Governing Hong Kong
Administrative Officers from the Nineteenth Century to the Handover to China, 1862-1997
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
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Colonial Hong Kong was a place of contradictions and ironies. It started as a small outpost on the Eastern periphery of the British Empire, but by the time it was handed back to China it had become the last major, most important and most...
Chapter 1: GOVERNANCE IN A COLONIAL SOCIETY
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In sharp contrast to what became of the government towards the end of British colonial rule, governance in the formative years of British Hong Kong was not a matter of pride for either the colonists or the British Empire. Immediately after it was founded as a crown colony in 1843 this easternmost outpost of the British...
Chapter 2: THE CADET SCHEME
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Towards the end of its second decade as a crown colony, Hong Kong expanded and matured. Physical extension was mainly a side effect of the second Anglo–Chinese War (1856–60), which allowed the colonists to seize the opportunity to incorporate the tip of Kowloon on the mainland opposite Hong Kong...
Chapter 3: BENEVOLENT PATERNALISM
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The introduction of cadets eventually created in Hong Kong a modern British bureaucratic elite that appeared to share some elements of the Chinese mandarin built on the basis of the imperial examination system and Confucian teachings. The idea of a fumuguan, or father and mother official, who would...
Chapter 4: EFFECTS OF THE PACIFIC WAR
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The Pacific War, which started when Japan attacked Hong Kong almost simultaneously as it bombarded Pearl Harbour in Honolulu in December 1941, was a watershed in Hong Kong’s political history. The Japanese invasion and occupation of Hong Kong, which...
Chapter 5: EXPANSION
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Hong Kong entered a new era after the Second World War partly because forces unleashed by the war caused faster changes worldwide and partly because the closing of China to most of the outside world gave this imperial outpost a new stimulus for development. Until the communists came to power in China...
Chapter 6: MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF A CHINESE COMMUNITY
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Although the postwar expansion of the government and administrative grade eventually produced senior administrative officers who had not served in some capacity that involved dealing with the local Chinese community on a daily basis, they remained a minority. Most directly recruited administrative officers...
Chapter 7: LOCALIZATION
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Although the Hong Kong government formally adopted a policy of localization in 1936 this was implemented only half-heartedly before the Second World War and it did not in any event apply to cadets.1 The first break with the long established tradition of recruiting only young men of pure European descent as cadets...
Chapter 8: MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF MODERNITY
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Despite the colonial administration believing in the idea of a small government its span of control and general scope of responsibilities in fact expanded steadily in the postwar era. Part of this expansion was the result of the rapid growth of population. From 1950 to 1990, the local population increased by roughly...
Chapter 9: AN ELITE WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT
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From the outset when the cadet scheme was introduced in the 1860s, administrative officers were intended to be the elite within the colonial government.1 Whatever flaws they might have suffered collectively, they did not fail to live up to this expectation. Right up until the end of the British period, administrative...
Chapter 10: INHIBITED ELITISM
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When the British flag was finally hauled down in Hong Kong in 1997, the administrative officers remained the political elite and continued to take the lead in providing good governance despite momentous political changes. The existence of a politically neutral professional civil service, the most important...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2007