Chinese business etiquette
Kong Hawaii SF
said about us
Hawaii Voter Registration
Doing Business in
Hong Kong & China
Old Hong Kong & History
Do you know our dues
paying members attend events sponsored by our collaboration partners worldwide
at their membership rates - go to our event page to find out more!
Holidays Greeting from President Obama &
Wine-Biz - Hong Kong
Brand Hong Kong
July 1, 2007
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) and his wife Liu Yongqing arrive at Hong Kong
International Airport on June 29, 2007. Hu is here to attend the celebrations
marking the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China and the inauguration
of the third-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Deng Xiaoping met Mrs. Thatcher in
the Great Hall of the people on December 24, 1982.
Nan, who was the country's chief negotiator at the time, was recalling the role
of Deng and the key decisions made during the often tense talks.
Deng Xiaoping and Mrs. Thatcher toasted at the signing ceremony of Sino-British
Joint Declaration in 1984.
Deng Xiaoping met the members of Drafting Committee for the Basic Law of the
HKSAR on Feb.,1990.
Xiaoping in early 1990 met Li Ka-Shing in the Great Hall of the People.
A local resident read Hong Kong Commercial Daily on the morning of July 1, 1997.
Hong Kong residents hang Chinese national flags and Hong Kong special
administrative region flags prior to the handover ceremony on July 1, 1997.
Jiang Zemin shook hands with Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive of Hong
Kong in 1997.
President Jiang Zemin (C) presents an inscription "A better future for Hong
Kong" to HK chief executive on July 1, 1997.
Delegations from China and Britain posed for a photo after the handover
Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, held the just lowered British
Tung Chee Hwa took an oath at
the handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997.
Members of the Legislative Council of the
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were sworn in on the Hong Kong Handover
Ceremony on the night of June 30, 1997. The ceremony marked the restoration of
Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China.
Then Chinese President Jiang Zemin (front) delivers a speech as the first Chief
Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Tung Chee-hwa listens
on the Hong Kong Handover Ceremony held in Hong Kong on the night of June 30,
1997. The ceremony marked the restoration of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom
to the People's Republic of China.
Premier Wen in Hong Kong for celebrations of the 6th anniversary of Hong Kong in
returns on Sept 17 2010, silent, to TST home - The historic bronze bell has been
returned to the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower, but sadly it will no longer ring out
across the harbour as it once did for decades. The bell, which pealed the time
from the tower when it was part of the Kowloon-Canton Railway terminus, was
silenced by a technical fault in 1950. And while it's coming home after spending
the past 35 years residing variously in Hung Hom, Sha Tin and Fo Tan, it will
sit at ground level for people to look at, not listen to. The return of the bell
coincides with this year's 100th anniversary of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR),
which was completed in 1910 but is now part of the MTR network. Kenneth Tam,
chief heritage manager with the Antiquities and Monuments Office, said he was
very excited to be involved with the bell's return to its original home. "I'm
very proud to be associated with the actual transportation of it," Tam said. "We
had to plan how to lift it and it was done very carefully." The tower is the
only remaining part of the KCR terminus built on the waterfront in 1916. The
terminus was moved to Hung Hom in 1975 because of growing passenger numbers. In
1950, the bell stopped ringing because of a fault that left the four clocks no
longer synchronised. It was moved to Hung Hom before going to the KCR's head
office at Sha Tin and then the Fo Tan railway house. In 1978, the Tsim Sha Tsui
terminus was demolished to make way for the Cultural Centre, but the clock tower
was retained. The Architectural Services Department added reinforced concrete
slabs to stabilise the tower because it no longer had the terminus building as a
structural support. The bell now sits on the ground level on a purpose-built
hardwood frame made from the original timber sleepers of the KCR line. Tam said
the clock tower may open to the public later this year but there was no definite
plan. "For the time being, because we cannot have the door open all day, people
will have to view it from the window from the outside," he said. "We want the
public to come in but we need to think of a better way because it's quite
restricted." About 10 years ago, the tower was open to the public but the stairs
could not handle the weight and deteriorated. The stairs have since been
restored but they are still not stable enough for large numbers of visitors.
1.5-ton bronze bell sits in its new home at the base of the clock tower
yesterday (Sept 17 2010). Visitors will be able to see it through a window.
Hong Kong Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong Republic Bay.
Hong Kong Disneyland.
Hong Kong Horse Racing.
June 30, 2007
Shaken by '89, Beijing
rethought handover by
The crisis of confidence in Beijing in the
days after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, which brought a million
Hongkongers onto the streets, led influential figures in the central government
to back a proposal to delay Hong Kong's handover and renew Britain's lease on
the city, says a former official. "Some people in Beijing" supported a proposal
to "postpone taking back Hong Kong", Lu Ping, a former director of the State
Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told the pro-Beijing newspaper Wen
He said some of the Hong Kong drafters of the Basic Law petitioned Beijing for a
delay in the resumption of Chinese sovereignty. They suggested Britain's lease
on Hong Kong be renewed. "After I heard this information, I immediately sought
the views of [then general secretary of the Communist Party] comrade Jiang Zemin
." He said Mr Jiang told him: "It is nothing. Stand firm. Don't let it happen."
Recalling the episode, which he described as "top secret", Mr Lu said he could
still remember the risk of failure in implementing Hong Kong's handover. He said
the public in Hong Kong had felt disheartened amid the turmoil, and the British
side had hardened its stance. Many Basic Law drafters in Hong Kong were doubtful
about the city's transition.
It is not Mr Lu's first revelation in the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of the
handover. Earlier, he said the mainland side had twice considered taking Hong
Kong back from the British by force. Former Basic Law drafter Tam Yiu-chung, a
vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong
Kong, said he was not surprised to hear that some mainland leaders had
entertained such proposals.
"At the time of emergency, talks about postponing the reunification were
possible. It is not a surprise if some leaders privately considered it, because
the situation was far from clear at that time," Mr Tam said. "But Deng Xiaoping
subsequently reassured all Basic Law drafters that Hong Kong would remain
unchanged for 50 years," he said.
Veteran China-watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said: "It might have been one of the
views considered by leaders, but what was important was it was not a mainstream
view." Szeto Wah, a pan-democrat who quit the Basic Law Drafting Committee in
1989, said it was unlikely hardliners in the leadership would have given much
thought to such an idea.
May 20, 2007
watershed - 40 years on, we recall 1967's months of bloody social unrest part 1
of 3: How the riots changed Hong Kong -
GARY CHEUNG &
Riot police stand guard to subdue
protesters in May 1967. The confrontation escalated in the second half of the
year, killing and injuring both policemen and civilians.
After the management at the Hong Kong
Artificial Flower Works in San Po Kong sacked 300 workers for refusing to accept
new work rules, few could have expected it to have repercussions that are still
felt today. But that action 40 years ago - little more than routine in a city
where factory workers were expected to toil more than 12 hours day without
taking leave - was the trigger for Hong Kong's worst political violence that
would leave more than 50 people dead and prompt a huge social shake-up.
On May 6, 1967, 21 people were arrested when a group of the sacked workers tried
to prevent goods leaving the factory. Leftist unions staged protests over the
arrests and demanded the release of the arrested workers. The left wing was
inspired by Beijing authorities' public support for the "anti-British struggle",
particularly an editorial in the People's Daily on June 3, 1967, which called on
the Hong Kong Chinese to "be ready to respond to the call of the motherland to
smash the reactionary rule of the British". The leftist camp called a general
strike and a four-day "food strike" at the end of June but the colonial
administration stood firm. The confrontation between the leftist camp and the
government escalated in the second half of 1967, with extremists planting bombs
on the streets. On July 8, 1967, five Hong Kong policemen were killed and 11
wounded when the police post in Sha Tau Kok came under machine-gun fire during
border violence with mainland militia.
The situation calmed down in December after official disapproval from
then-premier Zhou Enlai.
The bloody disturbances claimed 51 lives, with 15 of the deaths caused by bomb
attacks. A total of 1,936 people were convicted during the 1967 riots. Of those,
465 were jailed for "unlawful assembly", 40 for possessing bombs and 33 for
explosion-related offences. Secret files recently declassified by Britain's
National Archives showed that an interim report was prepared by the British
government in July 1967 on the prospects for withdrawal from the colony if a
military invasion from China was forced upon the government.
As Italian historian and philosopher Benedetto Croce contended "all history is
contemporary" and the 1967 riots - widely seen as a watershed in the post-war
history of Hong Kong - are not a dead chapter in history. The riots prompted the
colonial government to introduce sweeping social reforms. The bloody
disturbances also reinforced the increasing division between the left wing and
mainstream society. Even to this day, a "siege mentality" still exists among
some leaders of the traditional leftist camp a decade after the handover.
The 1967 disturbances - a spillover from the Cultural Revolution which Chairman
Mao Zedong had begun on the mainland a year earlier - was the most controversial
event in the history of Hong Kong.
Although the terrorist means employed during the disturbances were widely
condemned at the time, many independent observers agree that the social
background to the 1967 riots cannot be dismissed. Before the disturbances, the
colonial administration paid little regard to the education and social welfare
needs of the socially disadvantaged. For instance, spending on education in 1966
accounted for a mere 4.5 per cent of overall government expenditure, compared
with more than 20 per cent in recent years. Derek Davies, editor of the Far
Eastern Economic Review, wrote in June 1967 that the people involved in the
anti-British riot were essentially frustrated lower-middle-class people.
"The government must not be allowed to convince itself that the overwhelming
expression of public support for its recent actions in maintaining law and order
means that the community wholeheartedly approves of its policies in normal
times," he wrote. According to files declassified by the British government
several years ago, Lord Malcolm Shepherd, the minister of state at the
Commonwealth Office, said in a note to the secretary of state in May 1968 that
"much needed to be done in Hong Kong" when he commented on the pros and cons of
whether to extend Sir David Trench's tenure as governor. "The disturbances of
last year mark, in some respects, the end of a long chapter of laissez-faire.
There is a need for change," he wrote.
In an interview in 1999, Sir Jack Cater, who had been deputy colonial secretary
and special assistant to the governor, described the 1967 riots as a watershed.
"The government learned the lesson from the riots and introduced a series of
reforms. Certainly we took the opportunity of producing a new system and
reform," he said. "Before 1967, there was no real channel of contact between the
government and the people. After the riots, we set up district offices to
improve communication with the people.
"I don't think there would have been any reform at all [without the riots],"
said Sir Jack, who died in April last year, aged 84. The riots prompted the
colonial administration to introduce nine-year compulsory education, shorter
working hours and an ambitious public housing project.
In December 1967, the government amended the laws to reduce the maximum working
hours for women and young people to 57 hours a week, which ultimately led to 48
hours a week by 1971. However, some observers say that most of the ideas in the
reform programs had already been proposed shortly before the riots but were
held up because of opposition from the business community. Wong Kwok-kin,
chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, said following the riots, the
traditional leftist camp had developed a "siege mentality" as they felt they
were squeezed out by mainstream society. "Such a mentality has been receding
gradually since the 1990s but it still exists among some leaders of leftist
organizations," he added.
The 1967 riots changed the relationship
between the colonial government and Hong Kong people, who showed discipline and
political maturity during the disturbances, according to the former head of a
government think-tank. Leo Goodstadt, the pre-handover head of the Central
Policy Unit, said the change prompted the government to heed society's call for
reform since the late 1960s.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Mr Goodstadt said a group of
government officials thought the riots offered an opportunity to warn the
government that they could not ignore the views of Hongkongers. "On the other
hand, there were some Hong Kong government officials who believed that no matter
how good or bad, the Chinese population [in Hong Kong] would always support the
motherland," he said. "At that time, there was also a feeling among the business
community that Hong Kong workers should not have shorter working hours." Mr
Goodstadt, who was deputy editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review during the
1967 riots, said that after the failure of the general strikes in June 1967, the
government had to accept that the city belonged to the people of Hong Kong, and
that they alone would decide the fate of the city.
He said: "Now the government had to admit that the community had rights. The
business community could see that the morale of the workforce was high, law and
order was extremely good. People were very diligent and walked for one or two
hours to go to work during the general strikes. "As soon as this happened, it
became possible to overcome the opposition of the business community to improve
conditions of the workforce. "In this spirit, governor David Trench announced
the programs for improving labor conditions." Mr Goodstadt said most of the
ideas in the reform program had already been proposed, but were held up before
the riots by opposition from the business community.
He said the government put forward an ambitious reform program in an official
report in early 1967, which made a strong case for a mandatory provident fund.
But it was subsequently shelved because of opposition from the business
community. Mr Goodstadt said the disturbances changed the relationship between
the government and the community. "You [the Hong Kong government] just can't say
we don't trust the Chinese. You can't say we can't have an open dialogue. You
have to treat them like citizens," he said. "It was obvious to the government
during the riots that Hong Kong people had social discipline and political
maturity. "The government recognised that with this kind of community, if they
asked for something good, you had to just say `yes' because you had no excuse
for saying `no'.
"It was a turning point [that] showed the quality of the community. We couldn't
deny that the people of Hong Kong had the right to speak, and we had to listen
to them." Mr Goodstadt agreed that the colonial administration did not do well
in many areas in the mid-1960s, but said the situation was not "a revolution
waiting to start" in 1967. "When you walked around the streets [in 1967], there
were complaints but no outrage." There were very few activities by workers to
express sympathy with the dispute in San Po Kong. George Walden, assistant
political adviser to the governor during the 1967 riots, agreed that the social
background to the disturbances could not be ignored
"But to suggest that the ultimate cause of the riots and the bloodshed were
social conditions in Hong Kong would be grossly misleading," he said. "If that
had been the case, the riots would have succeeded. "The local communists were
reckless and ham-handed. They exploited industrial and social disputes to stage
a political confrontation," he said.
Hong Kong protesters hoist
political posters at Government House in May 1967
A victim of a bomb attack and leftists
jailed during the riots that engulfed Hong Kong in 1967 have renewed their call
for an investigation to draw lessons from this painful chapter in Hong Kong's
history. Nearly 2,000 people were convicted during the riots, with some arrested
for taking part in protests or during police raids on leftist organizations, and
40 years on some leftists who paid a heavy price for their involvement feel they
were scapegoats for mistakes made by a radical faction in the Beijing leadership
during the riots and are aggrieved at a lack of recognition from Beijing for
their "patriotic fervor".
Choi Wai-hang, detained for 18 months without trial at Mount Davis camp in
Western at the time of the riots, said thousands have had criminal records for
the rest of their lives after being locked behind bars during the bloody
disturbances, sparked when leftists inspired by the Cultural Revolution turned a
labor dispute into large-scale protests against British colonial rule.
Fifty-two leaders of leftist organizations were detained at the Mount Davis camp
during the riots, many for more than a year without trial. "Many people faced
difficulties in seeking jobs and applying for emigration to other countries," he
said. "The Hong Kong government should clear their names. I think it would be a
good idea for the Hong Kong government to set up a commission of inquiry to look
into the historical event."
Mr Choi, honorary president of the Hong Kong Chinese Reform Association, was
director of Hutchison International, a British firm in the colony, when the
riots broke out. His call for an inquiry was echoed by Hannah Cheng Yin-fun, who
was injured during a bomb attack in Whitty Street, Sai Ying Pun. "I [support]
the idea, but I think the government doesn't want too many people to have a
better knowledge about the issue," she said. One model for an inquiry might be
Taiwan's Special Project Team for the February 28 Incident, established in 1990.
It investigated the so-called "228 massacre" of 1947 - in which thousands were
killed by Kuomintang troops - and released a report two years later.
Democratic Party legislator Lee Wing-tat supports the idea of carrying out a
fact-finding exercise to look into the disturbances. "Some of the arrests and
imprisonment carried out by the colonial government were in breach of human
rights," he said. "Of course, there were some leftists who planted bombs, which
was inexcusable, but there were also some who might have been arrested merely
because of participating in protests. Some newspapers were being banned because
of their leftist inclinations."
But he said the Hong Kong government was unlikely to take the initiative, given
the political sensitivity surrounding the riots. Mr Lee said the only body that
could conduct such an inquiry would be the Hong Kong government. That's because
of the large number of participants involved, and because the government has
kept documents and other information about the disturbances. He did not believe
the government would act, he said, citing the controversy sparked by the
awarding of the Grand Bauhinia Medal to Yeung Kwong in 2001. During the riots,
Mr Yeung was chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions and director of the All
Circles Anti-Persecution Struggle Committee.
Mr Choi said he was unhappy with Beijing's negative attitude towards the
disturbances. In early 1968, then-premier Zhou Enlai criticised ultra-leftists
in Beijing, and Xinhua's branch office in Hong Kong, for having "mistakenly
instigated" the riots. He ordered them to stop their agitation. Mr Choi said he
was told by a "very senior official" stationed in Hong Kong in 1967 that, while
Beijing and Britain hammered out the terms of the Joint Declaration in the early
1980s, they negotiated a secret understanding: it said Beijing would neither
raise the issue of "colonial oppression" nor attempt to settle old scores left
over from the riots. The deal was seen as a means to foster stability in
post-handover Hong Kong, and Beijing has since remained tight-lipped about it.
In an interview in Hangzhou in 2002, Zhang Junsheng , former deputy director of
Xinhua's Hong Kong branch, said the central government had seen no point in
bringing up the 1967 riots again, during the transitional riperiod in the run-up
to the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to mainland control. "The 1967 incident [is]
part of history, and attempts to settle old scores are not conducive to harmony
and unity in Hong Kong," he said.
How the violence unfolded
Demonstrators burn bamboo baskets
during the 1967 riots. Different school textbooks put different emphases on the
incident and teachers have to use their judgment.
It was supposed to be a normal day when
students of St Margaret's College in Wan Chai went to school to pay their
tuition fees for the new term. Yet July 26, 1967, turned out to be a fateful day
for Hannah Cheng Yin-fun, 15. She was not only a witness to what many regard as
the worst disturbance in Hong Kong but a victim of it. Ms Cheng recently
recalled hearing a huge explosion while she waited at a tram station in Whitty
Street, Sai Ying Pun, that day.
"I felt that many people around me were very scared and the situation was very
chaotic. My friend [who had just left her] then came back to fetch me. My socks
... were full of blood." Ms Cheng suffered injuries to her neck, feet and back,
but was released from hospital after two days, although her recovery took much
longer. She said of those responsible for the explosion: "No matter how
dissatisfied they were with society, they should not injure the innocent, and
use other people's lives as a bet [to achieve their goals]. If they wanted to
fight for their rights, they should make their demands to the government." She
felt that those who planted the bomb were "very brutal".
Forty years have passed, the wounds have healed, and few people mention the
incident any more. But despite the blood and the chaos, Ms Cheng said she did
not feel emotional about it. This doesn't mean memories of the bombing will
fade. "What happened at that time has left a deep impression ... I believe that
when I become older, I will still remember it because never in my life had I
seen such a chaotic situation, and I lost so much blood."
But Ms Cheng said the injuries she suffered and the frightening scene at the
time had not deterred her from taking part in pro-democracy marches in recent
years. "I don't think this kind of incident will happen again because society
has become more civilized," she said. Leung Yiu-wah has a different perception
of the bomb attacks 40 years ago. He was wounded by a bullet fired by riot
police in a confrontation near Kai Tak airport in August 1967. A 17-year-old
construction worker at the time, he said he took part in making and planting
bombs during the disturbances. "In a bomb attack staged in Tsim Sha Tsui, our
bomb caused injuries to some policemen," he said, adding that he acted under the
leadership of some influential left-wing figures.
"When an official from Xinhua's branch in Hong Kong contacted us, we knew we had
some important new missions," he said. Describing their campaign as "an eye for
an eye", he said it was the only means the leftists had to resist colonial
suppression. Mr Leung described the struggle against the colonial administration
as a "righteous" campaign, adding: "We can hold our heads high. We love our
country and the Chinese Communist Party." Mr Leung, who is now a construction
contractor, said he felt aggrieved at the lack of recognition for the "righteous
and patriotic struggle" by the leftists during the 1967 riots.
But Paul Yip Kwok-wah, a special adviser to Tung Chee-hwa during his first term
as chief executive, said leftists were wrong to resort to using bombs. Mr Yip,
executive director of the Hok Yau Club at the time, said the bombing was
"divorced from the masses" and had damaged the public interest. The club, a
leftist student organization founded in 1950s, is now politically neutral.
Students are learning about the 1967 riots as part of the revised HKCEE syllabus
for history introduced three years ago. Despite the politically charged nature
of the incident - taught under the heading of Hong Kong's contemporary history -
teachers say they have adopted a factual approach in presenting the topic.
They say their aim is to help the students understand more about the
socio-economic conditions in an era that shaped the development of present-day
society. Since 2004, the history curriculum for Form Four and Form Five has
included a section on Hong Kong's history, with the riots included in the theme
of "growth and development of Hong Kong" in the 20th century. Colin Lai
Tak-chung, a teacher at Munsang College (Hong Kong Island), said his main aim
was to help students understand more about the society of the time. "I will tell
them what people were dissatisfied with at the time and the background leading
to the riots ... I treat it more like a social movement when teaching the
students, such as explaining the people's discontent with the government," Mr
Lai said. He said he would not impose any personal views or teach the incident
from a political perspective.
Different textbooks put different emphases on the incident, and they also differ
on the amount of space devoted to recounting the event. Typical is the Ling Kee
Publishing Group's textbook, one of the most widely used. It says the riots were
a result of the Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966, spilling over to Hong
Kong, and that it was the government's suppression of the striking workers at
the Hong Kong Artificial Flower Works in San Po Kong which led to a series of
protests by students, workers and the leftists.
"Some leftists imitated the combative styles that were prevalent during the
Cultural Revolution by resorting to da zi bao [big-character posters] to
criticise the British rule, thus triggering disturbances," the textbook says,
adding that the government used force to suppress the unrest that lasted until
the end of the year. This, coupled with an earlier disturbance in April 1966
which was triggered by a rise in fares on cross-harbor Star Ferry services,
pushed the government to introduce various reforms such as the establishment of
advisory and consultative bodies and a review of its welfare policies.
Tung Yat-chung, a teacher at CCC Kwei Wah Shan College, said the main aim of
history education was to provide an overview of an era that Hong Kong was in,
thus both teachers and textbooks editors had much room for manoeuvre when
teaching this topic. "The most important thing is to present different
perspectives to them so that they know how to analyse an issue," Mr Tung said.
While education would do the part for information dissemination, research is
often needed if facts are to be unearthed.
But Ray Yep Kin-man, an associate professor teaching public and social
administration at City University who is researching the 1967 riots, said he had
encountered difficulties trying to search for relevant material. He often has to
visit London for the archives because the Public Records Office in Hong Kong
does not have the information that he needs. Even though he can get hold of
Executive Council minutes there are always parts with the word "withheld".
"There's no way of knowing whether this part is about the riots or not," he
said. A spokesman for the Administration Wing said: "The Public Records Office
holds records relating to the 1967 riots. Some of them are open and can be made
available for public inspection. [Requests for access to] classified records
will be considered on a case-by-case basis." The main protagonists and retired
British officials also often do not want to talk about the issue.
Siu Kim-fai, former Hong Kong
Artificial Flower Works employee
History's sidelines are littered with
faceless participants who paid a heavy price for their involvement in political
upheavals. The legacy of the 1967 riots was no exception. Siu Kim-fai, whose
beating by a factory foreman 40 years ago triggered the disturbances, led a
miserable existence for the rest of his life as a result.
Until the day he died, he had harbored bitterness towards the riot leaders who
he felt had manipulated and then abandoned him. Siu was one of the workers at
the Artificial Flower Works in San Po Kong who staged industrial action against
new work rules announced in April 1967. He said he was not originally a member
of any leftist labor union and the Hong Kong and Kowloon Rubber and Plastic
Workers General Union, a member of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions (FTU),
did not approach workers at the factory until early May.
His woes began when he was beaten by the foreman during a scuffle on May 6 while
he and fellow workers tried to prevent goods leaving the factory. He and 20
other workers were arrested and the incident became the immediate trigger for
the bloody riots. Siu claimed he was beaten by police when arrested and again
when taken back to Wong Tai Sin police station for interrogation. He was
prosecuted two days later but was not convicted. He was seen by the leftists as
a hero in the anti-British struggle.
"People from the FTU took me back from the court to their headquarters in To Kwa
Wan," he would say later. "[Federation chairman] Yeung Kwong told me: `You don't
have to worry about your livelihood. We have plenty of money'." Siu was asked to
denounce the colonial authorities' "persecution" at a mass meeting organized by
the federation on May 19.
The federation paid him a monthly subsidy of HK$505, equivalent to nearly two
months' salary for an ordinary worker at the time, and he was to live in the
federation headquarters. "But the federation stopped giving me the subsidy one
year later and told me to make ends meet by myself," he said. "The federation
turned a blind eye to my plight after manipulating me in the anti-British
Siu was disgusted at the government's decision to award the Grand Bauhinia Medal
in 2001 to Mr Yeung, who was director of the All Circles Anti-Persecution
Struggle Committee during the riots. Siu suffered nerve damage from the beatings
and was unable to work from the late 1970s onwards. He lived on welfare until he
died last year.
It may not have been entirely fair for Siu to put all the blame on the
federation and Hong Kong leftists. Liang Shangyuan, deputy director of the
city's Xinhua branch during the riots, confirmed it was the branch that
masterminded the unrest and that Mr Yeung and his union were largely following
orders. Liang died in Beijing in 1999.
May 6, 1967 21 arrested when a group of sacked workers at the Hong Kong
Artificial Flower Works in San Po Kong tries to prevent goods leaving the
factory; leftist unions stage protests, demanding the release of those arrested
May 16 The leftist camp sets up an All Circles Anti-Persecution Struggle
Committee; workers and students from leftist organisations march to Government
House in the ensuing days
May 22 A bloody clash between police and supporters of the leftist camp
outside Government House results in 167 arrests
June 24 Leftists call a general strike
June 29 They call a four-day strike of hawkers and food stall operators
From mid-July Extremists stage bomb attacks
August 9 The government arrests the editors of three pro-Beijing
newspapers, Hong Kong Evening News, New Afternoon News and Tin Fung Daily, for
printing "seditious" articles which called on people to "rise up against" the
August 22 Red Guards stage an arson attack on the British embassy in
August 24 Lam Bun, a Commercial Radio host, is drenched in petrol and set
on fire. He dies of his injuries
End of December Calm is restored
The graves of the 16 workers (top left). Police arrest
some union members during a raid (top right and bottom right). A bomb disposal
technician at work, and a protest by communists (bottom left). Reporters
covering a demonstration outside a government building as the police try to
manage the crowd. Police prepare to fire tear gas to disperse left-wing
demonstrators in San Po Kong. Yesterday's 45th anniversary of Hong Kong's
worst-ever riots saw roughly 70 former leftists pay their respects to 16 workers
killed in the violence. Chan Sze-yuen, chairman of the 67 Synergy Group, which
comprises leftists jailed during the 1967 riots, said it was their first
collective visit to the workers' graves. The workers are buried alongside each
other in Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery in Fanling. "During the 1967 riots,
the Hong Kong government buried some workers who were killed during the
disturbances in the cemetery without naming them on their graves," Chan
said, "The government did that because it was at war with the leftist
camp." In 1973, the Hong Kong and Kowloon Spinning Weaving and Dyeing Trade
Workers General Union - a member union of the Federation of Trade Unions, a
Beijing-loyalist - confirmed the location of the graves of more than 20 of the
workers. The union subsequently reburied the 16 workers at a particular location
in the Fanling cemetery after seeking their families' consent. Chan said his
group last year learned that the workers were buried together, and organised
yesterday's visit to mark the anniversary. "We plan to organise similar
visits on May 6 every year in the future," he said. The group also aims to
seek redress for those jailed and killed during the riots. The infamous riots
broke out on May 6, 1967 when 21 people were arrested during a clash with police
outside the Hong Kong Artificial Flowers Factory in San Po Kong. They escalated
in the second half of that year, with the leftist camp staging general strikes
and some extremists planting bombs on the streets. According to government
statistics, the riots claimed 51 lives; 15 people were killed by bombs and 832
people were injured. By December 31, 1967, 1,936 people were convicted during
the turbulent period. Luk Tak-shing, who delivered a eulogy at a ceremony held
near the workers' graves, said he believed the reputation of those workers would
be cleared by history. Ho Hiu-ming, whose father, Ho Fung, was killed in a
police raid in July 1967, said the visit was very meaningful, as it would remind
Hongkongers about that dark chapter in the city's history. "Some people
have negative views about the leftists who fought against the British in 1967
because they don't know what exactly happened at the time," Ho said.
"Many workers and students were arrested even though they did not take any