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From Conquest to Compromise: A Study of the China-Hong Kong Border

Leslie Sklair


There are very few land borders in the world today that separate what are euphemistically known as less developed from advanced industrial countries. The most obvious case is, of course, the Mexican-U.S. border and it is notable that the rapidly growing discipline of "Borderlands Studies" has its main intellectual origins in the study of this particular border (Stoddard, 1986). Research on the Mexico-U.S. border has contributed in a number of ways to the general analysis of development as well as to the specifics of U.S.-Mexican border interactions.

There is, however, another "first world-third world" border that has attracted very little attention as a border per se, though it has attracted a great deal of attention in other ways. I refer to the Hong Kong-China border which separates the largest and one of the poorest less developed countries from what has been aptly labelled, the first industrialized colony. The immensity of China faces, along a border of less than fifty kilometres, what is now one of the top financial centres of the world and, on a per capita income basis, one of the richest two or three societies in Asia.

In this paper I set out to locate the Hong Kong-China border within a "Borderlands Studies" perspective as part of a larger comparative study of the mainsprings of development.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229