By H. L. Wesseling
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Additional info for A Cape of Asia: Essays on European History (AUP - Leiden University Press)
Ho Kai was educated at the Government Central School in Hong Kong. By 1882, he had obtained two degrees, in Medicine and Law, in London. 30 Also in 1888, the Regulation of Chinese Ordinance was passed in Hong Kong. Accordingly, Sheung Wan, the major Chinese settlement area where the Tung Wah Hospital was located, was to be divided into ten districts and the registration of households was made compulsory. The regulation laid down that: No person shall organize, equip, or take part in any procession in any public street … in connection with any religious ceremony or with any annual or other festival.
Through the Bureau of Commerce in Peking and the chambers of commerce in the provinces, the Qing court attempted to maintain direct contact with the local powers, that is, the mercantile communities in the provinces. Against this background, the relationship between merchants and the state was to undergo another transformation. In 1904, China’s first commercial law code was introduced. It was, in part, intended to replace the previous practice of ‘official-supervision, merchant-management’. Different from the practice of patronage, the rights guaranteed by the commercial code were supposed to be equally accessible to all.
Chapter 2 illustrates how an indigenous leadership developed among the Chinese residing in Hong Kong before 1900, and how these leaders played an active role in political developments in Guangdong before 1900. Chapter 3 describes the new political landscape that was taking shape in China by the first quarter of the twentieth century, and its repercussions among the Chinese merchants residing in Hong Kong. Two groups of Chinese merchants in Hong Kong, a local-born group who formed the Bao’an Chamber of Commerce and a group that had returned from overseas who founded the Siyi Chamber of Commerce, competed for political influence in Guangdong.