• Short Summary

    HONGKONG ... The population of this British colony set in the belly of Red China?

  • Description

    1.
    LS PAN - Harbour of Hongkong showing Kowloon in background


    2.
    LS - Downtown Hongkong - harbour in background -- tall building to right center is Communist Bank of China.


    3.
    STREET RUNNING SHOTS - Downtown Hongkong


    4.
    OVERHEAD LS and MS - Open market area at Chuk Yuen resettlement area


    5.
    RUNNING SHOT - Past open-air sidewalk markets as refugee Chinese display a variety of food


    6.
    MS - Looking up arched street from old Kowloon area


    7.
    MSL - One of the many narrow streets in old Kowloon sector


    8.
    MLS - Chinese junk entering typhoon shelter of Wau Ma Ti


    9.
    LS PAN - Some 5,000 junks and sampans harboured at Wau Ma Ti where some 40,000 persons live aboard the boats


    10.
    MS - Two Chinese refugees rowing their boat


    11.
    MCU - Chinese mother rowing her sampan


    12.
    MS - Young son stands by as mother rows boat


    13.
    MS - Young girls ferrying refugees back and forth to their junks


    14.
    LS - Lashed side to side - some Chinese junks proudly display the Nationalist Chinese flag


    15.
    OVERHEAD MS - Chinese woman aboard her sampan painting some boards


    16.
    MS - Woman with crude hatchet trying to cut a piece of wood


    17.
    MS PAN - Life aboard the sampans - washing and sleeping all on the same deck


    18.
    MLS - Youngsters arrive with their boats to fill the water pails


    19.
    MS - Children waiting at the faucet until rationed water is turned on again


    20.
    LS - Newly completed Tai Lam Chung reservoir holding 4 1/2 billion gallons of water - still not enough for the rapidly growing population of refugees


    21.
    CU - Dam marker


    22.
    LS PAN - From dam top to reservoir


    23.
    MLS PAN - Two farmers near the Communist border at Lok Ma Chau turn their backs to keep their picture from being made - PAN to closed area sign.


    24.
    MCU PAN - Young Chinese children - hakas - wearing typical native hats


    25.
    LS PAN - Red China - Sham Chun River separating the New Territories of Hongkong from the mainland


    26.
    TELEPHOTO SHOT - Showing Communist town of Kak Tim in background


    27.
    LS PAN - Chuk Yuen resettlement area - new apartments for refugees from the mainland


    28.
    MLS - Same


    29.
    MLS - Apartment balcony showing wash hanging out - apartment have central water and toilets for the dwellers


    30.
    LS - Apartment buildings in Hongkong showing squatters on rooftops


    31.
    MS and TELEPHOTO SHOT - Same


    32.
    LS - New modern apartments and hillside squatters living in shanties in background


    33.
    PAN - From modern apartments to squatters in background


    34.
    MS - Shanties


    35.
    LS - Refugee children attending school at the Bishop Ford Memorial School


    36.
    PAN SHOT - Children exercising


    37.
    PAN SHOT - Classroom


    38.
    HEAD CU - Girl student


    39.
    MCU - Chinese instructors - the school handles 2,500 students in three sessions which include adult courses in the evening


    40.
    LS PAN - Some of the 25,000 families registered at the Bishop Ford Food Center to receive flour noodles


    41.
    MS - Father Howard D. Truve, M.M. from New York City, passing out flour noodles.


    42.
    MS PAN - Mothers and children waiting in line to receive their quota of noodles. The Bishop Ford Food Center, operated by Catholic Relief Services under the direction of the Maryknoll Fathers, distributes 10,000 five-pound bags of flour noodles per month.


    43.
    CU - Sign "FOOD PRODUCTS DONATED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE U.S.A. THROUGH THE CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES. NOT TO BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED."


    44.
    CU - Bag of noodles PAN TO HEAD CU - Father Truve. The Center fixes the flour into noodles in order that the Chinese refugees can prepare them. Present day noodle production can only supply each family with noodles every 2 1/2 months.


    45.
    MS - Aged women waiting in line


    46.
    MS - Father Truve passing out flour noodles to young mother with baby on back


    47.
    MS - Aged woman receiving noodles - two takes


    48.
    HEAD CU - Grandmother with grandchild on back


    49.
    EX-CU HEAD - Child


    50.
    HEAD CU - Little girl with little brother on her back waiting for noodles


    51.
    HEAD CU - Young Chinese refugee baby




    Initials



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: HONGKONG ... The population of this British colony set in the belly of Red China is in itself the barometer of China's state of mind, and today the needle points, unsurprisingly enough, to discontent. Of her present population of 2,700,000, perhaps a million are refugees from Communism. Thousands of families of ten or more, married couples with or without children, and single individuals have given up varying statuses in mainland China to settle in Hongkong with little, much, or nothing of their previous belongings.

    A devastating fire in a densely-packed squatter area wiped out the makeshift homes of 53,000 people on Christmas night, 1953, finally forcing the Hongkong government to set about definite plans for housing the apparently unending stream of newcomers from across the frontier of Red China. Because the United Nations does not consider the immigrants from Red China bonafide refugees, no international funds have been provided for their support. Result: Hongkong carries the entire burden herself.

    The squatter areas lack any semblance of streets or walkways, livestock cohabit the miserable rooms with their human owners, and the process of birth and death proceeds mid the constant mealtime cooking of whatever rice and vegetables the families may have gotten by peddling or manual labour. There are few jobs the breadwinner may seek, and there are too many seeking them. Despair wears an untroubled look on the patient Chinese countenance, but both the British and the Chinese officials bearing the brunt of the refugee problem attest that most of these people have no higher hope than day-to-day survival. Public funds are limited and private philanthropies, except for various Christian church missions, are almost non-existent.

    Where they once dallied with privately constructed 'cottages' for the refugees, the hard-pressed British administrators can now look back on five years of grandiose and eye-filling construction: gigantic H-shaped settlement 'blocks,' seven storeys high, with shops on the ground floors and schools on the roofs. Fireproof, rigidly supervised (each room has a picture of the occupants, their names, and posted rent receipt), the great terraced buildings are a striking, unforgettable part of the new Hongkong landscape. They teem with the tireless throngs that spell the same of China to anyone who has been there, the multifarious and unending movements of the people at work and at play, the bubbling of teapots and the mysteries of food cooking according to the varying traditions of Canton, Soochow, Shanghai, Szechwan, and the rest of China's universe.

    The settlers are those who squatted on the site before it was cleared of the packing boxes, flattened kerosene cans,and corrugated iron sheets that comprised the squatter 'city'. Many of them live on the earnings of regular jobs in Hongkong's new factories, but all and gimcracks in the swarming streets of the colony.

    Rooms in the 'resettlement estates' are of varying sizes: for $1.60 per month a family of three to four adults will share a 7x12 room, for $2.35 monthly 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 adults share a 10x12 room (a child under ten years old is considered half an adult). For as much as $4.70 per month ten adults, sometimes of two different families, share a 12x20 room. These rentals will not only pay current expenses of operating the 'estates,' but they will also in time repay the entire cost of the land and the buildings. The rooms are admittedly inadequate, but are considered a kind of permanent emergency quarters. With most of the inhabitants working irregularly, fortunate to earn $20 or more per month, the rents are low but not nominal.

    Nearly 250,000 people, or 9% of the population, now live in these enormous 'resettlement estates,' but another 360,000, or 13% of Hongkong's people, are still squatters: living and breeding in the hill-grappling huts overlooking one of the world's most beautiful harbours.

    Another 5%, or 135,000 people, are 'boat-dwellers', who live their entire lives afloat. A small percentage of these are relatively prosperous, owning motor-driven junks that bring in enough fish to sustain entire families from their revenues, but most of these people live as marginally as their compatriots in the squatter shacks. An undetermined, uncounted number of them are refugee fisher-folk from Red China, who fled to Hongkong rather than join the oppressive fishermen's communes, which require the individualistic 'boat-people' to hand over their hard-won catches to the government. Speaking what amounts to their own dialect, marrying only within their own kind, China's 'boat-people' are illiterate and unpolitical; their dislike for Communism, however, is based on the same grounds of personal harassment asserted by the other refugees.

    But rich, poor, or middle-class, the refugee from mainland China is consumed by the daily fear of what may happen to his relatives still behind the Bamboo Curtain, what may indeed happen to him if he is too outspoken. The flags of Nationalist China fly defiantly from the shacks, the apartment houses, and the sampans, but the Communist agents are ever present. Contacts between the Chinese in Hongkong and any westerners, the British included, are few and generally official in nature.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA27B051AFR15XTL5HID90YGOTS
    Media URN:
    VLVA27B051AFR15XTL5HID90YGOTS
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    22/01/1959
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:05:59:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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