By Stephanie P.Y. Chung

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Extra resources for Chinese Business Groups in Hong Kong and Political Changes in South China, 1900-1920s

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This process involved selection by both the rulers and the ruled from among competing cultural traditions. Anthropological research and census surveys, for example, have always provided a selective perspective on tradition for both the rulers and the ruled, which encouraged tribal and communal cohesion. Europeans came to believe that Africa belonged to tribes and that power should be distributed among tribal chiefs; in response, Africans constructed tribes to Business and Politics 17 which they would belong.

A common theme invented by politicians and scholars alike to narrate these incidents, was that of ‘reform and revolution’. A central figure in this narrative was Sun Yat-sen. Sun’s career path is not substantially dissimilar to that of other selfstyled patriots found in Chinese history. As a reformer, he submitted a fruitless reform proposal to Li Hung-chang in 1895 (the year when Li’s 18 Chinese Business Groups and Political Change dominance and patronage collapsed). As a dissenter, his ranking on the Qing’s ‘most-wanted’ list was not very high.

The officials in Peking or any provincial capital always need money, and the inhabitants of Hong Kong know quite well that some of the local wealthy Chinese have been approached by the officials for loans. The silver lining is to be found in the places where the Chinese were brought directly into contact with Europeans. In Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hankow, and other Treaty ports, the worried Chinese do not hesitate to express disgust at the present state of affairs in China. 40 The experiences of Hong Kong merchants with political investments in South China are most likely not isolated phenomena.

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