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Hong Kong in the Cold War$
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Priscilla Roberts and John M. Carroll

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208005

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208005.001.0001

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Prologue Cold War Hong Kong

Prologue Cold War Hong Kong

The Foundations

Chapter:
(p.15) Prologue Cold War Hong Kong
Source:
Hong Kong in the Cold War
Author(s):

Priscilla Roberts

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888208005.003.0002

For Hong Kong, the Cold War was a distinct and crucial period in its own evolution and in its relations with China and the rest of the world. Without the global clash of ideologies, the city might well have failed to win and keep the key nodal position it attained in those years. Economically, intellectually, socially, and culturally, the Cold War years were crucial in ensuring that Hong Kong became a unique and cosmopolitan metropolis. Hong Kong, whatever its limitations—and it could at times be parochial, inward looking, and self-obsessed—was set on the path to become one of the world’s greatest and most vibrant cities, a city that would play a key role in the modernization of Greater China, especially the mainland, even as it developed a sense of specifically Hong Kong identity. From its outset, Hong Kong has been unique. During the Cold War and in many ways thanks to the demands, challenges, and opportunities arising from that conflict, already established social, economic, political, and administrative patterns of behavior within Hong Kong were intensified and adapted, transforming the territory. Run initially by British officials but increasingly by local Hong Kong recruits to the civil service, a hub not just for economic networks of capital and governmental exchanges of every variety but also for transnational intellectual, political, and social interchanges at every level, Hong Kong was one of a kind, its essence almost undefinable. Hong Kong developed its own voice, one that, perhaps muted in the immediate aftermath of the 1997 handover and the Asian economic crisis, is once more becoming ever more discernible. Its greatest contribution to China’s modernization may yet lie in the future....

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