Housing Hong Kong

Shek Kip Mei public housing estate in 1965 – Susan Blumberg-Kason

When my grandparents first traveled to Hong Kong in 1965, they visited many of the typical tourist attractions back then: the Peak, the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, and the several floating restaurants spread across the territory. But what struck me most about their slides were the images from the Shek Kip Mei public housing estate.


Déjà Vu in Hong Kong and Shanghai

A tale of two cities – Jeffrey Wasserstrom

There is a long tradition of treating Shanghai and Hong Kong as comparable cities, albeit ones with distinctive features. This was especially true during the period that followed the Opium War (1839-1842), which ended with a treaty that turned the former into a city divided between a Chinese-run and foreign-run part and the latter into a British colony. Throughout the next century, the two cities vied with each other for the distinction of being considered China’s most cosmopolitan port community and most important gateway to the West. To place them side by side, as I have done in these two vignettes – that while written in the third person, as many readers will have guessed, refer to my own experiences – may seem a much tamer sort of juxtaposition than those found in earlier parts of this book. And yet, the two cities went very different ways after 1949, when Hong Kong remained part of the British Empire and Shanghai became part of the newly created PRC. By the time I first encountered the two cities in the mid-1980s, Shanghai and Hong Kong seemed very different indeed, separated by much more than the hundreds of miles that stood between them. In addition, back then, their campuses and students had little in common.

Little Red Podcast

Post-Umbrella Hong Kong

Post-Umbrella Hong KongLessons, jail and resignation in the wake of the 2014 protests


Hate mail, death threats and shadowy surveillance are facts of life for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, five years after the Umbrella movement brought a million people onto the streets calling for greater democracy. Since then, 48 legal cases have been brought against 32 different activists, often on colonial-era public order offences. Louisa and Graeme are joined by two leaders of the Umbrella Movement to talk about jail, democracy and political repression. They are Chan Kinman, one of the co-founders of Occupy Central, who faces a verdict in his trial with eight others on April 8, and Nathan Law, the disqualified lawmaker from the Demosisto Party, who is also one of Hong Kong’s first political prisoners. ∎


Singing for Hong Kong

Three protests, three tunes – Alec Ash

In October 2014 I travelled to Hong Kong for a friend’s wedding. I had booked my flight the year before, and went straight to St. John’s Cathedral from the airport. But instead of taking a cab down Connaught Road – Hong Kong Island’s central thoroughfare, usually choked with traffic – I walked down the empty multi-lane expressway it had become. Metal barricades were strewn across the tarmac, some knocked over. Impromptu stalls by the roadside were handing out free bottles of water and biscuits. A scattering of people were sitting cross-legged under the shade of overpasses, many of them on picnic blankets. But for the incongruous setting of an abandoned highway, the scene had the air of a not very successful county fair.

Later, after dusk had fallen and vows had been made, I slipped out of the wedding reception in the Foreign Correspondent’s Club and returned with a couple of friends to the blocked-off stretch of motorway. In the interim, crowds had gathered in the tens of thousands. Now the way was packed, with only elbow room to squeeze past the miles of protestors marching for democracy.


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