Hong Kong During the 1950s and 1960s

Topics: Hong Kong, China, World War II Pages: 7 (2652 words) Published: April 12, 2006
Hong Kong during the 1950s and 60¡¦s
Hong Kong is often looked upon as the capital of free trade. Located in the center of Southeast Asia, this is no small coincidence as to the region¡¦s success. It is based upon effective governance and the intensive working attitude of the local people. Nevertheless, Hong Kong has had to confront numerous challenges in order to achieve its status in the world market today. In the early 1950s, Hong Kong underwent enormous changes which totally transformed its economy, society and politics. Most particularly was the large influx of Chinese refugees to this region. With effective governance and the hard work of its people, Hong Kong prospered during the 1950¡¦s and 1960¡¦s and ultimately retained its prosperity up until the city¡¦s reunification by China in 1997. When Hong Kong finally ceded to the Britain in 1943, the region had relied heavily on the entrepot trade. However, Hong Kong, prior to this, was subjected to Japanese occupation for about three and a half years, during the Second World War. They forbid all trade activities in Hong Kong and reassigned most of the region¡¦s resources to support the war effort . The entrepot trade completely collapsed and Hong Kong was subjected to ¡§Three years and Eight months of Hardship¡¨. The population, during this period, dropped from 1.6 million to half a million during the Japanese occupation . There was no economic activities underway in the city during this war-time period. Fortunately, after the British resumed its administrative duties in Hong Kong, after the Japanese surrendered, the economy has restored and even propsered. Its import and export volumes increased steadily shortly after the war and this continued for quite some time. In fact, the total economic output dramatically increased from 1.7 billion Hong Kong Dollars in 1946 to 9.3 billion Hong Kong Dollars in 1951 . At that time, manufacturing remained, however, only a small portion of the total economic output in the region surprisingly.

Interestingly, this situation changed radically when China got involved in the Korean War. During the war, the Chinese government supported North Korea while the USA supported South Korea. Consequently, the USA and the United Nation imposed a trade embargo upon China, limiting any trade between China and Hong Kong. Thus, the entrepot trade experienced a crisis due to the Korean War. As the largest transshipment point between China and the world, Hong Kong¡¦s economy was damaged tremendously when trade embargoes were placed upon the region and trade was largely forbidden with other countries. It is not surprising that trading volumes dropped by over 30 percent during this three year period from1950 to 1953 . Additionally, the 1950¡¦s saw the beginning of China¡¦s cultural revolution ¡V an event which resulted in much confusion and instability within china itself. Thousands of Chinese elitists and capitalists were persecuted and put to death. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled China, entering Hong Kong to seek refuge and to make a new beginning. The population of Hong Kong increased from 2 million to an astounding 3.5 million within only a few years during the 1960s . The significant influx of refugees had a momentous impact upon Hong Kong and its society. Auspiciously, not all of the refugees arriving were poor and unskilled peasants. Some of them had come from Shanghai and were regarded as wealthy capitalists and knowledgeable entrepreneurs. Furthermore, many of them brought financial capital and savvy, boosting Hong Kong¡¦s economic output tremendously. In the early 40s, Shanghai was the center of light industry in China. Therefore, the region was world renowned for its manufacturing, textile garment industry and with respect to the manufacturing of many consumer goods. Sadly, the Communist party of China established a new government in the 1940¡¦s, confiscating the properties and financial gains made by these wealthy...

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