Summary: Today (January 26) marks the 178 anniversary of Britain’s liberation of Hong Kong from atrocious Manchurian colonial rule. On January 26, 1841, towards the end of the Opium War, Commodore James Bremer, commander-in-chief of British forces in China, took formal possession of Hong Kong. The British troops first landed on Stanley and with the help of a Tanka (indigenous boat people) girl, they eventually founded their way to Possession Point in Northwest HK Island and erected a British flag there. The route was later named Kwan Tai Lo (way lead by Ah Kwan) and the story became a HK emblem until 1959. The earliest HK “way-leading party” or compradore camp mainly comprised Hong Kong Tanka like Ah Kwan, Chinese Christians, and Chinese students of Western-style schools, all marginal people of China. With Hong Kong as its revolutionary base, a Hongkonger known as Dr. Sun Yat-sen eventually overthrew the absolutely corrupt and dictatorial Manchurian Ching Dynasty. According to Julia Lovell’s (2011) book on the Opium War, it was originally just a trade war between Britain and China, just like the US-China War now. Opium was grown, sold, and smoked in both China and Europe. The British did not conspire to poison the Chinese with opium.
(In fact, even before the Manchurian Ching Dynasty (1644-1921), Hong Kong, as inhabited by the Tanka and Pak Yuet peoples (Southern China aborigines), had been a colony of the Central Kingdom. Also, many of the Ching military forces that conquered Southwest China and replaced native chieftains with imperial officials were led by Han generals and Han soldiers alongside Manchurians. So Ah Kwan should not be viewed as a Han traitor.)
First Possessors Lost their Way in HK
Captain Edward Belcher, who surveyed the island in 1841, wrote: “We landed on Monday, the 25th, 1841, at fifteen minutes past eight A. M., and being the bona fide first possessors, Her Majesty’s health was drank with three cheers on Possession Mount.” Legend has it that the British troops first landed on a beach in Stanley, and were at loss as to how to get their destination — Possession Point on the Northwest North of the Hong Kong Island. At that moment, a fisherwoman called Chan Kwan (ah Kwan), most probably a Tanka (coastal boat people) girl, led the British troops through Causeway Bay Road, Island Road, Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen Road, Shek Pai Wan Road, eventually to Sai Ying Poon. Since ah Kwan showed the way to the British troops, the road was named “Kwan Tai Road” (ah Kwan leading the way) to signify the event.
Romance between HK Girl and British Lieutenant
When reaching Hong Kong Village in Wong Chuk Hang, the British troops asked Ah Kwan what the place was called, and she answered them in Tanka dialect that the village was called “Hong Kong”. Later the British referred the whole island as “Hong Kong”, which is said to be the origin of the name of the territory. Chip Tsao, a renowned Hong Kong columnist, speculates that some sort of romance could have developed between Ah Kwan and one of the British lieutenants. When the British troops arrived at Possession Point with Ah Kwan’s aid, they erected a British Flag there and formally took possession of Hong Kong, marking the liberation of Hong Kong from Manchurian Ching Dynasty’s atrocious rule.
HK as Revolutionary Base against China
Dr. Sun Yat-sen received his medical education and got his revolutionary ideas in Hong Kong, and with Hong Kong as his revolutionary base, he eventually succeeded in overthrowing the Manchurian Dynasty. 156 years later, Hong Kong was handed over by the UK to a China regime that had caused the death of more than 70 million people, more than the deaths caused by Hitler, Stalin and Hideki Tojo combined. During the early days of Hong Kong as an international harbor, the “way-leading party” or compradore camp mainly comprised Hong Kong Tanka like Ah Kwan, Chinese Christians, and students of modern schools on China soil, all marginal people of China.
Opium War as a Trade War like US-China Trade War
According to Julia Lovell’s (2011) well-documented book on the Opium War, it was originally just a trade war between Britain and China, just like the US-China War now. Opium was grown, sold, and smoked in both China and Europe. The British did not conspire to poison the Chinese with opium. They just coveted the huge market of China just as American and European enterprises of today, while China imported opium from Britain because the products of the British Indian Company were of a quality much better than those of China, just as China people nowadays all want to grab Western milk powder. Subsequently, however, the Manchurian regime put the blame of China’s problems on British opium. They confiscated British opium and executed British ship company staff on the spot without any proper trial, thus triggering off the Opium War.
Chapman Chen reports: