From a British to a Chinese Colony?

From a British to a Chinese Colony?

Hong Kong before and after the 1997 Handover (CRM 75)

Gary Chi-hung Luk, ed.

Publication date: 2017
ISBN-13 (print): 978-1-55729-176-9
ISBN-10 (print): 1-55729-176-4
ISBN-13 (e-book): 978-1-55729-177-6

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These essays explore the development and legacy of British colonialism in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s place in Chinese history from the mid-Qing through the Republican and PRC eras. Organized around the 1997 transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC, the detailed studies describe the processes of colonialism and decolonialization that played out in Hong Kong from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The contributors also reflect critically on the utility of terms such as “recolonization” to understand Hong Kong’s incorporation into the PRC.

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Title information

This collection of essays explores the development and legacy of British colonialism in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s place in Chinese history from the mid-Qing through the Republican and PRC eras. After a substantial introduction by the editor, the nine contributors to this volume analyze (1) the formation and vestiges of British colonialism in Hong Kong, (2) Hong Kong’s role in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of the British empire, the Qing dynasty, and subsequent Chinese governments, and (3) the incorporation of Hong Kong into the PRC in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Their detailed essays critically document the political and cultural processes by which colonial structures were constructed and maintained in Hong Kong under British rule. They also offer illuminating analysis of the discourses on “reunification” that have played out in Hong Kong in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and the aptness of recent characterizations of Hong Kong’s recent history as a process of “recolonization.”

Kaori Abe
Sonia Lam-Knott
Carol A.G. Jones
Zardas Shuk-man Lee
David Clayton
Leo F. Goodstadt
Felicia Yap
Law Wing Sang
Kevin Carrico


Pages: 292
Language: English
Publisher: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Gary Chi-hung Luk, ed.

Gary Chi-hung Luk is the Elizabeth and Cecil Kent Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History, University of Saskatchewan. Luk works on early modern and modern China, the British Empire in East Asia, and Hong Kong, with special interests in the maritime and river world, empires and colonialism, frontiers and borderlands, and race and ethnicity.

Education: B.A. in History, Chinese University of Hong Kong; M.Phil in History, University of Hong Kong; D.Phil in Oriental Studies (Chinese Studies), University of Oxford


“With the issue (or non-issue) of Hong Kong independence becoming the subject of increasingly acrimonious debate, From a British to a Chinese Colony? is the first book to place the region’s unique political, economic, social, and cultural transitions within their wider historical context. Decolonization, recolonization, or something else—each of the ten chapters in this timely, interdisciplinary volume offers a fresh perspective.”
—John M. Carroll, University of Hong Kong

“Gary Chi-hung Luk’s thoughtfully edited collection is a timely and significant intervention in the growing scholarship of Hong Kong. Timely, because this year marks twenty years since the return of the former British colony to China. In view of such recent events as the Umbrella Movement and Mongkok Incident, it is indeed time to take stock of all the controversies and momentous changes in Hong Kong after 1997. Significant, because this collection brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who approach some of these controversies and changes in terms of colonization and recolonization—ranging from the debate of ‘internal colonialism’ to the cultural politics of Mandarinization and the ‘myth’ of the rule of law—with a clear-eyed historical perspective. This thought-provoking collection should belong to the bookshelf of everyone interested in Hong Kong and the general questions of colonialism and postcolonialism.”
—Fu Poshek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“This volume contains a variety of thoughtful essays covering important topics relating to Hong Kong’s colonial history. At a time when Hong Kong’s present and future are in the news, this historical examination is timely and useful.”
—Rana Mitter, University of Oxford