Governing Hong Kong (Steve Tsang (曾銳生))
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 its current prosperity is a direct by-product 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, later inherited by the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Under British imperial administration, Hong Kong grew from a collection of fishing villages to an international entrepôt, 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.
The author of this book Dr Steve Tsang (曾銳生) joined SOAS in 2016 as Director of SOAS China Institute. He is Emeritus Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford University. He served as Director of the Asian Studies Centre at Oxford from 1997 to 2003.
He is a frequent commentator for the BBC and is the author of A Modern History of Hong Kong, The Cold War’s Odd Couple and Hong Kong: An Appointment with China, Taiwan's Impact on China and China in the Xi Jinping Era.
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