Governing Hong Kong

Administrative Officers from the Nineteenth Century to the Handover to China, 1862–1997


Steve Tsang

ISBN : 978-962-209-874-9


October 2007

244 pages, 6.25″ x 9.25″

For sale in the Greater China area (Hong Kong, the Mainland, Macao, Taiwan) and South and North Korea only

  • HK$350.00
No longer available

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, and it remains so today with its new status of 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.

Steve Tsang is Louis Cha Fellow and University Reader in Politics at St Antony’s College, Oxford University. He served as Director of the Asian Studies Centre at Oxford from 1997 to 2003 and is the author of A Modern History of Hong Kong, The Cold War’s Odd Couple and Hong Kong: An Appointment with China.

“An indispensable work for reference as well as for inspired historical interpretation.” —Wm. Roger Louis, Kerr Professor at the University of Texas at Austin

“Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, Governing Hong Kong is an example of original, detailed yet stimulating historical scholarship at its best.” —Anthony Kirk-Greene, Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford