Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 April 2022
The chapter outlines the colorful history of power and resistance in pre-British Hong Kong. Many communities involved in this part of Hong Kong’s history continued to play a part in the colonial and post-colonial struggles. The chapter also discusses how the rise of Hong Kong as an industrial and financial center fomented different social groups that were mobilized in the struggle for Hong Kong’s future by competing political forces at the height of the Cold War. Most significant is the rise of a new middle class in tandem with the transformation of Hong Kong’s economy into a finance and service-centered one in the 1970s and the 1980s. This new middle class, combined with the plurality of grassroots social movements, charted a course for the locally rooted democratic movement that continued to grow after the sovereignty handover, constituting the backbone of the resistance in its quest of greater autonomy of Hong Kong under Beijing’s rule.