Hong Kong is at the heart of modern China's position as a regional - and potential world - superpower. In this important and original history of the region, Steve Tsang argues that Hong Kong's current prosperity and influence are direct by-products of the British administrators who ran the place as a colony before the handover in 1997. The British administration of Hong Kong uniquely derived its practices from the best traditions of Imperial Chinese government and its philosophical, Confucian basis. It stressed efficiency, honesty, fairness, benevolent paternalism and individual freedom. The result was a hugely successful colony, especially in industry and finance, and it remains so today with its new status of Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Under British imperial adminstration, Hong Kong grew from a collection of fishing villages to an international entrepot - an industrial power and an international financial centre. British and Chinese interests dovetailed and the Chinese population was satisfied by the welfare reform and economic advancement perpetuated by Britain's administrative officers. Demand for constitutional reform and a sense of Hong Kong Chinese identity grew only as the handover to China approached. This definitive history of the colourful individuals who administered the colony on behalf of the British government sheds light on two empires inextricably linked in nature and on the philosophy of government.
Governing Hong Kong
Administrative Officers from the 19th Century to the Handover to China, 1862-1997