History of Hong Kong

Hong Kong protest 1967Gamma-Keystone / Getty Images A pro-China protester arrested by police officers during a demonstration in Hong Kong on May 18, 1967.

Correction appended: Sept. 29, 2014, 9:50 a.m. E.T.

For a region of only about 400 square miles, Hong Kong has seen more than its share of protest in the last century. The uprising that sprang into action this week — as “Occupy Central” protesters demand the ability to elect their next local government head, the Chief Executive, without the intervention of Beijing — is part of a long history of political conflict in the area.

1967: Communists in the British colony of Hong Kong rise in support of the Cultural Revolution sweeping China

When England took control of Hong Kong in 1842 after the first Opium War, British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston is said to have remarked that it was “a barren island with hardly a house upon it” — but by the middle of the 20th century Hong Kong was becoming a prosperous business center. The cultural difference between the Communist mainland and the neighboring region was thrown into stark contrast in 1967.

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