Hongkong Weekly Press Online

and Overland Trade Report

The Hongkong Weekly Press was an English-language weekly newspaper published between 1890 and 1945. This online collection includes 15.000 pages from issues published in the years 1920 – 1929, available as full-text searchable scans.

The available years of this important serial through Brill cover a series of watershed incidents and periods of unrest in then-British Hongkong’s modern history. The first of these came in reaction to the infamous May 30th 1925 incident in Shanghai, and a parallel incident in Guangzhou (Canton) on June 23rd. In the first, British-commanded police opened fire on Chinese demonstrators at the British-controlled International Settlement. Nine Chinese died in the first incident, fifty in the second. Thus was the May 30th movement born, with seismic consequences for the foreign presence in China, and a ripple effect on competing imperialisms in northeast Asia.

As a result, Chinese nationalists and Soviet advisors called on dock workers to a strike in Hongkong, hitting the most overtly British presence in East Asia right where Britain had most to lose.

Over several months, activists in Guangdong transported between around 250,000 men to foment upheaval in Hongkong, resulting in a dock strike that crippled the colony and closed down almost all public services, including newspapers. This in turn led to the Christmas Truce of December 1926.

The final and arguably most damaging effect of these incidents was an ultimately damaging shift into make-do and drift in British foreign policy on East Asia, which continued to weaken British, then all Western interests long after the strikes had been broken and diverted into the longer games of both the Guomindang and the Communist Party of China.

These uncertainties in the settler business communities of Hongkong, Shanghai, Guangdong and other trading ports combined with economic stagnation and political crises at home, and are reflected in considerable detail in the news reports and features and commercial news in this vital serial. It is probably too early to assess or compare the eruption of the 1920s as recorded in the Hongkong Weekly Press with the drivers of unrest in Hongkong in our time, but for scholars of imperialism and of the rise of China, this will be an essential Primary Source.
15,000 pages, scanned in full colour at 300 ppi from a rare private collection of originals.

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"Brill Asian Studies Primary Source Database promises to bring Japan’s modern history closer to scholars and students, affording a deeper understanding of contemporary biases and hitherto unknown rivalries. This collection is certainly an essential source of information for the study of Japan and Asia in the first half of the twentieth century." - Tsuchiya Reiko, in: Japan Review: Journal of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies 2022-02