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12 - Empires Collaborate

Geopolitics of Colonial Policing in Hong Kong (1880s–1970s)1

from Part IV - The Singapore and Hong Kong Exceptions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2023

Weitseng Chen
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore
Hualing Fu
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

To date, most scholarly work on historical Hong Kong policing has focused on the relationship between the governing and governed within a local setting. This approach explains policing solely within the confines of the juxtaposition of the authoritarian power of the colonial government on the one hand with the individual rights and liberties of the colonized on the other. This chapter, which draws upon archival documents from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries showing how public media in Hong Kong were systematically censored, placed under police surveillance, and prosecuted for political reasons, argues that collaboration among the imperial empires to safeguard their interests in East Asia contributed significantly to Hong Kong policing during that period. Hence, this chapter argues that Hong Kong policing was historically not solely a matter of domestic authoritarian governance but also an issue of global geopolitical relevance. Analyzing colonial Hong Kong policing based on the conventional framework of human rights or colonial inequality and racism without considering the bigger picture of global and regional politics is, this chapter argues, seriously inadequate. The bigger picture is the political-economic situation of China, China’s relations with the major world powers, and those powers’ China strategies over time, as this chapter’s archival discovery will discuss.

Type
Chapter
Information
Regime Type and Beyond
The Transformation of Police in Asia
, pp. 291 - 315
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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