All Together Now


Hong Kong Protest

The destiny of Hong Kong is now the same as the destiny of China.  There is no escaping.

- T L Tsim

Hundreds of thousands of people pack a Hong Kong downtown street while marching to Hong Kong government headquarters Thursday 1 July 2004.  They are demanding full democracy and venting anger at the central government for denying them the right to elect a successor to the territory's unpopular leader.  Hong Kong, the former British colony, on Thursday marked the seventh anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Source:  2 July 2004

Apartment with a View

The downside of life in the People's Paradise - typical dwelling of Chinese workers

Source:  posted 010 January 2006 (edited 10 January 2006)

Kowloon Housing Estates

Kowloon, Hong Kong 1983

Source: Georg Gerster His photos remind me a great deal of the aerial photos of Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Kowloon Walled City

Population density - 1,900,000 / km²

The city of London has a population density of 4,669 / km²; Hong Kong has a density of 6,206 / km²).  Said to be the most densely populated area on Earth until its demolition in 1993, Kowloon Walled City in hong kong was a near self-sufficient, self-regulated area pretty much un-touched by the rest of the world.  In 1898 the majority of Hong Kong was handed over to the British, this tiny area being one of the excepted areas on the understanding that Chinese troops stationed there didn’t interfere with British rule.  The next year the British went back on the agreement, attacked the city and found no inhabitants.  Over the next few decades the question of ownership wasn’t really raised and the population (at that time residing in low-level buildings) increased.

After World War II, squatters moved in and the real growth began, both in numbers and building size.  Surrounded by discussion about the future of the walled city and half-hearted attempts by different groups to assume control, the people within the walls started to modify their homes, building upwards, interconnecting apartments, slowly shutting out sunlight to all but those on the outer-edges.  The triads even took control of the city until 1974, finally driven out by 3,000 seperate police raids.

In 1984 the Chinese and British authorities finally realised that living conditions in the walled city were possibly behind the times (the stench was apparently horrific and just walking down an alleyway would usually result in a downpour due to the plumbing systems between buildings) and agreed to demolish the area.  This, however, did not actually happen until 1994.

A few movies were filmed inside the city prior to its demise, the most important being Jean-Claude van Damme’s impeccable, Oscar-worthy nugget of cinema, Bloodsport.  Also, according to Wikipedia, Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City was largely based on Kowloon Walled City.


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