Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre. Throughout its history, the harbour has seen numerous reclamation projects undertaken on both shores, many of which have caused controversy in recent years. Environmental concerns have been expressed about the effects of these expansions, in terms of water quality and loss of natural habitat, it has been proposed that benefits of land reclamation may be less than the effects of decreased harbour width, affecting the number of vessels passing through the harbour. Nonetheless Victoria Harbour still retains its founding role as a port for thousands of international vessels each year; the harbour is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. Lying in the middle of the territory's dense urban region, the harbour is the site of annual fireworks displays and its promenades are used as gathering places for tourists and residents.
The first reference to what is now called Victoria Harbour is found in Zheng He's sailing maps of the China coast, dated c.1425, which appear in the Wubei Zhi, a comprehensive 17th-century military book. While the harbour was charted in maps, the first map depicting it in detail is an 1810 marine chart prepared for the East India Company by Daniel Ross and Philip Maughan, lieutenants of the Bombay Marine; some of the first recreational activities to take place in the harbour were water competitions such as swimming and water polo in the 1850s, undertaken by members of Hong Kong's first sports club, the Victoria Recreation Club. During the Taiping Rebellion, armed rebels paraded the streets of Hong Kong. On 21 December 1854, the Hong Kong police arrested several armed rebels who were about to attack Kowloon City. On 23 January 1855, a fleet of Taiping war boats was on the verge of a naval battle against Chinese imperial war boats defending the harbour; the Chinese defenders were ordered away by the British colonial authorities.
These incidents caused rising tension that would lead to the Arrow War. The harbour was called "Hong Kong Harbour", but was renamed as "Victoria Harbour", to assure shelter for the British fleet under Queen Victoria; the subject of pollution came to the fore in the 1970s with the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector. The water club races were stopped in 1973 due to pollution in the harbour, a year after the RMS Queen Elizabeth burned and capsized there. Studies showed excessive nitrogen input from discharges of the Pearl River Delta into the harbour for decades. After completion of the Central and Wan Chai Reclamation Feasibility Study in 1989, the Land Development Policy Committee endorsed a concept for gradual implementation of this additional reclamation, it consists of three district development cells separated by parks, Central and Exhibition. The latest proposed reclamation, extending along the waterfront from Sheung Wan to Causeway Bay, faced public opposition, as the harbour has become a pivotal location to Hongkongers in general.
Activists have denounced the government's actions as destructive not only to the natural environment, but to what is considered as one of the most prized natural assets of the territory. NGOs, including the Society for Protection of the Harbour, were formed to resist further attempts to reduce the size of the waterbody, with its chairman, Christine Loh, quoted as saying that the harbour "...is a precious national asset and we must preserve it for future generations. I believe an insightful and visionary chief executive would support our stance and work with us to protect the harbour". Reclamation work led to the demolition of Queen's Pier and Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier, structures of historic significance, to massive public opposition. Victoria Harbour covered an area of about 41.88 km2 in 2004. The eastern boundary is considered to be the line formed between the westernmost extremity of Siu Chau Wan and A Kung Ngam; the western boundary is considered to consist of a line drawn from the westernmost point of Hong Kong Island to the westernmost point of Green Island, thence a straight line drawn from the westernmost point of Green Island to the southeastern-most point of Tsing Yi, thence along the eastern and northern coastal lines of Tsing Yi to its westernmost extremity, thence a straight line drawn true north towards the mainland.
There are several islands within the harbour: Green Island Little Green Island Kowloon Rock Tsing Yi IslandDue to land reclamation, the following are former islands that are now connected to adjacent lands or larger islands: Stonecutters Island Channel Rock Kellett Island Hoi Sham Island Nga Ying Chau Pillar Island Mong Chau Chau Tsai Rumsey Rock Victoria Harbour is known for its panoramic night view and skyline in the direction towards Hong Kong Island where the skyline of skyscrapers is superimposed over the ridges behind. Among the best places to view the harbour are the Peak Tower atop Victoria Peak, or from the piazza at the Cultural Centre or the promenade of Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side. Rides on the Star Ferry, including the route between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, are another way to view the harbour and cityscape; as the natural
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
The Kowloon–Canton Railway is a railway network in Hong Kong. It is owned, was operated by the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation until 2007, it provides rapid transit services, a light rail system and feeder bus routes within Hong Kong, intercity passenger and freight train services to Mainland China. While still owned by its previous operator, the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation, the network has been operated by the MTR Corporation under a 50-year, service concession since 2 December 2007. Steps have been taken to integrate the network into the same fare system as the MTR, gates between the two networks were removed in several stages in 2008. Although the MTR Corporation is a listed company, the Hong Kong Government is the controlling shareholder. In 2006, the local KCR passenger train network recorded an annual ridership of 544 million. During the 19th century, the western colonial powers competed with each other to establish and maintain commercial and political spheres of influence in China.
Hong Kong held a vital position in protecting British trading interests in South China. The idea of connecting Hong Kong and China with a railway was first proposed to prominent Hong Kong businessmen in March 1864 by a British railway engineer, Sir Rowland MacDonald Stephenson, who had considerable experience of developing railways in India; the minutes of the committee of the Chamber of Commerce meeting in Hong Kong, where a letter setting out his ideas was considered on 7 March 1864, state that "the opinions of the Chamber in respect to his suggestions should be recorded in the form of a letter, to the effect that the Committee deem it essential for the advancement of the project that short lines of railway should at first only be tried, that it is not advisable at present to interfere with any water communications which are established and can be worked more cheaply than railway traffic."The main reason for this decision, which killed MacDonald Stephenson's idea, was that many of the businessmen concerned had a personal interest in protecting their investments in the established shipping companies that enjoyed a monopoly on carriage of passengers and goods into and out of China.
It took a further 30 years before the idea of building a railway from Hong Kong to China was again given serious consideration. In the last decade of the 19th century increasing diplomatic and trade activity by France in Canton and the granting of a concession to Belgian interests to construct a railway from Peking to Hankow, led to diplomatic and commercial concerns from the British about protecting Hong Kong as the major trading port for South China. Li Hanzhang, Qing governor of the Kwangtung province made at the time a similar proposal for a railway connecting Canton with the rural hamlet of Sham Shui Po just outside the British border. Britain was at the time vastly expanding her sphere of influence in the Far East and was striving to obtain the rest of Hong Kong up to the Shenzhen River. Li saw this chance as a method to develop Sham Shui Po as another probable trading hub. Although Li did prophetize the village's prosperity following to the annexation of the New Territories in 1898, Li's proposal was rejected by the Central Government in favor of the budget being allocated to the much anticipated Canton–Hankow railway.
The British, caught up with this proposal and the idea of a railway similar to this was first considered with much interest. The British Government extracted a number of railway concessions from the Chinese Government for the British & Chinese Corporation, a joint venture formed in 1898 between the trading company of Jardine Matheson & Co. and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. These concessions included the right to construct and operate a railway from Kowloon to Canton that would link to the Peking-Hankow-Canton line. While the British & Chinese Corporation undertook a preliminary survey of the proposed route of the line in 1899, the financial uncertainties created by the Boxer Rebellion in China and the Boer War in South Africa made it difficult for the Corporation to raise funds for the project. However, by the beginning of the 20th century, the Hong Kong Government under the leadership of the colony's governor, Sir Henry Blake, decided that urgent action was required. Discussions between the Colonial Office in London, the Hong Kong Government and the British & Chinese Corporation, led to an agreement in late 1904 that the Hong Kong Government would undertake the financing and operation of the section of the line within Hong Kong.
The remaining section to Guangzhou would be financed through a loan raised by the British & Chinese Corporation on behalf of the Chinese Government, which would operate the section after its construction by the corporation. Settling the detailed financing arrangements for the British and Chinese sections proved to be complicated because the funding of the British Section depended on the raising of the loan for the Chinese Section; the arrangements were ratified by the Hong Kong Government's passage of the Railway Loans Ordinance in 1905, clearing the way for construction of the British Section. It took until 1907, for the loan agreement for the Chinese Section to be concluded, with the financing being provided by way of a bond issue floated in London in April of the same year; the importance attached to the project was reflected in a speech made to the Hong Kong Legislative Council by the colonial governor, Sir Frederick Lugard, in 1908: "You will recall that in 1905 it was decided to build the railway by means of a loan.
It was not a question of whether
Kowloon railway station (KCR)
Kowloon Station, located in Tsim Sha Tsui on the present site of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, was the former southern terminus of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. The first Kowloon station was a temporary structure built near the Post Office on Salisbury Road in 1909 and served until the permanent station was completed in 1910. Regular service began at the second station on 1 October 1910; the building consisted of a two-storey L shaped terminal building with a clock tower. On the north end of the station was a covered walkway. A freight station was located a mile north of the station. After its relocation to Hung Hom in 1974, until 1994, "Kowloon" had been the name of present-day Hung Hom Station, the new southern terminus of the KCR, the railway, renamed KCR East Rail in the late 1990s. Owing to lacking of space for expansion, the southern terminus of the railway was moved from Tsim Sha Tsui to a new station of the same name on the new reclaimed land from Hung Hom Bay in 1974; the Hong Kong Cultural Centre was constructed on the site.
The new Kowloon Station was renamed to Hung Hom, in the late 1990s. A campaign was mounted to preserve the 60-year-old red brick terminus; the Kowloon Residents' Association wrote to the Colonial Secretary in 1970. A petition was mounted by the Heritage Society, sent to the Governor, Murray MacLehose on 29 July 1977; the Government rejected the petition, its request for an independent inquiry into the draft area development plan. It argued that a new cultural complex would assume the role enjoyed by the building, that the plans for a new cultural complex to be erected on the site were too far advanced to be altered; the Heritage society charged that the Government was engaged in dirty tricks, was misleading the public. The Heritage Society escalated lobbying effort, petitioned Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a file containing some 15,000 signatures in February 1978, hoping for royal intervention. Within 48 hours of the Royal decision, the demolition crew had moved in; the Clock Tower is the only part of the old station in Tsim Sha Tsui remains at its own site.
Six pillars of the station building were moved to the Urban Council Centenary Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui East. After decades at other locations, including the East Rail depot at Ho Tung Lau, the clock tower's bell was returned to its original home in September 2010. Tsim Sha Tsui Station Hong Kong Cultural Centre Hung Hom Station East Tsim Sha Tsui Station West Kowloon Station A Glimpse At Kowloon-Canton Railway's History
Standard Chinese known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese, or Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese, the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese. Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order, it has more initial consonants but final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words. There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters, Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters.
Many characters are identical between the two systems. In Chinese, the standard variety is known as: 普通话 in the People's Republic of China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Standard Chinese is commonly referred to by generic names for "Chinese", notably 中文. In total, there have been known over 20 various names for the language; the term Guoyu had been used by non-Han rulers of China to refer to their languages, but in 1909 the Qing education ministry applied it to Mandarin, a lingua franca based on northern Chinese varieties, proclaiming it as the new "national language". The name Putonghua has a long, albeit unofficial, history, it was used as early as 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate a modern, standard Chinese from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese. For some linguists of the early 20th century, the Putonghua, or "common tongue/speech", was conceptually different from the Guoyu, or "national language"; the former was a national prestige variety. Based on common understandings of the time, the two were, in fact, different.
Guoyu was understood as formal vernacular Chinese, close to classical Chinese. By contrast, Putonghua was called "the common speech of the modern man", the spoken language adopted as a national lingua franca by conventional usage; the use of the term Putonghua by left-leaning intellectuals such as Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun influenced the People's Republic of China government to adopt that term to describe Mandarin in 1956. Prior to this, the government used both terms interchangeably. In Taiwan, Guoyu continues to be the official term for Standard Chinese; the term Guoyu however, is less used in the PRC, because declaring a Beijing dialect-based standard to be the national language would be deemed unfair to speakers of other varieties and to the ethnic minorities. The term Putonghua, on the contrary, implies nothing more than the notion of a lingua franca. During the government of a pro-Taiwan independence coalition, Taiwan officials promoted a different reading of Guoyu as all of the "national languages", meaning Hokkien and Formosan as well as Standard Chinese.
Huayu, or "language of the Chinese nation" simply meant "Chinese language", was used in overseas communities to contrast Chinese with foreign languages. Over time, the desire to standardise the variety of Chinese spoken in these communities led to the adoption of the name "Huayu" to refer to Mandarin; this name avoids choosing a side between the alternative names of Putonghua and Guoyu, which came to have political significance after their usages diverged along political lines between the PRC and the ROC. It incorporates the notion that Mandarin is not the national or common language of the areas in which overseas Chinese live. Hanyu, or "language of the Han people", is another umbrella term used for Chinese. However, it has confusingly two different meanings: Standard Chinese; this term, as well as Hànzú, is a modern concept. A related concept is Hànzì; the term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà, which referred to the lingua franca of the late Chinese empire. The Chinese term is obsolete as a name for the standard language, but is used by linguists to refer to the major group of Mandarin dialects spoken natively across most of northern and southwestern China.
In English, "Mandarin" may refer to the standard language, the dialect group as a whole, or to historic forms such as the late Imperial lingua franca. The name "Modern Standard Mandarin" is sometimes used by linguists who wish to distinguish the current state of the shared language from other northern and historic dialects; the Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
HSBC known as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC, the largest bank in Hong Kong, operates branches and offices throughout the Asia Pacific region, in other countries around the world. It is one of the three commercial banks licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to issue banknotes for the Hong Kong dollar. "The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank" was established in British Hong Kong in 1865 and was incorporated as "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation" in 1866, has been based in Hong Kong since. It was renamed "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited" in 1989, it is the founding member of the HSBC Group of Banks and Companies, since 1990, is the namesake and one of the leading subsidiaries of the London-based HSBC Holdings PLC. The company's business ranges from the traditional High Street roles of retail banking, commercial banking, corporate banking to investment banking, private banking and global banking. After the British established Hong Kong as a colony in the aftermath of the First Opium War, merchants from other parts of the British Empire, now in Hong Kong, felt the need for a bank to finance the growing trade, through Hong Kong, sometimes through Shanghai, between China and British India, the rest of the British Empire, the rest of Europe, of goods and merchandises of all kinds, but of opium, cultivated in or transited through the Raj, to that end, they organised amongst themselves and formed The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong, in Shanghai a one-month later.
The founder, Thomas Sutherland of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, wanted a bank operating on "sound Scottish banking principles." Still, the original location of the bank was considered crucial and the founders chose Wardley House in Hong Kong since the construction was based on some of the best fung shui in Colonial Hong Kong. The bank leased its premises for HK$500 a month in 1864. After raising a capital stock of HK$5 million, the bank commenced operations on 3 March 1865, it opened a branch in Shanghai during April of that year, started issuing locally denominated banknotes in both the Crown Colony and Shanghai soon afterwards. The bank was incorporated in Hong Kong as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation by the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Ordinance, a branch in Japan was established in Yokohama in 1866. Shares of the bank were one of 13 securities traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, were traded on that exchange until the Japanese closed the exchange in 1941.
The bank handled the first public loan in China in 1874. Sir Thomas Jackson became chief manager in 1876. During his twenty-six year tenure, the Bank became a leader in Asia. Notable events included being the first bank established in Thailand, in 1888, where it printed the country's first banknotes. A period of expansion followed, with new buildings constructed in Bangkok and Shanghai, a new head office building in Hong Kong in 1935. In anticipation of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941, the Bank's head office moved to London. During the period 1941–1943 the chief manager Sir Vandeleur Grayburn, his successor David C. Edmondston, both died. Arthur Morse was led the bank after the war; the head office moved back to Hong Kong in 1946. During the Japanese occupation the Bank's head office building was occupied as the headquarters of the Hong Kong Japanese military government. Michael Turner set about diversifying the business, his tenure came to an end in 1962 having established The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation of California 1955 and having acquired The British Bank of the Middle East and the Mercantile Bank in Aug 1959.
Turner was succeeded in 1962 by Jake Saunders. In 1964 the Chief Managership was superseded as the top executive role in the bank by an Executive Chairmanship. Saunders took this role until retirement in 1972 and was succeeded as Chief Manager in 1964 by H. J. Shen, the managing director of Maysun Trading Co. and the former head of the Central Trust of China, who became the first ethnic Chinese to be appointed to the position of Chief Manager of the bank. Under Saunders' tenure the bank continued to expand. 1965 saw the bank purchase a controlling interest in Hang Seng Bank of Hong Kong, 1972 the formation of a merchant banking arm, Wardley Limited. In 1980, the Bank launched a hostile takeover bid for the Royal Bank of Scotland, although the bid was blocked by the British government. In 1980, the Bank, now under the chairmanship of Michael Sandberg, acquired a 51% stake in Marine Midland Bank, of the United States of America, continued its expansion with the establishment of Hongkong Bank of Canada in 1981 and HongkongBank of Australia Limited in 1986.
1987, under the Chairmanship of William Purves, saw the bank's ownership of Marine Midland Bank increased to 100% and the acquisition of a 14.9% share in Midland Bank in the United Kingdom. The present building in Hong Kong was designed by Sir Norman Foster and was held as one of the most expensive and technologically advanced buildings in the world in 1986, costing HK$5.3 billion. On 6 October 1989, it was renamed by the Legislative Council, by an amendment to its governi
Central Ferry Piers, Hong Kong
The Central Ferry Piers are situated on the northeast part of Central, Hong Kong Island. The ferries depart to Outlying Islands in the New Territories, with the exception of Pier 1 serving as a government pier, ferries from Pier 7 going to Kowloon; the destinations or uses of the piers are as follows: Pier 1: Government of Hong Kong Pier 2: Park Island Pier 3: Discovery Bay Pier 4: Lamma Island, with the western pier going to Sok Kwu Wan and the eastern pier to Yung Shue Wan. Pier 5: Cheung Chau Pier 6: Western pier: Peng Chau - Eastern pier: Mui Wo Pier 7: Star Ferry service to Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 8: Hong Kong Maritime Museum Pier 9: Public Pier Pier 10: Public PierStar Ferry Pier, Central is a "movable name", which now refers to the "fourth generation" Star Ferry pier, aka Pier 7 in Central. Queen's Pier, Edinburgh Place, was demolished in February 2008 Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier - "third generation" Star Ferry pier, abandoned in November 2006 In 2011, after the closure of its flagship store in Pedder Building in October 2011, due to rising rent, Shanghai Tang set up several project units to continue its presence in Central, namely “A New Journey as a Nomad of Central,” in a series of Mongolian gers, imported from Mongolia, on the roof of Pier 1 from 4 November to 31 December 2011.
Outlying Islands Ferry Pier Media related to Central Ferry Piers at Wikimedia Commons