Newspaper clippings before & after PRC's establishment

The British Office of the Chargé d’Affaires in Peking, summer of 1967, from Robert Bickers website

Associated Press, 30 November 1948

No Threat To Hong Kong

A communist victory in China would not present any immediate threat to Hong Kong, in the opinion of officials and independent observers in the Colony.

As long as conditions in China remain unsettled Hong Kong will be of greater value to the economy of Communist China if it remains under British control, most people here — including Communist sympathisers — agree.

“In the first place,” said a well-known British banker, “the Communists, unless they are willing to risk war with Britain — and I don’t think they are — would have to repay us for our investment here if they wanted the colony. That they couldn't afford. Our investment here runs into millions, perhaps billions, of dollars.

“It will be years before the Communists or anybody else in China can afford to buy Hong Kong,” he added.

“The Chinese Communists need one city in this area that has a stable government and a stable currency, from which they can export the goods that they would produce in South China.”—A.P.
The Straits Times, 2 June 1949

CHARLES WINTOUR Says It’s Up To The British Business Man

ON Christmas Day 1941, after 16 days of continuous fighting with no prospect of relief outside, the garrison of Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese forces. 

Of the 11,000 Imperial troops who defended for the Colony, 1,000 had been killed or died of wounds, 1,000 were missing and 2,000 more were severely wounded. The island’s scanty supplies of water were almost exhausted: there was no effective defence against air attack: the Japanese deployed forces greatly superior in both numbers and equipment to the defence. For the resistance would only have resulted in useless slaughter.

Today Hong Kong is again threatened by the approach of hostile armies. And, again, the Colony is being reinforced. The Government is sending out 8,000 troops of all arms, which will bring the garrison up to a total of 12,000 men.

Will they be called upon to emulate the gallantry and heroism of their predecessors?

And, if so, would they prove any more successful in protecting this Gibraltar of the east from foreign invasion?

In Hong Kong, they do not expect that the Chinese communists will launch an open attack on the colony, whatever warlike threats may be made for propaganda purposes over the Communist radio. But the possibility cannot be excluded altogether.

The defence of the port clearly presents a number of well-nigh insuperable difficulties. The population is already more than double the prewar figure and is now estimated to exceed 2,000,000. The further influx of refugees is pouring into this British oasis of stability and prosperity from Canton now officially in a “state of war”.

Some hundreds of thousands of the population are suspected to cherish Communist sympathies. Well led, they could launch fifth column attacks on British troops and installation far more dangerous than anything even attempted by the French resistance forces during the war.

There is still no proper airfield. The 2 air strips at Kai Tak on the mainland near Kowloon have poor approaches; they have too few bombers; and in certain weather conditions, they have to shut down altogether.

The government are hastening forward plans for a new airport, but completion will take years.

Water supplies, as in 1941, may prove to be the most difficult problem of all. The reservoirs, built before the days of aerial bombardment, are mostly above ground and are extremely vulnerable to air attack. An army may be able to hold out days against overwhelming odds. It cannot hold out against a water famine.

The nearest friendly base is some 1,500 miles away. While the Royal Navy might keep the island supplied, such a task would place a fantastic strain on the resources.

Finally, the circumference of Hong Kong Island covers a distance of some 25 miles, while the coastline of the least territory amounts to four times as much or more. In fact, the length of the coastline to be defended is roughly equivalent to the distance between London and Nottingham.

Of course, it may be said that the Chinese Communist armies are a very different proposition from the highly trained, well equipped Japanese forces. Yet they have won control of immense tracts of China and are making rapid progress towards the South.

They have been well led; they have gained battle experience; they have either captured or bought most of the military supplies with which America attempted to bolster ‘the corrupt” regime of the Kuomintang; and they dispose unlimited manpower resources. The enemies of Mao-Tse-Tung would certainly prove a formidable enemy.

The conclusion must be that a far larger garrison than the 12,000 troops now gathering in Hong Kong would still experience the gravest difficulty in defending the territory successfully and even if they succeeded in holding out the economic life of the colony would be shattered.

Before the battle was over high explosives might blast the rocky island back to the bare and desolate state in which the British found it when the island was ceded to them 100 years ago.

Would the Chinese Communists welcome the destruction of the richest port in the East? Would they welcome war with the British Empire and perhaps other nations of the Western world?

Most of the evidence points the other way. The Old China Hands who have studied the policy of the Chinese communists believe that Mao-Tse-Tung and his far more able colleague Chou-en-Lai wish to make the fullest use of Western capital and know-how in developing China’s vast untapped resources.

The Communists was toward to the rapid industrialisation of China and they can only obtain the necessary finance and technical skill from the West. Russia has nothing to spare.

Here, then, lies the best defence of Hong Kong. It is not armed men in uniform who will save Hong Kong from attack, but the brains, experience and abilities of British and American businessmen in the East.

For this reason, the British business men who are now staying behind in Shanghai to guard and restore British trading interests there are probably doing more to defend Hong Kong than the Minister of Defence can hope to achieve.

But the British Government has the duty of finding a diplomatic path to an understanding with the Chinese Communists. A former high representative of the Government with the Nationalist Government told me the other day. We should recognise the Communist Government. If we sit staring at each other like two porcelain dogs docs on the mantelpiece, the Chinese Communists will only have the Russians to turn to. We still don't know whether the Chinese Communists will turn out to be more Chinese than communist. We should help them to make up their minds the right way. 

Yet even if we establish ordinary diplomatic relations with the Communists — and until the position of the Amethyst, still anchored among the mud-banks on the Yangtse, is cleared up, it is difficult to see how this country could grant full recognition – the British hold on Hong Kong will certainly be subject to a constant propaganda offensive.

The communists may seek to stir up labour trouble.

The internal security of the over-crowded island will need constant watchfulness.

In any case, the territories on the mainland, which were leased to Britain for 99 years are due to be returned before the turn of the century. So Hone Kong is wisely preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. As the Governor, Sir Alexander Grantham, has said: “We hope Communist China is going to be friendly toward a foreign power and a foreign place like Hong Kong. But these are hopes, not certainties.”

'Taiwanese in HK will get full civil rights'

Reuters 23 April 1984

TAIWANESE officials and organisations based in Hong Kong will enjoy the same civil rights as other groups after Beijing takes beck the British colony, a senior Chinese official said yesterday.

The official Xinhua news also quoted Ji Pengfei, head of the Hong Kong Affairs Office in Beijing, as telling a group of Hong Kong community leaders the colony's relations with Taiwan will remain unchanged when Britain's 99-year lease on most of the territory expires in 1997.

“When the Chinese government resumes the exercise of China's sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, Kuomintang personnel and organisations from Taiwan stationed in Hong Kong enjoy the same rights as other residents organisations.

“Their legitimate rights and interests will be protected by law, provided they observe the local laws,” Mr Ji said.

“Relations between Hong Kong and Taiwan including sea and air transportation, economic and cultural ties and personnel exchanges will not be affected,” he added.

Mr Ji’s statement, the latest in a series of overtures to Taipeh, followed a visit to Beijing by British Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe which focussed on the future of Hong Kong.

Sir Geoffrey said in Hong Kong that any Sino-British agreement on the territory would be enshrined within a “formally recorded international agreement.”

Chinese leaders have frequently stated that the territory will be ruled by Hong Kong people as a special administrative region after 1997, and that its aggressively capitalist way of life will remain unchanged for at least 50 years.

Diplomats here say a tolerant attitude to pro-Taiwanese nationalists in Hong Kong after Beijing regains sovereignty would be that the communists are sincere in planning to allow the territory to maintain its present socio-economic system. - Reuters

New Chinese party send team to get local support

The Straits Times, 8 April 1952

The Third Force, a new Chinese political group, anti-Kuomintang and anti-Mao Tse Tung, with headquarters in Hong Kong, is believed to have sent an underground team of former politicians and military leaders to Singapore to gain a foothold for the party.

Singapore Special Branch said yesterday that they had no evidence of the team's presence in the colony but knew that propaganda magazines of the party were circulating in Singapore.

A Special Branch officer to the Straits Times: “There are two Third Forces propaganda magazines, The China Voice and Freedom Front Weekly, in the Colony. Both are published in Hong Kong.”

“Various Chinese public bodies in Singapore and the Federation have received copies.”

A Kuomintang member in Singapore, claimed, however, that several Third Force men, among whom were a former general and a politician, are in the Colony working for the support of the Chinese community.

He further claimed that the team had large financial backing, and that one of their plans was to gain support from business interests to keep the party supplied with funds for his work in the Colony.

The aim of the Third Force is to set up a new government for the “salvation of China.”


Selena Liang/Tiffany Hui: On International Alliance: Filipino MDWs Living in the Gap

On International Alliance: Filipino MDWs Living in the Gap
Co-translated by Karen Leung and Tiffany Hui, edited by Chen-t'ang, written by Selena Liang and Tiffany Hui
Originally in March 2020 edition, CUHK SU Post
Original: http://cusp.hk/?p=8813 

Perhaps you all still remember when the anti-extradition protests were in full swing in October 2019, CY Leung offered “bounties” to migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Hong Kong to snitch on their employers for possessing any “illegal items” related to the anti-government demonstrations, and called on them to help spread the word that cash rewards will be offered for anyone who does so. For that, the Hong Kong Employers of Domestic Helpers Association has its say: MDWs come to Hong Kong for work, but not participate in politics. They would not sacrifice their jobs for “the so-called justice”. While the matter concerns MDWs directly, none of their voices is heard due to the community’s overwhelming exploitation. Worse, what’s left of them is a dreadful image of money-driven ignorance that entirely precludes the values of justice. But that is far from the whole truth: MDWs in Hong Kong do take part in civic activities.

Shiela Tebia is one of the many MDWs in Hong Kong. As the chairperson of GABRIELA Hong Kong (The General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action), one of the overseas chapters of the Philippine-based alliance of women, Shiela has been serving its fellow workers on her days of statutory rest, Sundays, for 5 years. (For your information, this interview conducted during her break had to be cut short because of work.) The organisation has been taking active measures to raise MDWs’ awareness towards workers’ labour rights and the political situation in the Philippines, such as running workshops, holding forums, providing legal aids of the sort, organising rallies (i.e. Migrant Pride March), with the vision to unite the MDWs against capitalist exploitation, misogyny, homophobia, etc.

The misconception that MDWs would sell their souls for gain, in fact, reveals their economically underprivileged status and Hong Kong’s role as one of the predators. While We call for international support in our own movement, has it ever occurred to us that it’s equally important to fulfil our moral responsibility to the international community? Has it come to our attention that we should also keep an eye on the political situations of other countries? Sadly, most of us have no knowledge of the purposes of MDWs’ civic activities and are not aware of the suppression they have been suffering both in the Philippines and in Hong Kong.

Philippines’ Economic Issues

Amongst Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines has an extreme disparity of income and is reported to have the largest homeless population and the highest unemployment rate. In 2019, there are still 22 million people in the Philippines living below the poverty line. 10 years in with the neoliberalism policies, the government tirelessly narrows the range of public services. The supply of basic commodities is being dominated by the market, resulting in great expenditures on education, electricity and accommodation for individuals. Currently, there are 42.3% of urban populations living in slum areas. Regular folks cannot afford to buy or rent private properties, whereas thousands of empty public housing lie idle with the government’s laissez-faire approach.

In the interview, Shiela criticised the incumbent President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, for following the former president Benigno Aquino’s footsteps on the pro-consortia neoliberal policies which continues to advance the interests of domestic oligarchs and multinational corporations. Duterte’s 8-point economic agenda centred on injecting investment on infrastructure projects and spurring the GDP growth of the country, at the expense of opening up the whole of the Philippines to acute outsourcing of social services. The ongoing saga of the people’s torment -- structural unemployment, low-wage work and lack of labour protection -- has yet to be reversed. What is more, the trade unions and civic organizations are persecuted by the Duterte administration. In the name of his professed “war against drugs/terror”, the dissidents and the social workers (who advocate the protection of human rights on the indigenous tribes and the women’s rights) are tagged as terrorists in the government’s list. Such notorious malfeasance has also extended to launch litigation against the registration of Gabriela Women's Party, and to commit extrajudicial killings towards the poor and the activists.

The Blunt Nature of Fabricated Democratic System

In the Philippines, results of presidential elections under the “constitutional democracy” have been interfered by the long-standing profit-oriented collaboration between the local elites and the American capital. A study showed that in the 2016 general election 81% of the governors and the vice governors, added with 78% of the seats to the House of Representatives, went to the members from the political dynasties. These notable families have never been absent in elections, monopolising almost effortlessly by sheer transfer of benefits.

Duterte, whose father was Governor of the then-unified province of Davao, is from one of those political families rooted in the South. In the 2016 presidential election, with the big campaign promise of ending contractualisation, he succeeded in drumming up support from the poor. Underneath, support from certain factions of the bourgeoisie (Filipino-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce for instance) was granted, and his hypocritical stance has been validated by the series of pro-consortia business neoliberal policies since inauguration.

The state of the Philippines had been shaped through colonisations ever since the 16th century, during which the elites had clung on to the settlers for greater political and economic influence, and helped facilitate the rule.

In 1946, the United States (the US) gave the Philippines independence on the condition that the establishment of a free trade agreement and a fixed exchange rate (Philippine Peso/PHP to USD) were put in place, so that the interests of American companies could remain unaffected. Three years after, as the American investment reduced, the then Philippines government adopted drastic foreign exchange control measures to prevent unstable capital outflow. Unfortunately, such a decision was voided by the conservative party which won the plurality of the vote in 1959. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the American government welcomed the result, and together proposed to provide USD300-million loans to the Philippines instantaneously, which embodies the start of another wave of manipulation towards the Philippines’ economy. Between 1962 and 1969, the external debt of the Philippines had sharply increased 7 times to USD1.88-billion and the situation only got worse over time.

With the assistance of the US, the IMF and the conservative party, Ferdinand Marcos, the tenth President of the Philippines, established his dictatorship in 1972, and consolidated his neoliberal policies by violence and oppression. The World Bank and the IMF endorsed Marcos’ tyrannical rule publicly, and went to great lengths to exert considerable pressure on the succeeding presidents, which also explains the Philippines government’s lopsided approach on neoliberal policies even to this day.

From then on, the political sphere of the Philippines has been played right into the hands of the US government, the IMF and the local elites, and it consequently initiated the business model for the political dynasties’ – elections. Today, four privileged families, partnered with American countries, are at the helm of most power plants in the Philippines. Notwithstanding indigenous people’s objections, they took their land by bloodshed for agricultural development and mining.

“Filipinos have the right to vote for the president, but we don’t have a say. Reform relies on... if presidents do the public services they promised. It seems that they are supported by the people. In fact, they are supported by businessmen’s cash.” Shiela summed up the helplessness in Filipinos upon the democratic deficit and plutocracy in power. 

The Reason Behind MDWs' Influx

Though it may not seem so at first glance, the MDWs issue in Hong Kong is closely related to the Philippines' political landscape. For decades, the implementation of neoliberalism has cost the Philippines its sustainable development. Unemployment and underemployment have driven thousands of Filipinos to work abroad, including Hong Kong.

Despite the great amount of American investment and the agreement to increase local productivity, no real changes are made, as enterprises merely take advantage of the natural resources for their own development. Oftentimes, foreign companies gravitate to the tens of export processing zones in the Philippines, locate their factories there, and cooperate with multiple workforce agencies. By concluding 6-month short-term contracts with workers repeatedly, they are able to prevent any regular employee benefits that formal employees are entitled to. Because of it, nearly half of the workers there have to find a new job every 6 months.

Aggrievedly, Shiela explained, “Masses are asserting sovereignty against big countries investing into the Philippines. We believe that resources should be used by local people and locals should earn more than their business. The Philippines have rich natural resources. We don’t need the US and large countries to ‘so-called’ help us and really they just want to profit over people.”

Based on Shiela’s observation, the intra-country job opportunities are mostly delivered to men, but the fact that the economic backbones of the family can only work as contract workers makes it difficult to keep the family’s heads above water. Among the workforce with salary, over two-fifths (44%) belong to the sector of informal employment, and almost half of them are paid below the current minimum wage. The lamentable circumstance leaves women with no choice but to work out of the country and become MDWs.

Altogether, the amount of MDWs’ remittances reaches up to 30 million US dollars yearly, taking up 12% of the country’s GDP. As one of the main sources of foreign currency, they have been overlooked by the administration rather deliberately.

“The government has long neglected migrant workers. They don’t provide any plan of protection for MDWs. Even nowadays, there are many cases of sexual abuse in Middle East. If the government doesn’t give its promise to create local jobs for us, we cannot go home because our families need our support.” Shiela continued to unfold the gravity of the situation: Duterte first signed into law in 2017 and 2018 to launch the compulsory Social Security System, a state-run insurance program to workers in all sectors. In 2019, the contributions of the PhilHealth insurance are made mandatory, not excluding the MDWs, whereas Hong Kong is not within its coverage area. Given that it is their Hong Kong employers’ liability to provide them with free medical treatment throughout their employment contract, what the Philippines government imposed only ends up adding heavy financial burden on MDWs.

The Continuing Predicament of MDWs in Hong Kong

The high outflow of Filipino workers seeking employment in foreign labour markets meets the great demand for domestic workers in Hong Kong, which soon proceeds to fill up more than half of the jobs created. Instead of expanding its subsidised child care services to enable more full-time family carers to rejoin the labour market, the Hong Kong government, on the contrary, steps up its outsourcing efforts. Owing to the shortage of subsidy provided (1 out of 220 children on average), local families turn to the market to hire domestic workers as an alternative. Compared with local domestic workers (from HK$7,000 to more than HK$10,000 per month), MDWs (minimum allowable wage of HK$4,630 per month) are a more popular choice.

Securing a job in Hong Kong, however, does not always translate to fair and reasonable treatment. Hong Kong too pursues neoliberalism with the long-held fiscal policies of ‘big market, small government’ and ‘positive non-interventionism’. For decades, the city has maintained its low tax regime in favour of enterprises, while withholding the labour rights regulations, precisely the standard working hours, the collective agreement and the universal retirement protection scheme. For the MDWs’ part, a common occurrence is that the overcharging agency fees get them into debt, and their passports are confiscated illegally before it is fully paid off.

In addition to the reprehensible practice, the MDWs are obliged to live with their employers, meaning that there are no definite working hours, and in a worst-case scenario, the nature of work becomes a 24/7 one. This setting has put them in a vulnerable position in the event of exploitation and abuse. Knowing that they can either find a new job, plus apply for a renewed work visa, within only 2 weeks after the termination of contract, or be sent back to their home country, most of the MDWs hesitate and dare not stand up for themselves. Not only do they suffer from the lack of labour protection but also the oppression when fighting for their rights. In 2018, during Duterte’s three-day visit to Hong Kong, disproportionate security measures were arranged by the police and the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, hindering the peaceful protests of 50 or so MDWs. Under double oppression at home and at work – being treated unfairly in Hong Kong and suffering the appalling poverty in the Philippines -- MDWs do not have a way-out. 

Hong Kong’s Global Responsibility and Connection

Being responsible for high value-added industries in the production chain (financial industry for instance), Hong Kong is in the upstream position of neoliberalism and has an advantage in the operation of the global market, while the Philippines does not share Hong Kong’s status. With more than half of the foreign investment poured into the manufacturing sector in the Philippines, the United States and other major countries (Hong Kong included) exploit its manpower and resources, regarding MDWs as a faceless whole of imported labour. Whether from the perspective of Hong Kong's privileged position or that of the underprivileged migrant workers, Hongkongers are duty-bound to fight for the rights of Filipino MDWs. We Hongkongers seek international assistance and speak over and over about international responsibilities in the anti-extradition movement, but have we reflected on how to make good use of our own international position to fight for the rights and interests of MDWs?

During Hong Kong’s movement, protesters actively connected with the globe. From time to time, American and British flags are seen in parades and rallies, and the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation formed by 12 students’ unions of higher institutions has lobbied hard in different countries for international support. The high-profile US legislation of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act shows the extraordinary power of Hong Kong demonstrators after connecting with the "foreign forces". International ties are undoubtedly important, and our instant move was to link to the governments of major European countries and the US. It is generally accepted that as the world's largest economy, the US, with its irreplaceable influence, can take the hot-button issues in Hong Kong to the world stage. Ideally, by joining forces with the US, Hong Kong can stand a chance against China.

However, the US support can hardly lead to substantial outcomes in Hong Kong. What the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act does is to impose property and visa-blocking sanctions to those on-the-list individuals. Strictly speaking, it is far from practical in terms of facilitating the progress of the democratic movement on the territories of Hong Kong. Now look at the facts: China and the US rely on each other economically. The US would not break off the diplomatic relations and trades with China, and that with Hong Kong. But still, it will ultimately choose to stand on the most economically beneficial side when the time comes.

It is worth noting that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily a friend. Hong Kong’s connection with the US is purely a strategic consideration, and it does not mean for Hong Kong to be in sync with the US ideology. The US has long established itself as the country that upholds sacred democracy and freedom, and yet by both economic and military means, it crushes countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. Its capitalism expansion invades — exploiting the locals and plundering natural resources — so as its armed forces. What was mentioned here about its all-pervasive control and exploitation towards the Philippines is only a tip of the iceberg; the US has gone so far as to quell the protests on ‘the land of the free’ and suppress the indigenous people from the Philippines. It should be self-explanatory that the pattern of the US government’s actions is diametrically opposed to its motto that sings the praises of ‘respect for democracy and individual freedom’. Before holding up the Stars and Stripes, Hongkongers should understand the long history of the US’ imperialist oppression and the far-reaching implication of us agreeing to those egregious values beneath.

All of these make us rethink: What exact groups should we freedom fighters be connecting? It is understandable that we, with resignation, had to garner support for the influence of certain countries for the time being, but considering the future for this long-term mass movement, shouldn’t we build linkage with the oppressed mass who genuinely share the same value to resist all erosion of human rights and freedom?

Shiela: We Must Mobilise Mass Forces

"Although Filipino workers are suppressed in every aspect of their lives, many local groups and trade unions stand up and resist the companies’ unreasonable policies by holding large-scale actions outside the companies. Once, the capital was forced to have conversations and compromised on salary conflicts. This was crucial to employees who have been exploited for a long time.” Shiela, who understands the power of the mass, shared with us her firsthand experience of a successful campaign at home, “In the Philippines, local officials are given public funds for community improvement programs but they put it in their pockets. This proves that the system is problematic. People protested and demanded abolishment of the policy and direct investment of public funds into the public system. They spent one year protesting on the street and in front of government officials every week, and were even supported by members of Congress. Eventually, it was abolished. Once the people are united, change will happen."

Although there is merely one victory for now, Shiela believes that the people are able to improve their tactics to duplicate the success. Transformation never comes at once; as long as we endeavour, little by little, we shall win.

It is in Shiela’s firm belief that people can support each other and unite the masses regardless of nationality or ethnicity. GABRIELA Hong Kong, as well, had connected with several local human rights organisations (i.e. Autonomous 8A and the League of Social Democrats), and co-organised the Women’s Day with the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres. Through these actions, they call for an end to discrimination against LGBTQ migrant workers and they hope to raise public awareness of the issue. By joining hands with Filipinos to support their rights, and protesting  side by side with them, we can actively participate in this dialogue initiative, and set out to create a greater impact on the world.

On a final note, as Shiela pointed out time and time again during the interview: “We must mobilise mass forces. This is our only hope.”


Lunar New Year Message from Chris Patten, HK Governor in 1994


The new year holiday is an important time for all of us. It is a time to pause and to catch a breath before we plunge into another year.

The new year is one of those all too rare opportunities to stand back from our careers, from school, college or university work or from the demands, and they are substantial, of running a home. A time to put every day concerns in perspective. A time to think about the things that matter most in life – the health, the welfare and the happiness of our family and of our friends.

The start of a new year is above all a time for families. From the many friends Lavender, Alice and I have made since coming to live in this community, I know that the family spirit is nowhere stronger than in Hong Kong. People come together to renew ties and to draw strength from each other and from the traditions and values which are the bedrock of Hong Kong's economic and social success.

The past year has been a year of steady, solid achievement for Hong Kong. The economy has expanded by about 5.5%, the 19th successive year of economic growth. And behind the dry statistics of economic success of the realities of rising living standards and greater opportunities for the whole community. Family incomes have risen. And our services to the community have also been improved as economic progress has made additional resources available to the government.

Let me give you a few examples of what this means in practice. During the past year we have been able to:
  • Build an additional 66,000 new homes for families on the housing waiting list;
  • We’ve been able to commission an additional 3,350 beds in our hospitals and infirmaries; and
  • We have recruited an additional 4,000 teachers to work in our primary and secondary schools.

These are just a few of the ways in which we are improving our services to the public. These are real achievements. They contribute directly to the quality of life of Hong Kong's families. No wonder one of the world's most important business magazines recently voted Hong Kong one of the best places in the world, not just to do business but to live and bring up a family.

In Hong Kong, we believe very firmly that the quality of life can and should go on getting better for everyone. The community insists that problems should be faced squarely and overcome through enterprise and hard work. Hong Kong has a faith in progress and an optimism about the future which many other communities have quite simply lost.

This optimism, this confidence go beyond economic well-being. They have an impact on every aspect of our way of life. I think the best example in the past year of this determination to bring about improvements has been in the field of law and order, an issue which I know is high on everyone's list of priorities.

I know of no other major cities in the world in which the crime figures are falling in the law and order situation improving. I think the explanation for this remarkable achievement, because this is what is happening in Hong Kong, life in the community's respect for traditional values, its emphasis on the family and the proper education of its children. We rightly attach a high value to making our city safe in our society law-abiding. We rely heavily on our excellent police force to do so. But we all of us have a personal contribution to make to ensure that Hong Kong will remain one of the world's safest and most law-abiding cities.

Hong Kong is a very special place. Those of you who have lived here all your lives know this better than I do. It is a good place to work and a good place to raise a family. We are working hard to ensure that Hong Kong's special qualities are preserved. That our way of life is secured for the future.

As parents we spend a good deal of our time thinking about how to secure the best possible future for our children. We worry about the education and their prospects for finding worthwhile and rewarding careers. We can be proud of the way in which Hong Kong is able to offer its young rewarding careers, in fact a wider choice of career is the most cities in the world's advanced economies can offer.

Hong Kong office is young people a bright future because we are at the centre of the astonishing economic transformation of Asia. I am confident Hong Kong will remain one of the world's great trading and service centres not only in the year of the Dog but well into the next century.

Many of you will be listening to me from the warmth of family gatherings. Lavender, Kate, Laura, Alice and I wish all of you a successful, a prosperous and above all a very happy new year.

Kung Hei Fat Choy.




  • 為輪候公共房屋的家庭增建六萬六千個住宅單位;
  • 我們已經在醫院和療養院增至三千三百五十張病床;
  • 我們已增聘四千名小學和中學教師。











Lunar New Year Message from Chris Patten, HK Governor in 1996

Read by Christopher PATTEN, Cantonese voiceover by CHUNG Wai-ming



每年到咗呢個時候,如果可以嘅呢,大家都會與家人以及朋友喺埋一齊,自然亦會回顧過去多個月來,喺我哋身上發生 嘅重要嘅事︰或者回想嗰啲進展順利嘅事,或者展望來年可能發生嘅事,例如考試、假期、我哋嘅工作等等。













喺成功嘅呢一年完結,我哋展望將來,數一數大約五百幾日之後,即係九七年年中,香港嘅主權就會移交中國。現時距離呢個日子,唔夠五百日,當我明年向大家拜年嘅時候,其間相隔,更加會少過一百五十日添。時間過得好快,而我哋 仍然有好多工作要做。










At this time of year when people are - if they can possibly manage it - with their families and their friends, it's natural for all of us to think back over the previous months at all the highlights: the things that went well, and perhaps to look ahead to what's going to happen in the coming year: the exams, the holidays, the things we have to do at work, and so on.

Well, what we do in our own families we do as a community too, and looking back over the last year in Hong Kong we can see an awful lot that's gone well, for a start, things that have gone well for those institutions, those parts of our community, which actually make things work, which run things.

We had, for a start, the most successful - the most democratic - elections in our history. More people registered to vote, more people exercised their civic right to vote, and the whole thing was carried off with a great deal of good humour and moderation, as you'd expect in Hong Kong.

We've also seen an agreement on the successful transfer of our administration of justice through 1997, which will make a tremendous difference to the possibilities for the Rule of Law; and as we know the Rule of Law is one of the real key ingredients in Hong Kong's well-being.

And all the time we've seen the civil service continuing to do the job they do so well, so magnificently well - One of the best civil services in the world, serving you - the men, women, and children of Hong Kong - doing so in a more open and accountable way than ever before, always willing to learn to do things better if they get the sort of advice on how to manage that.

So it's been a good year, I think, for all those parts of our community. I think we can also point to an improvement in the atmosphere and the relations between Britain and China. Mr Qian Qichen who runs the preparatory committee so is in a key position in China to help to shape our future, Mr Qian Qichen as Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister went to London last autumn and had some good solid working meetings with British ministers.

And then Malcolm Rifkind, his opposite number, the Foreign Minister in the UK, went back to Peking in January and also had a very successful visit, so I hope that will help us to clear away some of the problems we've had on the negotiating table over the last years, and I hope it will help us to work through some of the backlog of issues that all of us want to clear up before the middle of 1997.

I very much hope that we'll see faster progress in the coming months. We certainly need to do so.

Our economy has done much better than some of the gloomiest predictions suggested.

We've continued to grow, although not perhaps quite as fast as we'd all like. We've seen inflation edging down, although it's still - I'm afraid - a bit too high, and we've seen unemployment - alas - going up a little (not as high as in other places) and reminding us of the absolutely crucial importance of us doing more in training and retraining to ensure that people if they lose a job - are only out of work for a very short while before they can get back into rewarding employment.

We really - it's our number one priority in the social area - we really want to ensure that everybody who wants to work in Hong Kong can do so, can make their contribution.

We've made progress too on the social side, more facilities for the elderly, more for the disabled, and I'm delighted that we've finally got in place the building blocks for our mandatory provident fund, which is going to be the source of financial support for the elderly in the future.

We really should make sure that the elderly get the fair deal which they're entitled to. After all, they made Hong Kong what it is today.

We look ahead from that pretty successful year, and we look ahead I suppose over 500 days - to the transition to Chinese sovereignty in the middle of 1997 - less than 500 days now - and when I speak to you this time next year it'll be less than 150, so time is galloping past, and there's still quite a bit to do.
But I'm reasonably confident that - given the better atmosphere between Britain and China we'll sort out the remaining problems. There's, of course, a big job to do for the Chief Executive Designate when he or she is chosen later in the year, and I know that whoever gets that crucial job, following me as the head of the first SAR government - I know that whoever gets that job - will be able to count on the goodwill and support of the whole community.

I suppose that I'm asked more than anybody else, and it's the most frequent question I get, I'm asked: Is it all going to work? Is Hong Kong going to continue to be as successful and decent and good a place to live in the future, as it is today? And I answer - I answer optimistically. Not mindless optimism. Nobody believes you if you deny that there are any difficulties or problems, but I think we can take those in our stride.

I answer optimistically for two reasons:

First of all, and for me it's a very important reason, first of all because of the resilience, the courage, of the people of Hong Kong, who've taken an awful lot of more difficult things in their stride in the last forty of fifty years.

We've got a system here which we know works. We're committed to it, and provided we stick to it, provided we're prepared to stand up for it, provided we're true to ourselves, then I'm sure that Hong Kong will continue to be very, very successful in the future.

The second reason why I'm optimistic is equally simple and equally clear. I see an awful lot of the young people of Hong Kong. I see them in schools, and universities, in training institutes, in technical colleges like Tsing Yi and Chai Wan. I saw a group the other day in a broadcasting studio and they asked me questions for about an hour. I addressed - a couple of weeks ago - a whole school at their assembly and I am struck over and over again by the quality of the young people of Hong Kong - enthusiastic, cheerful, humorous, committed, determined not just to do their best in their own careers, not just to make the most of the education and training they're getting, but determined to build an even better future for Hong Kong than its past.

I think that they will help to shape a marvellous city in the 21st century - in the decades that lie ahead.
Sun Chun Fai Lok.
























Lunar New Year Message from Chris Patten, HK Governor in 1997















Another New Year. A very special one this, for every family in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong as a whole. We know the reason for that - this is the last new year before the transfer of sovereignty this summer. So, it's a poignant and exciting time for everybody. Particularly poignant for me and my wife and our youngest daughter, because we'll be leaving Hong Kong, which has been our home for five years, at the end of June.

Unfortunately we haven't had our two elder girls, Kate and Laura, with us while I've been Governor. They've come on holidays. They've seen what a very special place Hong Kong is. But like so many of you, I've had children away from Hong Kong finishing their education, and starting their careers, and I'd be telling you a terrible untruth if I didn't admit that we've missed them a great deal from time to time.
But our youngest daughter, like my wife and myself, has greatly enjoyed living in Hong Kong. She's had a wonderful education. She's made marvellous friends, and I think it's going to be particularly difficult for her when she leaves the place which she regards as home.

When we leave we'll be looking back on many friendships made, and I hope that the friends we've made will be friends for life. I'd certainly like to think that, at a New Year.

I suppose when we look back in Hong Kong over the last months, we see once again a story of extraordinary success.

The Hong Kong economy is one of the best ..... best performing in the world. We're the freest economy in the world, according to American think-tanks. We've been very happy to see our growth rate staying pretty high, and we've seen inflation come down.

We've seen unemployment figures fall. Any unemployment is too much, but at least we're creating more jobs again. And we've seen our reserves - the amount of money that we've got as a community in the bank - we've seen our reserves increasing even more over the last months.

That economic strength has enabled us to do what a caring community like this wants to see the Government doing. Making better provision for the elderly, for the disabled, for the disadvantaged, for all those who don't have as successful and prosperous a time in society as the majority.

It's right to take care of them, and it's right also - I think - for us to have started to involve the community in a discussion of our long-term housing strategy, because the most important thing in every family's life, apart from the health and education of their children, is to have a decent roof over their heads. So housing matters to everyone.

Well, we look forward from this New Year to the challenging year ahead. I think we can do so with quite a bit of confidence. There aren't many places around the world where you could say that the economy had doubled in strength over the last dozen or so years. There aren't many places around the world, with such a fine civil service as we've got.

There aren't many places around the world where you can point to as great social stability as there is in Hong Kong. And what's one of the signs of that? Well, the fact that here in Hong Kong our crime has been falling and is now actually lower than it was in the early 1980's.

So Hong Kong is a successful and decent place for everyone to live in. I very much hope that it will continue to be even more successful, that it will continue to be a splendid place in which you can bring up your family, and that when you look back at the next Chinese New Year, when you look back on this year, you'll be able to see another one which has been very successful.

I'll leave Hong Kong this summer, with - as I said - a good deal of nostalgia, a good deal of feeling for one of the finest places in the world, one of the greatest cities in the world, and I'm sure that Mr Tung - when he becomes Chief Executive of the SAR - will be committed to doing all he can to keep things that way.
So, to all of you watching at home - Sun Chun Fai Lok.


[Historical Files] Her Majesty's Visit to Hong Kong (Speeches by Sir MacLehose, Sir YK and QEII), 4 May 1975

Her Majesty's Visit to Hong Kong (Speeches by Sir MacLehose, Sir YK and QEII), 4 May 1975

Speeches made in The City Hall, Central
(from TVB 新聞掏寶)

港督演詞 Speech by Sir MacLehose

Your Excellency, (inaudible), 

This is the first (inaudible) has come here. We, the people of Hong Kong, are proud and encouraged that Your Majesty should be paying us this visit now. It is a moment of real historical significance. The predominant immersion at this moment is a further wish that Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness will enjoy your short stay amongst us, that you will be able to see the way we live, and also some of the ways we enjoy ourselves. And above all, the sort of people we are, and the sort of community we are. We dare to hope that having seen a little of this, you will like it.

To supplement what can be seen in such a short time, we have prepared an exhibition. We hope this will all serve the interests to a very wide public. For the visit of Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness, it is a good time to remove misconceptions and to remind ourselves and others what Hong Kong has done, what it now is and what it could be. 

Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness, on behalf of Hong Kong, I extend a very sincere, a very loyal welcome.












英女皇演詞 Speech by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Your Excellency, Sir Yuet-keung Kan, 

Prince Philip and I thank you for your welcome. 

He has visited Hong Kong before, as have other members of my family. And I have heard about much about it from them. I also keep in touch with your affairs through state papers, so although this may be my first visit, I do not feel a stranger. 

But seeing is believing, and I am delighted with what I have seen and look forward very much to the next three days. I am particularly glad of this initial moment of ceremony because it gives me an opportunity to greet you all, the people of Hong Kong.

The circumstances that have produced modern Hong Kong are unique, and I cannot be any other community quite like it. Your reputation stands high in the world. Few other communities have had greater problems to deal with, or have confronted them with greater vigour, or have survived and improved the life of their members against greater odds.

Hong Kong is famous for this, as it is for the vivid colour and movement of its densely packed life for the beauty of its scenery. I can assure you that it is a real pleasure and an excitement for Prince Philip and me to be here.






工商晚報 1975年5月5日
【本報訊】 歡宴英女皇之菜譜,順列如下:
華僑日報 1975年5月5日

五月五日 星期一

RHK 香港電台


[Historical Files] Governor Chris Patten's Inaugural Speech, 9 July 1992

Governor Chris Patten's Inaugural Speech, 9 July 1992

Sir David, Baroness Dunn, ladies and gentlemen,

I am very grateful to the Chief Secretary and to Baroness Dunn for their kind and eloquent words. It was a particular and an attractive pleasure to hear Baroness Dunn twice. [laughter] Sir David and Baroness Dunn are two of Hong Kong's most eminent servants. I greatly look forward to working with them, and to their wise counsel.

I am greatly honoured today to assume the responsibility of the Governorship of Hong Kong - one of the world's greatest cities.

Hong Kong has been made great not by the accidents of geography but by its most formidable assets, the enterprise, the energy, the vitality and industry of its people, living, working and prospering within a framework of sound administration and the rule of law.

You, the people of Hong Kong, have created here at the heart of Asia a wonder of the world, one of the most spectacular examples of the virtues of free economy known to man.

Now the people of Hong Kong face a further task, I am privileged to share it with you for the next five years. Our task for the future is as momentous as your achievements in the past. It is a task that will require all the qualities you have already shown - resilience, determination, drive - only in still greater measure. It is a task which, when we accomplish it successfully - as we are going to do - will provide a shining example to the world of partnership and co-operation between peoples and nations for the good of all.

What we have to do in the closing years of this tumultuous century is to turn from earnest hope to firm reality, that historic and far-sighted concept - "One Country, Two Systems".

When we have achieved that, we will have fulfilled the promise enshrined in the Joint Declaration, a stable and prosperous Hong Kong whose future - founded in that Declaration - is secure; a Hong Kong that cherishes and maintains its present lifestyle; a capitalist heart beating the centre of Asia, pumping prosperity ever more widely.

That achievement will be good for the people of today's Hong Kong; good for the people of Hong Kong of tomorrow; good for China; good for Britain; good for the close relationship between our two ancient civilizations; and it will - as the new century unfolds - be good for the world.

As you know, as Sir David mentioned in his own remarks, I don't come today as a stranger to the territory. I have visited Hong Kong both as a backbench Member of Parliament and as a Minister. But I have never lived here, and nor has my family - my wife, Lavender, my daughters Laura, Alice and Kate (who is not here today but reported to be somewhere between Uruguay and Paraguay). They will join me in expressing our enthusiasm at the prospect of making our home in Hong Kong and getting to know the people who live here.

I am, of course, very much aware of the considerable achievement of my predecessor. Lord Wilson has been a friend for many years. He was an excellent Governor of Hong Kong, marvellously supported by Lady Wilson. I know that they are held in high regard and much affection. Throughout his distinguished career as diplomat and then Governor, Lord Wilson has done as much as any man to strengthen the bonds between Britain and China to the benefit of Hong Kong; to try to ensure that our nations understand one another better; and above all to serve you, the people of this territory. He has been an exemplary career of public service.

For my own part, I pledged myself to devote all my energy to representing the interest of the people of Hong Kong as strongly and as wisely as I can.

I will stand up for Hong Kong as you would wish me to do, courteously and firmly.

I said a moment ago that we must turn "One Country, Two Systems" from aspiration to reality. But let us begin with this question. What are the hallmarks of Hong Kong's system?

The bedrock, the bedrock of your way of life is the rule of law that guarantees fair and equitable treatment for everyone. It governs all your dealings, personal and financial. You have an independent Judiciary in which every individual can have confidence. Because no one is above the law. No politician, no business leader, no citizen, no Governor. Because no one is above the law, the law serves everyone.

People of Hong Kong enjoy the freedom to go about your business without constant interference from the Government. You enjoy freedom of worship and freedom of speech.

You have as well a Government in which there is democratic participation by the people of Hong Kong at every level, a Government supported by a fine public service.

Flourishing in this environment, Hong Kong is the best example in the post-war world of an open market economy. It is open in two senses: open to all the many talents of those who work in it and open to the world with which it trades with such spectacular success.

They are the distinctive qualities of our system. The Joint Declaration guarantees that they will all be preserved for the future. Looking to that future, I would like to make five brief points this afternoon.

First, we can best secure our future tomorrow by our success today. That is true of our economy and it is true of our Government. The strongest safeguard for our governing institutions will be the effectiveness, vigour and the good sense with which they operate. All of us who participate in the running of Hong Kong have serious work to do. I look forward to co-operating with those who share my aim - to do everything we can to improve and strengthen the Government of Hong Kong in the unique circumstances in which history has placed us. Those circumstances require a spirit of mature co-operation in the business of Government. 

To govern - as [inaudible] said* - is to choose and choice is invariably difficult. Good political leadership involves facing up to hard decisions, taking them, setting out clearly what has to be done when all the talking is over, and winning consent for the course that has to be pursued.

That is why I wish, while preserving the authority and the dignity of my office, to make my Governorship as open and assessable as possible. But the ultimate responsibility of leadership rests with me, in what is and in what will remain an executive-led Government.

Secondly, our personal and collective ambitions and prospects are inevitably linked to the success of the economy in which we work. Hong Kong knows better than anywhere that it cannot rest on laurels won in the past. We have to strive continuously to maintain and improve our competitiveness for tomorrow's world, certain of only one thing - that our competitors will certainly do the same. We cannot stand still. We must continue to build for the future. That is why the new airport and all the infrastructure projects associated with it are so important. That is why the Prime Ministers of both Britain and China have expressed their personal commitment to this exciting work. It is a great undertaking worthy of the great city and territory that it will serve.

When the airport and the new airport, and the bridges and the railways, and the land reclamation and the roads, when they are all completed, we know that the whole project will act as a dynamo for further wealth creation, not just in Hong Kong but in Guangdong and more widely in Southern China whose flourishing economic links with the territory are to the benefit of us all. The airport will confirm our place at the crossroads of the Asian economy.

To retain our economic strength, we also have to attend to more parochial but important concerns. We have, for example, to continue to battle against inflation, hard-fought though that battle is bound to be. When the public express anxiety about the rate of inflation, they are wholly right to do so. Inflation is a cunning enemy, an enemy that we ignore at our peril.

Thirdly, it is essential that we remain a low tax economy in which public spending is kept under prudent control. But it is also right that we should be free to use some of the wealth we generate as a community to help those of our fellow citizens who fall by the wayside. And in addition to make our society even more civilized, I know how much this community cares about the education of our children, about the care of the elderly, about housing, about the disabled, and about the environment in which we live. I intend that the Government should attach to these issues the priority they undoubtedly deserve. I look forward to saying more about them in my speech to the Legislative Council in October.

Fourthly, I know as well how much concern ha been expressed in the community about law and order. Hong Kong, it is true, is a safer city than most. Yet that is little comfort to the families and businesses who have been the victims of violent crime. The Government will be relentless in the fight against crime. We should be especially tough against violent crime. The Royal Hong Kong Police Force do a magnificent job. They can count on my staunch support as they go about their sometimes dangerous work. Co-operating closely with the Chinese authorities, we shall work round the clock to beat crime in this city.

My fifth task is perhaps the most vital and challenging of all.

I have heard it said that the relationship between Britain and China, and therefore the position of Hong Kong is still bedevilled by misunderstandings and by a lack of trust.

I will do all I can to remove misunderstandings, and to build up trust. But I make this point with some emphasis, trust is a two-way street. Good co-operation with China is my sincere aim and my profound wish. It is vital for the next five years, vital for the future of Hong Kong.

Let me finally make this clear.

As Hong Kong's Governor I have no secret agenda. You are with me already. My only agenda is the one I have laid before you today. It is clear. It is public. And so it will remain. If you want to know what I believe, if you want to know what I think, if you want to know what I intend to do, read what I say and listen to what I say.

I have no doubt that - God willing (which I say with an emphasis in front of the bishop and the cardinal) - through our own hard work, our own calm judgment, and sturdy determination, we shall carry through this historic task to a conclusion that will rank above all others among this territory's many achievements.

In the next five years and for 50 years and more beyond, the eyes of the world will be on Hong Kong. I am sure that we shall be worthy of our destiny, a symbol of confidence and co-operation for the rest of humanity.

*: The quote is said to be from Pierre Mendès-France, not "Choisseur"


























[Historical Files] Lord Wilson's Inauguration Speech on 9 Apr 1987; David Akers-Jones & Sze-yuen Chung's Welcoming Speeches

Lord Wilson's Inauguration Speech on 9 Apr 1987; David Akers-Jones & Sze-yuen Chung's Welcoming Speeches

Lord Wilson, 18 June 2019, London
at an event by UK Friends of HKU.
華僑日報 1987年4月10日

政制檢討需審慎 免影響穩定發展











香港變得更為複雜 港人應變能力亦增









香港市民深切關注 保持繁榮安定成果