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Look Inside Political Censorship in British Hong Kong
eBook forthcoming

Political Censorship in British Hong Kong
Freedom of Expression and the Law (1842–1997)

$39.99 (P)

Part of Law in Context

  • Publication planned for: November 2022
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2022
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108830027

$ 39.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Drawing on archival materials, Michael Ng challenges the widely accepted narrative that freedom of expression in Hong Kong is a legacy of British rule of law. Demonstrating that the media and schools were pervasively censored for much of the colonial period and only liberated at a very late stage of British rule, this book complicates our understanding of how Hong Kong came to be a city that championed free speech by the late 1990s. With extensive use of primary sources, the free press, freedom of speech and judicial independence are all revealed to be products of Britain's China strategy. Ng shows that, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, Hong Kong's legal history was deeply affected by China's relations with world powers. Demonstrating that Hong Kong's freedoms drifted along waves of change in global politics, this book offers a new perspective on the British legal regime in Hong Kong.

    • Novel use of archival sources to examine the legal history of Hong Kong, correcting prior narratives of colonial Hong Kong's legal system that were based upon crude understandings of common law ideals
    • Offers empirical evidence to outline how Hong Kong transformed from a city of pervasive censorship to one whose freedom of expression was praised globally
    • Places Hong Kong's legal history in the context of world history, demonstrating how deeply Hong Kong's development was impacted by geopolitics
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2022
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108830027
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2022
  • Table of Contents

    1. Punitive censorship and libel lawsuits against the press
    2. “Reading every line”: Era of the daily vetting of newspaper proofs
    3. “Communist China now contiguous to Hong Kong”: Censorship imposed by the “free world”
    4. “Patriotism to you can be revolutionary heresy to us”: Hardened control of media, schools and entertainment
    5. Preparing to negotiate with China: Overt loosening and covert control
    6. Liberating Hong Kong for China: De-silencing the city
    Conclusion and Epilogue
    Glossary of Chinese Newspapers

  • Author

    Michael Ng, The University of Hong Kong
    Michael Ng is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong and has published widely on the legal history of China and Hong Kong in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has been appointed as visiting fellow of the University of Cambridge, visiting scholar of the University of Melbourne and the National University of Singapore, and visiting Associate Professor of National Taiwan University. He was a founding officer and executive committee member of the International Society for Chinese Law and History.

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