Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office

Public Policy in Hong Kong, 1918–58

(香港殖民時期 1918 至 1958 年的公共政策)

Gavin Ure

ISBN : 978-988-8083-94-7

Politics, Government, Public Administration Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series (皇家亞洲學會香港研究叢書)

June 2012

316 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$295.00

This book explores the making of public policy for Hong Kong between 1918 and 1958. During much of this period, the Hong Kong government had limited policymaking capabilities. Many new policies followed initiatives either from the Colonial Office or from politicians in Hong Kong. This book examines the balance of political power influencing how such decisions were reached and who wielded the most influence—the Hong Kong or British governments or the politicians. Gradually, the Hong Kong government, through implementing new policies, improved its own policy-making capabilities and gained the ability to exercise greater autonomy.

The policy areas covered by this book include the implementation of rent controls in 1922, the management of Hong Kong’s currency from 1929 to 1936, the resolution of the financial dispute over matters arising from World War II, the origins of Hong Kong’s public housing and permanent squatter resettlement policies, negotiations over Hong Kong’s contribution to its defence costs and the background to the granting of formal financial autonomy in 1958.

Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office will be of interest to historians and political scientists, and to anyone with a general interest in the social, economic and political development of Hong Kong.

Gavin Ure is a former Administrative Officer with the Hong Kong government. He is now Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Social Science at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“In this meticulously researched book, based on archival sources, Gavin Ure explores the important issue of how Hong Kong’s colonial rulers made public policy. Through a careful examination of key political, economic and social questions, he shows how local administrators were able to wrest autonomy from the British government and to run the colony on their own terms. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in Hong Kong’s history and the policies that have shaped the modern city.” —Ian Scott, author of The Public Sector in Hong Kong

“Who governs Colonial Hong Kong—London or the officials sent from Britain? The issue of autonomy is central to our understanding of politics and policymaking in Hong Kong during the colonial era. From a unique perspective, both as an academic and former senior civil servant, Gavin Ure demonstrates how Hong Kong gradually gained control of key areas of public policy. This book is an essential read for anyone with an interest in politics and public policy in Hong Kong.” —James Lee, Hong Kong Polytechnic University