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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 (HKSAR).

Deng Xiaoping met Mrs. Thatcher in the Great Hall of the people on December 24, 1982.

Zhou 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.

Deng 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 ceremony.

Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, held the just lowered British flag.

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 2003.

 Bell 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.

 The 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 Night View.

Hong Kong Disneyland.

Hong Kong Horse Racing.

June 30,  2007

Shaken by '89, Beijing rethought handover by Ambrose Leung

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 Wei Po.

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

Hong Kong's 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 & KLAUDIA LEE

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 struggle."

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 colonial administration
August 22 Red Guards stage an arson attack on the British embassy in Beijing
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 violent actions."

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