Hong Kong is a city in China, founded by the British in the late 18th century as a trading enclave during the period when the Chinese Emperors had largely closed their borders to 'foreign devils'.
Situated on an island close to the coast, convenient for the Pearl Irver Delta and Canton and blessed with good, deep water harbours it served as a convenient place for licenced (and not a little unlicensed) trade between China and the West, becoming a fully fledged British Colony in 1839 after the First Opium War. The name, incidentally, means "scented harbour" and derives from a long association with the production and trade of agarwood.
The colony thrived under British rule and after the defeat of China in the Second Opium War (1860) the Kowloon Penninsula and another island (Stonecutter's Island) were annexed to it to allow more expansion space. In 1898 a further treaty obtained a 99-year lease on another island (Lantau) and more territory on the mainland.
Hong Kong continued to serve as a trade hub for Oriental trade and a British base in the far east long into the 20th Century and despite the Japanese occupation of the Colony from 1941-45 it continued to prosper and grow to the point of being one of the most heavily populated areas of the planet.
Much to the dismay of many of its population Hong Kong was transferred to Chinese control in 1997 in accordance with the expiry of the 1898 lease on the New Territories, but was granted Special Administrative Region status, freeing it from some of the more onerous aspects of Chinese rule and it has so far remained relatively free and continued to prosper.
Game and Story Use
- Hong Kong makes a good exotic location for adventures, particularly in a Pulp Era campaign.
- It makes a pretty good location for adventures in any era - as Deus Ex helped demonstrate. Hong Kong is a place of boundaries and a major commercial hub - either of those make for adventures - and its huge population and relatively deregulated society (although only by Chinese standards these days) make for plenty of indigenous business before "the mysterious Orient" is rolled out.
- The name - in translation at least - is also eminently reusable. "Perfume bay" has appeared as a (pseudo)Oriental city in all sorts of places.