The news and film archive British Pathé have uploaded a number of short, revealing old newsreels related to Hong Kong.
In this first video from 1962, refugees fleeing the famine in the mainland are turned back from British Hong Kong. Sympathetic locals line the streets throwing food parcels into departing trucks destined for the border. (Click here for photos from the same year).
Others simply mail food packages to relatives in China. Hong Kong based historian Frank Dikötter estimated that, at minimum, 45 million people died from starvation, overwork and state violence during the Great Leap Forward…
Another film from three years earlier discusses the refugee crisis. It includes some fantastic footage from the streets, resettlement areas and shanty towns. For much of the 1950s, as many as 100,000 people fled to Hong Kong each month…
A rare colour report details an art installation set up in the heart of London to raise awareness of the refugee crisis.
This earlier propaganda clip from 1949 charts the effect of the mainland turmoil on the ‘last remaining outpost in China’. At the time, it was felt the city was vulnerable once more to invasion, though the newsreel reassures viewers that “Hong Kong is ready” and “there’ll be no repeat of the 1941 surrender this time!”…
An even earlier piece from wartime, 1939, depicts refugees fleeing China for the safety of Hong Kong…
The newsreels were shown at cinemas until the 70s, when Pathé was no longer able to compete with television. One of their later clips from the mid-60s shows refugees being uprooted from villages and rehoused in new public developments…
Finally, this silent, longer colour b-roll compilation from the late 60s shows the construction of new homes…
Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…
- 1000+ ‘Before and After’ Photos of Old & New Hong Kong.
- Cool Vintage Hong Kong Tourism Posters.
- Execution of Namoa Pirates in Kowloon, 1891.
- Hedda Morrison’s Hong Kong: Photos from 1942, Beautifully Restored.
- HK’s Boom Years: The Best of Fan Ho.
- Hong Kong’s Most Offensive Place Names.
- How Hong Kong Was Made: Iconic Buildings Under Construction.
- Mainland Refugees Fleeing Famine Rejected by HK.
- Margaret Thatcher in Hong Kong.
- More Vintage Photos of Old Hong Kong.
- Newly Unearthed Photos of 1950s Hong Kong.
- Pictures of Hong Kong in 1972.
- Rare Shots from Inside the Old Kowloon Walled City.
- Shing Mun Redoubt, HK’s Secret WWII Tunnels.
- Street Scenes in Dreamy Colour 1954-2004.
- The ‘Great Chinese Takeaway’ – the 1997 Handover.
- The 1958 Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship Winner (Bruce Lee).
- The 1967 Hong Kong Riots.
- The Bombing of Hong Kong by the U.S. 14th Air Force.
- The Day a Cargo Ship Washed up on Cheung Chau Beach.
- The Hakka Walled Village of Tsang Tai Uk, Sha Tin.
- The Iconic ‘Two Girls’ Kwong Sang Hong Cosmetics Brand
- The Luxury British Liner at the Bottom of Victoria Harbour.
- Unseen Royal Geographic Photos.
- When the MTR Was New.
Pictorial histories of local landmarks and events…
- A Brief Visual History: HK Police Vehicles & Uniforms
- A Brief Visual History: HK’s Old Airport, Kai Tak
- A Brief Visual History: Kowloon Walled City
- A Brief Visual History: The Evolution of the Hong Kong Skyline.
- A Brief Visual History: The Peak Tram
- A Brief Visual History: Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower
- A Brief Visual History: Yau Ma Tei Theatre