Hong Kong


Figure 1.--Here we see children at Mount Austen Baracks in Hong Kong during 1919. Britain acquired Hong Kong during the first Opium War. Chaing abd the KMT after World War I moved to seize the European Treaty Ports. The only Treaty Ports remaining in European hands would be Hong Kong and Shanghai. Mount Austin Barracks was a British Army base in Hong Kong. It was acquired in 1897 and developed from the former Mount Austin Hotel. It was named after John Gardiner Austin, former Hong Kong Colonial Secretary. It was located near the Peak Tram terminus at Victoria Peak. The base consisted of a several multi-storey buildings on a prominent hill. It was damaged during World War II and later demolished.

What is now Hong Kong was of little importance until the 19 century. The Chinese even for a period ordered coastal residence to move inland. The first know European visitor was Jorge Álvares, a Portuguese explorer who arrived on a few years after the Portuguese rounded yhe ape of Good Hope (1513). This lead to the establishment of Macau (1557). This opened up southern China to trade. Portuguese merchants began trading in southern China. Subsequent military conflict led to the expulsion of all Portuguese merchants from the rest of China. The Chinese issued the Haijin order (closed-door, isolation policy) which forbade all maritime activities (mid-16th century). This was designed prevent maritime contact with foreigners (motly Europeans). The area of what would become Hong Kong was affected by the Kangxi Emperor who issued the Great Clearance. This required coastal residents to evacuate coastal areas of Guangdong (1661-69). The British did not arrive in the area until the Opium Wars, about 300 years after the Portuguese. The refusal of Qing imperial authorities to support opium imports caused the outbreak of the First Opium War between the British and the Qing Empire. The British during the War landed on Hong Kong Island (January 20, 1841). China first ceded under the Convention of Chuenpee, a ceasefire agreement between Captain Charles Elliot and Governor Qishan. The Treary was, however, not ratified. After further negotiations, the Treaty of Nanking formaly ceded Hong Kong Island in perpetuity to the British (August 29, 1842). The British officially established a Crown colony and founded the City of Victoria in the following year (1843). There was virtually nothing there except a few fishermen and charcoal burners, whose settlements scattered along several coastal hamlets. In the 1850s, a large number of Chinese immigrants in scattered villages. Hong Kong opened up southern China to the British. This caused a rapid incrase i population. Hing Kong also provide a place of safety. Chines flocked there to escape the bloody Taiping Rebellion (1850-64). Natural dsasters and famine also drove Chinese to Hong Kong which at first had no border controls. Continued conflict over opium led to the Second Opium War, this time with French participation. The British managed to expand the Crown Colony to include the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island. Both were ceded to the British in perpetuity under the Convention of Beijing (1860). Britain obtained a 99-year lease from the Qing under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory (1898). The British also secured Lantau Island and over 200 other small outlying islets.

Geography

Hong Kong is located in the extreme south of China along the South China Sea coast. It is located near Guangzhou (Canton) one of China's great cities. Both are located on the Pearl River which before the advent of the railroad was the trading route into the interior. Hong Kong is made up of the island of Hong Kong along with Stonecutters' Island, yhe Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories on the adjacent mainland. The Imperial Government ceded the virtually uninhaboted island of Hong Kong, important becausre it was near Canton. (1841). Stonecutters' Island and Kowloon were annexed (1860). Thee New Territories, which were mostly agricultural lands were leased from China for 99 years (1898). The British as their leases expired returned 1997, Hong Kong to China (1997).

History

What is now Hong Kong was of no real importance until the 19th century. The Chinese Imperial Government as part of a withdrawl from foreign commerce even for a period ordered coastal residence to move inland. The first know European visitor was Jorge Álvares, a Portuguese explorer who arrived on a few years after the Portuguese rounded yhe ape of Good Hope (1513). This lead to the establishment of Macau (1557). This opened up southern China to trade. Portuguese merchants began trading in southern China. Subsequent military conflict led to the expulsion of all Portuguese merchants from the rest of China. The Chinese issued the Haijin order (closed-door, isolation policy) which forbade all maritime activities (mid-16th century). This was designed prevent maritime contact with foreigners (motly Europeans). The area of what would become Hong Kong was affected by the Kangxi Emperor who issued the Great Clearance. This required coastal residents to evacuate coastal areas of Guangdong (1661-69). The British did not arrive in the area until the Opium Wars, about 300 years after the Portuguese. The refusal of Qing imperial authorities to support opium imports caused the outbreak of the First Opium War between the British and the Qing Empire. The British during the War landed on Hong Kong Island (January 20, 1841). China first ceded under the Convention of Chuenpee, a ceasefire agreement between Captain Charles Elliot and Governor Qishan. The Treary was, however, not ratified. After further negotiations, the Treaty of Nanking formaly ceded Hong Kong Island in perpetuity to the British (August 29, 1842). The British officially established a Crown colony and founded the City of Victoria in the following year (1843). There was virtually nothing there except a few fishermen and charcoal burners, whose settlements scattered along several coastal hamlets. Hong Kong opened up southern China to British trade. This caused a rapid incrase in population. A large number of Chinese immigrants were attracted because of economic opportunity resulting from British rule (1850s). They began settling in scattered villages. Hong Kong also provide a place of safety. Chinese refugees flocked there to escape the bloody Taiping Rebellion (1850-64). Natural disasters and famine also drove Chinese to Hong Kong which at first had no border controls. Continued conflict over opium led to the Second Opium War, this time with French participation. The British managed to expand the Crown Colony to include the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island. Both were ceded to the British in perpetuity under the Convention of Beijing (1860). Britain obtained a 99-year lease from the Qing under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory (1898). The British also secured Lantau Island and over 200 other small outlying islets.

Economy

Hong Kong and Taiwan along with Portuguese Macau were the two areas of China not taken over by the Communists in the Civil War (1948). As a result, there were test cases in the developing Cold War. In these areas, especially Hong Kong and Taiwan, officials pursued capitalist free market principles while Mao pursued a radical Communist program of collectivization and nationlization. The result was not just economic stagnation, but the most terrible famine in human history. Few countries perhaps with the exception of North Korea and Cambodia have a worst economic performance. In comparison Hong Kong and Taiwan (the areas of China not under Communist control) which not only retained capitalism and market forces, but made these principles the cornerstone of the economic system. The result was stunning successes. They became two of the phenomely successful Asian Tigers with their vibrant economies, in large part because they were some of the world's freest economies. Hong Kong's rise began as a service economy offering low-priced, but high-qualiyty goods because of low wages. On this base, Hong Kong created a modern prosperous economy which now offers its people European level affluence. Shanghai had been China's financial center. Hong Kong had also been important, but after the Comminist victory, Hong Kong became a leading international financial center with a strong service-based economy. Hong Kong offered low taxes, the rule of law, virtually free port trade, a trusted international financial market, and a first class education system. And it did all this without any natural resource--except the drive and hard work of its people. The Chinese Communists as they took over Hong Kong pledged to retain the character of this vibrant capitalist enclave (1997). Hong Kong is to continue to be a free port and allow its laws to remain unchanged for 50 years. Its first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, announced a policy agenda based on the concept of 'one country, two systems'. A now often repeated formulation. The stated idea was to preserve Hong Kong's economic independence.

Activities


Refugees

As the British presence was established in Hong Kong, the developing center became a have for refugees in tumultous times and fmine. The first major influx occurred during the Taipai Rebellion (1850-64). The Civil War and Japanese invasion caused refugees to seek safety in Hong Kong. The Japanese invaded China (1937), bit did on seize the Internatiuonal Settlement in Shanghai and the British Hong Kong Crown Colony until over 4 years later (December 1941). With the Communist victory in the Civil War a massive killing program began of land lords, merchants, Nationalist officials and others. Another wave of refugees flowed into Hong Kong (1948). The British had to turn most back. More refugees tried to get into Hong Kong as Mao's policies like the Great Leap Forward created a terrible famine. The Communist victory in the Viertnam War created another wave of people, this time the Vietnamese boat people (1975). Some 144,000 Vietnamese refugees were resettled in third countries. Another 67,000 Vietnamese were deported back to Vietnam to uncertain fates. Only about 1,000 Vietnamese refugees were granted residence in Hong Kong. [Choi] The Chinese refugee problem only crased when the Mainland Communist Government led by Chairmanf Deng took the starteling step of introducing market reforms (meaning capitalism) (1998). The phenomenal success that resulted meant that decent lives and prosperous circumstances were possible in China itself. A new refugee isue had arisen in recent years--the asylum question.

Sources

Choi, Christy. "Controversy over Hong Kong's asylum seekers harks back to Vietnam," South China Morning Post (May 21, 2014).







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Created: 9:39 AM 1/10/2016
Last updated: 7:28 PM 11/14/2016