The volume starts with the conceptual assumption that Hong Kong as a unit of analysis may not be treated as a physically bounded crucible that contains a particular population at a given time. Historically, as this chapter stresses, Hong Kong has thrived as “a space of flow”. Various populations drawn from the Chinese diaspora became engaged with the place and its evolving institutions. The discussion delineates when Hong Kong became a free port under British rule in 1842 and how it joined a number of global processes. In the decades that followed, it became involved in network building. Other developments followed. Hong Kong, became the primary channel for Chinese remittance from overseas and a hub for the California trade in a wide range of goods, from medicine and joss sticks, to prepared opium and Cantonese opera.
Keywords: China; open borders; network building; Cantonese opera; Gold Mountain
Chapter. 11110 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Society and Culture
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