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Content Preface




Featured Articles 

The Complexities of Collaboration and Colonialism: Claro M. Recto’s Bid for ‘Real’ Philippine Independence, 1944


The Decolonization during the Twentieth Century


Colonial Discourse on the Euro-centric Modernity


The Influence of MacLehose’s Reforms on the Hong Kong Identity


Prose 

Before Shek Kip Mei: The Origins of Public Housing Estates in Hong Kong

Reasons behind the Relative Ease with which the Spanish Conquistadors 62 Were Able to Subdue the Peoples of Central and South America in the Early Sixteenth Century

清末梁啓超棄共和, 推立憲之路





Editorial Board


Preface Lau Fai Ching, Eric Editor-in-chief, Journal 2014

When we study history of the modern world, it is inevitable to mention colonization. Colonization was the symbol of the hegemony of European empires, which was also the way to connect different parts of the world. Besides the European countries and Russia, almost all countries were once under colonial rule. The impact of being a colony was huge and influential. Through colonization, European culture including language, religion and even living style spread all over the world. Therefore, studying colonization is the foundation to understand world history.

The focus of the Journal this year is put on Colonization in East Asia. Talking about this topic, you may think of Hong Kong immediately because it was once a British colony, and this colonial History gave Hong Kong people a unique identity. In this Journal, we would like to give a brief picture of colonization in East Asia.

On behalf of the editorial board, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the contributors to the publication of the Journal: Dr. Priscilla Roberts, Professor of the Department of History, who writes about the Philippine independence and Claro M. Recto, a Philippine politician who supported the independent movement and also worked for the pro-Japanese government during Second World War; Mr. Bryan Seung, who writes to analyze the internal and external causes of decolonization; Miss Rachel Zhang, who writes about the idea of modernity through studying Java, a former Dutch colony; Miss Wendy Yang, who writes about how Hong Kong identity was fostered by the MacLehose's Reforms; Miss Julice Yeung, who writes about how the political and economic situation in the 1930s led to the emergence of the Public Housing Estates in Hong Kong since the 1950s; Mr. Reynold Tsang, who writes about Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century; Mr. Clarkson Kwong, who writes about Liang Qichao's reform on Late Qing.

Last but not least, we are also thankful to Mr. Sing Yu, the Publication Secretary of History Society A.A.H.K.U.S.U. Session 2011 – 2012; Miss Tiffany Wong, the 1

Publication Secretary of History Society A.A.H.K.U.S.U. Session 2012 – 2013 for their valuable advice and help on the publication of the Journal. I would like to thank all the members in the Editorial Board for their contribution to the Journal.

We hope you can have a brief understanding of the colonial History in East Asia after reading this Journal. We hope that it gives you an insight into Colonization in East Asia. It will be of great significance if it could inspire you to ponder the intricacies of the world.


Foreword Wong Hei Man, Tiffany Publication Secretary History Society A.A.H.K.U.S.U. Session 2012-2013

As citizens of Hong Kong, when we are asked to describe Hong Kong, many of us may begin with stating that ‘Hong Kong was a British colony’ and we can hardly deny the influence of British colonization in Hong Kong. To us, this seems to be the most special feature of Hong Kong that it comes out of our mouths so naturally. The British colonization has never truly faded out of Hong Kong; in fact, it is a complete contradiction. Look into local news and discussions, one can easily spot that British colonization and its impact are still playing a significant, if not essential, part in what is going on in this community.

The above mentioned might actually be the most obvious and cliché overview on colonization in any colonies. It should be whole picture that worth deeper investigation and evaluation. What does colonization mean to the colonized people, what does it bring to them and what does it take away from them? Why would the legacy of colonization be dwelling on until today, who are its victims and who are using it? Why would the colonizers be, why would this global phenomenon have started? What does it symbolize? These questions, some seem plain and some seem vague, keep evolving around this topic. Yet, very distinct answers have generated towards these questions, not only by numerous colonized places, but also colonizers.

Colonization in East Asia might have the greatest variation in their answers. Countries in East Asia had colonizers from different continents, received different treatments due to different skin colours and intelligence, their fates also varied: the Philippines, have been colonized for the longest period of time compared to other countries, is now a presidential democracy; Singapore, is now an authoritarian one; Cambodia is a kingdom; Korea has split up into two countries, to name but a few. Although these countries were unable to determine their own fate, they have stirred up political hurricanes much greater than expected in history: Vietnam War, Korean War, Chinese Civil War, you name it. The world, once considered as ‘European-centred’, 3

its power balance seems to have started tilting towards Asia. This makes colonization in East Asia an interesting and influential topic to look at, as colonization and its repercussion are certainly catalysts of this change.

The theme of Journal this year, Colonization in East Asia, has its side similar to wars, which is the theme of last year’s Journal. They both transformed societies and the world into shapes and directions that nobody has quite successfully anticipated. While wars are a violent and apparent invasion or struggle for power and resources, colonization seems go under a different way – there still were violence and repression, but it was sometimes welcome by local people. Would people consider colonization as a kind of invasion as well? Have people abusively glorified or vilified it for their own good? That would be an interesting question to investigate.

I am very honoured to be invited to write Foreword for the Journal of History Society A.A.H.K.U.S.U. As Publication Secretary of last session, it is exciting to see the Journal can serve as a medium to introduce different opinions on specific topics to our readers. I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to this year’s Publication Secretary and his Editorial Board. Without your devotion, the publication of Journal would not be successful. I must also give my heartfelt thank-you to professors, students and writers of articles. Your kind and enthusiastic participation is precious to the Journal and our readers. Lastly, I wish that our readers would find this year’s Journal meaningful; it would be our greatest pleasure if the Journal could provoke more active discussion on this topic.


Featured Articles 

The Complexities of Collaboration and Colonialism: Claro M. Recto’s Bid for ‘Real’ Philippine Independence, 1944

The Decolonization during the Twentieth Century

Colonial Discourse on the Euro-centric Modernity

The Influence of MacLehose’s Reforms on the Hong Kong Identity


The Complexities of Collaboration and Colonialism: Claro M. Recto’s Bid for ‘Real’ Philippine Independence, 1944 Dr. Priscilla Roberts Department of History, The University of Hong Kong

The Japanese East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere The Second World War posed complicated dilemmas in terms of loyalty for political leaders in countries that had been colonized by Western powers and were then occupied by Japan. Where should their loyalties lie? And how should they best protect their own countries’ interests? From the 1930s onward, Japanese politicians sought to win over nationalist forces in Asian countries which had been colonized by European states, presenting Japan as the guardian of pan-Asian interests, seeking to drive out Western imperialists and restore Asia to solely Asian rule. In 1938 Japanese Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro appealed for a “New Order in Greater East Asia”, to encompass Japan, Manzhouguo (Manchukuo or Manchuria), China, and Southeast Asia, a vision paralleling Adolf Hitler’s proclamation of a “new order” in Europe that would unite the continent politically and economically under German leadership. Two years later, on the traditional 2,600th anniversary of the founding of Japan, the Konoe cabinet called for the establishment of a Japanese-led “Greater East Asia CoProsperity Sphere” in this area, which would implement political and economic integration throughout East and Southeast Asia in order to combat and repel Western imperialism. In China they sought to attract nationalists who resented the economic concessions and legal privileges granted Westerners, though many Chinese found Japanese behavior at least as imperialist as that of their European and American rivals and their tactics were considerably more brutal. As Japanese forces moved into much of Southeast Asia in 1941 and 1942, they urged the leaders and peoples of the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (present-day 6

Indonesia), Malaya, Burma, together with those of India, whose territory Japanese troops never reached, to transfer their allegiance from their former imperialist overlords to Japanese-sponsored governments of national liberation. While some Asian leaders resisted all such siren calls, others found these invitations hard to resist, if only in some cases on the purely pragmatic grounds that the Japanese now controlled their countries, and it was far from certain that their former American, British, or Dutch overlords would ever return. The rapid Japanese victories of 19411942 against Western forces also did much to destroy the prestige of their defeated opponents. Nationalist leaders, among them Ba Maw and General Aung San of Burma, Soekarno of Indonesia, and Subhas Chandra Bose of India, were particularly susceptible to Japanese arguments. As Japanese troops swept brutally into his country in December 1941 and the United States government confessed it could send no additional reinforcements, even the normally pro-American President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines toyed with the idea of negotiating mutually acceptable peace terms with Japan. Quezon ultimately escaped to safety in Australia, but in January 1942 thirty-two prominent Filipino politicians who had remained behind accepted a Japanese invitation to cooperate, behavior for which Quezon himself publicly stated they should not be condemned, given the extremely difficult situation facing the Philippines. In every country occupied by Japan, some politicians and many among the general population were prepared to collaborate with the new overlords, while others joined the resistance movements which fought against Japanese rule. In August 1943 a pro-Japanese government headed by Ba Maw, who in 1937 had become the first Burmese premier to hold office under the British, was put in place in Burma (Myanmar). In October 1943 Japan formally established a supposedly independent Filipino government, headed by former interior minister Dr. JosĂŠ Laurel.


In the same month Bose proclaimed Azad Hind, his Provisional Free Indian government-in-exile. These moves were preliminaries to a broader Japanese effort to cement the loyalties of its clients around Asia as the fortunes of war began to turn in favor of the Allies. This campaign reached its peak in early November 1943, when representatives of seven Asian nations, Japan, China, Thailand, Manchukuo, the Philippines, Burma, and Free India, met together in Tokyo on the invitation of the Japanese government, to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The conference issued a declaration that its member states would fight to the finish in the war against British and American imperialism, and then established a mutually cooperative postwar order conducive to the prosperity and stability of all. In practice, Japanese rule frequently proved considerably more oppressive even than that of Western imperialists, provoking much popular resentment and resistance. During the war Japan subordinated the economic interests of the areas it occupied in its own, looting them of oil, rice, rubber, tin, and other supplies. Although individual politicians and others collaborated with Japan in Malaya and Indonesia, in neither country did Japan contemplate establishing even a quasi-independent government, since like Korea, annexed by Japan in the early twentieth century, these resource-rich areas were to be reserved for direct Japanese rule and exploitation. Even in those countries where Japan encouraged the formation of supposedly independent governments, the occupying forces denied those administrations any genuine authority and often treated the inhabitants with great severity, helping to provoke popular resistance. Many decades after the war, throughout East and Southeast Asia Japanese rule was remembered as a brutal and humiliating interlude and still deeply resented.


Even so, the issue of collaboration was extremely sensitive, opening issues of imperialism and legitimacy most were reluctant to scrutinize too closely. After the Allied victories of 1945, returning colonial overlords rarely contemplated serious reprisals against those who had collaborated with the Japanese. In Burma Lord Mountbatten, British commander-in-chief for Southeast Asia, issued specific orders that only those Burmese who had participated in actual atrocities during the Japanese occupation should be punished. In the Philippines, Allied commander-in-chief, General Douglas MacArthur and President Sergio Osme単a issued similar instructions. Similarly, non-vindictive policies were enforced in most areas liberated from Japanese rule. Extremely few were penalized for mere acquiescence in Japanese occupation, while many of those leaders who had joined Japanese-sponsored governments later enjoyed successful political careers.

Claro M. Recto (1890-1960)

Prominent among these was the Filipino politician Claro M. Recto (18901960), a lawyer, poet, writer, and former Philippine Supreme Court justice. During the 1930s he served as both minority and majority floor leader in the Philippine Senate, switching parties in the mid-1930s in nationalist protest against the economic and military terms on which, under the 1932 Hare-Hawes Cutting Act, the United States was prepared to grant the Philippines independence. In 1934 Recto presided over the convention which drafted the new Philippine constitution. In 1941 Recto, who had spent some years in private practice, won re-election to the Philippine Senate. In January 1942 he was among those thirty-two leading Filipino politicians who accepted a Japanese invitation to cooperate. From 1942 to 1943 Recto served as Commissioner for Education, Health and Public Welfare, and then as Minister of


State for Foreign Affairs in the Laurel government. At the end of the war Recto was accused of collaboration with Japan, arrested, and charged with treason. Rather than taking advantage of the subsequent amnesty proclamation of President Manuel Roxas, Recto insisted on fighting his case in the courts, pleading not guilty and winning acquittal after proving that he had maintained connections with the underground resistance movement. He stated that he had only cooperated with the occupying authorities in order to serve as a buffer between the Japanese military and the Philippine people, mitigating the harshness of Japanese rule. 1

Recto’s stance was in fact quite complex, placing Philippine interests ahead of all others. Protecting these, he believed, demanded that the Philippines perform a skillful balancing act among the great powers in the region. Both before and after World War II, Recto feared that, should the Western powers be driven from the Pacific, the Philippines would find itself at the mercy of either Japan or China, whichever power was strongest at that time. Despite his resentment of Western racism and imperialism, he felt that the economic and cultural presence of Westerners offered some protection to small Asian states, including the Philippines. In 1930, Recto published a pamphlet setting out his views on this subject, which became banned literature during the Japanese occupation. 2


See esp. Claro M. Recto, Three Years of Enemy Occupation: The Issue of Political Collaboration in the Philippines (Manila: People’s Publishers, 1946; reprint ed. Metro Manila, Philippines: CachosHermanos, 1985). 2 On Recto’s pre-war fears of domination by either Japan or China, see Appendix D: “‘Asiatic Monroeism’: A Prediction That Came True,” in Recto, Three Years of Enemy Occupation, 131-153.


Recto’s Letter to Lt. Gen. TakaziWachi, 15 June 1944 3 During the Japanese occupation Recto undoubtedly made genuine efforts to try to protect the Philippine people and, by threatening non-cooperation, to force the occupying Japanese authorities to live up to the rhetorical promises of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. On June 15, 1944, eight months after Japan formally granted independence to the Philippines and seven months after Japan’s formal establishment of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Recto sent a long and ostensibly “unofficial” letter to Takazi Wachi, Director General of the Japanese Military Administration in the Philippines, and Sozyo Murata, the Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines. Recto himself later remarked of this letter that, even though written at a point when the “enmity between [the Japanese and Filipinos] was already so deep and so bitter as to render any attempt to assuage it on the part of the Filipinos worse than futile,” for reasons of prudence it “necessarily had to be cloaked in some parts with diplomatic circumlocutions so as not to offend unduly the wellknown Japanese sensibilities.” Its purpose was, he later claimed, two-fold. On the one hand, it represented “a last peaceful resort to alleviate and minimize the sufferings of the Filipinos at the hands of the military occupation.”Its primary purpose, however, was to serve “as propaganda for the people and the resistance forces, to bolster their determination and morale by depicting the Japanese as they really were and the independence which they forced upon the Filipinos as a mockery.” His letter was marked “Personal and Confidential,” but Recto arranged to have copies of it


For the text of this letter, see Recto, Three Years of Enemy Occupation, 115-125. It was reprinted in Renato Constantino, ed., Vintage Recto: Memorable Speeches and Writings (Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for Nationalist Studies, 1986), 27-33; and in Gregorio F. Zaide, ed., Documentary Sources of Philippine History, Volume 12 (Metro Manila, Philippines: National Book Store, Inc., Publishers, 1990), 57-74.


mimeographed and circulated surreptitiously within the Philippines, in an effort to rally nationalist forces. 4 Recto’s letter was both interesting and remarkably frank, in that it depicted vividly and at length some of the realities of Japanese rule in the supposedly independent Philippines. Fundamentally, Recto was calling the Japanese bluff on the rhetorical promises enshrined in the November 1943 Greater East Asia declaration. One is, indeed, rather surprised that Recto even dared to write this letter, though the gradual Allied erosion of Japanese power and the increasingly desperate Japanese military situation in the Philippines may well have emboldened him to take this step. Recto’s position epitomized the dilemmas facing those Filipino and other collaborationist politicians who saw their behavior as regrettable but necessary, in that it facilitated their ability to protect their own people against oppression. He warned that a great many Filipinos felt nothing but “distrust and hostility . . . towards the present regime.” The reason for this, he explained, was above all the prevailing brutal Japanese treatment of both ordinary and higher-class Filipinos, including collective reprisals for guerrilla activities, coupled with the near-total Japanese disregard for the supposed authority of Philippine officials, which meant that the new government had lost all credibility with the general public and was considered a mere puppet regime. As Foreign Minister, he found himself constantly trying to mediate between the Japanese authorities and his own people. Almost, Recto wryly stated, as if he were an ambassador accredited to a foreign country trying to protect his nationals there. Recto tactfully stated that Wachi’s own behavior and that of other top Japanese officials had been a model of “exemplary and statesmanlike conduct”, embodying the stated principles of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and


Recto, Three Years of Enemy Occupation, 115-116.


regretted that this attitude had not “percolated [down] to the rank and file of the Japanese soldiers and civilians in the Philippines.” Politely but definitely resorting to implicit blackmail, he warned that Filipinos would not be prepared to fight enthusiastically against the Allies in the near future unless they believed that they were defending their own “real and authentic” independence. Something “concrete”, not just “such high principles as Asia for the Asians or such large ideals as the establishment of the Co-Prosperity Sphere”, would be required if his countrymen were to feel that they had “a real stake in the war.” As a description of the flaws in Japanese rule under the Co-Prosperity Sphere, Recto’s letter was detailed and enlightening. His diagnosis was the more convincing in that even writing such a missive exposed him to some personal risk. Although tactful, diplomatic, and overtly friendly and collegial in tone, its underlying message was unequivocal: unless the Japanese granted their Philippine “allies” genuine independence, at the first opportunity the Filipinos would simply abandon them. In effect, he was using the rhetoric of cooperation to threaten the Japanese occupation forces that, unless they lived up to the promises of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, their supposed partners would turn again them. The document’s surreptitious circulation around the Philippines also helped to encourage nationalist forces. Recto’s complaints had little impact, however, on the ostensible recipients, the top Japanse officials in the Philippines. Six months later, in December 1944, two months after the invasion of the Philippines by US forces had begun, the Japanese authorities, irritated by the absence of genuine cooperation on the part of the Filipino government, established the Makapili or League of Patriotic Filipinos, an organization that professed to be independent of the Philippine Republic, responsible only to the Japanese military commander. Laurel publicly spoke out against the Makapili,


warning General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the newly appointed commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines, that he could not acquiesce in the existence of any organization of Filipinos that was outside the control of the Philippine Republic. His stance, like that of Recto, epitomized the dilemmas facing those Filipino elites who stayed behind and sought to influence and perhaps ameliorate Japanese policies during the occupation. Ultimately, they did not save the Philippines from a hardfought campaign lasting six months, during which the capital city of Manila was devastated and up to one million Filipinos—as well as 336,000 Japanese and 14,000 Americans—were killed. After World War II, Recto nonetheless opposed the presence of American military bases in the Philippines, arguing forcefully that these compromised Philippine independence, tying his country to US security and defense interests. He also spoke out against the siting of nuclear missiles on these bases, fearing that in any superpower confrontation these would serve as magnets exposing the Philippines to outside attack. Recto believed that, in order to be genuinely independent, the Philippine Republic should instead be militarily strong itself, rather than relying upon American forces for protection, and that the islands should remain neutral in the Cold War. He also argued that the Philippines should recognize Communist China, rather than slavishly imitating the United States in refusing to do so. 5 Recto was elected twice more as senator, in 1949 and 1955 and ran unsuccessfully for the Philippine presidency in 1957, winning a substantial bloc of nationalist votes but losing to the far more pro-American Ramon Magsaysay. Recto’s vehement opposition to the continued presence of American bases in the Philippines led the US Central 5

Daniel B. Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, eds. The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1987), 152154; Renato Constantino, The Making of a Filipino: A Story of Philippine Colonial Politics (Quezon City: Malaya Books, 1969). The information on Recto is also taken from George E. Taylor, The Philippines and the United States: Problems of Partnership (New York: Praeger, 1964).


Intelligence Agency (CIA) to conduct black propaganda intended to undermine his presidential bid. This went so far as the distribution of condoms, labeled “Courtesy of Claro M. Recto: The People’s Friend,” with very obvious holes in them. 6 When Recto died suddenly of a heart attack in 1960, rumour—probably ill-founded—suggested that the CIA had murdered him. In death, he remained a nationalist hero to many Filipinos, a rallying symbol for those who sought—eventually successfully—to remove American bases from the islands.


Schirmer and Shalom, eds. The Philippines Reader, 152.


Bibliography Constantino, Renato. The making of a Filipino :a story of Philippine colonial politics. Quezon City: Malaya Books, 1969. Recto, Claro M. Three years of enemy occupation: the issue of political collaboration in the Philippines. Metro Manila, Philippines: Cacho Hermanos, 1985. Schirmer, Daniel B., and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom. The Philippines reader: a history of colonialism, neocolonialism, dictatorship, and resistance. Boston: South End Press, 1987. Taylor, George Edward. The Philippines and the United States: problems of partnership. New York: Praeger, 1964.


The Decolonization during the Twentieth Century Bryan Seung Year 1, Bachelor of Arts, The University of Hong Kong

By the second half of the twentieth century, a wind of decolonization began to sweep across the world at a unprecedented speed. Within just 30 years, large numbers of colonies in Asia and Africa managed to gain independence from their European Empires. In 1939, one-third of the world’s population were still living under colonial rule, yet by the end of the twentieth century, the figure already dropped drastically to only about 0.1%. 1 In Africa, there were only three independent countries before the Second World War (Liberia, Abyssinia and Egypt), but by 1975 the number increased exponentially into 46. 2 Moreover, nearly 75% of African soil became independent from the western imperial power between 1950 and 1960. 3 This essay will attempt to explain the rapid fall of European Empires from three perspectives: resistance from the colonies, the development of events from international context and domestic pressure. Lastly I will conclude that the most important factor causing the collapse of the European Empires would be the internal problems faced by these western powers. The scope of study in this essay would mostly focus on the two empires: The British Empire and The French Empire. By 1939, The size of British Empire was about 1

John Springhall, Decolonization since 1945: the collapse of European overseas empires (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 1. 2 Wang Zengcai 王曾才, Xi yang xian dai shi 西洋現代史 [The modern Western History] (Taibei Shi: Taiwan dong hua shu ju gu fen you xian gong si 台灣東華書局股份有限公司, 1976), 433. 3 Ibid. 17

14,000 km² while the size of the French Empire was about 12,000 km². 4 Their huge size and broad extension across continents made them the best representatives in studying the general factors affecting European Empire’s existence.

Definition of decolonization To facilitate the explanation, in this essay the term “decolonization” will be defined as the return of ruling power of a territory from the colonizer back to the indigenous population, allowing the setup of a new political entity. 5 Colonialism will not include neocolonialism, a non-political form of relationship, which the colonizers use commercial, financial or cultural domination within the nation-state to retain their possession. 6 Also the term will be used to describe both general sense, which means the historical event of western powers from overseas territories, and regional sense, the movements of regaining independent sovereignty right by individual regions. 7

I. Pressures from the Colonized Anti-colonial Nationalism has been a very popular explanation accounting for decolonization, as Springhill described it as "a powerful and attractive theory of


Franz Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires (London: Routledge, 1989), 306. John Darwin, Britain and decolonisation: the retreat from empire in the post-war world (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988), 2-4. 6 Ibid., 2-3. 7 Ibid. 5


colonial “liberation” and the end of empire". 8 The nationalism idea began in Europe. By the early twentieth century, with the great advancement in communication and transportation technology, spread of ideas and knowledge to different regions and colonies became easier. Alongside with it was the rise of new intellectuals within these colonies. This group of indigenous people, who often benefitted from the economic growth and the rise of middle-class within the colonies, absorbed the ideology of nationalism through either overseas education or western books and education. They became the pioneers of raising local indigenous national identity and fostered their anti-colonial sentiment. 9 The First World War would reflect the colonial nationalism flourishing. At the Paris Peace Conference, President Wilson proposed the Fourteen Points and one of them was the self-determination upon racial minorities. Also there was a demand for having a fair and open review on all the claims of colonies by western powers. These claims were a great boost to the colonized people as this was the first time that they gained international support. Although one may question the determination of Wilson to extend such right to the colonized at that time, early attempts of granting self-autonomy to the Philippines in his last year of presidency as well as the holding of the Pan-African Congress in 1919 in Paris by him showed that he had such a will. 10 8

Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 9. Wang 王, Xi yang xian dai shi 西洋現代史, 431. 10 Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires , 31. 9


During inter-war period nationalism continued to develop in different colonies. After the Second World War, nationalism began to be a major factor in many of the independent movements. One of the relevant examples is the independence of India in 1948. The origin of their struggle for independence was based on nationalist anti-British movement beginning from 1919. After the Massacre in Amritsar, an independent campaign led by Mohandas Gandhi began to flourish in India. He used non-violent means such as civil disobedience and hunger strike to gain political leverage against the colonists, while at the same time he successfully motivated the mass public of different social classes to struggle together against the foreign power. This was described as a successful and “innovative� way by combining national and international politics. 11 The non-violent movements played a crucial role in changing Britain’s policy and eventually allowed India to gain its independence. 12 In the Middle East, especially British mandatory Palestine, nationalism created a complicated situation. After 1917, the Balfour Declaration brought about the establishment of a home for the Jews. There was a rapid increase in Jewish migration within the region, which conflicted with the Arab nationalism within the territory. As a result, the determination for national realization led to bitter fights between the two parties, where the British found it difficult to cope with, causing her retreat by 1948.

11 12

Ibid., 41. Ibid., 43-44. 20

Elsewhere like Transjordan the national struggle was so strong that by the 1920s it was clear “that only orderly retreat from political rule should be considered”. 13 In French Indochina sense of Vietnamese cultural and past identity flourished as the intellectual development of Phan Boi Chau continued. By 1930s the Vietnamese National Party within the colony began to stage armed uprising against the French. After WWII, Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh into another uprising against the attempts of the French to re-possess the region, eventually it defeated France in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and forced it to retreat from the Northern Vietnam after signing the Geneva Agreements. It took a further 20 years before the whole Vietnam was untied. While in African colonies, colonies like Senegal and Ivory Coast had shown a clear expression of anti-colonial nationalism after WWII. 14 However, nationalism was not the only crucial factor and it might be over-estimated for causing the collapse of most European empires, as nation leader’s may misguide people through exaggeration and mythology of nationalism so as “to reinforce their legitimacy”. 15 There were also cases in which colonizers tried to develop the sense of nationalism in order to facilitate the process of independence. For example, Malaya’s nationalism was developed as a sense of loyalty to individual sultans instead of to Malaysia as a whole; it was only after the setting up of a 13

Ibid., 70. Smith Tony, "A Comparative Study of French and British Decolonization," Comparative Studies in Society and History 20, no.1 (1978): 85. 15 Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 204. 14


federation than the Malay’s nationalism sense began to develop. Colonies in Africa were also similar, since both the French and the British adopted an indirect method by relying on local tribal leaders and middle-class to maintain their control over the colonies. As a result, the communities within the society were so diverse that it was difficult for mass nationalism to penetrate into rural areas and won over the locals thus gather enough momentum. 16 This made nationalist movements in Africa mainly “localized, timid and inarticulate…”. 17 Often it became a narrow scope of nationalism representing cash crops farmers, chiefs and local traders, resulting nationalists’ struggles a minor impact on decolonization. 18 Moreover, resistances under influence of nationalism were not always successful. The European Empires, although weakened by the World Wars, were still strong enough to control their colonies and managed to maintain a strong military power to resist any uprising. For example in the Algerian War the nationalist movement was in reality suppressed efficiently by the French Force, it was President de Gaulle’s intervention that eventually led to Algeria’s independence. 19 While in Kenya, the Mau Mau Uprising in 1956 was effectively crushed by the British Force long before any discussions about Kenya’s independence. 20

16 17 18 19 20

For more details please refer to Darwin, Britain and decolonisation,8-10 & 170-173. Ibid., 171. Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 7. Ibid., 16. Ibid., 206. 22

Also, nationalism within colonies was more or less a result from influences of the international context rather than a direct cause of decolonization. “For nationalism to have more than a purely internal meaning….... a new international order was needed in which self-government would actually confer…...”


The more

international support the nationalists could gain, the more possible that nationalism could really materialize into a force that pushed the colonizers to return sovereignty rights. Without international pressure, nationalism itself would be meaningless as achieving independence from one power would just be the prelude for another power to recolonize it. 22 This further weakened the importance of the colonial population’s struggle in causing the collapse of European Empires.

II. Development of events in international context As previously mentioned, although nationalism is one of the factors causing the downfall of European Empires, to a large extent, national struggle was mainly dominated by the international events. In early twentieth century international rivalries assisted the attempts of anti-colonial movement directly. For example during the First World War European powers of both sides tried to stir up nationalism to disrupt the others side and assisted their war effort. Germany assisted the Easter

21 22


Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 173. Ibid.

Uprising in 1916 in Ireland as well as encouraging the nationalist uprising in France’s Western Africa. Similarly, both Britain and France promised the Arabic nationalists of independence, thus encouraged them to revolt against the Ottomans ruling under the leadership of T.E. Lawrence, ultimately resulting in the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. Also during both World Wars, colonies engaged actively alongside their European masters by supplying them with raw materials and manpower. When the colonial population fought alongside with their Empires, they had the experience of seeing their master being defeated by other powers in the battlefield. This produced a profound impact on the colonized as they realized that the superiority of their master was not as strong as they thought. Such impression was particularly strong during WWII. When France was completely defeated by Nazi Germany in 1940, it became a turning point of French African colonies from colonial rule to decolonization, as the local inhabitants realized the fragility and discord of the ruling power, and made use of this vacuum period to strengthen their power. 23 The French even reformed their colonial administration to absorb indigenous officials in order to maintain her power in the colony. such as approving the Black Governor-general Félix Eboué’s self-administration policies over African colonies. 24

23 24

Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires, 151. Ibid., 151-152. 24

In Asia, international events also brought pressure to the European power in the first half of the twentieth century. This was mainly related to the rise of Japan. Since its victory over Russia in 1904, she rose into world power in 1904. It had become an example to the colonized people that the westerners were not undefeatable. Yet the greatest threat to the sustainability of European Empires was her aggression in the Pacific War between 1941 and 1945. Japan’s victories over the European colonists completely shattered the prestige of the white people, and the damages were much more devastating and long lasting than that in the First World War. 25 The defeat of the power (especially Britain) would find it difficult, to reinstate their colonial rule over the South East Asian colonies when the myth of European invincibility was tainted. 26 The Japanese also granted limited governing power or even sovereignty power to these occupied territories, making it more difficult for the westerners to return to the pre-war colonial status-quo. One example was French Indochina. Under the Vichy regime, the colonial administration remained on its hand even though the Japanese had already occupied the territory in 1940. However once the Vichy-colonial government collapsed and was replaced by the Free French, Japan completely overran the country in 1945 and Emperor Bao Dai declared Vietnam was an independent country even though the regime was “obviously not a truly representative national

25 26


Ibid., 145. Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 29.

leader…... was so obviously chained to Japan’s sinking one”. 27 The declaration of independence produced a vacuum where Vietnamese nationalists could take the chance to establish their state-authority. In reality, Ho Chi Minh quickly took control of the nation’s administrative power as soon as Japan surrendered in August, He overthrew Bao Dai, and established a republic in the Northern part of Vietnam before France could take any actions. Similar policies were also implemented in Dutch East Indies, where the local nationalists were given opportunities to gain administration experience. When Japan surrendered, the Indonesians quickly took possession of the territory and declared independence. Even though such delegations of governing power by the Japanese during the war were mainly futile attempts to gain supports from local inhabitants and was lack of sincerity, these actions nevertheless brought opportunities and experiences to the indigenous people in preparation for independence. Moreover, throughout the two World Wars, the European powers had found much difficult to legitimate their actions of maintaining a colonial empire. In both wars, Britain and France claimed they were fighting for democracy and freedom in against the aggressions of either German Empire or the Axis Power. Yet ironically, they still retained empires while they were to fight against it. After 1945, colonial


Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires , 150. 26

nations had found it unreasonable “to concede the right of self-determination…to their own imperial possession” while claiming they were fighting for democracy and freedom during the Second World War. 28 After World War II, the United States and the USSR became the only two superpowers. Their existence would pose another pressure to the fall of European Empires. Being a former colony in the 18th century, the US supported the decolonization as early as in World War I through proposing self-determination upon colonies. After World War II, the United States disagreed with maintaining colonialism in the early post-war period. Since the US had already granted independence to the Philippines in 1946, she saw no reason for retaining the pre-war Empires with rich raw materials while offering them economic aids. 29 Also she hoped that through decolonization, new African-Asian states would not ally with the communist bloc. 30 Indeed, she pushed forward the dismantlement of European Empires, for example, demanding the Dutch to end their reoccupation over Indonesia in 1948. During the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, where both Britain and France were involved in the invasion of the canal, the US surprisingly demanded both European Empires to retreat. Spinghall described it as a “disastrous miscalculation that

28 29 30


Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 29. Ibid., 10. Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 143-145.

weakened both of the leading European colonial powers�. 31 However the US had little influence on ending European Empires, and was powerless against their colonial policies. 32 Even Roosevelt himself could not persuade the nations to accept his trusteeship idea. Little evidences were showing the US’s desire of speeding up the decolonization process. 33 Moreover from post-war to 70s, the international climate was not as consistently hostile to the European colonial powers as has someone been suggested. 34 The successors of Roosevelt were less keen on the collapse of the colonists, and by then with the surging fear of Cold War, they began to see the empires and their colonies as a shield of preventing communism from spreading into Asia and Africa. 35 Hence we should not over-estimate the world's influence of the US over the decline of European Empires.

III. Post-WWII Domestic Pressure As mentioned previously in the last two parts, the impacts of the independence struggle from the colonial population can hardly be regarded as the most important factor when comparing with others, while pressures from world events, although important, would render useless if the European Empires remained determined to

31 32 33 34 35

Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 90. Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires, 155. Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 209. Ansprenger, The dissolution of the colonial empires (London, 1989) 160. Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 145-146. 28

retain the colonies at any cost. However, the domestic condition, both socially and economically after the Second World War, would not allow those countries to continue their colonial possessions. In terms of economic situation, the benefits from the colonies has declined over the twentieth century. Traditionally speaking, empire trade involved the colonies providing cheap raw materials to their home countries, while in return they would export goods to the colonies or other overseas markets. Such kind of trade relationship almost collapsed by The Great Depression starting in 1929. According to Darwin, by the end of 1920s Britain’s export had nearly come to a halt due to overproduction, while the proportion of labors working in exports production dropped from about 1:4 in 1914 to 1:18 in 1939. 36 Depression also caused a plunge in prices of raw materials and cash crops upon the colonies, further reducing the revenue gained from the colonies. WWII further made the situation harsher, creating huge trade deficits between colonies and home country. Britain by 1945 owed about 3700 million pounds to her colonies and dominions due to her wartime economic policies such as the facilitation of industrialization in its India colony as well as promoting self-sufficiency of manufacturing goods within other colonies to reduce their demand of British exports.

36 37


Ibid., 132. Ibid., 33.


Also after the war, the United States replaced the war-torn

Europe as the major industrial power and the decline of European Empire’s industries made importation of cheap raw materials much less desirable. To a small extent, some of the colonies were still valuable to their home country. Indeed, under the highly-protected imperial trades, industries of some home countries could benefit from price-control within the colonies. For example by mid-1950s French colonies’ consumers had to pay 23% more than world price in buying cotton textiles and 12% more in obtaining petroleum products. 38 Some textile exporters in France even demanded not to decolonize Morocco and Algeria for the sake of protection of their industries and benefits. 39 Yet such were only minority cases, in which only a few industries could actually benefit from it. The British Empire had long adopted free trade policy, hence control in price was very uncommon. Moreover, the drastic decrease in benefits from colonies contributed to the decolonization and decline of European Empires. The high cost of maintaining an empire further facilitated the decline. By the end of WWII, Britain’s economy was burdened with series of debts and domestic expenses. It had to repay a staggering 3000 million pounds of foreign debts borrowed for war effort, and was saved by the Lend-Lease Policy and the Marshall Plan. 40 It also had to afford the high national defense expenses against the threat of Soviet Union, as Darwin described “…effects 38

Miles Kahler, Decolonization in Britain and France: the domestic consequences of international relations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 273. 39 Ibid., 274. 40 Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 66. 30

of the Cold War were exacerbated by the financial strain, in an age when defense technology and its costs were advancing by leaps and bounds…”. 41 In the budget year 1950-1951, Britain’s defense expense was a staggering 830 million pounds. 42 In the meantime, Britain had passed a bill in 1945 providing 120 million pounds within the next ten years in supporting the economic development within her colonies and served as a wartime propaganda purpose. 43 While in 1957 it was concluded by the government that 51 million pounds were spent on managing the British colonies. 44 To add to the burden, there was a building of a welfare state. Expenses on social welfare services increased rapidly in order to satisfy the demands during the post-war period. The example of British Empire’s expenses clearly showed that European Empires in the post-war period faced a sporadic increase in the country’s expenses to fulfill both their domestic and colonial duties, yet at the same time the benefits from colonies continued to reduce, aggravated by a seriously poor post-war economy. As a result, the financial condition made it impossible for Europeans to maintain their empires. Regarding social aspect, within Europe, there were discontents about the continuation of colonial possession. Two different clauses can explain it. Directly speaking, there was a growing dislike about colonies. Darwin argued that "......national self-determination had become by the late 1950s the supreme political 41 42 43 44


Ibid., 333. Ibid., 164. Ibid., 137. Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 109.

value in the West itself”. 45 Between 1950s and 1960s, under a new influence of cultural trends, teenagers began to question the old ideas and values. When they saw the death, tortures and other horrors of the colonial wars, they began to question about equality for people of all kinds to enjoy independent sovereignty and the legitimacy of maintaining an empire. Influenced by the left wings’ ideologies, the public was either becoming indifferent to colonialism or having demonstrations to demand the government to abandon colonialism. 46 Yet there was not a uniform opinion about the possession of colonies, as domestics opinions on the colonies themselves were “differentiate and unpredictable”. 47 When the local French would support retaining Algeria as a part of French Empire, their attitude towards other ‘protected states’ like Morocco were indifferent since there were a large population of French settlers in Algeria and it was considered as a part of France. Also in 1982 the British public still supported the government’s expedition to the Falkland Island even they were “too enlightened to support imperial adventures…”. 48 Even Darwin himself also thought that such explanation “presents difficulties”. 49 The ‘direct’ influences of the European societies are unconvincing mainly because they were hard to generalize and they varied over different periods.

45 46 47 48 49

Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 16. Springhall, Decolonization since 1945, 13. Ibid., 211-213. Ibid., 212. Darwin, Britain and decolonisation, 330. 32

The indirect explanation, on the other hand, could better explain the change in the society. The post-war public’s desire for a better social-welfare policy had unintentionally shifted government’s colonial policies. After suffering from WWII, many families were facing serious challenges in rebuilding their lives. They wanted the government to take more actions to improve quality of life of the whole community. Further enhanced by the needs to gain public support away from Communism, European governments began to direct more of their government domestic expenditure in order to develop a welfare state to improve their own people’s lives. For example, after the war, the Labour Party took over the British government and began to implement new welfare policies like the National Health Service. This new middle-class, though may not directly oppose to sending troops into overseas colonies or increasing expenditure on empire issues, made their governments determined to shift their expenditure back to their homelands under economic decline, thus resulting in the collapse of European Empires.

Conclusion The collapses of the European Empires were attributed to three major factors. They include ‘resistance from the colonies’, ‘development of events in international context’ and ‘post-WWII domestic pressure’. Among these three factors domestic


pressure was the most important factor in causing the trend of decolonization in Asia-Africa region. When ‘resistance from the colonies’ compares with the ‘development of events in international context’, the latter one would be more important since it was shown that nationalist movement by itself was not always successful in helping the indigenous people to gain independence (e.g. Kenya). The example of Japan had shown that the impacts of international events like the Second World War were much severer than that of resistance from the colonies. Moreover, if there had not been a global trend of promoting and assisting self-determination in European colonies, decolonization would never be that apparent. However when we compare ‘post-WWII domestic pressure’ with ‘international context’, domestic pressure would be more significant. This was because international events were not effective enough to force the empires to abandon their colonies. After the surrender of Japan, European Empires were still eager to repossess their colonies in Asia like Indochina and Malaysia. Even the influence of the US was not enough to force them to decolonize after WWII. On the contrary, the indifference of local population over colonization after the war and the discontent of young western intellectuals could force the empire’s governments to adopt a more domestic-oriented strategy to win the public’s support, and this greatly increased the willingness for the


European Empires to abandon their colonies. Finally, ‘post-WWII domestic pressure’ would be more important when it is compared with ‘resistance from the colonies’. This was because without the development of welfare society in Europe and their economic difficulties, the empires would still be strong enough to finance their armies’ overseas expeditions and crushed many of the nationalist movements. Also judging from their time spans, ‘resistance from the colonies’ had been appearing throughout the twentieth century, yet there was no large scale decolonization during the inter-war period. Yet domestic pressure only appeared after 1945, but within 10 to 20 years we could already see the trend of decolonization and collapse of European Empires all over the world.



Ansprenger, Franz. The dissolution of the colonial empires. London: Routledge, 1989. Darwin, John. Britain and decolonisation: the retreat from empire in the post-war world. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988. Kahler, Miles. Decolonization in Britain and France: the domestic consequences of international relations. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984. Springhall, John. Decolonization since 1945: the collapse of European overseas empires. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001. Tony, Smith. "A Comparative Study of French and British Decolonization." Comparative Studies in Society and History 20, no. 1 (1978): 70-102. Wang, Zengcai 王曾才. Xi yang xian dai shi 西洋現代史.[The Modern Western History] Taibei Shi: Taiwan dong hua shu ju gu fen you xian gong si 台灣東華 書局股份有限公司, 1976.


Colonial Discourse on the Euro-centric Modernity Rachel Zhang Year 2, Bachelor of Arts, The University of Hong Kong

During the period of colonialism, the knowledge produced and taught was not neutral but biased. To illustrate, Orientalism is one of the most significant theories that underpins colonialism. Orientalism is the “intellectual production of the colonized world” and the knowledge here about the Orient is “filtered through European scholars cultural bias”. 1 Orientalists depict the colonized people as feminine, irrational, sensual, static and primitive. 2 Simultaneously, Occidentals are portrayed as rational and superior. 3 As a consequence, the colonized world was barbaric and needed civilization and progress, making colonialism plausible. In this process, the concept of modernity plays a big role. Since modernity, which the colonized lacked, was claimed to be ultimately beneficial and progressive whatsoever, the act of modernizing colonies legitimatized colonialism. This paper argues that colonialism attempting to use the knowledge on modernity to justify it is euro-centered and problematic. This paper will exemplify this argument by using modernity to justify colonialism by engaging with Pramoedya Toer’s novel This Earth of Mankind narrating a story in Java occurring under Dutch colonialism. In colonial education, modernity is described as rational, advanced and almost omniscient. Science plays a major role in portraying modernity. Minke depicted 1 2 3

Ania Loomba, Colonialism/postcolonialism Ibid., 44-46. Ibid., 46.


(London: Routledge, 2005), 43-44.

zincography, “one of the products of science”, as a tool to represent information of the world, saving the people from “block and lithographic prints” which did badly in representing reality. 4 With zincographic machines and other machines like trains or telegraphic machines included, Minke’s teacher declared machinery would substitute manual labor. This was marking “the modern era”. 5 Here science becomes a crucial feature of modernity. Science creates an era greatly different from the previous one because it allows people to communicate faster by trains and telegraph, it frees mankind from blindness with information from zincography, and it saves human from moiling by using machines. Due to the huge gap caused by science between modern and old societies, science is a symbol that occupies a large part of the picture of modernity. Since science has the features of objectivity, certainty and rationality, modernity is credited with rationality as well. Here modernity is also depicted as totally labor-saving since new technologies brought by modernization bring about convenience in life. At this point, because colonialism gives rise to the modernization of colonies and this rationalizes the local areas, colonialism appears to be beneficial to colonies. Nevertheless, this discourse on modernity is ultimately euro-centric and this colonial discourse ignores the problems of modernity. Firstly, the low-class indigenous colonized people were not aware of the existence or benefits brought about by modernity. This Earth of Mankind uncovers the fact that modernity is invisible to uneducated natives. The narrator described that modernity “surged 4 5

Pramoedya A. Toer, This Earth of Mankind, trans. Max Lane 2nd ed. (U.S.A.: Penguin Books), 17. Ibid., 18. 38

forward […] like bacteria”. 6 On the one hand, this manifests traditional stuff is transformed on a large scale at the speed of bacteria dissemination. On the other hand, people are unlikely to find “bacteria” without scientific technology. What is more, it is impossible to comprehend the scientific term without biological acquaintance. Minke also acknowledged that “I don’t fully understand its meaning”. 7 Thus the word “bacteria” was merely perceptible and understandable to people who had access to science supplied by colonial education. As the only native Javanese in his school, Minke’s unique identity showed that most natives are deprived of education, and thus had no understanding of “bacteria”. Therefore, by comparing modernity to bacteria, the narrator conveys that only people enlightened by European knowledge, such as science, could be aware of modernity. As a result, modernity remained hidden from the minds of the uneducated local Javanese. At this point, this paper insists that people using modernity as a justification for colonialism only intend to convince Europeans. Colonialists attempted to make colonialism look plausible by praising the modernization of colonies under colonialism while at the same time they deprived most of the native colonized people of the access to this argument. The hidden message here was that western colonists cared little about the thoughts of the colonized and in the colonizers’ views, the colonized did not need an explanation for being exploited. This still proved that colonialism is euro-centric. Besides the discriminative strategy of articulating the colonial discourse 6 7

Ibid. Ibid.


concerning modernity, modernity itself is not as perfect as colonial institutions have declared it to be. Under the colonial hierarchy, modernity undergoes failure in the face of the problems of humanity. The court rejected Annelies’ migration from Java to the Netherlands because Annelies was “legally under age” and without parenthood. Hence she should be cared by her legitimate brother in the Netherlands. 8 The judicial reasoning appears systematic. However, Annelies’ father married Nyai as his concubine illegally in Java without encountering any judicial barrier. 9 Nyai’s consequential illicit wifehood failed to defend her motherhood, and were unable to prevent her daughter, namely, Annelies’ migration after the death of Annelies’ father. 10 The ultimate cause of the scandal was Annelies’ father’s unlawful concubinage thanks to his pure European descent. Because Europeans were superior to laws, the judicative racism undermined justice and righteousness. Due to the colonial caste, modern legal system in Java seemed deceptive and modernity under colonialism could not safeguard both the Indo and the colonized. In conclusion, colonialists tried to come up with theories like Orientalism to justify colonialism. In this process, one of the most important reasons for western cultural superiority was that the West generated and spread modernity. The colonizers carried out colonialism with regard to modernity to legitimize the act of conquering colonies. Notwithstanding, they avoided telling this proof of legitimacy to most of the colonized since the opinions of the native were not recognized by the colonialists. This paper demonstrates colonial discourse concerning modernity is de facto 8

Ibid., 327. Ibid., 287. 10 Ibid., 328. 9


euro-centric. In addition, modernity under colonialism is deceptive and it does not succeed in protecting Indos’ and native people’s rights. All in all, the discourse on modernity and modernity per se as a justification for colonialism are both problematic.



Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/postcolonialism. London: Routledge, 2005. Toer, Pramoedya, A. This Earth of Mankind. Translated by Max Lane. U.S.A.: Penguin Books. 1996.


The Influence of MacLehose’s Reforms on the Hong Kong Identity Qiyin Yang, Wendy Year 2, Bachelor of Business Administration (International Business and Global Management), The University of Hong Kong

For nearly 155 years, the British played a significant role in shaping Hong Kong known today. Apart from acting as colonial rulers, the British governors of the past each left a legacy of their own that altogether transformed this Chinese city of millions into one with distinct cultural backgrounds and Western-influenced political, legal, and economic systems. Arguably the most influential of them all was Sir Murray MacLehose, the 25th governor of Hong Kong, whose governorship from 1971 to 1982 marked a prosperous and flourishing era characterized by the formation of a local culture and the population’s increasing integration into the affairs of society. In fact, by implementing various progressive reforms and introducing social welfare measures into Hong Kong, MacLehose built a sense of public confidence in the Hong Kong government’s abilities, which in turn, also fostered a growing common identity and community consciousness among the local Chinese population. His ultimate goal was to employ improved state-society relations as a way to secure greater negotiating power for Britain in the upcoming handover discussion with China. From as early as the post-war era of the 1950s, the colonial government of Hong Kong had espoused a non-intervention approach, a direct offspring of the popular laissez faire policy, in its everyday interactions with the local population where it strived not to intervene in any social and economic affairs unless absolutely necessary. 1 There prevailed an unspoken agreement among most Hong Kong people, especially the refugees who were coming in large numbers from Mainland China, that 1

Alan Smart and Tai-Lok Lui, “Learning from civil unrest: State/society relations in Hong Kong before and after the 1967 disturbances,” in May Days in Hong Kong: Riot and Emergency in 1967, ed. Robert Bickers and Ray Yep (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009), 149.


they had to depend on their own for day-to-day survival and could not expect to rely on any form of substantial assistance from the government. 2 The consensus eventually established a widespread “refugee mentality” among the newcomers who only saw Hong Kong as a temporary abode for them to escape from China’s political chaos and as a workplace for a few years before they eventually returned to their rightful home across the border. 3 As opposed to seeing themselves as hongkongers, they simply considered themselves as Mainland Chinese people living abroad. Until well into the late 1960s and 1970s, the colonial government maintained this kind of hands off approach as its main administrative philosophy, believing that non-intervention suited the citizens’ needs the best. However, this belief was quickly dispelled by the violent riot of 1966 that resulted from the mounting dissatisfaction with the British colonial rule’s disturbing apathy and inaction towards the appalling living and working conditions endured by the Hong Kong working class at the time. 4 The subsequent 1967 pro-communist riot then acted as the last straw that broke the camel’s back; in this case, the government was the camel that finally succumbed to public pressure when it began to realize the dangers of a society with a widening rift between the public and the government. Having succeeded governorship following a period of socio-political turmoil in the 1960s and being well aware of the colony’s uncertain political status at the time, MacLehose made it a clear priority on his initial agenda to introduce a series of social reforms in the area of housing, education, and welfare services that would improve state-society relations and develop a sense of common identity among the local people. Both goals, in fact, were created as part of a larger bilateral scheme on the part of the 2

Ibid., 151. Betty Yung, Hong Kong’s Housing Policy: A Case Study in Social Justice (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2008), 106. 4 Smart and Lui, “Learning from civil unrest,” 148. 3


British to “boost public confidence and to secure hegemonic leadership before China raised questions concerning Hong Kong’s political status”. 5 In the early 1970s, China was already undergoing drastic changes and advancing on the clear path of becoming a world power. Because MacLehose knew that China’s rise in the world order would bring forth negotiations for Hong Kong’s future sooner or later, he set about improving the social environment of the colony and strengthening the people’s attachment to Hong Kong as means of giving Britain the upper hand in leading the impending discussion. 6 With great ambitions, he initiated his governorship through publicizing bold promises of progressive reforms and assuring the colony’s people of better times ahead under the new administration. Shortly after taking office, MacLehose began to develop a long term plan for addressing the critical issues of housing settlement that was plaguing a large portion of the Hong Kong population at the time. Unsanitary, overcrowded, and hazardous, the squatter settlements in which 300,000, a majority of which were recent immigrants, had been living posed a serious doubt on the government’s role in looking after the Hong Kong people’s well-being and welfare. 7 Such gruesome living conditions also discouraged most residents from viewing Hong Kong as their home, where they could have a sense of belonging and would live the rest of their lives in. In order to eliminate their sense of doubtfulness and enhance their identification with the city, MacLehose introduced the Ten Year Housing Program in 1972, which initiated the construction of more than 400,000 quality self-contained public housing units within a decade, satisfying the housing needs of 1.8 million people. 8 This program quickly prompted the proliferation of “new towns” in the New Territories that would 5

Ibid., 159. Ray Yep and Tai-lok Lui, “Revisiting the golden era of MacLehose and the dynamics of social reform,” China Information 24, no. 3 (2010): 252-253. 7 Yung, Housing Policy, 114. 8 Ibid. 6


later be integral to the 1976 Home-Ownership Scheme - a measure that provided discount public housing unit prices to rising middle class families. 9 By 1983, the housing reform became so widespread that over 40% of the city’s population was living in government housing. 10 As a result of MacLehose’s housing measures, more residents took advantage of the improved living conditions and chose to permanently settle in Hong Kong, where the comfortable living environment came to be representative of what they, hongkoners, could actually enjoy compared to their Mainland relatives. Public confidence in the government’s interest regarding their welfare bloomed, marking a greater degree of identifying with the so-called Hong Kong identity. Furthermore, since the 1970s era reflected the rapid rise of local-born youth, who were being raised in an environment different from that of their parents, MacLehose sought to foster the intellectual growth of this new generation and prepare its future with more prospective career opportunities through implementing a series of effective educational reforms. Thus, the government actively began developing more education-related policies in its Green Paper publications and expanded the number of places in junior and senior secondary levels in 1973 and 1977 respectively. 11 This was achieved through enacting several innovative measures such as floating and rotating classes that helped schools make better usage of classroom space. By 1978, to promote an even greater degree of integration in education, MacLehose’s administration introduced free and compulsory nine-year education, which strived to place and retain as many children in school as possible and to remove the financial

9 Yung, Housing Policy, 115. 10 John M. Carroll, A Concise History of Hong Kong (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc), 161. 11 David Kin-keung Chan and Joshua Ka-ho Mok, Globalization and education: the quest for quality education in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2002), 42- 43.


barrier between them and education.


Basic education in Hong Kong was no longer

voluntary or just for those who could afford to study; it was to be mandatory for everyone for at least nine years. In essence, “when schooling was made compulsory, the government had subtly taken up the responsibility of providing quality education that would satisfy the expectations of the parents and society at large.” 13 As a result, school curriculums were broadened to include more liberal studies and social science courses that could improve the new generation’s understanding of Hong Kong’s background and ever evolving socio-political context. 14 A number of students who enrolled in secondary schools during the ‘1970s’ were even able to proceed to local universities, where they not only attained tertiary education but also gained a kind of exclusive access to high paying careers after graduation. 15 Many university graduates in fact chose to remain in Hong Kong to work for local companies as a way of expressing gratitude for the government’s efforts in providing them with schooling opportunities that they might not have had if they had lived in their parents’ era. Therefore, not only did people of the 70s start appreciating the government’s efforts to improve their children’s future prospects with compulsory education, the local youth generation also grew to actually understand Hong Kong history in a unique context and learned to associate its educational privileges with the benefits of being a Hong Kong person. On the other hand, the riots of 1966 and 1967 riled up masses of the local population who seriously questioned the legitimacy of the colonial government. In his

12 Yue-ping Chung, Lok-sang Ho and Paul Morris, Education Reform and the Quest for Excellence: The Hong Kong Story (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005), 89. 13 Chan and Mok, Globalization and education, 7. 14 Chung, Ho and Morris, Education Reform, 93. 15 William Tay, “Colonialism, the Cold War Era, and Marginal Space: The Existential Conditions of Four Decades of Hong Kong Literature,” in Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century: a critical survey, ed. Pang-yuan Chi and David Wang (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 33.


determination to portray his administration and himself in as much of a positive light as possible after these incidents, MacLehose explored several social welfare measures that would address the needs of Hong Kong’s poor and other vulnerable groups in a much larger scale than his predecessors. After all, public confidence and trust in the government were prerequisites to forming a healthy Hong Kong identity. In the early 1970s, the Five Year Plan was set up with elaborate objectives and outlines regarding the development and expansion of different social welfare services as well as alternatives to counteract potential shortcomings. 16 Expansion in the provision of welfare came in the form of first introducing public assistance and social allowances for the elderly and the disabled. They would later include other social welfare programs such as rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents, social work for troubled families, facilities for the disabled, and more. 17 Government expenditure in these sectors, as a result, naturally increased several fold over the course of time. However, given the fact that Hong Kong’s manufacturing economy was rapidly developing at the time and the city was becoming more affluent, MacLehose was able to achieve many of his Five Year Plan targets spending without placing the heavy burden of increased taxes on the people. 18 The lack of any severe economic strain resulting from his social welfare policies relieved the majority of the taxpaying population outside of the destitute and needy group, thus earning his administration a reputation for being caring, effective, and resourceful. With the city’s parallel economic advancement and vast improvements in living standards, MacLehose’s welfare measures, by establishing a better solid 16

Fanny M. Cheung and Eleanor Holroyd, Mainstreaming Gender in Hong Kong Society (Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2009), 184. 17 Jik-Joen Lee, “The Colonial Government of Hong Kong’s Social Welfare: From Economic and Social Service Perspectives,” (Working Paper Series, Social Welfare Practice and Research Centre, Dept. of Social Work, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2009), 23. 18 Lee, “Social Welfare,” 28.


foundation for society, exceeded the expectations of most Hong Kong residents and restored their faith in the government’s ability to safeguard their interests against those of the dominating big businesses and corporations. 19 The people’s heightened confidence in being protected under MacLehose’s administration gradually increased the appeal of Hong Kong in their eyes as a permanent residence. Viewing Hong Kong as a home meant that a substantial portion of the population moved beyond being only concerned for their individual well-being and became more community conscious. As highlighted in annual government report articles titled “The Community: The Growing Awareness (1974)” and “A Social Commitment (1975)”, Hong Kong people, with increasing awareness of their social citizen responsibilities, began to fight for their rights and took a proactive stand on different social issues. The 1974 locals’ protest to promote Chinese to become the city’s official language clearly reflected the evolution of a distinctive Hong Kong identity that was characterized by deeper insight into societal problems, greater vocal expression of personal stance on those issues, and increased participation in social demonstrations. 20 Besides signaling a major turning in Hong Kong’s modernization process through drastically improving the population’s living and working conditions, education opportunities, and social welfare provisions, MacLehose’s reforms and measures during the 1970’s, most importantly, created a stronger concept of local identity among the Hong Kong people. By cultivating their sense of reassurance in the government’s capability to protect their interests under the reformed societal


Tay, “Colonialism,” 33. Catherine S. Chan, “Narrating the Hong Kong Story: Deciphering Identity through Icons, Images and Trends,” World History Connected , accessed 9 May 2013, 20


conditions, Governor MacLehose was able to enhance the Hong Kong Chinese community’s belief that it did indeed have a distinctive identity of its own, differing from that of the Mainland Chinese. With a growing sense of community consciousness, they began to address various issues and concerns related to Hong Kong society, displaying a greater attachment to the city’s affairs. To the governor and the British colonial rule as a whole, securing public confidence went hand in hand with establishing the Hong Kong identity - both of which were crucial to boosting Britain’s soft power over the colony and strengthening British negotiation power against China’s in the upcoming discussion about Hong Kong’s future status.



Carroll, John M. A concise history of Hong Kong. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Chan, Catherine. "Narrating the Hong Kong Story: Deciphering Identity through Icons, Images and Trends." World History Connected, Assessed 9 May 2013, Cheung, Fanny M., and Eleanor Holroyd. Mainstreaming gender in Hong Kong society. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2009. Ho, Lok-sang, Paul Morris, and Yue-ping Chung. Education reform and the quest for excellence the Hong Kong story. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005. Lee, Jik-Joen. "The colonial government of Hong Kong's development of social welfare: from economic and social service perspectives." Working Paper, Social Welfare Practice and Research Centre, Dept. of Social Work, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2009 Mok, Joshua Ka-ho, and David Kin-keung Chan. Globalization and education the quest for quality education in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2002. Smart, Alan, and Tai-lok Lui. "Learning from civil unrest: State/society relations in Hong Kong before and after the 1967 disturbances." In May days in Hong Kong: riot and emergency in 1967, edited by Robert Bickers and Ray Yep, 145-160. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009. Tay, William, "Colonialism, the Cold War Era, and Marginal Space: The Existential Conditions of Four Decades of Hong Kong Literature." In Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century: a critical survey. Edited by Pang-yuan Chi and Wang Dewei, 31-38. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. Yep, Ray, and Tai-lok Lui. "Revisiting the golden era of MacLehose and the dynamics of social reforms." China Information 24, no. 3 (2010). Yung, Betty. Hong Kong's housing policy a case study in social justice. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2008.


Prose 

Before Shek Kip Mei: The Origins of Public Housing Estates in Hong Kong

Reasons behind the Relative Ease with which the Spanish Conquistadors Were Able to Subdue the peoples of Central and South America in the Early Sixteenth Century



Before Shek Kip Mei: The Origins of Public Housing Estates in Hong Kong Julice Yeung Year 2, Bachelor of Arts, The University of Hong Kong For almost a century, the Hong Kong colonial government has been adopting a “residual welfare model”, keeping welfare provision to the minimum. 1 It was, thus, extraordinary for her to start building public housing estates in 1954. Instead of tracing back further, the most common explanation for the construction of public housing was to rehouse the victims of the Shek Kip Mei Fire in 1953, as it seemed that such an unexpected welfare project had to be prompted by an equally unexpected event. However, given the government’s prolonged reluctance in providing social welfare, such a quick decision was unlikely. Instead of the fire, the political and economic realities during the late 1930s to the early 1950s should be the origins of the 1954 public housing scheme.

Doubts towards the Shek Kip Mei Explanation To be sure, the 50,000 homeless from the fire had an immediate housing need. 2 However, this one-off accident could not explain the ongoing erection of public housing estates towards the 1980s. In fact, just one year after the fire, a total of 33,913 public housing units was built. 3 Obviously, that was more than enough for the Shek Kip Mei victims. However, the government continued the construction towards


Kwong-Leung Tang, “Colonial Policy and Social Welfare: The Hong Kong Experience,” in. Colonialism and Welfare: Social Policy and the British Imperial Legacy, eds. James Midgley and David Piachaud (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2011), 101-102. 2 Manuel Castells, The Shek Kip Mei Syndrome: Public Housing and Economic Development in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Centre of Urban Studies & Urban Planning, The University of Hong Kong, 1986) 21. 3 Ibid., 28.


the end of the decade, reaching a total of 50,774 units. 4 This clearly suggested that the Shek Kip Mei explanation was insufficient. The fact was that, before World War II (1941-45), the Hong Kong and British governments had already intended to launch a public housing scheme in Hong Kong. In 1935, the Housing Commission’s report expressed concern over the overcrowding problem. The report clearly recommended the construction of 25,000 to 35,000 subsidized housing units, which was endorsed by Governor Geoffery Northcote and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Malcome MacDonald. 5 Sidney Caine, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, even went further and proposed to finance public housing with the Exchange Fund. 6 Although the proposal was shelved due to the insecurity from pre-war tensions and the Japanese invasion of China (1937-45), it proved that the launch of public housing schemes was not an abrupt decision made after the 1953 Fire.

Political Reasons 1. To Contain Communism Given that the fire was not a major reason, the larger political context before 1954 should also be investigated, especially the Cold War period (1945-1991). Being a close ally and a huge debtor of the United States, Britain had to fight against communism in favor of the US. Hong Kong was considered by Britain as an important Cold War battleground, being “the Berlin of Asia” adjacent to the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of the evidences was Winston


Ibid. E. G. Pryor, “A Historical Review of Housing Conditions in Hong Kong,” in Urbanization and the Pacific World, 1500-1900, ed. Lionel Frost, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 191-192; Gavin Ure, Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office: Public Policy in Hong Kong, 1918-58 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012), 139. 6 Ure, Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office, 139. 5


Churchill’s telegram to Dwight D. Eisenhower, which described Hong Kong as “a world front against Communist aggression”. 7 The first “cold” battle was that, Hong Kong had to show the world the superiority of "capitalist rule" over "communist rule" across the border. However, the reality was that the PRC began to gain reputation for reallocating land to the poor peasants by her Land Reform (1950), while the Hong Kong government was known for turning a blind eye on her sweat labors’ hardship. The majority of Hong Kong people lived in squatters with no water and electricity supplies. 8 This even “appalled” J. J. Paskin of the British Colonial Office during his visit to Hong Kong in 1949, as he described. 9 Being embarrassed, Britain and the Hong Kong government had to improve welfare conditions in Hong Kong. Another “cold” fight was against communist activities in Hong Kong. Although Mao Zedong did not show much interest in reclaiming Hong Kong by force, the British worried that communists would organize strikes in Hong Kong against imperialism and capitalism, as expressed in a confidential paper by the Foreign Office in 1946. 10 For both reasons, the Hong Kong government began to implement welfare policies with public housing estates, as it was the basis for any further public facilities. As public housing estates concentrated the population, schools, bus stops and post offices could be built adjacently. All these welfare provisions, especially public housing, were aimed at serving the poor, who were the primary targets of communists.


Kwong-Leung Tang, Colonial State and Social Policy: Social Welfare Development in Hong Kong 1842-1997 (Lanham: University Press of America, 1998), 55. 8 P. Bishop, “Some Aspects of the Hong Kong Resettlement Programme,” in Asian Urbanization: A Hong Kong Casebook , ed. D. J. Dwyer, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1971), 116. 9 Ure, Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office, 136. 10 C. K. Mark, “A Reward for Good Behavior in the Cold War: Bargaining over the Defense of Hong Kong,” The International History Review 22, no 4 (2000): 838; Tang, Colonial State and Social Policy, 51.


2. Pressure from the British Colonial Office due to Decolonization After World War II, imperialism was increasingly criticized, prompting Britain to urge the Hong Kong government to improve welfare conditions and justify her colonial rule. Lessons from the loss of India (1947) and Burma (1947) had taught Britain that anti-colonialism uprisings were incredibly dangerous to the colonial government. To secure her profitable Hong Kong colony, Britain was prepared to go to great lengths to minimize anti-colonial feelings in Hong Kong. Welfare was a useful tool: internally, it could satisfy the majority of Hong Kong people; and externally, it might convince the international community that Hong Kong was better off with a colonial government. Evidences were plentiful. In 1949, Arthur Creech-Jones, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, bluntly criticized the Hong Kong government for having “no social policy at all… Why has the department allowed this drift to go on?”. 11 In one year’s time, the Colonial Office offered a framework, which featured a Housing Authority for subsidized housing. 12 All these showed the Colonial Office’s eagerness and effort for “defending” Hong Kong against decolonization movements, through welfare provision. One may doubt that, if the Colonial Office was so eager to keep Hong Kong, the housing plan should have been launched immediately in 1950. In fact, there was a postwar upsurge in the price of building materials. 13 This made 1950 a bad occasion for extensive construction. Moreover, the Public Works Department’s resources were still exhausted due to the British Cabinet’s 1949 order for strengthening Hong Kong’s


Ure, Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office, 135. Ibid. 13 Ibid., 140, 143. 12


garrisons against communist movements across the border. 14 It also took time for Grantham to convince the unofficial members at the Legislative Council, who worried that the improvement of welfare would encourage greater influx of refugee. Here, the 1954 Fire might have given more grounds for Grantham to convince the unofficial members, but the fire itself could not be the initiating factor since the Colonial Office had ordered for public housing plans prior to the accident.

Economic Reasons 1. To Facilitate Industrialization World politics also triggered further economic changes, which made public housing scheme inevitable in Hong Kong during the 1950s. The Hong Kong government, insisting on non-intervention, tried to create a favorable environment for businesses instead of intervening directly. For the same reason, she also avoided social welfare policies unless it was beneficial to the economy. 15 As public housing could help supply land and labor for industrial development in Hong Kong, it started in the 1950s. Before the 1950s, the lack of land use planning prohibited industries from thriving in Hong Kong. Flatland in Hong Kong was scarce and expensive. What worsened the problem was that, Crown Land was so ill-managed that triad gangs were able to illegally operate squatter transactions and constructions extensively. 16 The result was the widespread of low-rise squatters, hence occupying much of the valuable land.


Ibid., 137. Tang, "Colonial Policy and Social Welfare," 102. 16 Elsie Tu, Colonial Hong Kong in the Eyes of Elsie Tu (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003), 43-44. 15


When the Korean War (1950-53) set in, the government could no longer turn a blind eye on the land deficit. Before the War, Hong Kong was an important re-export center between China and the US. In 1949, half of Hong Kong’s entrepôt trade ($117 million) was made with the US. 17 However, due to the PRC’s support for North Korea during the Korean War, the US imposed a trade embargo on China, which resulted in a hard hit on Hong Kong’s re-export trade. Consequently, Hong Kong’s unemployment rate reached 30% in 1951. 18 The only way for Hong Kong was to reduce her reliance on entrepôt trade, and to manufacture her own goods. As factories needed much space, the government had no choice but to replace squatters by public housing estates. The multi-storey estates were indeed made for freeing space for factories. For instance, in 1953 the Hong Kong government announced her plans to build the Kwun Tong Industrial Area. It was of no coincidence that the Kwun Tong Resettlement Estate was also erected in 1955, making way for the factories. Another rationale for building public housing was that, the estates could ensure a stable and concentrated supply of labor for Hong Kong. World War II had disrupted European production, which created a good chance for Hong Kong to take up Europe’s former market share of manufacturing sector. This was helped by the influx of cheap labor fleeing from the Chinese Civil War (1946-49) and the PRC’s anti-capitalist campaigns during the early 1950s. The pour in of Entrepreneurs, cheap labor and capital created an ideal environment for labor-intensive light industries – especially the well-established textile industry relocated from Shanghai. 19


Ian Scott, Political Change and the Crisis of Legitimacy in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989), 66. 18 Ibid., 67. 19 Ibid., 69.


However, the problem was that it was difficult to predict whether these newcomers were planning to settle in Hong Kong permanently or not. To make people, especially cheap labor stay, the best way was to register them into public housing estates. With the long-term lease and the ultra-low rent, cheap labor had an economic incentive to stay, providing Hong Kong a reliable labor supply. Besides, by concentrating labor into a few large-scale public housing estates designated by the government, factories could be strategically located nearby for a secured labor supply, like the cases of Kwun Tong. 2. To Speed up Recovery of the Private Sector Upholding the laissez-faire policy, the Hong Kong government maintained a large private market, whose interest could not have been ignored during the consideration for public housing. The private sector was influential to Hong Kong politics, taking up many unofficial seats in the Legislative Council. 20 During the Japanese Occupation(1941-1945), some of the private estates were destroyed. For more private development space, the business sector advocated squatter clearance in the Legislative Council. 21 For example, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) started the discussion. 22 Conceivably, it was because HSBC could create more loans when private developers engaged in new projects. In 1953, developer R.C. Lee also submitted a similar memorandum in the name of “social welfare”. 23 It was, of course, also in favor of his own interest. Of course, squatter residents might riot if their homes were cleared, so it was inevitable for the government to rehouse them into public housing estates. That 20

Ho Chi Yeung, “Housing, Planning and Political Will in Colonial Hong Kong, 1946-1983” (MPhil diss., The University of Hong Kong, 2011), 7. 21 Alan Smart, The Shek Kip Mei Myth: Squatters, Fires and Colonial Rule in Hong Kong, 1950-1963 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006), 12-13. 22 Ho, “Housing, Planning and Political Will in Colonial Hong Kong, 1946-1983,” 20. 23 Ibid., 22.


explained why in addition to the Housing Authority, a Resettlement Department were also set up in 1954 to ensure that the public flats served the function of relocating people away from the original squatter areas. The government was not simply increasing housing units in an ad hoc manner, but strategically moving the population to free space for private development. One may argue that the launch of the public housing project would contradict with the interest of the private market. However, it should be noted that the squatters were for the most impoverished in the territory, which could not afford private apartments anyway. The public housing estates would not hurt the profits of the private sector.

Conclusion The launch of the public housing project was a result of the larger political and economic context from the 1930s to the early 1950s, largely affected by international situations. On the other hand, the Shek Kip Mei Fire in 1953 could not be the major origin of public housing. The prevalence of the Shek Kip Mei explanation, made official by the Colonial Government, may be viewed as the government’s attempt to gain popularity by showing care for the people – after all, taking care of the colonizer and the businesses’ interests, and the underlying political and economic agendas could not win much applause from the general public.



Bishop, P. “Some Aspects of the Hong Kong Resettlement Programme.” In Asian Urbanization: A Hong Kong Casebook, edited by D. J. Dwyer, 111-121. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1971. Castells, Manuel. The Shek Kip Mei Syndrome: Public Housing and Economic Development in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre of Urban Studies & Urban Planning, University of Hong Kong, 1986. Ho, Chi Yeung. “Housing, Planning and Political Will in Colonial Hong Kong, 19461983.” MPhil diss., University of Hong Kong, 2011. Pryor, E.G. “A Historical Review of Housing Conditions in Hong Kong.” In Urbanization and the Pacific World, 1500-1900, Edited by Lionel Frost, 173214. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005. Scott, Ian. Political Change and the Crisis of Legitimacy in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989. Smart, Alan. The Shek Kip Mei Myth: Squatters, Fires and Colonial Rule in Hong Kong, 1950-1963. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006. Tang, Kwong-Leung. Colonial State and Social Policy: Social Welfare Development in Hong Kong 1842-1997. Lanham: University Press of America, 1998. Tang, Kwong-Leung. “Colonial Policy and Social Welfare: The Hong Kong Experience.” In Colonialism and Welfare: Social Policy and the British Imperial Legacy, Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud, 100-118. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2011. Tu, Elsie. Colonial Hong Kong in the Eyes of Elsie Tu. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003. Ure, Gavin. Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office: Public Policy in Hong Kong, 1918-58. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012.


Reasons behind the Relative Ease with which the Spanish Conquistadors Were Able to Subdue the Peoples of Central and South America in the Early Sixteenth Century Reynold Tsang, Year 1 Bachelor of Arts, The University of Hong Kong After Christopher Columbus discovered the New World (America) in 1492, Spanish explorers and adventurers immediately poured into the newly discovered land in search of wealth and new opportunities. Those courageous Spaniards were not necessarily the official representatives or soldiers of the Spanish Crown; most of them were independent mercenaries, penniless aristocrats and sailors. 1 Among them, Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro were the two most successful Spanish conquistadors. Cortes led an expedition that eventually caused the fall of Aztec Empire in Central America; Pizarro led three expeditions and finally brought down the Inca Empire in South America. Although the Spanish conquistadors were outnumbered by the Native Americans, they managed to subdue the natives in a short period of time with minor casualties. There were both external and internal factors that contributed to the relative ease with which the Spanish conquistadors were able to subdue the Americans. External factors include Spanish military advancement and the spread of old world diseases. They gave advantages to the Spaniards when they confronted the Indians. In terms of internal factors, internal division of the Americans and incompetent native kings and leaders paved the way of their own destruction. The essay discusses and examines both external and internal factors to explain why the Spanish were able to conquer central and south America with relative ease.


Hans Koning, The conquest of America: how the Indian Nations lost their continent (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1993), 29.


Guns and steel were crucial for the Spanish victory in America. The Natives could have overwhelmed the Spaniards instantly if the Spaniards did not have superior military technology and equipment. In the Battle of Cajamarca, November 1532, Pizarro and 168 conquistadors defeated an Inca army of 80000 and captured their King (Atahualpa) in about an hour. 2 About 7000 Incas were killed in the battle. 3 If we accept the above record, each conquistador must have killed 41 or 42 Incas on average. The battle was initiated by Spanish guns and cannons fire, followed by the charge of 62 Spanish cavalry and ended with swordfights between Incas and Spaniards. 4 Although American Indians had advanced architectural and agricultural technology, their technology of war was way behind the Spaniards. Their military technology could not even reach the level of the Ancient Assyrians. 5 For example, chariots, bronze and copper weapons were never used by Indians. Spanish steel swords and armour could easily crush the stone-tipped swords and leather-bone armour of Indians. Other than superiority in cold weapon (melee weapon), firearms and horses were decisive in battles against Indians. American natives never encountered firearms and war animals such as war horses and dogs. These new weaponry gave a large of advantages to the Spaniards and exercised a strong effect on the Indians. The Indians suffered large casualties and were shocked by the thunder of firearms, their morale depleted completely. According to Bernal Diaz Del Castillo, a foot soldier of Hernan Cortes expedition force, Spaniards had a battle with the Tlaxcala tribe before attacking the Aztecs. "These Indians put up a good fight with their arrows and darts, and did wonder with their two-headed swords. But at this 2

George Raudzens, "Outfighting or outpopulating? Main reasons for early colonial conquests 14931788," in Technology, disease, and colonial conquests, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: essays reappraising the guns and germs theories, ed. George Raudzen (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 32. 3 Ibid., 33. 4 Ibid. 5 Koning, The conquest of America, 15.


moment, we came up with our artillery, muskets, and crossbows, and gradually they began to give away." 6 In this minor confrontation, 17 Indians were killed and many of them were wounded. In contrast, Cortes only lost one of his men. 7 This reflected that Spanish firearms were superior to natives' cold weapons, such as bows and arrows. Spanish military advancement made the conquistadors "more effective killers" and allowed them to win a much larger enemy force. 8 In that age, a single conquistador is equivalent to a group of elite Indian soldiers. This explained why the Spaniards, as the minority in the New World, could manage to defeat the American Indians with relative ease - high kill rates and low casualties. To sum up, there was a time gap between Spanish and Indian's military technology, Spanish advance military technology helped to subdue the Native Americans who had inferior weaponry and military resources. Disease was also an essential factor that contributed to the Spaniards' victory. Since the Ice Age, the American Indians were isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. They did not have resistance to Europeans diseases and were vulnerable when facing diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis. 9 The spread of smallpox in Central America played a major role in Aztecs defeat by Hernan Cortes. In 1519, the population in the Valley of Mexico was 1.6 million. 10 But after the smallpox epidemic in 1520 and 1521, the population size of the Valley of Mexico was reduced to 900000 only. 11 When Cortes had his second assault on Tenochtitlan in 1521, the city was ravaged by the effect of smallpox. According to Friar Sahagun's 6

Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963), 143. Ibid. 8 Francis Brooks, "The impact of disease," in Technology, disease, and colonial conquests, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: essays reappraising the guns and germs theories, ed. George Raudzens (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 133. 9 Koning, The conquest of America, 15. 10 Michael Ernest Smith, The Aztecs (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), 285. 11 Ibid. 7


native informants, "A great many died from this plague, and many other died of hunger". 12 The number of Aztec warriors was reduced drastically and the agricultural economy of the city declined because of depopulation. Cuitlahuac, the successor of Montezuma II and the new king of the Aztecs, also died of smallpox after his 80-day rule. 13 Even though the Aztec warriors fought bravely, the Spaniards managed to crush them with ease and ended the siege of Tenochtitlan in two months time. The situation was the same when the Spaniards conquered the Inca Empire. Many Incas died of smallpox and measles. 14 Moreover, with the impact of European disease, the balance of power in America changed. The Spaniards were no longer the minority in the New World; more and more of them settled in America. On the contrary, the nonimmune native population decreased rapidly. For example, the Native American population in Mexico decreased from 10 million in 1518 to about a million in 1600, 80 to 90 percent of them did not reproduce. 15 The American Indians lost their numerical advantage, and they were too weak and few to restore their native kingdoms. Most of their revolts and rebellions in the sixteenth and seventeenth century ended in failure. 16 The Spanish thus became the dominant power of the continent, controlling their new conquered land without fierce native confrontation. European diseases therefore crushed the Indians and their society severely. For the Spaniards, disease helped them to clear away the vast majority of the Native Americans and weakened them greatly. The Spanish conquistadors can therefore subdue the native population in a short period of time with minor casualties.


Ibid., 281. Ibid,, 282. 14 Brooks, "The impact of disease," 144. 15 Ibid., 137. 16 GĂŠrard Chaliand, Mirrors of a disaster: the Spanish military conquest of America (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2005), 123-124. 13


Other than external factors, the internal situation of central and south America was also important to explain why Spanish conquistadors can subdue the native people in relative ease. To begin with, internal divisions within and between Native Americans weakened their own strength and benefited the Spaniards. There are numerous independent nations, tribes and city-states at the time of Cortes and Pizarro. For example, the Aztec Empire was formed by an alliance of three city states. 17 These Indian nation states were often divided among themselves and fought each other. As a result, the Spanish conquistadors were able to ally with a tribe or nation in the fight against another tribe or nation. Both Cortes and Pizarro allied with native Americas when they fought against the Aztec and Inca Empires. Cortes could not have taken Tenochtitlan and destroyed the Aztec Empire with only 550 men and 10 artillery pieces. 18 His expedition force would be overwhelmed by other native tribes way before they can reach the valley of Mexico. So, Cortes decided to ally with Aztec's enemy and formed a joint expedition force to fight against the Aztecs. In 1519 October, the ruler of Tlaxcala offered an army of 100000 men to Cortes. 19 Those Indians formed the basis of Cortes army and provided him with sufficient manpower to attack Tenochtitlan, a city of 300000 people. Other than providing manpower to the Spaniards, native allies provide a "safe house" for the conquistadors and gave them enormous supplies. On 20 June 1520, Cortes's first attempt of conquering Tenochtitlan failed. His forces diminished everyday and he decided to withdraw his force. 20 Instead of pulling back to the Spanish Caribbean islands or coastal area, Cortes and his men found refuge in 17

The three city states are Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. Buddy Levy, Conquistador: HernĂĄn CortĂŠs, King Montezuma, and the last stand of the Aztecs (New York: Bantam Books, 2008), 244. 19 Ibid., 86. 20 Chaliand, Mirrors of a disaster, 79. 18


Tlaxcala. The Spaniards were saved from annihilation by their native ally. The conquistadors reinforced their army and recruited a larger Indian force consisting different tribes in Tlaxcala. Many of them hoped to free themselves from Aztec rule and take part in the sack of Tenochtitlan. 21 Without native allies, the Spanish conquistador would need to depend on their bases in the Caribbean and Mexican coast. Their conquest would be lengthened and they would face more challenges in supply, reinforcement and medication. In the conquest of the Inca, internal division in the Inca Empire led to their downfall and gave opportunities to the conquistadors. In 1528 to 1532, there had been a civil war between sons of the previous Inca ruler, Atahualpa and Huascar. 22 The civil war ruined the Inca Empire and divided the nation into two separate factions. For example, Inca people in Cuzco, who were mainly the supporters of Huascar, saw Spanish conquistadors as liberators when they restored Manco II (son of Huascar) to throne. 23 The Inca soldiers in Quito (supporters of Atahualpa) were fighting less against foreign invaders than against the people in Cuzco. 24 The conquistadors were not seen as invaders by some native Indians, and this allowed them to settle in America without fierce confrontation. Spaniards could subdue the native people with less violent means. Manco II was a fine example of puppet Inca raised by the Spaniards. Internal division destroyed the unity of Indians against Spanish conquistadors. Their conflicts weakened themselves and created allies for their enemies. In many cases, it was Indians killing Indians rather than Spaniards killing Indians. Thus the Spaniards were able to subdue the native population easily with minor casualties and in quick speed. 21

Ibid., 85. Chaliand, Mirrors of a disaster, 121. 23 Ibid,, 187. 24 Ibid., 190. 22










conquistadors to control them like puppets. First, superstitions blinded the Indian kings and allowed the Spaniards to crush the native population in sudden. According to Aztec legend, the god-king Quetzalcoatl would return from the eastern sea and start his new rule in Mexico in 1 acatl, which was 1519. 25 He was probably white and bearded. 26 Before encountering Cortes himself, Montezuma really believed the arrival of Spaniards was the arrival of Quetzalcoatl. Even after the massacre of Cholula, where thousands of unarmed Aztecs were killed by Spaniards, Montezuma did nothing to stop the conquistadors from marching to Tenochtitlan except sending massagers to Cortes. 27 Montezuma did not take any military action to halt Cortes and save his people. The Spanish conquistadors could therefore march towards Tenochtitlan easily without facing any Aztec's resistance. Both kings of Aztec Empire and Inca Empire were weak-minded and threatened by Spaniards. Both of them were kidnapped by Spaniards and became puppets of them. Montezuma was kidnapped by the Spanish conquistadors in his own palace. He did not resist and even cooperated with the Spaniards in order to save his own life. He brought lots of treasure to ransom himself, and he helped the Spaniards to calm down the angry crowds who besieged his palace.



Montezuma had failed to calm his people and dismiss the angry crowds. Montezuma was killed by his own people when the crowd threw stones at him. 29 The situation was the same for Inca Atahualpa. He was captured by Pizarro in the Battle of Cajamarca. To win his freedom, Atahualpa offered a considerable ransom - one room full of gold 25

Ernest Smith, The Aztecs, 283. Koning, The conquest of America, 33. 27 Ibid., 34-35. 28 Chaliand, Mirrors of a disaster, 79. 29 Ibid. 26


and silver. 30 However, he failed to win his freedom and was executed at the end. The above cases reflect that the Indian kings lacked the power to lead their people to fight back and deny Spanish requests. Some of them, such as Montezuma, even turned against his own people and sided with the Spanish conquistadors. Those kings failed to unite their own people and take initiatives to counter foreign invasion. Furthermore, weak kings allowed the Spanish conquistadors to infiltrate the court of Native American empires and impose their own rule. In short, superstition and weakness of Native American rulers allowed the Spanish conquistadors to advance with few resistances and manipulate the politics of their country. The Spaniards could therefore take over the native Indian government easily and accomplished their conquest. In conclusion, Spanish conquistadors were able to subdue the people of central and south America with relative ease because of superior military technology, European diseases, native internal conflicts and incompetent Indian rulers. Both external and internal factors accountable were inter-related and have equal importance in helping the Spanish conquest in central and south America. With the above factors and reasons, Spanish conquistadors were able to subdue the American Indians in a short period of time with little casualties. They did not face big obstacles in conquering the Native American empires. After all, technology, nature (disease) and people were essential factors that gave advantages to the Spaniards and weakened the Native Americans.


Ibid., 121.



Brooks, Francis. "The impact of disease." in Technology, disease, and colonial conquests, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: essays reappraising the guns and germs theories, Edited by George Raudzens, 127-165. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Chaliand, Gérard. Mirrors of a disaster: the Spanish military conquest of America. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2005. Diaz del Castillo, Bernal. The Conquest of New Spain. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963. Koning, Hans. The conquest of America: how the Indian Nations lost their continent. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1993. Levy, Buddy. Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the last stand of the Aztecs. New York: Bantam Books, 2008. Raudzens, George. "Outfighting or outpopulating? Main reasons for early colonial conquests 1493-1788." in Technology, disease, and colonial conquests, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: essays reappraising the guns and germs theories, Edited by George Raudzens, 31-57. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Smith, Michael Ernest. The Aztecs. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1996.


清末梁啓超棄共和,推立憲之路 鄺忠文 香港大學 文學院 一年級 清末(1900-1912),外有列強環伺,內則清廷腐敗無能。有志之士紛紛尋 求救國之道。梁啓超(1873-1929)由維新變革無疾而終,兵變失敗以致逃亡日 本,創辦報刊如《清議報》,《戊戌政變記錄》,致使任公聲名大噪。其後, 任公遊歷外國數載,輾轉往離日本之間,曾萌生革命熱情,倡言推翻滿清。然 而在考察共和政體後,深明政體與國情不合,遂放棄共和,踏上推動君主立憲 之路。 本文欲先論共和之弊。君主專制制度是中國積弱的根源,反觀之,民主共 和理應是救國良方。但在集權,專權以及共和之間,任公選擇建立強力統一的 中央政府。他指出六種共和政體為: 第一種,人民公舉大統領而大統領掌行政實權之共和政體。此共和政體之最顯 著者,美國是也,中美南美諸共和國皆屬此種。 第二種,國會公舉大統領而大統領無責任之共和政體,法國是也。 第三種,人民選舉終身大統領之共和政體,法國兩拿破崙時代曾行之。 第四種,不置之共和政體,如瑞士聯邦。 第五種,虛戴君主之共和政體,英國是也。 1 第六種,虛戴名譽長官之共和政體,英屬之自治殖民地。 當時西方強國中的美國正實行第一種政體,任公告誡國人不能貿然仿效 之,否則如緣木求魚,不能致治,招致禍亂,殆而甚焉。美國政府乃聯邦之國, 大部份政權下放給地方政府,而兩議院亦掌有立法權,可見總統權力備受摯肘。 任公認為中國正需要一個強而有力的集權政府,方能禦外侮,整肅軍閥亂政的 局面。 2 他反對勢必對社會造成動盪的暴力革命,矛頭直指國民革命黨。《開明 專制論》中闡述了“復仇則必出於暴動革命,暴動革命則必繼以不完全的共和, 不完全的共和必致亡國” 3。針對國民黨為暴民是其次,主要的還是認為中國缺 乏建制共和的基礎。他在選集中道:“中國人既缺乏自治習慣,又不認團體之 公益,文化素養及政治覺悟程度低” 4。在缺乏群眾基礎推動下,民主共和政體 只會行至無效。由軍政府過渡去共和政府期間更可能釀成軍閥瓜分領土,內亂 鬥爭。強調改變政體的溫和派梁任公渴望避免革命手段,造就新的專制政府, 遏止軍政府剝奪和侵犯公民權利。 他因新黨的紛亂與腐敗,道德之墮落,觖望於提倡“革命主義”,而投向 共和政體 5。1908 年以後,在梁啓超努力策劃組織下,發表《責任內閣釋義》, 堅決反對內閣對國家負責,也從法理上對內閣對議會負責進行了駁斥,主張內


解璽璋(1895-1990):《梁啟超傳》(上海:上海文化出版社,2012 年),頁 10-20。 解璽璋(1895-1990):《梁啟超傳》(上海:上海文化出版社,2012 年),頁 140。 3 解璽璋(1895-1990):《梁啟超傳》(上海:上海文化出版社,2012 年),頁 120。 4 梁啓超(1873-1929):《梁啟超選集》(香港:香港文學研究社,1979 年),頁 67-70。 5 李越:〈20 世紀梁啓超君主立憲思想的歷史考察〉,《師專學報》,第 19 卷,第 2 期(2005 年 4 月),頁 81-83。 2


閣對國家負責,議會只是國家用來就差內閣行為的機關 6。其後在《中國立國大 方針》一文體現了梁任公實現英國式的政黨內閣政治的意欲,鍾情於“開明專 制”的形式。梁任公在辛亥革命和護國運動前後的轉變始終圍繞著 “不問國體, 只問政體。” 7 綜合梁啟超先生對中國國情的種種憂慮,不難理解何以放棄歐洲標榜的民 主共和之路,而選擇立憲政治包裝下的開明民主政體,其實效性還有待商榷, 在此只是略述而已。

6董方奎:《梁啟超與立憲政治》(武漢:華中師範大學出版社,1991 7董方奎:《梁啟超與立憲政治》(武漢:華中師範大學出版社,1991


年),頁 42-45。 年),頁 80-90。

參考文獻 1.解璽璋(1895-1990):《梁啟超傳》(上海:上海文化出辦社,2012 年)。 2.梁啓超(1873-1929):《梁啟超選集》(香港:香港文學研究社,1979 年)。 3.李越:〈20 世紀梁啓超君主立憲思想的歷史考察〉,《師專學報》,第 19 卷, 第 2 期(2005 年 4 月)。 4.董方奎:《梁啟超與立憲政治》(武漢:華中師範大學出版社,1991 年)。


Acknowledgements We would like to express our gratitude to the following contributors: Department of History, The University of Hong Kong The Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) Dr. Priscilla Roberts Ms. Au Tsz Him, Gigi Ms. Cheng Huen To, Freda Mr. Choi Kin Hei, Herman Ms. Hung Yee Ting, Tracy Mr. Kwong Chung Man, Clarkson Ms. Lam Ka Yi, Joceyia Mr. Lau Fai Ching, Eric Ms. Luk Wing Sam, Christie Mr. Seung Pok Man, Bryan Mr. Tsang Kai Won, Reynold Ms. Tsang Man Nga, Manga Ms. Wong Hei Man, Tiffany Ms. Yang Qiyin, Wendy Ms. Yeung Pui Shan, Clara Ms. Yeung Yan Lam, Julice Mr. Yu Pui Sing


Editorial Board Editor-in-chief: Lau Fai Ching, Eric Editor: Tsang Kai Won, Reynold Editorial Committee: Kwong Chung Man, Clarkson Au Tsz Him, Gigi Cheng Huen To, Freda Choi Kin Hei, Herman Hung Yee Ting, Tracy Lam Ka Yi, Joceyia Luk Wing Sam, Christie Tsang Man Nga, Manga Yeung Pui Shan, Clara


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