Memories We Share: Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s
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Social Ambience

The population of Hong Kong surged by 2.4 million people in just over a decade after the Second World War, but government social welfare policies failed to catch up with the increasing demands made on them. At the same time, citizens were becoming ever more conscious of their rights, and, influenced by political movements in mainland China, a succession of resistance campaigns were launched in Hong Kong. A hike in the fare for the Star Ferry provoked demonstrations in 1966, while in 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution in China, a labour strike at an artificial flower factory in San Po Kong sparked riots, prompting the Hong Kong government to impose a curfew to calm the situation. In 1971, university students launched a campaign to defend Chinese sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, and in 1973 they organised demonstrations to protest against corruption typified by the Godber Scandal. Both campaigns mark the contours of this volatile period of Hong Kong’s history.

The social movements of the 1960s presented an opportunity for the Hong Kong government to give greater consideration to youth issues. A range of recreational initiatives for young people were launched, including the organisation of dance parties and the development of country parks. To promote a sense of belonging among Hong Kong people, the government organised Hong Kong Week in 1967 and the Festival of Hong Kong in 1969, both of which focused on the theme “Hong Kong is Our Home” to emphasise a collective identity. At the same time, district offices under the Home Affairs Department were set up across Hong Kong to facilitate communication between the government and citizens. Public facilities such as football fields, basketball courts and swimming pools were built and funds were allocated for medical services and social benefits. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established to fight corruption and reduce tension in society.


  • The anti-corruption movement in Hong Kong

  • Violent clashes between police and ICAC personnel

  • The parade at the Hong Kong Festival (1)

  • The parade at the Hong Kong Festival (2)