Friday, January 11, 2013
We are looking at the 4 different perspectives of Hong Kong:
1) 1840s China lost war to British. A sense of national humiliation, surrendered piece of land.
Ruling elite saw HK as symbol of national humiliation. Ruling elite not just govt officials but also
educated peoples. Scholars, writers, privileged group. Always symbol of national humiliation to
this elite. Aggressive foreign imperialists. forced China to surrender territory. Within China but
UPPER class perspective
2) HK as a place of refuge and provide economic opportunities. Majority of HK residents ethnic
Chinese from mainland. HK is a produce of migration. People who lived in HK at time of British
takeover numbered 5000---now 7 million. Majority of Chinese were immigrants. Were unable to
survive in China, overtaxation, corruption, persecution etc. Saw HK as place that provided refuge
and opportunities. Within China but LOWER class perspective
3) British perspective. HK was acquired to trade with China. HK treated as port to base trade
activities with China. HK also became part of the British Empire. trade and empire
4) Hong Kong perspective combination of BR and Communist China. Migration and
development. Waves of migration increased population. Immigrants played role in economic
sucess. Element of Development. Created successful trading port. Unique among Chinese
societies because it was a british colony. BR different style of government and different social
development. led to economic success and stability.
- this perspective is often ignored.
Hong Kong 3 components
1) Kowloon peninsula
2) Hong Kong Island
3) New Territories
Total land area 1,100 km2 ...2x city of toronto
Hong Kong: Inland area (Ice Age)
- end of ice age--> rise of sea level
- coastlines--> Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island
- 2nd largest island
- 81 km2
- 7% of territory
- 1841 year British took over HK island. Chinese ceded HK permanentely to British. Only the
island. Kowloon Peninsula
- 47 km2
- 1860 year Britsh acqired Peninsula. Permanent sucession.
- Across Victoria Harbour
- 748 km2
- Outlying Islands included: 228 km2
- 1898 leased to British. Br had control during duration of lease. Lasted for 99 years.
Location: mouth of Pearl River
HK strategically important because it must be passed to reach Guangzhou, a major port and
Monsoons: seasonal winds, direction depending on time of year
May-September winds coming from South, across water --> heavy rains
November- March winds coming from North, across deserts, cold and dry climate
Before steam engine ships, ships relied on wind, during summer months, traders from India and
Europe who wanted to go to China had to travel to HK during summer, relying on Summer
months. Wait in HK until winter monsoon took them back home. Strategic location because of its
place in monsoon paths.
HK became prosperous because of monsoons.
Populations: 7 million (2010)
- 96% ethnic Chinese
- 1841 - 5000