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TOTAL LICENSING
year lease for a 365 square mile addition in the traditional Confucian
north of Hong Kong which included some 200 emphasis on respect
outlying islands and was called “the New Terri- for elders, family loyal-
tories”. This brought another 100,000 Chinese ty, reflection, harmony,
into what was now called “the Crown Colony politeness and willing-
of Hong Kong”. The world ruling empire of ness to compromise,
Great Britain declared that imperial and naval which they maintained
concerns demanded that “the mistress of the did not make the aver-
seas controlled Gibraltar and Hong Kong, (the age Chinese in Hong
“Gibraltar of the East!”) Kong really concerned
about political activism. The British had studied
The governors of Hong Kong were given more Confucian philosophy and Chinese history and
independence than any other colonial govern- based their theories on thousands of years of
ment and could pass a great deal of legislation Chinese feudalism and Chinese Mandarin cul-
and could engage in politics with generally auto- ture. This occurred exactly at the time when
matic approval from The Crown. It was realized China struggled to free itself from the old ways
in London that only those with local knowledge and move towards more modern Western
and exposure could understand Chinese cul- thought.
ture, milleneum-old philosophy and Confucian
assumptions. (The colonial office well remem- In the meantime, Hong Kong remained protect-
bered the fate of the American colonies!) ed from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895
which caused the Qing Dynasty a tremendous
By and large the governors depended on the loss of face when the Japanese navy practically
friendship of a small clique and with tax and destroyed the Chinese navy.
election initiatives, kept the Legislative council
firmly in the hands of an aristocratic group of Hong Kong remained at peace while Chinese
rich Western and Chinese Opium traders. The warlords took over practical control of im-
Chinese Viceroy of Guangzhou tried to assert mense sections of the waning Qing’s empire’s
Chinese Overlordship over the region, but in land mass.
The longest wall in the world!
the second Opium War, 1856 to 1860, he was
beaten badly by British arms. By 1877 the eighth Hong Kong remained peaceful while the anti-
governor sent to Hong Kong, by Prime Minis- Christian Boxer Rebellion exploded (there
The two most prominent traders of the region
ter Disraeli set about to change some of the were many churches and missionary com-
were the Scots partners William Jardine and
demeaning anti-Chinese laws (pigtails, lanterns) pounds preaching the gospel.) in a national fury
James Mathison. From Hong Kong they could
reformed inhuman prisons and opened Hong against the hated “foreign devils” and not only
trade opium for the Chinese consumer market
Kong’s legislature to “suitable” British national- killed many of them, but also drove their per-
in exchange for Chinese Tea, silk, porcelain and
ity holding Chinese. ceived protectors and feudal overlords from
luxury goods that Victorian Britain treasured.
Beijing so that the Dowager Empress, CiXi had
In actual practice, Hong Kong was self govern- to ask the foreign western armies and navies to
The opium habit in China kept growing and the
ing and had very little input from the Chinese come out of their treaty-ceded territories and
Chinese government unhappily tried to put a
Empire across the border. defend themselves and the Empress. Gun boats
stop to all this. But with Hong Kong under Brit-
and marines obliged and launched a cruel and
ish protection, this proved impossible.
There was still an increasingly conservative elite violent put-down of the rebellion, and while
government in Hong Kong which managed to they were at it, helped themselves to additional
Extraterritorial rights were being won by all
ignore some of the turbulent events caused by privileges, rights and territories.
major Western Powers (as well as modernizing
the upheavals of the Chinese mainland.
Japan) all along the Chinese coast. The Celestial
Hong Kong remained untouched when, for in-
Empire, too divided into factions with unclear
Nonetheless, the succession of liberal “enlight- stance, because the Chinese could not afford
dynastic succession was too venal and weak
enment” type governors busied themselves to to pay the repayment of Russian reparations
not to accede to these powerful demands. The
give Hong Kong a modern “clean British type demanded by them, the Czar’s troops refused
Treaty of Nanjiing in 1842, legitimized all these
civil administration”, respect for law, reduction of to leave the major cities they had occupied in
incursions, and as a part of them Britain officially
petty bribery and crime, better sanitation, health Manchuria. By 1911 the mainland October rev-
took possession of Hong Kong.
care and education. They were convinced of the olution finally brought down the Qing Empire.
necessity and wisdom of doing this – as long Again, feudal warlords took over and by 1912
Jardine and Mathison and other foreign trad-
as they could avoid giving the immense Chinese though the Chinese Republic had been estab-
ers were very pleased. The population of Hong
majority a meaningful role. There were many lished, Japan brazenly declared its intention to
Kong, not counting military or merchant sea-
democratic speeches and publications, but the demand of China to surrender its national inde-
men, numbered 963 European men, women and
basic problem remained – how to keep Hong pendence under Japanese Overlordship.
children in 1848. This population did not grow
Kong safe for the British if, by 1916, “one man,
substantially, but by the end of the 19
th
Century
one vote” would have shown 530,000 people of During World War 1 Hong Kong slept peacefully
Hong Kong now had 250,000 inhabitants of
whom only a small minority of them would have under the umbrella of the eventually victorious
whom approximately 5% were Europeans and
been British. allies.
95% were Chinese.
The British eased their conscience by asserting Many young Chinese students by now had stud-
Later, in 1898 the British also received a 99
that they were only respecting the time honored ied in the West where they admired science,
173
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