• Short Summary

    WHEN THE BRITISH FIRST OCCUPIED HONGKONG IN 1841, IT WAS DESCRIBED AS A "BARREN ISLAND WITH HARDLY A HOUSE UPON IT".

  • Description

    WHEN THE BRITISH FIRST OCCUPIED HONGKONG IN 1841, IT WAS DESCRIBED AS A "BARREN ISLAND WITH HARDLY A HOUSE UPON IT". TODAY, WITH ITS LOFTY SKYSCRAPERS AND GREAT HOUSING ESTATES, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST DENSELY POPULATED AREAS IN THE WORLD -- ABOUT FOUR MILLION PEOPLE LIVE IN A TOTAL AREA OF LESS THAN 400 SQUARE MILES (APPROX 1,035 SQ KMS).

    THIS TINY TERRITORY, PERCHED ON THE MAINLAND OF CHINA, IS THE RICHEST OF BRITAIN'S REMAINING COLONIES. IT RANKS AMONG THE 20 BIGGEST TRADING COMMUNITIES IN THE WORLD. BUT HONGKONG IS MORE THAN A MANUFACTURING CENTRE. OTHER IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS TO ITS INCOME ARE TOURISM, BANKING AND INSURANCE. THE HEADQUARTERS OF THESE COMMERCIAL CENTRES ARE MOSTLY LOCATED IN VICTORIA, THE CAPITAL AND HEART OF BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATION ON HONGKONG ISLAND. ALL THE TALL BUILDINGS THERE WERE BUILT WITHIN THE LAST TEN YEARS.

    HONGKONG'S THRIVING ECONOMY IS BASED ON ITS EXPORT TRADE. THE VALUE OF MERCHANDISE IMPORTED, EXPORTED AND RE-EXPORTED IN 1966 WAS 17,660 MILLION HONGKONG DOLLARS, AN INCREASE OF 8 PER CENT OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND THE HIGHEST ANNUAL TOTAL EVER RECORDED. THE TERRITORY'S MAIN EXPORTS ARE TEXTILES AND GARMENTS, PLASTIC GOODS, CHEMICALS, FOOTWEAR AND ELECTRIC APPLIANCES.

    BRITAIN GAINED HONGKONG ISLAND FROM CHINA IN 1841 AS THE SITE FOR AN OPEN PORT FOR TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. KOWLOON, WHICH OCCUPIES 3 1/2 SQUARE MILES OF THE MAINLAND, WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ACQUIRED BY BRITAIN UNDER THE PEKING CONVENTION OF 1860. THE "NEW TERRITORIES", CONSISTING OF A PENINSULA IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF KWANGTUNG PROVINCE -- TOGETHER WITH THE ADJACENT ISLANDS -- WERE ADDED TO THE COLONY ON A 99-YEAR-LEASE SIGNED IN JUNE, 1898.

    THERE HAVE BEEN REPEATED DEMANDS FROM THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA FOR THE RETURN OF HONGKONG, AND ACCUSATIONS THAT THE BRITISH AUTHORITIES WERE TURNING THE COLONY INTO A AMERICAN MILITARY BASE TO SUPPORT THE VIETNAM WAR. DISTURBANCES IN HONGKONG LAST YEAR, ORGANISED BY PRO-PEKING SUPPORTERS, TOOK THE FORM OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES, DEMONSTRATIONS, RIOTS AND INCIDENTS INVOLVING BOMBS AND BOOBY TRAPS.

    BRITAIN HAS REJECTED CHINESE PROTEST NOTES ABOUT AMERICAN WARSHIPS USING HONGKONG. THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT SAYS THERE HAS BEEN NO AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED STATES WHICH PERMITS ITS SHIPS TO DISEMBARK TROOPS ENGAGED IN THE VIETNAM WAR. AMERICA HA ALSO DENIED THE CHINESE ALLEGATIONS. ALL U.S. WARSHIPS IN HONGKONG, IT SAYS, GO THERE PURELY ON REST AND RECREATION VISITS FOR THE CREWS.

    BUT THE STRONG ECONOMIC LINKS BETWEEN HONGKONG AND CHINA HAVE NOT BEEN AFFECTED. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC IS THE BIGGEST SINGLE EXPORTER OF GOODS TO HONGKONG, WHICH DEPENDS ON ITS NEIGHBOUR FOR MOST OF ITS FOOD AND CLOTHING. THE COLONY IS SAID TO BE CHINA'S BIGGEST FOREIGN MARKET WHERE, IN 1966, IT EARNED GBP173 MILLION.

    A PHENOMENAL GROWTH IN THE POPULATION AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO CREATED A SERIOUS OVERCROWDING PROBLEM FOR THE HONGKONG GOVERNMENT. MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE -- INCLUDING LARGE NUMBERS OF IMMIGRANTS FROM CHINA -- MADE HOMES FOR THEMSELVES BY BUILDING SHELTERS, HUTS OR BY LIVING IN BOATS.

    THE HONGKONG AUTHORITIES, LANDED WITH A PERMANENT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR CARE AND THEIR FUTURE, EMBARKED ON A MASSIVE REHOUSING PROGRAMME FOR THE IMMIGRANTS. TODAY, MORE THAN A MILLION PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RESETTLED IN MULTI-STOREY BLOCKS OF FLATS. THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO CONTINUE ITS RESETTLEMENT PROGRAMME UP TO 1972 BY WHICH TIME ABOUT HALF THE COLONY'S POPULATION WILL HAVE BEEN GIVEN NEW HOMES.

    HONGKONG'S BEST KNOWN FLOATING VILLAGE -- MORE THAN 1,500 WOODEN HOUSEBOATS CRAMMED TOGETHER AT THE FISHING PORT OF ABERDEEN - IS SLOWLY DISAPPEARING. SOME ELEVEN-THOUSAND BOAT DWELLERS HAVE BEEN MOVING INTO NEW 16-STOREY HILLTOP APARTMENT BLOCKS OVERLOOKING ABERDEEN. THEIR FORMER HOMES HAVE BEEN BROKEN UP AND BURNT WHILE BULLDOZERS FILL IN A LONG STRETCH OF THE CREEK WHICH HARBOURED THE HOUSEBOAT COMMUNITY.

    ANOTHER MAJOR DIFFICULTY FOR HONGKONG HAS BEEN ITS INADEQUATE WATER SUPPLY -- THE COLONY HAS NO LARGE RIVERS OR UNDERGROUND SUPPLIES. THE HONGKONG GOVERNMENT BUYS UP TO 15,000 MILLION GALLONS OF WATER FROM CHINA UNDER AN AGREEMENT SIGNED IN 1964. THE FAILURE OF THE SUMMER RAINS CAUSED A THREE-MONTH SHORTAGE OF WATER IN HONGKONG LAST YEAR. REQUESTS MADE TO CHINA FOR EXTRA SUPPLIES WERE IN VAIN.

    BUT THE ENTERPRISING COLONY HAS A HABIT OF SOLVING ITS PROBLEMS. IN 1963, A 5,390 MILLION GALLON RESERVOIR ON LANTAO ISLAND WAS BROUGHT INTO USE. WATER FROM IT IS PUMPED TO HONGKONG ISLAND ALONG 8 MILES OF SUBMARINE PIPELINE. AND WORK IS GOING AHEAD TO CONVERT A SEA INLET AT PLOVER COVE ON THE EAST COAST OF THE NEW TERRITORIES INTO A FRESHWATER LAKE WITH A STORAGE CAPACITY OF 30,000 MILLION GALLONS.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2Z62MCQGWGORDLF8V4DGWH8MX
    Media URN:
    VLVA2Z62MCQGWGORDLF8V4DGWH8MX
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    10/04/1968
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:12:05:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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