The Kowloon City (also known as Kowloon Walled City) issue was once controversial. The problem of which country controlled it was related to the 1898 Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory. It retained the Chinese jurisdiction of Kowloon City “except insofar as may be inconsistent with the military requirements for the defence of Hong Kong”.
However, in 1899, the British violated the Convention and sent troops to expel the Qing government officials and soldiers. Successive Chinese governments insisted on their jurisdiction over Kowloon City. During the 20th century, although the Chinese governments did not garrison Kowloon City, they would strongly protest when the British Hong Kong government demolished the Chinese civilian housing there. The British hesitated to enforce its judicial authority over Kowloon City because of the insistence of the Chinese governments. This allowed Kowloon City to become an ungoverned yet historic settlement.
In 1984, China and Britain signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This meant that China would ultimately resume its sovereignty over the Hong Kong territory, including Kowloon City. Both China and Britain agreed to the Hong Kong government’s proposal of demolishing Kowloon Walled City and building a park and recreation area on the site. The present-day Kowloon Walled City Park occupies the original site of Kowloon Walled City since 1995.
A panoramic view of Kowloon City (around 1870s)
In May 1899, the British revoked the Convention and occupied Kowloon City. (Photo provided by Ko Tim-keung)
Overlooking Kowloon Bay from Kowloon City (around 1910).
The city wall and part of the view of Kowloon City (around 1930).
The South Gate of Kowloon Walled City (1935).
In 1948, the British Hong Kong Police demolishing the Chinese civilian housing in Kowloon City by force. This caused strong protests from the Chinese in the mainland and in Hong Kong.
The British demolition left ruins behind in Kowloon City in 1948.
Kowloon City in 1985. (Photo taken by Liu Shuyong in 1985)
The office of the Kowloon Assistant Military Inspectorate in Kowloon Walled City Park (Photo taken by Liu Shuyong in 2010)
Two granite plaques bearing the Chinese characters for “Kowloon Walled City” and “South Gate” respectively displayed in Kowloon Walled City Park (Photo taken by Liu Shuyong in 2010)
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