Hong Kong: Past and Present

June 28 – July 27, 1997
What is popularly and collectively known as Hong Kong actually refers to the island itself, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. These three areas were wrested from China by Britain during the period from 1841 to 1898. Cultural cataclysm ensued when European imperialism clashed militarily with a restless and demoralized China at the end of Manchu rule. The resulting settlements ceded Hong Kong to British rule for approximately 150 years. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong and the accompanying territories will revert back to the governance of China. This “homecoming” is epochal and eagerly watched by people the world over. In spite of differences in political leanings, Chinese everywhere celebrate the return of this lingering colonial vestige to the historical folds of China.

The Chinese Culture Center, with co-sponsorship from the Committee to Celebrate the End of British Colonial Rule in Hong Kong and Eastwind Books and Arts, Inc., is pleased to host a photo-documentary exhibition of the history of Hong Kong, with a focus on the evolving relationship between Britain and China. The approximately sixty photographs, on loan from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China and Eastwind Books and Arts, Inc., will trace both the fractious and cooperative nature of this uneasy past. The exhibition offers glimpses of how a once-barren outpost has prospered as a thriving international commercial center while benefiting from the unique contributions of hard and resourceful immigrant labor, the confidence of venture capitalism, and the nurturing politics of both Chinese and British governments. The photographs also reveal the harsh realities and the deserved rewards of life in Hong Kong during the last 150 years.

“Hong Kong: Past and Present” will be previewed through a slide presentation given by John H. Seto at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at the Chinese Culture Center.