Resistance in Colonial and Communist China, 1950-1963: Anatomy of a Riot, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Resistance in Colonial and Communist China, 1950-1963

Anatomy of a Riot, 1st Edition

By R. B. E. Price


126 pages

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The history of colonial East Asia is a human anatomy describing beneficial organs of foreign rule. Proclaiming itself a schematic diagram open to inspection, the anatomy of the late British Empire nevertheless obscured much more than it revealed. This analogy in Price’s provocative Cold War history is not presented only as an insight on imperialism but deciphers competing nationalist ideologies, too. The Kuomintang contended vigorously against communist rule in southern China for a decade after the end of the civil war in 1949 and Chinese communists disparaged British colonialism in Hong Kong in a war of words peaking in 1956–1957. These clashes of will did not produce new rulers in either place. They informed a period of Sino-British strategic partnership based on recognition that a capitalist enclave in southern China had its uses.


By focusing on the Hong Kong region, Resistance in Colonial and Communist China compares anatomies of the British colonial government, the Chinese communists and stateless members of the remnant Kuomintang (1950–1963). Price asserts that after 1949, the colonial government of Hong Kong politically favoured the Kuomintang organised crime societies over their communist nationalist adversaries despite historiographical explanation that it favoured neither.


This book challenges traditional concepts of the British colonial government and its attitude towards communist China. It engages in current debates surrounding Britain’s past by presenting a particularly devious episode of late colonial history.


"There is still a fair bit of nostalgia in Hong Kong for British colonialism that ended in 1997. This book provides an essential reminder of the coloniser’s purpose and shifting interests. The 1956 riot, now a distant event, is brought back to life by Rohan Price. He has dissected it by focussing on British duplicity – it was always about what was best for the colonial master". - Christine Loh Kung-wai, former Hong Kong Undersecretary for the Environment and author of Underground Front (Hong Kong University Press)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Communist Anatomy (1950 to 1955)


    1. Colonial Recognitions
    2. The Anti-Rightist Purge in Mainland China

Chapter 2 The Colonial Anatomy: The 1956 Riot


    1. Who Started the Riot of 1956?
    2. A Hapless Civilian and his Widow
    3. Anatomical questions

Chapter 3 1963


    1. The Crackdown Begins
    2. British Admissions
    3. The Hyatt Americans
    4. History of KMT Enemy Status

Chapter 4 Anatomies Examined


    1. The Colonial Anatomy
    2. The Communist Anatomy
    3. The KMT Anatomy

Chapter 5 Orthodoxy


    1. Orthodoxy and Technical Knowledge
    2. Human Rights and the New Imperialism


About the Author

R.B.E. Price is a Lecturer-at-Law at Southern Cross University, Australia and has held visiting professorships across China. His other publications include Reading Colonies: Property and Control of the British Far East (2016, City University Press of Hong Kong), the biography of a Hong Kong land officer, Going Native: The Passions of Philip Jacks (2016, Australian Scholarly Publishing) and Violence and Emancipation in Colonial Ideology (forthcoming). His current project is a theoretical work, ‘On Occupation’.

About the Series

Routledge Focus on the History of Conflict

The history of war and warfare often contains events and episodes that in themselves took place over a relatively short period of time but which have developed wider historical resonance. This series of books, part of the Routledge Focus series of short form volumes, usually somewhere between the average length of a journal article and a monograph, sheds a light on key topics within the history of conflict - taking a broadly international perspective and with all eras represented.

Routledge will welcome new proposals for books in the series of less than 50,000 words. Please address any queries to Rob Langham at



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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Asia / China
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain