You know how I mentioned Hong Kong in the last post? Well, Hong Kong has its own history as well.
Zip back to the Opium Wars: China is defeated and humiliated, forced to concede Hong Kong to Britain. But here’s the thing: Hong Kong is nothing at this point. They get some salt from it and not much more. The place that would one day host one of the most dense populations in the world was more sparsely populated than toast with a teaspoon of Nutella on it.
Then why did Britain even want it? The thing about Hong Kong is that it was nicely situated, not too far from Macau and other European trading ports. And the British didn’t have their own trading port like the Portuguese, so they saw an opportunity to make money with a bit of investment, and they took it.
Zipping back to WWII times, Hong Kong is very profitable, with a population of about 1,500,000 people. However, what it also is is very far away. And with Britain’s forces spread thin fighting Germany, there is almost nothing to spare for Hong Kong.
Mostly Canadian troops end up there to defend Hong Kong. From what? Imperial Japan, that has been gobbling up land like a child with a full, mostly unprotected cake. The nations surrounding Japan are no match for it; China has already been taking a severe beating since the thirties, and Korea has been under Japan’s thumb since 1910.
So, 1942, Japan is bearing down on Hong Kong. The defenders are no match for the superior numbers of Japan, and they are overwhelmed. Raping, killing, and looting is going on unchecked, as is characteristic of Imperial Japan. The attack started around the same time as the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the bombing in Darwin, Australia.
And it lasts until Christmas day, when finally, the British government surrenders Hong Kong to Japan in order to stop the widespread killing and raping. This day is known as Black Christmas.
Hong Kong stays in Japanese hands until the end of the war. By the end, through mistreatment, fleeing Chinese, and general starvation, the population in Hong Kong is 500,000 roughly.
Hong Kong’s future, however, is bright after the war, and especially after the Communists win control of China, but that’s another story.