by Todd Crowell
20th anniversary edition
In the heart of Beijing, a large digital clock marked off the seconds until July 1, 1997, when the red, five-star flag of China would be hoisted over Hong Kong – and the grand but untried idea of “one country, two systems” would be put into practice.
Farewell, My Colony is a real-time journal of the end of an era by an objective observer. American journalist Todd Crowell captures a unique moment in history as Britain stoically soldiers through the last months of its 156 years of colonial rule, China waits restlessly to resume its sovereignty, and Hong Kong buzzes with endless speculation.
He tells how Hong Kong’s Chinese and expatriates, taipans and cagemen come to terms with the impending change of rule. He mingles with the rich and famous and common people alike. A long-term resident, he votes in elections controversially called by Governor Chris Patten. He then follows the selection of a rival legislature, and of Patten’s successor, shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa, as the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The city’s pulse is charted by his pen, through to the pomp, circumstance and partying of the day of handover itself. Now, 20 years later, Crowell has updated this valuable historical record with reflections on what has happened to Hong Kong since 1997.