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In Session: The Making of a Good Meal: How Asian Diets Reflect Shifting Political and Commercial Priorities
3: Countering Chinese Communist Infiltration into Rural Hong Kong: The Vegetable Marketing Scheme, c. 1946-1967
Monday, March 22, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Hong Kong University, Hong Kong
Against the backdrop of decolonization and escalating Cold War tension, this article examines the under-explored battle for hearts and minds in rural Hong Kong among immigrant farmers. Using archival records housed in London and Hong Kong, this article examines how Chinese Communists and the colonial regime competed for political legitimacy in rural Hong Kong after the Second World War. Chinese Communists mobilized farmers through the Society of Plantations which actively interfered with colonial governance in the New Territories. This paper uncovers an effort by the colonial government to counteract such mainland-inspired agitations by introducing the Vegetable Marketing Scheme in 1946 to monopolize vegetable wholesale in the New Territories. Not only did such effort contain the spread of communist activities, but it also reduced Hong Kong’s dependency on China for vegetable supply, making the colony largely unaffected by the food stoppage called on by the leftists during the 1967 riots.