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May Days in Hong Kong

Riot and Emergency in 1967

Robert Bickers ,Ray Yep

Publication Year: 2009

This collection of essays and testimonies explores various facets of the anti-colonial riots which erupted in Hong Kong in May 1967, their causes, their impact on colonial policy, and Sino-British relations, and their legacy for Hong Kong society and governance, and the people of the territory.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-x

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1: Studying the 1967 riots: An overdue project

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pp. 1-18

The 1967 riots are understudied, but the events which began in May 1967 in Hong Kong led within a year to 51 deaths, 4,500 arrests, and a campaign of bombings which threatened to destabilize the colony. What began as a strike at an artificial flower factory became a major anti-colonial movement led by local leftists, which was eventually countered by a full range of emergency and security measures ...

Section I: Strategy and History

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2: The 1967 riots in Hong Kong: The domestic and diplomatic fronts of the governor

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pp. 21-36

The crisis sparked by the anti-colonial riots in 1967 is arguably the most important historic episode of the colonial history of Hong Kong in the post-war era. Triggered by an industrial dispute in May 1967, the colony was soon swamped by violence, demonstrations, strikes, bomb explosions and even military confrontation at the border. Many commentators regard the event as the turning point of the colonial ...

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3: The 1967 riots: A legitimacy crisis?

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pp. 37-52

The 1967 riots represented a landmark in the history of Hong Kong. The riots were initially triggered by an industrial dispute that escalated into violent clashes between the workers and the police. Subsequently the local leftists used the opportunity to challenge the Hong Kong government. There are two major arguments on the riots. On the one hand, local leftists saw the internal social contradictions and ...

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4: On not being Macao(ed) in Hong Kong: British official minds and actions in 1967

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pp. 53-68

The question was: What was to be done with the flag? Inspired by events in Aden, and the removal to safety there in the face of the British withdrawal of the statue of Queen Victoria, Emrys Davies, assistant political advisor in the Hong Kong government, and Hugh Davies (later head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Far Eastern Department, and British senior representative [ambassador] on ...

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5: A historical perspective: The 1967 riots and the strike-boycott of 1925-26

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pp. 69-86

The 1967 riots have generally been considered in terms of effect: as one of the main reasons for the colonial government's attempt to 'close the gap' between state and society, as a powerful example of how the Cultural Revolution across the border could shape events in Hong Kong, and as a significant step in the formation of a distinctive Hong Kong identity. Rarely, however, have the riots been placed in ...

Section II: Policies and Legacies

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6: Hong Kong headaches': Policing the 1967 disturbances

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pp. 89-104

In 1967, during some of the most serious incidents of civil disorder in Hong Kong, David Bonavia noted in the Times that '[t]he Hong Kong police have emerged from the recent disturbances as one of the world's most formidable paramilitary forces. Denounced as fascists by the Chinese communists their prestige both here and abroad is riding high on their victory over Maoist revolutionary tactics last ...

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7: The banking and financial impact of the 1967 riots in Hong Kong

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pp. 105-126

By 1967 Hong Kong had already established itself as an important international financial centre, but this status depended on confidence in the rule of law, the continuation of British sovereignty and relative political stability.2 Beijing's acquiescence to British sovereignty in turn relied partly on the financial services that the colony provided for the Chinese Mainland. These fundamental elements ...

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8: The riots and labour laws: The struggle for an eight-hour day for women factory workers, 1962-71

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pp. 127-144

Chapters in this volume refine our understanding of the causes of the 1967 disturbances. The focus of this chapter is different. It examines the effects of the riots on policy-making. It addresses the first part of a historical consensus, one that has been held for a generation: that the riots (of 1966, but more particularly of 1967) were a 'watershed' that reconfigured 'Hong Kong politics'. Thereafter 'wave ...

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9: Learning from civil unrest: State/society relations in Hong Kong before and after the 1967 disturbances

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pp. 145-160

The 1970s were a decade in which many social reforms were first enacted in Hong Kong. As a consequence, the nature of the political economy and society was substantially transformed. The catalyst for these changes has been repeatedly described as the riots of 1966 and 1967. However, there is profound ambiguity about the precise causation. Most commonly, both years are mentioned; sometimes only ...

Section III: Testimonies

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1967: Witnesses remember

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pp. 163-180

On 27 May 2007, 150 people crowded into an auditorium at City University Hong Kong to hear those prepared to share memories of their experiences of the events of 1967. The idea of the organizers was to place the academic studies which formed the heart of the workshop in their place: the events were still recent history and there were clearly many in Hong Kong who had participated in or witnessed them, ...


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pp. 181-206


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pp. 207-214


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pp. 215-222

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052561
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622090828

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 650530215
MUSE Marc Record: Download for May Days in Hong Kong

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Subject Headings

  • Anti-imperialist movements -- China -- Hong Kong -- History.
  • Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- History -- 20th century.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain.
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