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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - Early 20th Century Hong Kong.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Chin Lim

HIS385 Lecture 5 FEB7/2014 Early 20 Century Hong Kong China, 1860-1895: Self Strengthening Movement - China defeated at the hands of Westerners, so they decided to install reforms to prevent further Western intrusions - Reforms meant to strengthen China, therefore called “Self-Strengthening Movement” - Ended with the war in Japan - Based on the slogan, “Chinese ____” - Adopted certain Western technology and ideas to preserve Confucian ideals Hong Kong’s roles: Entrepot of ideas - Tied to China; HK was a model for China to observe • Modern government, legal system, economy • An example of stability, order, prosperity as a result of Western style government • Inspiration for Chinese intellects to modernize China • Sanctuary for failed reformers o Wang Tao, 1870s  daily newspaper – brought it to Shanghai; used editorials to advocate reforms Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95 - Self-Strengthening Movement was not extensive enough • Piecemeal attempt – identified certain aspects that made Westerners powerful and implemented that to China o For example: ships were thought to be their source of power, so they bought ships  However, they didn’t invest in a new military force or a new system that would be capable and adept in using the new technologies - The Japanese at the same time, were experiencing their own revolution: the Meiji Restoration, 1868 • The Tokugawa bakufu came to an end with the Meiji Restoration • Overhauled the entire system without wanting to retain the old system o More successful than the Chinese in implementing reforms because of this - In the Sino-Japanese War, because of the success of the Japanese in reforms led to a victory over China - Europeans observed the Sino-Japanese War • Thought China would win because it was bigger than Japan (more resources?) and because of past military victories – China was assumed the winner • However, Japan destroyed China’s new navy • As a result, the Europeans began to get nervous because of Japan’s sudden rise to power • Japan asked for concessions after winning the war which then led to the Scramble for Concessions (1895-98) with the Europeans also wanting concessions o Demanded more from China to set their presence – ensure their dominance o 99-year lease of New Territories New Territories, 1898 - Balancing French and German influence - Defense of Hong Kong Island-Kowloon • Used as a buffer - Not acquired permanently – leased for 99 years • Technically permanent • The reason why they leased rather than asked China to cede the New Territories was because they didn’t want the Europeans to ask China to cede land o It’s more of a threat if the Europeans manage to convince China to cede land - By 1898, Hong Kong consisted of HK Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and New Territories Hundred Days Reform Movement, 1898 - Reforms led to an almost overhaul of Chinese system - Kang Youwei • Confucian scholar, very accomplished • Recruited to tutor a young Chinese emperor o Developed a close relationship, therefore able to influence the emperor with ideas he learned from Hong Kong such as constitutional monarchy, educational reforms (i.e. teaching practical subjects, Western-style education, etc.) • Before he took his civil servant exam, he ended up in Hong Kong  he originally assumed it was dirty, smelly and disorganized o When he got to Hong Kong, he was surprised – found it decent with good government o As a scholar, he decided to observe society and collected books on Western ideas • Through his influence, the emperor began issuing edicts that reformed Chinese system – called the “Hundred Days Reform” o reform didn’t last long and it wasn’t very successful since the emperor has little influence in government o rejected by the conservatives • Fled from the government  entered Hong Kong as a failed reformer and he stayed there o Failed reformers took refuge in Hong Kong as they escape China Late Qing Reforms, 1901 - The Qing saw later on that they needed to reform the system - Implemented more extensive reforms • Brought changes in economy, law, educational systems  but especially the legal system (recall: Ng Choy  led legal reform) • Involved HK’s bilingual/bicultural elite - Shipping industry thought to be profitable • China wanted its own (national) shipping company since most were western-owned o This way, they’d be relying on their own resources and not the west • Hired Hong Kong Chinese to establish a national shipping company - Began to build railways since most were foreign owned - Also established schools on Western models • Universities with missionaries as advisors Hong Kong Government Responses to China - Took advantage of the changes happening in China - Established the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR), 1911  connected China to Hong Kong - Hong KonstUniversity, 1911 • 1 faculty – Faculty of Medicine Hong Kong and 1911 Republican Revolution - Brought down the imperial dynasty ruling since 1864 - Some say Hong Kong acted as the cradle of Republican Revolution • Has ties to revolutionaries o Sun Yatsen (1866-1925)  Father of Chinese Revolution (?)  He was sent to Hawaii as a teenager to study – his brother was in Hawaii because of the Chinese diaspora  he was then bilingual and bicultural  Went back and enrolled in Queen’s College in Hong Kong and then entered the Medical College for Chinese  Didn’t go into medicine, entered politics instead  1892 – Revolutionary alliance  Planned to overhaul the system with other revolutionaries  Hong Kong branch in 1905 - Hong Kong was a base for: 2 • Fundraising money/capital o Funds provided by wealthy HK Chinese merchants who faced exploitation in China, which forced them to relocate their businesses in Hong Kong  as a result, willing to fund the revolution o Entrepot network  access to overseas Chinese, especially those in South East Asia • Hong Kong, a place to plan revolutionary uprisings o Allowed to plan in Hong Kong without the interference from Chinese government  More freedom to organize local, minor uprisings, assassinations, etc. since the HK government did not interfere with their planning • Recruitment & Training: Able to recruit/train foot soldiers, assassins from Hong Kong o Accessed the resources from secret societies • Weapon/ammunition purchase: shipping and storage o Bought from outside, the Westerners, etc. o Stored in storage facilities provided by HK Chinese merchants who then offers to transport the weapons/ammunition for revolutionaries • Propaganda/Information o Revolution established newspapers and journals  Based in China  Law to prevent anti-Chinese sentiments in print  Qing Press Law, 1908  Relocated to Hong Kong o These newspapers/journals can be smuggled into South China to those who supported the cause  Close proximity to HK was advantageous • Stage plays  meant to entertain labourers o Meant specifically for illiterate people in society o One way of disseminating information o Portray the corruption of Chinese government and thus calls for overthrow of government • Refuge & Protection: If the revolution fails, can flee to Hong Kong o these revolutionaries given safe houses by supporters Revolution Popular among HK Chinese - HK Chinese as sojourners • Loyalty to China not the government • Desire to keep up with developments in China because of family ties and loyalty to China • Qing corruption, the reason they left home  thought to be incapable of defending China • Western government has no respect for China o Thought China incapable of protecting its people in foreign lands (?) because of the weakness of the Qing o Weak Qing  discrimination of overseas Chinese • Because Qing was weak and corrupt  it needs to be overthrown o Therefore, supported by HK Chinese through funds and provision of manpower - HK’s bilingual/bicultural Chinese elite provided support for revolutionaries Qing Dynasty: HK as a base for subversion - Qing referred to revolutionaries as rebels • Despised HK for allowing rebels to remain and use Hong Kong to overthrow Qing government - HK gov’t (and by extension, the British government) was neutral and tolerant • Thought revolution was a domestic affair – cant interfere • Saw no reason to interfere as long as there’s no violation of HK laws, no threatening of HK’s stability and British interests - Kicked out Kang Youwei for disseminating anti-colonial ideas - Although neutral, British saw the near demise of Qing gov’t (?) 3 • At one point, HK gov’t sent a telegram to Sun Yatsen to prevent him from stepping foot in HK – cause if he did, the HK gov’t would have to arrest him as requested by the Chinese government o This is an example of HK opposing the Chinese  HK was for the most part, neutral in their position Impact of 1911 on Hong Kong - Revolution would always involve violence and chaos • People fled their villages and towns; went to Hong Kong because of the destruction in China - Influx of people and money  population in 1914 = 500 000 • From countryside, wealthy merchants, capitalists, and others forced to relocate to Hong Kong o Brought their resources and capital  therefore, there was an increase in capital in Hong Kong - Strong sojourner mentality present • Patriotism to a new China – the Republic • Familial ties in China affected by the revolution - Majority cheered the end of Qing gov’t • “of every one hundred Chinese in Hong Kong, ninety-nine are in sympathy with the rebel” (China Mail, Nov. 1911) • Removal of queue (pigtail) hairstyle imposed to the Chinese by the Manchu’s Hong Kong and World War I - No direct battle involvement • Those who were from HK that were involved in battle were the British who were recalled back
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