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C H A P T E R THRE E Traditional Relation s Betwee n the Hon g Kon g Governmen t and Christia n Churche s Rendering Educatio n an d Socia l Service s Whil e Assistin g th e Government i n Defendin g Hon g Kon g fro m Communis m The Hon g Kon g governmen t an d Christia n churche s establishe d a working relationship fro m th e start. The churches wer e give n lan d fo r building s an d financial subsidie s to run a wide variety of social services. It was recognized that th e churche s wer e abl e t o offe r a highe r qualit y o f servic e tha n th e government, and at a lower price. It cost the government only a quarter of what it would cost if it ran such services itsel f Catholic and Protestant missionaries had come to the colony at the request of the British t o serv e the spiritual need s of British troops , dying a t a rapid rate from the plague and tropical diseases.2 Th e missionaries were also asked to educate the children of the British troops and government officials. Befor e World War II, there were nine government schools , seven Catholic, and fou r Protestant. All o f the Christia n school s receive d financia l suppor t fro m th e Hong Kong government.3 As a result of the refugee crisi s caused by World War II, the government suddenly foun d itsel f needing to rely eve n more heavily o n the churches t o organize and provide various social services. The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong lasted fo r more than three years during the War, ending in 194 5 when 24 Changing Church and State Relations in Hong Kong, 1950-2000 the Imperia l Arm y surrendere d t o th e Allies. Fou r year s late r th e Chines e Communist Part y (CCP ) seize d powe r i n th e Mainlan d an d hundred s o f thousands of Chinese flocked into Hong Kong to avoid Communist rule. Hong Kong ha d approximatel y 1,639,00 0 inhabitant s i n 194 1 o n th e ev e o f th e occupation, but by 1945 , only 600,000 people were left. However, an average of 100,00 0 people, who refused t o live under a Communist regime, migrated to Hong Kong each month from 194 5 to 1951. By the mid-1950s, Hong Kong had a population o f some 2.2 million, and the refugees, irrespectiv e o f their former wealt h an d professional status , required food , housing , medical care , education, employment, etc.4 The Christian churches , with access to the abundant resources availabl e through thei r internationa l connections , wer e wel l positione d t o hel p th e refugees. Among the refugee populatio n were large numbers of missionaries who had been expelled from the Mainland by the atheist CCP for political and religious reasons.5 The y were able to provide immediate, extra manpower to the established Christian churches. The first refugees were granted only temporary asylum, as the Hong Kong government believed they would soon return to the Mainland. The government made n o long-ter m plan s regardin g thei r educatio n o r housing . Give n th e colony's limited resources, both the government and local newspapers argued that social services shoul d be provided onl y to those born in Hong Kong — or at least that they shoul d b e given priority.6 Afte r th e establishment o f the People's Republi c o f Chin a (PRC) , however , an d th e withdrawa l o f th e Kuomintang (KMT) to Taiwan, the government's attitude towards the refugee population changed . Apart fro m th e socia l problem s cause d b y th e influ x o f refugees , th e government wa s als o face d wit h th e politically disruptiv e activitie s o f proNationalists and pro-Communist factions which had brought their ideological struggles with them from th e Mainland. The colonial government feare d tha t the Communist cadres in particular, working on secret missions in Hong Kong, could instigate anti...


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