Hong Kong was closely related to the reform movement in modern China. Ho Kai (何啟) and Woo Lai-woon (胡禮垣), two major thinkers in Hong Kong, co-authored a series of political commentaries, including Zenglun shuhou (《曾論書後》, The Review of Zeng’s Essay), Xinzheng yilun (《新政論議》, The Commentary of New Policies), Xinzheng shiji (《新政始基》, The Foundation of New Policies), Kangshuo shuhou (《康說書後》, The Review of Kang’s Essay), Xinzheng anxing (《新政安行》, The Execution of New Policies), Quanxuebian shuhou (《勸學篇書後》, The Review on Exhortation to Learn), which were compiled into Xinzheng zhenquan (《新政真詮》, The True Interpretation of New Policies) in 1902. In the books, Ho and Woo put forward a series of strategies for reforming China in politics, thinking, economy, and culture. They advocated reform for national strengthening to resist foreign aggression when the powers’ intention to carve up China became obvious. These ideas were valued by reformers represented by Kang Youwei (康有為). Many of the ideas were referenced and quoted in the Hundred Days’ Reform in 1898. After the Wuxu Coup (戊戌政變), the Qing court headed by Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后) made every effort to arrest Kang, who then took refuge in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was an advocate for reform and a protector for reformers after the Hundred Days’ Reform failed.
Left: Ho Kai, a thinker in Hong Kong; Right: a photo taken at the opening ceremony of Kwong Wah Hospital in Hong Kong in 1911. The Hong Kong Governor Frederick John Dealtry Lugard (the man in a hat in the middle of the front row), the Secretariat for Chinese Affairs Arthur W. Brewin (left of Lugard), and Ho (second row, between Lugard and Brewin) attending the ceremony with the board of directors of the Tung Wah Hospital.
Woo Lai-woon (or Hu Liyuan) and his book Hu Yinan xiansheng quanji (《胡翼南先生全集》, The Complete Works of Woo Lai-woon). Also known by his courtesy name as Rongmao (榮懋) and art name as Yinan (翼南), Woo was one of the earliest students at The Government Central School in Hong Kong. From 1887 to 1900, he and Ho Kai co-published a number of papers on reform.
Some of the political commentaries co-authored by Ho Kai and Woo Lai-woon. Kang Youwei, a leading reformer during the late Qing dynasty, studied these books in-depth with his students.
Kang Youwei first set foot in Hong Kong in 1879. This trip had a great influence over the development of his reform ideas. The photo shows the Central Harbourfront in Hong Kong in the 1870s.
Buildings along Queen’s Road Central were in an orderly manner in the 1870s. Kang Youwei was inspired by the progress of Hong Kong during his first visit to the city.
Empress Dowager Cixi launched the Wuxu Coup in September 1898. The reform measures were abolished and six of the leading reformers known as the “Six Gentlemen” were executed. Kang Youwei, who was wanted by the Qing authority, fled to Shanghai (上海) through Tianjin (天津) and finally reached Hong Kong with the help of the British in Shanghai. It was his second visit to Hong Kong. Liang Qichao (梁啟超) fled to Japan with the assistance of the Japanese. The photo shows the former British Consulate-General in Shanghai.
Left: Ho Tung (何東), a famous Hong Kong entrepreneur; Right: Ho Tung (second from right) and his family. Kang Youwei was received by Ho when he arrived in Hong Kong. Not only did Ho invite Kang to settle at his mansion, but he also brought Kang’s family to Hong Kong for reunion. Kang was grateful to Ho and called him a knight.
When he took refuge in Hong Kong, Kang Youwei was interviewed by China Mail when he criticised hard on Empress Dowager Cixi. He also reiterated his reform ideas and his loyalty to Emperor Guangxu (光緒帝). China Mail was founded in 1845 and ceased publication in 1974. It was once the most long-lasting and influential English newspaper in Hong Kong. The picture shows its 22 February 1932 issue.
Kang Youwei left Hong Kong for Japan on 19 October 1898. The photo shows the Japanese steamer S.S. Kawachi Maru he took.
After learning that his mother was ill, Kang Youwei came back to Hong Kong from Canada via Japan in 1899. It was his third visit to Hong Kong. He stayed in Hollywood Road in Hong Kong this time. The photos show present-day Hollywood Road and Kang Tongbi (康同璧), one of Kang’s daughters. She also stayed in Hong Kong for a period of time.
The images in this material are provided by Professor Lau Chi-pang and Professor Liu Shuyong (Photo 3) and Fotoe (Photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 10). Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders and obtain permission to reproduce this material. Please do get in touch with any enquiries or any information relating to this image or the rights holder.