), pp. 173–175.

8. Based on Lin Kanghou, Zhongguo guohuo gongchang shilu [A Record on Chinese National Goods Factories] (Shanghai: Guohuo Shiye Chubanshe, 1935), there were a few Hong Kong based factories being considered as producers of “guohuo” The sales of their products, however, did not go through the trading networks between Hong Kong and China; rather, they had to set up their own sales networks within China.

9. Xianggang Gongshang Ribiao, Xianggang huazi gongchang diaochalu [A Survey Report on the Hong Kong Chinese-capital Factories] (Hong Kong: Xianggang Gongshang Ribiao, 1936). The survey was not exhaustive but was believed to cover most of the bigger size factories.

10. According to a later survey in 1936, 32 out of surveyed 189 factories (17 percent) still claimed they had a market in China. Many of them, however, reported that the market was minor because of the heavy import duties, see Chinese Manufacturers' Union, Xianggang zhonghua changshang chupin zhinan [A Guide to the Products of Hong Kong Chinese Manufacturers] (Hong Kong: Chinese Manufacturers' Union, 1936).

11. Ibid, p. 66.

12. This description of export markets for Hong Kong basically matches the other survey by the Chinese Manufacturers' Union in 1936.

13. They included Nan Yang Brothers Tobacco Co., Man Yuen Weaving Mill, Lee Man Hing Kwok Knitting Factory, Chung Nam Flashlight Factory, and Kwong Man Lung Fire Cracker Manufacturing Co., among others.

14. WTYP, 18 April 1935.

15. Xie Bocheng, “Xianggang Zhongguo huopin zhanglanshi he changshanghui de guanxi” [Hong Kong Chinese Goods Exhitibition Room and its Relationship with the Chinese Manufacturers' Union],” in Pictorial Record of the 6th Exhibition of Chinese Products (1961), pp. 5–7.

16. WTYP, 21 April 1935.

17. Leung Him-mo, “Canjia nanyang xingzhou guohuo zhanlan tuixiao dahui zhi jingguo” [The Process of Participating South Seas Singapore National Goods promotion Exhibition] in Xianggang zhonghua changshang chupin zhinan.

18. WTYP, 18 April 1935.

19. WTYP, 16 January 1938.

20. Xie Bocheng, “Xianggang Zhongguo Huopin Zhanglanshi he Changshanghui de Guanxi”.

21. Participants increased steadily after the 1st exhibition, with more than 150 different companies and factories participated in the later exhibitions.

22. A list of the participants can be found in WTYP, 4 February 1938. The participants were predominantly Hong Kong companies, with a few companies whose headquarters were in Shanghai but had branch factories in Hong Kong, e.g. Jiating gongyeshe and Tianchu weijing chang.

23. From the WTYP in the 1930s and those advertisements on the 1939 Hong Kong Directory.

24. See Figure 11.1. Connaught Aerated Water Co. was almost the only Hong Kong company who constantly used “guohuo” as a selling point.

25. See Figure 11.2 and 11.3. Other examples include Kang Yuan and China Chemical industry, both as key “guohuo” factories in China, who didn't use the notion in Hong Kong.

26. WTYP, 21 January 1938, 23 January 1938.

27. WTYP, 4 February 1938.

28. The adoption of a Chinese identity by the Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers in fact can be traced earlier than the exhibition. Both surveys on Hong Kong industry that were mentioned earlier put Hong Kong Chinese manufacturers very much in a very “Chinese” context, e.g. describing Hong Kong as part of South China (Huanan), seeing the development of Hong Kong Industry as part of the development of the national economy, using the Republican calendar for dates, etc. The use of exhibition however was to extent this self-defined image to the public.

29. Ibid.

30. The exhibition site was also very “Chinese” with a lot of Chinese architectural design. WTYP, 22 December 1940.

31. The rules and regulations of the exhibition stated clearly that the exhibit had to be guohuo, but then they never defined what was guohuo. WTYP, 16 January 1938.

32. WTYP, 5 February 1938.

33. The speech made by the vice-chairman of the union during the opening ceremony was also with strong nationalistic ideology. Ibid.

34. WTYP, 23 December 1940.

35. A co-organizer of the first exhibition, the Chang yong guohuo tuan had never showed up again later. This organization was not, in fact, overly involved even in the first exhibition. The Union put them as a co-organizer probably because of the fact that the idea of the exhibition was first suggested by them. No further information could be found about this organization. They did try to expand the organization by recruiting more members (WTYP, 14 April 1938), but never reappeared in the newspaper after that. I have the impression that their definition of guohuo were actually referring more to the goods produced in China, and that might be a possible reason why they were not involved in the rest of the “guohuo” exhibitions, which were actually dominated by “Hong Kong goods” (ganghuo).

36. WTYP, 22 November 1940.

37. The Union and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, a highly related organization, involved in a lot of patriotic activities, including buying Chinese government bonds. Some of the income from the exhibition was used to buy “Save the Nation” government bonds (jiuguo gongzhai). WTYP, 3 March 1938, 22 April 1938, 5 April 1939. See also Wang Xingyao, “Canjia tichang guohuo gongzuo ershiernian de huiyi” [A Recollection of the Twenty-two Years in Participating the Work of Promoting National Goods] in Pan Junxiang (ed.), Zhongguo Jindai Guohuo Yundong, pp. 279–296.

38. Ibid.

39. There was almost no member from Hong Kong in the new juicanhui established in Hong Kong. WTYP, 19 April 1940, comes with a list of their members.

40. Ibid.

41. WTYP, 20 April 1940.

42. WTYP, 13 April 1939.

43. Other organizations included The Association of the Southwest Industry (Xinan shiye xiehui) and China Industry Cooperation Association (Zhongguo gongye hezuoshe). WTYP, 17 January 1939, 20 April 1940.

44. Shareholders' list in the “China Products (HK) Co.” File. The Registers of Hong Kong Companies Applying for Registration during the Japanese Occupation. 1943–1944. HKRS 122

45. WTYP, 9 February 1938.

46. WTYP, 13 February 1938. One typical feature of the company in China was that the company would specify only Chinese citizens could own the shares. Another feature that matched a typical Chinese company was that there was a limit on the number of votes that a shareholder could have in a general meeting. According to the British company law, each share entitled one vote. In China, the number of votes that the shares could represent will always be discounted. The Articles of the Chinese Products Co. specified that, as in other companies in China, the first 11 shares equal to 11 votes, from 11 shares onward, the number of votes will equal to 50 percent of the total shares left. For example, if you have 100 shares, you will have 11+(100–11) X 50% = 55.5 votes.

47. WTYP, 10 February 1938.

48. WTYP, 22 February 1938, 5 March 1938.

49. Xie Bocheng, “Xianggang Zhongguo huopin zhanglanshi he changshanghui de guanxi.” One other possible reason why there was little communication between the Union (and the Hong Kong manufacturers) and the entrepreneurs from China was that they spoke different languages. While most entrepreneurs from China (mainly Shanghai) spoke Mandarin, most Hong Kong manufacturers spoke only Cantonese. This language problem in fact happened before when Hong Kong manufacturers attended the Singapore Guohuo Exhibition in 1935. They once felt alienated since upper middle class Chinese in Singapore preferred to speak Mandarin and manufacturers from China also mainly spoke Mandarin.

50. WTYP, 1 October 1940. More than 60 factories had moved into Guangdong in 1940s.

51. Yie Gong, “Xianggang gongyie fazhang de qiantu [The Prospect of the Hong Kong Industrial Development].” in Pictorial Record of the 2th Exhibition of Chinese Products (1939).

52. WTYP, 16 March 1938, 10 April 1939.

53. Yi Ding, “Guohuo yundong yu Nanyang shichang [National Goods Movement and Southeast Asian Market], “ in Pan Junxiang (ed.), Zhongguo Jindai guohuo yundong, pp. 423–428.

54. WTYP, 22 April 1938. Products that made by Chinese owned and managed factory, with non-Japanese origin raw materials would be considered as “guohuo”.

55. WTYP, 24 January 1940.

56. WTYP, 2 February 1940.

57. WTYP, 20 October 1940. Details regulations were included in the news.

58. WTYP, 19 January 1939.

59. Gillian Chambers, The Story of Trade Development in Hong Kong. Supertrader (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Trade Development Council, 1989), p. 18.

60. We started to see advertisements with the word “guohuo” on it. The National Lacquer and Paint Products, one of the Hong Kong based factories that was regarded as “guohuo” factory in China, didn't use “guohuo” to describe their products at the beginning (Figure 11.4), but adopted the notion later in the 1940s (Figure 11.5). Another example is the Chinese Brother hats Co. who also started to use the “guohuo” notion on their advertisement in the 1940s.

61. Cheung Ming, a factory in Macau but was doing business mainly in Hong Kong, used a lot of “guohuo yundong” slogan in the past (Figure 11.6) but had discarded everything later (Figure 11.7).

62. Gary Hamilton (ed.), Asian Business Networks (NY: Walter de Gruyter, 1996).

63. Pictorial Record of the 15th Exhibition of Hong Kong Products (1958), pp. 86–87.

64. Mr. H. A. Angus, Director of Commerce and Industry, said “this year our manufacturers have chosen to make this idea (“Hong Kong people use Hong Kong goods”) the special theme of the exhibition and it is a very right and proper theme.” Ibid.

65. Pictorial Record of the 14th Exhibition of Hong Kong Products (1961), pp. 43–44. The essay did mentioned that the first exhibition was called “guohuo zhanlanhui”, but didn't state that the next six exhibitions used the same name. Rather, the name “gongzhanhui” was used instead.

Chapter 12 Hong Kong's Economic Relations With China 1949–55: Blockade, Embargo and Financial Controls

1. The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the British Council, the Bank of England Archives, and the HSBC Group Archives in the preparation of this paper. The research for this paper formed part of the foundation for my subsequent book where more detailed argument can be found. C. Schenk, Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre; emergence and development 1945–65 (London & New York: Routledge, 2001).

2. W. P. Montgomery to A. S. Gilbert (Board of Trade) (22 March 1949). Public Records Office, London (hereafter PRO) F(oreign) O(ffice) 371/75853.

3. Report by W. P. Montgomery (14 July 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

4. The impact of the blockade on Hong Kong was reinforced by the disruption of rail links between Kowloon and Guangzhou.

5. The blockade was the cause of fruitless negotiations between the British and the Nationalist forces in Tamsui. Robert Boardman, Britain and the People's Republic of China 1949–72 (London & NY: Macmillan, 1976), p. 80.

6. On 29 and 30 May two British ships owned by Jardine Matheson and Butterfield and Swire entered the port of Shanghai and regular trade links were resumed. See Beverley Hooper, China Stands Up; ending the Western presence 1948–50 (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1986), p. 83.

7. Most of the blockade runners at this time were destined for the northern ports of Tianjin and Yingkou. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (12 October 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

8. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (12 October 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

9. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (17 October 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

10. Monthly Economic Report for China for November 1949 (7 December 1949). PRO FO371/83336.

11. Chang Nai-kang, “Shipping Concerns in Shanghai since Liberation,” Economics Weekly (5 January 1950). PRO FO371/83452.

12. In the first months of the blockade it was estimated that Tianjin and Yingkou received more than 80 percent of blockade running ships. Wenguang Shao, China, Britain and Businessmen; political and commercial relations 1949–57 (London & NY: Macmillan, 1991), p. 44.

13. Monthly Economic Report of China for October 1949 (11 November 1949). PRO FO371/83336.

14. Yoxall (SH) to Morse (HK), Report on Chinese Trade in 1950 (10 January 1951). HSBC Group Archives (hereafter HSBCGA) SHG741.8.

15. From Reports by W. P. Montgomery (12 October and 2 November 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

16. Report by W. P. Montgomery (17 October 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

17. “Economic Reports from Shanghai,” Far Eastern Economic Review (3 November 1949), p. 564.

18. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (5 December 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

19. Beverley Hooper, China Stands Up; ending the Western presence 1948–50 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1986), pp. 103–104.

20. Report by R.H. Hillenkoetter, Rear Admiral, US Navy for the CIA (12 January, 1950). Harry S Truman Library, President's Secretary Files.

21. Memo by Chief of Naval Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (13 January 1950). Papers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Two destroyers were sent to the vicinity of the Yangtze Estuary to rescue crew and passengers of Flying Arrow should it sink or be damaged during its trip into Shanghai.

22. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (5 December 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

23. Ibid.

24. Monthly Economic Report for China for December 1949 (11 January 1950). PRO FO371/83336.

25. Ibid.

26. Robert Boardman, Britain and the People's Republic of China 1949–72 (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1976), p. 14.

27. Report by W. P. Montgomery (14 July 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

28. Report by W. P. Montgomery, Hong Kong (17 October 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

29. Report by W. P. Montgomery (5 December 1949). PRO FO371/75858.

30. “New Trade Routes,” Far Eastern Economic Review (3 November 1949), p. 569.

31. Air transport was also used to evade the blockade and the disruption of rail and road transport. “New Trade Routes,” p. 569.

32. “Commercial Markets,” Far Eastern Economic Review (10 November 1949), p. 603.

33. This is confirmed in “Review of Hongkong's Trade,” Far Eastern Economic Review (3 November 1949), p. 563.

34. Imports were calculated cif which included the charges associated with running the blockade. Exports were recorded fob and so would not be so affected by these charges.

35. Monthly Economic Report for China for November 1949 (7 December 1949). PRO FO371/83336.

36. Memorandum by the Chief of Naval Operations (16 November 1949). Papers of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

37. Dean Acheson to Mr. Souers enclosing a paper for President on “US Policy regarding trade with China” (4 November 1949). Papers of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

38. Telegram from H. A. Groves, British Embassy Washington to PWSY Scarlett, Foreign Office (12 February 1949). PRO FO371/75853.

39. Telegram from H. A. Groves, British Embassy Washington to PWSY Scarlett, Foreign Office (15 March 1949). PRO FO371/75853.

40. Telegram from H.A. Groves, British Embassy Washington to PWSY Scarlett, Foreign Office (22 March 1949). PRO FO371/75853.

41. Ibid.

42. Memorandum from the State Department (21 April 1949). PRO FO371/75853.

43. Telegram from Foreign Office to Washington (28 May 1949). PRO FO371/75854.

44. Telegram from Foreign Office to Washington (24 June 24 1949). PRO FO371/75854.

45. Telegram from Commonwealth Relations Office to Commonwealth (5 July 1949). PROFO371/75854.

46. Ibid.

47. British companies had already been asked. Telegram from Foreign Office to Washington (29 July 1949). PRO FO371/75854.

48. Telegram from Grantham to Secretary of State for the Colonies (28 June 1949). PRO FO371/75855. Grantham reiterated these points in a Telegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies (10 October 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

49. Telegram from Grantham to Secretary of State for the Colonies (15 July 1949). PRO FO371/75855.

50. Telegram from Nanjing to the Foreign Office (4 July 1949). PRO FO371/75855.

51. USA Aide-Memoire (3 August 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

52. Memo by Dening for Secretary of State (11 August 1949). Minister of State agrees in a minute (12 August 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

53. UK Aide-Memoire to State Department (12 September 1949). PRO FO371/75857.

54. Note from Graffety-Smith to Heasman (8 December 1950). Bank of England Archive (hereafter BE) OV104/89.

55. Note by Heasman for H. Brittain (HMT) (12 December 1950). BE OV104/89.

56. The following departments were represented on the Working Party but the Bank of England and the Treasury did most of the work: Colonial Office, Commonwealth Relations Office, Board of Trade, Admiralty, Treasury, Ministry of Supply, Ministry of Defence, Foreign Office. The report of the Working Party was not circulated to Ministers, but rather to Chiefs of Staff. Between the Working Party's only two meetings (on 1 February) the UN declared China an aggressor, paving the way for UN sanctions.

57. British concerns that China might force the return of Hong Kong through a blockade of its own in the late 1940s are discussed in W. R. Louis, “Hong Kong; the critical phase, 1945–49,” American Historical Review, Vol. 102, No. 4 (1997), pp. 1052–84.

58. Immediately afterward Ministers in the Cabinet enquired about the possibility of imposing further exchange controls on trade with China but were advised that such controls were inadvisable given the negative impact on sterling and the impossibility of making any such controls effective in Hong Kong without draconian measures which would prompt a crisis in the Colony. H. A. Siepmann to H. Brittain (HMT) (23 May 1951). BE OV104/89. For a more full account of Anglo-American negotiations over the embargo see David Clayton, Imperialism revisited: political and economic relations between Britain and China, 1950–54 (London & NY: Macmillan, 1997), pp. 89–93.

59. “Exports of Petroleum Products to China,” Far Eastern Economic Review (3 November 1949), p. 567.

60. Report on Chinese Trade in 1950 by Yoxall (in Shanghai), sent to Morse (in Hong Kong) (10 January 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8.

61. Note by Ministry of Transport on Shipping between Hong Kong and China (16 January 1951). PRO FO371/92273.

62. J. F. Nicoll to J. B. Sidebotham (23 April 1951). PRO FO371/92385.

63. J. B. Sidebotham to J. F. Nicoll (6 June 1951). PRO FO371/92385.

64. This point is also made by Edward Szczepanick, “The Embargo Effect on China's Trade with Hong Kong,” in Contemporary China, Vol. 2 (1958), pp. 85–93.

65. Office of Information Research, US State Department, “Economic Cost to Hong Kong of a Complete Severance of Trade with Communist China” (22 December 1952).

66. Ibid. Live pigs made up most of the meat imports and all live pigs came from China. In 1950 recorded imports were 275 000 head and slaughters were 535 000 head. The figures for 1951 were 300 000 and 600 000. Due to greater vigilance on junk traffic, the figures in the first ten months of 1952 were 285 000 imports and 320 000 slaughters.

67. “The Current Situation in Macao” (3 October 1951). Office of International Research, US State Department.

68. Ibid.

69. Memo by Chief of Naval Operations for Secretary of Defence and Joint Chiefs of Staff (7 September 1951). Papers of the JCS.

70. The official was subsequently dismissed by the Hong Kong government whose “attitude appeared to be that if we wanted the figures we (the Bank of England) could come and get them.” Note of Second Meeting of Hong Kong Working Party (26 April 1954). PRO T(reasury)231/705.

71. Office of International Research, US State Department, “Chinese Communist Imports from Non-Communist Countries Rose in the Third Quarter of 1952” (22 December 1952). Pakistan's exports of cotton comprised the largest single source of imports for China in 1952.

72. Raikes (NY) to Adamson (Hong Kong) (26 December 1950). HSBCGA SHG756.3.

73. Telegram from Raikes (NY) to Adamson (Hong Kong) (28 December 1950). HSBCGA SHG756.3.

74. Telegram from Consul General, Shanghai, to Foreign Office (13 June 1949). BE OV104/45. See also Telegram from Shanghai to Foreign Office (6 July 1949). PRO FO371/75852.

75. Telegram from Foreign Office to Washington (13 July 1949). BE OV104/45. PRO FO371/75852.

76. Telegram from Washington to Foreign Office (13 July 1949). PRO FO371/ 75852.

77. Raikes (in New York) to Dunkley (Tianjin) (26 July 1950). HSBCGA SHG756.3.

78. Raikes to Dunkley (13 December 1950). HSBCGA SHG756.3.

79. Telegram from Shanghai to Foreign Office (5 January 1950). PRO FO371/83357.

80. Telegram from Shanghai to Foreign Office (23 March 1950). PRO FO371/83358. Shao reports that such transfers began in July 1950. Wenguang Shao, China, Britain and Businessmen; political and commercial relations, 1949–57 (London & NY: Macmillan, 1991), p. 61.

81. Details of the dispute are to be found in correspondence from Yoxall to Adamson (15 December 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8.

82. Telegram enclosed in correspondence from Yoxall to Adamson (18 December 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8.

83. Yoxall to Bank of China (20 December 1951). HSBCGA SHGII958.

84. Yoxall to Adamson (31 December 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8.

85. Yoxall to Skinner (14 June 1952). HSBCGA SHG741.9.

86. Yoxall to Skinner (20 December 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8,

87. Yoxall to Adamson enclosing a report by Russell to his Hong Kong office (16 February 1951). HSBCGA SHG741.8. The CCP had long supported a policy of economic self-sufficiency for China, although this did not exclude trade with the West. See David Clayton, Imperialism Revisited: political and economic relations between Britain and China 1950–54, pp. 143–147.

88. Yoxall to Adamson (27 February 1951). The regulations were announced on February 21. HSBCGA SHG741.8.

89. Announcement by the Bank of China, Shanghai (29 March 1951). Appointed banks were members of the exchange. HSBCGA SHGII 958.

90. Wenguang Shao, China, Britain and Businessmen: political and commercial relations, 1949–57, p. 93.

91. Ibid. Shao does not appear to have consulted Treasury or Bank of England files in his research on China's commercial relations with Britain.

92. See correspondence in PRO FO371/75847.

Chinese Glossary

Romanization of Chinese characters are mainly represented in the Pinyin system. Readers may notice that some of the Chinese terms are presented in the Wade-Giles system while some of the Cantonese terms are transliterated according to the Cantonese dialect. It has to be mentioned that using only the Pinyin system would be to strip away the Cantonese cultural meaning and make it virtually difficult for the readers to refer to popular western language source materials.

general terms:





personal names:





Government Documents and Archive Holdings:

British Parliamentary Papers, China, Vol. 26: Correspondence and Reports, Conversations, and other papers relating to the affairs of Hong Kong, 1882–1899 (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971).

British Parliamentary Papers, China, Vol. 27 (Hong Kong 1862–1881): Papers Relating to Restrictions upon Chinese at Hong Kong (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971).

Clementi Papers, Miscellaneous Papers 1902–1911, Rhodes House, University of Oxford.

Gillian Bickley Collection, Hong Kong Baptist University Library, Hong Kong SAR (available probably from 2005 / 2006).

Great Britain, Colonial Office, Original Correspondence: Hong Kong, 1841–1951, Series 129 (hereafter CO 129).

Hong Kong Government Gazette.

Hong Kong Hansard.

Lugard (Sir Frederick Lugard) Papers, MSS Brit. Emp. S.66. Rhodes House Library, University of Oxford

Mr Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of Hong Kong, November 1882, Colonial Office, Eastern No. 38, CO 882/4 Public Record Office, London.

Report from the Hongkong Land commission of 1886–1887 on the history of the sale, tenure, and occupation of the crown lands of the colony: with recommendations for their future regulation and control and the facilitation of transfer, and also on the alleviation of overcrowding in the City of Victoria, together with appendix (Hong Kong: Government Printers, 1887).

Sessional Papers 1921; 1923; 1931; 1938; 1939.


China Mail

Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal

Chinese Repository

China Review

Chung Ngoi San Po

The Daily Press

Financial Post Daily

The Fraserburgh Herald

Friend of China

Hong Kong Daily Press

Hong Kong Mercury

Hong Kong Telegraph

Ming Pao Daily

Montreal Gazette

The Pall Mall Gazette

South China Morning Post

Times (London)

Wah Tsz Yat Po

Winnipeg Free Press

The Yellow Dragon (Hong Kong: Queen's College school magazine)


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Morrison, Robert (comp.), Memoirs of the Rev. William Milne, D.D. Late Missionary to China and Principal of the Anglo-Chinese College; compiled from Documents written by the Deceased; to which are added Occasional Remarks (Malacca: Mission Press, 1824).

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1911 Revolution 84, 169

Abeel, David 138

Aplichau 21

Artisan Masons' Guild 25

Ashton, Samuel 62

Bai Chongxi 157

Bank of China 215

Bank of England 199, 217

Barnes, W.D. 74

Basic Law 1, 88

Bell-Irving, J. 71

Birch, Alan 153

Blodget, Henry 147

Bombay 123

Bremer, Gordon 71

Bricklayers' Guild 25–26

Bridgman, Elijah Coleman 138

Britain (England, United Kingdom) 1, 45, 52, 53, 59–60, 62, 70, 71, 82, 87, 93, 107, 112, 117, 122, 153, 207, 211, 217

bubonic plague 132

Butterfly and Swire 176, 200–201

Butters, H.R. 32

Canada 57

Canton (Guangzhou) 13, 16, 21, 24, 28, 42, 75, 78, 123, 162, 171, 173, 183, 188, 203, 209

Carpenters' Guild 25–26

Causeway Bay 31

Central School (Queen's College) 4, 44, 118–119, 121, 124, 127, 132, 154

Chadwick, Osbert 10, 12, 14

Chadwick Report 1882 10, 32

Chan Kai-ming 76

Chang Ming-chi 74

Chater, C.P. 71

Chau Siu-ki 76, 80

Chen Jintao 2

Chen Jiongming 156, 159, 163

Chen Jitang 162

Chen Lianbo 174

Cheng Siyuan 158

Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) 155, 159, 177

China (Mainland China) 1, 20, 31, 43–44, 48–49, 53, 57, 70, 73, 76, 82, 87, 90, 93, 103, 108, 117, 119, 121, 137, 145, 147, 167, 189, 201, 209, 213

China Mail 66, 123

China Products Company 193

Chinese Club 175

Chinese Language Movement 50

Chinese Manufacturers' Union of Hong Kong 188

Choa, G.H. 12

Chow Shou-son (Zhou Shouchen) 28–30, 165, 171

City Hall 18, 145, 147, 176

Civil War 166

Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CPEA) 5

Cohen, Maurice Two-Gun 164 Colonial Office 12, 14, 17–19, 71, 73, 78, 208, 212

Colonial Secretary 74, 83

Colonial Surgeon 12–15, 17, 19, 21

Communism 170, 174, 177, 182

Dade College 2

Daily Press 67

Dalian 158, 164

Deane, Walter Meredith 150

Deng Xiaoping 161

Deng Zhongxia 175

Des Voeus, G.W. 61

Des Voeus, William 122

Diaoyutai Movement 50

District Watch Force 44, 170, 180

Dyer, Samuel 138

East Asia 145, 197

East India Company 137

Edge, J.C. 60

Eighth Route Army Hong Kong Office 2

Eitel, EJ. 18–19, 138

Elliott, Charles 72

Endacott, G.B. 82, 152

ethnic identity 9

Eurasian 129

Europe 54, 74, 108, 186

Executive Council 14, 71, 170

Fanling 90–91

Fanling Rural Committee 98

Fatshan 16

Feng Yuxiang 158, 160, 165

Fleming, Francis 62

Foochow (Fuzhou) 123, 188

Foreign Office 208, 212, 217

Friend of China 58, 66

Fu Bingchang 2

Fujian 138

Germany 77

Gockchin, Philip (Guo Quan) 192

Goldsmith, A.G. 61

Guangdong (Kwangtung) 5, 28, 32, 34–35, 46, 48–49, 54, 92, 114, 138, 144, 153, 156, 158, 162, 170–171, 172, 177, 180, 194

Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Strike Boycott 1925–26 175, 182

Guangxi 46, 144, 155, 162

Gützalff, Karl 119, 138

Hakka 113, 144

Hallifax, E.R. 74

Hankou 188

Hennessy, John Pope 12–13, 18, 23, 60, 125, 151

Heung Yee Kuk 90–91, 98, 107

Ho Fook 76

Ho Kai 12, 17, 44, 70, 76, 78, 80, 84–85, 125–126

Ho Tung 119, 125–126, 171, 181

Hong Kong Buddhist Association 40–41

Hong Kong Chinese Chamber of Commerce 30, 174, 192

Hong Kong Civil Service 83

Hong Kong College of Medicine 122

Hong Kong culture 57

Hong Kong education system 131

Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students 50

Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce 61, 71, 148,

Hong Kong government 40, 44, 47, 53, 55, 92–93, 117, 119, 135, 138, 149, 153

Hong Kong Island 49

Hong Kong Overseas Chinese National Goods Manufacturers' Union 186–187

Hong Kong people 57, 73, 198

Hong Kong police 177, 181

Hong Kong products 191, 198

Hong Kong Protestant Cemetery 119

Hong Kong Taoist Association 41

Hong Kong Tramway Company 84

Hong Kong Seamen's Strike 1922 171

Hong Kong Seamen's Union 171

Hong Kong society 40, 47, 55, 69

Hong Kong University 53, 80, 106, 181

Hongkong Bank (HSBC) 199, 201, 203, 211, 215

Hu Hanmin 75

Huang Shaoxiong 157

India 210

Indonesia 188

Ip Lan Chuen 191, 193

Japan 77, 123, 208

Japanese invasion (occupation) 55, 166, 186

Jardine Matheson & Co. 71, 200, 215–216

Justice of Peace 170

Kennedy, Arthur 121, 124, 150

Kennedy Town 31

Korean War 156, 211

Kotewall, Robert (Lo Xuhe) 165, 176, 181, 191

Kowloon 36, 48–49, 109, 213

Kowloon Walled City 48

Kowloon-Canton Railway 77

Kuo Sung Tao 124

Lau Chu-pak 30, 76, 78, 80, 171, 181

Lechler, Rudolf 144

Legge, James 45, 120, 138

Legislative Council 12, 20, 61, 63, 71, 75, 79–80, 81, 84–85, 148, 149, 170–171, 176

Li Hongzhang 2

Li Jishen 156

Li Lisan 178

Li Zongren 155, 165

Lian Guan 2

Liao Chengzhi 2

Lo Pan Temple 24

Lobscheid, William 138

London 18, 62, 63, 147, 166, 208

London Missionary Society 120, 135

Luen Wo Land Investment Company Limited 91, 94

Luen Wo Market 89, 94, 100

Lugard, Frederick 70, 73

Macau (Macao) 5, 13, 199, 203–204, 207, 212–213

Malacca 13, 136, 137, 153

Man Mo Temple 23, 43, 48

Manila 207

Mass Transit Railway 48

Master Masons' Guild 24

May, Francis Henry 70, 81, 83

Merchant Corps Incident 1924 172, 174, 182

Mongkok Workers' Children's School 55

Morrison, Robert 136

Mui-tsai problem 151

Nam Pak Hong 20, 23–24, 180

Nam Tau (Nantou) 21, 23, 42

Nanjing 156, 159, 162, 188

Neoh, Anthony (Liang Dingbang) 2

Netherlands 93

New Guangxi Clique 155

New Territories 3, 20, 28, 42, 84, 89–90, 92–93, 103, 105, 107, 113, 134

Ng Choy (Wu Tingfang) 2, 12, 44

Ng Hon-tsz 76, 80

Nicoll, J.F. 211

North, Alfred 138

Northern Expedition 155, 160, 167

One Country Two Systems 1, 2, 88

Owen, W.H. 31

Pakistan 210, 214

Pan Hannian 2

Pang Fu-wah 96–97

Peking (Beijing) 125, 160

Penang 13

Peng Pai 179

Philippines 188

Phillippo, George 121

Po Leung Kuk 23, 43–44, 151–152, 170, 172

Regional Council 105

Registrar General 14, 23, 27, 74

Robinson, Hercules 149

Robinson, William 131

Rules and Regulations with respect to Chinese graves 19

Saigon 13, 123

Saiyingpun (Syingpun) 13, 24

Sanitary Board 12, 17, 78, 80

Sha Tau Kok 28, 91, 101, 111

Shanghai 60, 78, 123, 138, 148, 158, 164, 188, 192, 199–202, 204, 209, 216

Shantou 203

Shatin 111

Shek Wo Market 90

Shektongtsui 24

Sheung Shui 92–93

Sheung Wan 73

Singapore 123, 188, 202, 208

Sino-British Joint Declaration 88

Smith, Cecil Clementi 150

South China 3, 46, 156, 166, 186

Southeast Asia 136, 186, 188–189, 194, 197

Soviet Union (Russia) 158, 183, 207

Star Ferry riots 49

Stubbs, Reginald 171, 175

Sun Chuanfang 163

Sun Yat-sen 44, 77, 126, 129, 158, 166, 172–173, 182–183

Supreme Court 60, 152

Surveyor General 12–14, 16–19

Tai Po 107

Taikoo Dockyard 34

Taipingshan 10–11, 16, 22, 24, 43

Taiwan 166

Tang Tingshu 2

Tarrant, William 148

Thomson, Ross 28–30

Tian Chu 189

Tientsin (Tianjin) 123, 158, 160, 164, 200–202, 204

Tonnochy, Malcolm Struan 150 Treaty of Nanking 71

Tso Seen-wan 176

Tsun Wan Daily News 45

Tuen Mun 111

Tung Wah Hospital 13, 23, 42–43, 170, 172, 174, 176

United Nations 199, 211, 213

United States (America) 107, 166, 186, 199, 202, 207, 209

Urban Council 78

urbanization 9

Vietnam 188

Wah Tsz Yat Po (Huazi ribao) 174, 186

Wanchai 18, 24, 34

Wang Chonghui 2

Wang Jingwei 159, 163

Wang Ming 178

Wang Tao 45

War Office 14

Wei Yuk 75–76, 78, 125

What Hong Kong Chinese People Must Know 36

Whyte, John Charles 59

Williams, Samuel Wells 148

Wilson, David 133

Wong Tai Sin Temple 48

Wright, George ?ateson 119

Xiamen 188, 203

Xu Dixin 2

Yan Xishan 160

Yaumati 31

Young, G.M. 176

Yuan Shikai 182

Yuehua Company 2

Zhang Zongchang 163

Zhou Enlai 178