Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/467

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BEFENCE — COMMERCE AND SHIPPING

123

The public revenue of the colony is derived chiefly from land, taxes, and licences, and an opium monopoly, which together more than cover the expenses of administration. A large portion of the expenditure has to be devoted to the maintenance of a strong police force. On defensive works alone (apart from military expenditure) 647,300 dollars was spent in the six years, 1886-91. Expenditure on establishments in 1897, 1,212,847 dollars.

Hong Kong has a public debt, amounting to 341,800Z. which was raised in 1887 and 1893 for waterworks, fortifications, and sanitation, and other public works. On December 31, 1897, the liabilities of the colony ex- ceeded its assets by 255 dollars.

Defence.

There is an Imperial garrison of about 2,800 men. There is also a Volunteer Artillery Corps of 176 effective members. In 1897 the Colonial contribution to Military and Volunteers was 476,869 dollars. Hong Kong is an important naval station, and the headquarters of the China Squadron. There are usually several war-vessels present. The dockyard is being ex- tended and improved. The China Squadron consists of 34 vessels in all.

Commerce and Shipping^.

The commercial intercourse of Hong Kong — virtually a part of the com- merce of China — is chiefly with Great Britain, India, Australia, the United States, and Germany, Great Britain absorbing about one-half of the total imports and exports. There being no custom house, there are no official returns of the value of the imports and exports of the colony from and to all countries, Init only mercantile estimates, according to which the former average four, and the latter two millions sterling. Hong Kong is the centre of trade in many kinds of goods. Among the principal are opium, sugar an,d flour, salt, earthenware, oil, amber, cotton and cotton goods, sandal wood, ivory, betel, vegetables, live stock, granite, &c. The Chinese tea and silk trade is largely in the hands of Hong Kong firms.

The amount of the commercial intercourse between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (Board of Trade returns) is shown in the following table for five years : —

1803

1894

1895

1896

1897

Imports into Gt. Britain from Hong Kong . .

Exports of British Pro- duce to Hong Kong .

£ 885,634 1,830,277

£ 630,818 1,809,194

£

759,441 1,908,818

£ 797,158 1,822,037

£

606,314 1,975,374

The principal imports into Great Britain from Hong Kong and exports from Great Britain to Hong Kong have been as follows in five years : —