Shanghai and Hong Kong

A British View

Courtesy Reuters

SHANGHAI and Hong Kong are two of the world's great cities. Until Shanghai became the scene of major Sino-Japanese hostilities in 1937 it was among the five largest ports in the world and was the industrial, commercial and financial metropolis of China. About twenty years ago Hong Kong's annual volume of shipping was the greatest in the world. Though Hong Kong never rivalled Shanghai as an industrial center, it was a southern terminus of one of China's main railway systems, the distributing center for the trade of south and mid-China and a terminus of American, British and Chinese aviation services.

The heart of Shanghai was the Foreign (or International) Settlement. When the Japanese have been expelled from Shanghai, the administrative control of the entire city will pass into Chinese hands. That was made certain by the treaties which the British and American Governments signed with the Chinese Government in January 1943; the treaties provide for the abolition of extraterritoriality and of all other special privileges enjoyed by British and American nationals in China. Many questions relating to Shanghai will nonetheless be a matter of concern to the Anglo-American Powers.

Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony, but a free port, in which shipping, regardless of nationality, received equal treatment and facilities. The British Treaty was silent in regard to the ceded and leased territories of Hong Kong. The future of Hong Kong has yet to be determined. Will the city again be placed under British sovereignty, will it be internationalized, or will it be united with China? There are strong arguments to support each of these three solutions.

Since Pearl Harbor there has been a tendency to be apologetic for all past British and for some American activities in China, especially those activities which resulted in the extraterritorial system and the establishment of colonies, settlements or concessions on Chinese soil. Both Britain and America were motivated by self-interest in obtaining these special rights and privileges, but the manner in which they have been

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