The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: From Crown to Chinese Colony
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Article Extract: On 1 July 1997, when China regains sovereignty over Hong Kong, it will have taken another step in its efforts to recover territory lost during the nineteenth century, in the waning years of the Qing dynasty. With over 90 percent of its nearly six million people claiming Chinese origin, Hong Kong is culturally very much a southern Chinese city. Yet its years as a British Crown Colony have made it a distinct entity. Despite the benefits British colonial administration may have brought to Hong Kong over the years, the territory’s lack of development toward directly elected, representative government may be seen as a British failure to prepare Hong Kong for anything but continued colonial rule. In the years following World War II, the political structure and stability provided by the colonial government fostered the territory’s vigorous economic development. Economic success, in turn, nurtured an educated, affluent, and vibrant community. Hong Kong’s non-elected ruling elite, further, has changed over the years from one dominated by a non-Chinese group, with Europeans at the pinnacle, to one in which Hong Kong’s Chinese population is represented at all but the very highest levels of government. Nevertheless, this community has, for the most part, remained quiescent in areas of self-government.
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