“God damn it, I knew I was right!”
People sometimes tell me I’m either paranoid or too suspicious, seeing things that maybe aren’t there. But my intuition almost never lets me down, and I trust it.
You recall my telling you last year that I was suspicious of Citibank in China, in the way they boasted about their “history” in China since 1902, but went dark on details – the entire internet scrubbed – but I knew there was something there, and I found it – the world’s greatest bank robbery, where Citibank looted Chinese citizens of billions of dollars in gold, then loaded it all onto US military vessels and shipped it home to the US before the war.
And never returned any of it. http://www.bearcanada.com/china/criminalcorporationscitibank.html
Well, I found another one. The Hong Kong Riots of 1967
I’ve been researching Hong Kong’s development, and trying to learn why information went dark in the 1960s when HK had all the riots. The entire internet blames Maoist forces for all the disturbances, but there was too much that didn’t ring true. And it was after those riots that the Chinese in Hong Kong finally achieved something closer to human rights than dog rights.
But the part that caught my attention was that the defining 1967 riots began by workers at “a plastic flower company” who had been abused so badly they finally began riots that spread through the entire colony and forced the British to change.
First, here is Wikipedia’s take:
“In May 1967, Hong Kong experienced large-scale leftist riots. They were caused by “pro-communist leftists” in Hong Kong, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), who turned a labour dispute into large scale demonstrations against British colonial rule. Demonstrators clashed violently with the Hong Kong Police Force.
Instigated by events in the PRC, leftists called for massive strikes and organised demonstrations, while the police stormed many of the leftists’ strongholds and placed their active leaders under arrest. These riots became still more violent when the leftists resorted to terrorist attacks, planting fake and real bombs in the city and murdering some members of the press who voiced their opposition to the violence.”
And a more reasoned and unbiased view:
CHINA: THE PROCESS OF DECOLONIZATION IN THE CASE OF HONG KONG
1968 marked a significant change in the governance of Hong Kong under British colonial rule. It was also the beginning of social activism among students and intellectuals who called for decolonization. This new chapter in the history of Hong Kong was ushered in by devastating riots in 1967.
The brutal practices of a factory owner in the industrial district precipitated a workers’ strike on May 6, 1967. The owner had oppressed his workers by cutting their wages, extending their work hours, and discharging their union leaders.
This strike, in turn, triggered a series of riots and bomb attacks that crippled the city for months. While many interpreted the riots as anti-British acts orchestrated by Communist China, which was in the midst of the zealous Cultural Revolution, others regarded them as an anti-colonial movement challenging social injustice and the exploitation of workers.
Rioting against social injustice After the 1967 riots in Hong Kong had been suppressed, the British colonial government immediately opened an in-depth internal investigation, which indicated that the unrest had not been motivated by anti-British, Communist sensibilities. Rather, it was prompted primarily by social injustice, having provided an outlet for the accumulated frustration of the youth of Hong Kong.
And I found what I was looking for:
The initial demonstrations and riots were labour disputes that began in March 1967 in the “Hong Kong Artificial Flower Works”. I had read somewhere that Li Kashing began his business career by founding a plastic flower company, and when I read some of these reports, I finally managed to track down the owner of this artificial flower company, and it was Li Kashing. HE was the one brutalising the HK peasants to the point where Hong Kong was in bloody riots for 6 or 7 months.
And it was that event that forced the British to finally institute some human rights and other benefits in Hong Kong for the 99% whose residents were Chinese. When the situation stabilized toward the end of the 1960s, general working and living conditions were notably improved by labour legislation, large government housing projects, and extensive public works programs.
Here is one person’s record, taken from her father who lived in HK at the time:
My grandfather hated the condescending and superior attitudes of the British in Hong Kong. He regarded the British as snobs, and often went out of his way to get into arguments with them.
There was a great deal of discrimination against Chinese in Hong Kong, especially against non-Hong Kong natives. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were enormous social and economic inequalities among Hong Kongers. Hong Kong’s population had exceeded 2 million, and 99% of the population was Chinese.
In my dad’s words, “The Brits looked down on the filthy Chinese.” My dad encountered the most racism from the British military stationed in Hong Kong. The British military were completely isolated from the rest of the population in Hong Kong; their children attended a special school for military families. My dad remembers the children of soldiers calling him a “filthy, stinking Chinese.”
In Hong Kong, there were a lot of shantytowns where thousands of people lived in squalid conditions. The towns were very shabbily built and many of the occupants would perish when a typhoon hit or when there was a fire. The fires were particularly devastating since the “houses” were constructed of leftover wood and there was no water or entry for the firefighters to use.
After one particularly tragic fire, the Hong Kong government decided to start building low-cost housing estates. At first, the estates were high-rise buildings with no elevators and only one bathroom on the whole floor. A family would live in one small room with one bed. Because of overcrowding, the schools were on the roofs of the buildings.
British expats were granted more opportunity in Hong Kong than in Britain. Many of my grandparent’s British friends were uneducated; they did not hail from upper class families. Yet in Hong Kong, they were granted good jobs and high status simply because they were white. Most clubs were segregated and the best places to live were only for whites. The CEOs of the big companies were always white.
The local population blamed British rule for the poor standard of living in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong: Borrowed Place—Borrowed Time, Richard Hughes describes the disparity in living conditions between the rich and the poor, and the locals and expatriates:
Life, as in most of Asia, is hard and cruel for many. There are gross extremes of wealth and poverty reminiscent of Shanghai in the thirties and forties. The hanging gardens and golden roofs of terraced villas on The Peak overlook the diseased scabs of squatters’ huts corroding distant hillsides, the fleets of junks and sampans that are the floating homes of 100,000 people, and the huddled packed tenements, where another 80,000 subsist illegally on the rooftops, and which succumb so often to typhoon and fire or collapse from old age.
A labor dispute at the Hong Kong Artificial Flower Works on May 6, 1967, soon escalated into mass demonstrations across Hong Kong. The riots continued for seven months, and the demonstrations came to an end only in December of 1967, when China’s Premier, Zhou Enlai ordered a halt to the rioting in Hong Kong.