Hong Kong Rising:
The History of a Remarkable Place
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
This book, as its title implies, sets out to give an account of Hong Kong in its rise from an obscure fishing village to an Asian financial centre. . . . Hong Kong owes its existence (and prosperity) to the British need for a secure trading post on the south China coast. It was never intended to be a strategic naval base or a settlement to which British families migrated. For the Chinese, it has always been a port from which to migrate. Both nations saw Hong Kong as a temporary home where fortunes could be made, or passages secured overseas. Yet implausibly, a sense of community has developed and this book explains how this came about.
With the imminent change in its government, Hong Kong is certainly relevant today, so a history of Hong Kong would seem an important addition to any senior high school library. Peter Pigott, author of Hong Kong Rising, seems to have done extensive research, and he has spent time in Hong Kong with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. There might, however, be controversy over some of his pronouncements like:
This program of privatization is the secret of Hong Kong's phenomenal growth. Since the Second World War, it chose to go against the trend of massive government ownership practised in other countries. . . . The government was heavily involved in the industrial sectors of [other] Asian nations . . . Airlines were nationalized in France, power companies in Canada . . . Only recently has the trend reversed itself, and all these countries have begun to privatize their over-controlled, unprofitable industries, bureaucracies, transportation and communications sectors.
Recommended with reservations
Irene Gordon is a teacher-librarian who has spent the past thirteen years working in a junior high school in Winnipeg.
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