Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hong Kong and British Colonialism

The Hong Kong Island skyline really is quite stunning, particularly on a sunny day.  It is very hot on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.  I was running by and just snapped a few photos without stopping.   Hong Kong Island is just one big rock.  Yet so many high rises have been built on the edge of the water.  Many of them are actually sitting on reclaimed land, which means they are standing in what was part of the harbour.  Yet so many of them break the silhouette of the rock.  

All these, the buildings, the reclamation, the city, the people, the wealth, the relatively inclusive and open political institutions and economic system, the many companies, the schools, the universities, the hospitals, …, would not have happened without the Opium War, without the British occupying Hong Kong for more then 150 years.  

Yes, many would argue that it has been the millions of Chinese who worked so hard to build Hong Kong.  But without the British making Hong Kong a colony ruled, more or less, by law, would it have attracted so many to come to do business, to live, to escape from the many turmoils in China, to build, to teach, to make Hong Kong great?  

Certainly the British imperialists did it for their own benefit, not for ours.  But we enjoy the side-benefits nevertheless.  Dare I ask the question: shall we be grateful if the benefits are un-intended?  Mind you, some of them British would claim that the benefits are intended.  

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