1967 riots primary sources

Submitted by mcshkdk on Sun, 01/21/2024 - 22:21

Hi all, I'm an undergrad student conducting primary-source research on the 1967 riots. I'm based in the EU, so I can't access the HKPRO and the HKPL's ground archives.

I'm looking primarily for the 1966 Kowloon disturbances report of the Commission of Inquiry, as well as the 1967 Hong Kong Disturbances internal government report.

Archives of the SCMP, the Far East Economic Review, and the Standard from 1966-68 would also be ideal. Basically, any clippings, photographs, scans etc. you might have that are related to the 1967 riots! Thank you so much. 

One publication which you might want to have a look at, if you haven’t done so already, is a book titled “Colony in Conflict” by John Cooper, published by Swindon in 1970.

It details the circumstances of the 1967 riots extremely well. Not sure how easy it would be to obtain a copy however; I have seen one first edition being sold online with an asking price of £500!

(You read correctly - five hundred GBP)!

Dear mcshkdk,

There may be useful newspapers in this database - you can search by putting the date in a YYYY-MM-DD format and use the filters to select languages you prefer: https://mmis.hkpl.gov.hk/web/guest/old-hk-collection

There are lots of digitised newspapers from across the world, including Hong Kong, here and you might like to search "Far Eastern Economic Review" in the search bar at the top right: https://archive.org/details/newspapers

Re. SCMP: I'd advise not to purchase an SCMP login from the SCMP website itself. They say that a subscription gives you access to archives - but their archives do not go back to the 1960s.

Your university or a local library might have digital access to SCMP, Far Eastern Economic Review and other resources via ProQuest and/or Nexis.

(I'm afraid I don't have a link for either of the reports you mention.)

In addition, your institution or a local library might have access to or request a trial to Gale’s digitised collection of British Foreign Office papers: https://www.gale.com/c/china-and-the-modern-world-hongkong-britain-and-china-part-ii

Some other misc. digital resources:

Lastly, just to mention that whenever you read secondary literature about the topic, try to follow up on the primary sources those scholars reference.

Hope this helps with your research.

Hi there,

I have written extensively about both the 1966 and 1967 Riots You can find references to original materials I my book ‘Criminal Justice in Hong Kong’ ( a bit of a misleading title, as you’ll see if you read it). The book is available from Routledge and your University Library should also be able to get it for you via Inter-library loan. I’ve written quite a few articles etc - try to Google my name in Google Scholar.

Ray Yep has also used archival material in his work on the 1967 Riots. Ray is now at Bristol University HK Research Centre - you can trace him there or via Google Scholar. Both of us cite original materials, often with extensive quotes from the materials archived both in the British National Archives at Kew and the HK Public Records Office. The National Archives Catalogue can be accessed via the internet; some files have been digitised so you can read material online; they will also send you copies of any files you request, for a small fee. 
if you are ever in the UK you are welcome to come & search through my collection of stuff - I have copies of the National Archives & the HK Public Records Office files, as well as camera images of the HK files.If you try the  National Archives Catalogue you might begin by searching through C9129 for starters.

happy to help if you need more!

Carol A. G. Jones

p.s. If you are in France or Germany you might try the archives kept by the French Missions in HK or German churches such as the Lutheran Church. As far as I know, no-one has ever looked at their files of events in 1967, though their missionaries were undoubtedly affected by the riots.

By the way, I have a copy of the 1966 Riot report, and the book ‘Colony in Conflict’  and numerous newspaper items. I also have copies of the  original Archived files


Carol A G Jones

Dear all,

Thanks so much for all your help! I really appreciate the databases you sent on, mrmhurst. I'd already looked at the HKPL newspaper archives, but I didn't know about the Gale collection or the Canada-HK library. Thank you so much, this will be very helpful! Thanks for your advice re. SCMP too. 

Yeah, unfortunately that copy of Colony in Conflict is quite unaccessible, and we haven't got it in my uni library... thank you anyway!

Dear Professor Jones,

It's such a great surprise to hear from you! I have read and cited from your brilliant work before (specifically Lost in China?) and it's fantastic to know that you have written more on the riots in Criminal Justice. I've now requested it from my university library, and I'll also read your and Professor Yep's articles and try to trace your primary sources.

From the Kew archives, the only (freely) available references to the riots I could find were in the conclusions of Cabinet meetings. It's incredibly generous of you to offer your own copies of archival files, thank you so much. I'm actually based in Ireland so I'm not very far from you!

That's an interesting point you make for original research in the missionary archives. I'll definitely consider any possibilities of that in the future.

I wonder if you would be willing to share any digital files you already have, for instance the camera images of the HK files, or any images of the 1966 Riot report? I don't want to cause you any inconvenience; your tips have already been very helpful. I would love to correspond more with you anyway. I'd be happy to share my student email address.

Thank you again, and looking forward to hearing back from you!