Robert BickersProf. Robert Bickers, Centre Co-Director 

Robert Bickers is a historian of colonialism, in particular of the British Empire and its relations with China and the histories of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and modern Chinese history. He has authored eight books and countless articles on the British in China, and overseen numerous projects including the Hong Kong History Project and Historical Photographs of China. Robert Bickers is Professor of History at the University of Bristol and is currently working on a new research project covering the history of Hong Kong. 
Dr. Vivian Kong, Centre Co-Director

Vivian Kong is Senior Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at the University of Bristol. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Vivian received her BA and MPhil from the University of Hong Kong, and completed her PhD at Bristol in 2019. Since her PhD she has worked closely with Bristol's Hong Kong History Project. Her research to-date has focused on Hong Kong and its transnational connections, and she has published on migration, identities, and civil society in interwar Hong Kong. Her first book, Multiracial Britishness: Global Networks in Hong Kong 1910-45 (Cambridge University Press), explains the long history of engagement that the multiracial residents of Hong Kong have made with Britishness, and how this affects identity formation in the city today. 


Prof. Ray Yep, Centre Research Director 

Ray Kin-man Yep is a historian specialising in the political economy of China's reforms, late colonial governance of Hong Kong and contentious politics. He has published in leading peer-reviewed journals and has authored multiple books on Hong Kong studies. Ray has held visiting positions in Bristol University, Peking University, University of Macau, Brookings Institution and Academia Sinica. He is also active in public service and has served in the Central Policy Unit, Advisory Council for Environment, and Strategy Subcommittee of Sustainable Development Council in Hong Kong.

Postgraduate Researchers

Alex CheungAlex Cheung 

Seeking Home in the Colonial Port: Migration and Settlement of Chinese Workers in Hong Kong, c. 1900-1941

Alex Cheung's research examines the daily life experience of working-class migrants in early twentieth-century Hong Kong when lower-class Chinese moved across Asian port cities to seek fortunes. Many came to stay in Hong Kong, and colonial officials found it necessary to govern urban problems such as housing, labour force, and cross-border movement.

Focusing on the interaction of the colonial state and working-class migrants, he will explore both opportunities and restrictions of the British colonial port for its mobile residents. In the broader context of port city and migration in modern time, he seek to address on the meaning of mobility for lower-class port-city dwellers.
Phyllis ChanPhyllis Chan 

Ambiguous Nationality: British Subjects of Chinese Descent, c.1880-1962

Phyllis Chan's research looks at the legal nationality of people of Chinese descent born  in Hong Kong. Prior to the 1960s, English common law bestowed British subjecthood (which in turn conferred nationality rights) on all those born within British dominion, no matter their colour.

However, due to imperial racial hierarchies, patchy birth registration, and the open border with mainland China, officials often questioned the rights of subjects of Chinese descent, or saw their status as ‘doubtful’ or ambiguous. Her thesis will explore these cases to interrogate the legal and cultural criteria seen as necessary for being ‘British’, and identify the evidence used by subjects who claimed to fulfil them.
Lamia Lung

Hong Kong to Britain: Transnational Families and Migration, c. 1950-1997

Lamia Lung's project explores the experiences of Hong Kong diaspora in Britain from 1950 to 1997, examining the interplay between transnational family linkages, social mobility and identity construction. Hong Kong people who came to Britain had distinct cultural characteristics which set them apart from other Chinese ethnic communities and even their own families in Hong Kong.

She seeks to demonstrate that immigration to Britain was not a one-way process. Through their transnational connections, Hong Kong people from a diverse background with often different aspirations shaped social and political policies in Britain.
Wai Li Chu

The Cold War and Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong’s future, 1979-1984

Wai Li Chu obtained his MPhil at the Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University, before coming to study at Bristol. His project examines the wider contexts of the negotiations between Britain and China over Hong Kong’s future, such as discussions with other powers including the United States and Australia. The project also looks at how decolonisation globally influenced relations between Britain and its colony in this period.

A part-time student, he work at the Public Record Office in Hong Kong as an Assistant Archivist.
Tracy LeungTracy Leung

Governing Youth in post-WWII Hong Kong, 1945-1970s

Tracy Leung's research examines how the colonial government’s strategy in the management of youth changed in relation to the evolving threat of communism in Asia and the global trend towards anti-colonialism in post-WWII Hong Kong. It will explain the staggering change in the government’s attitude towards youth welfare policies, looking into how the colonial state linked up with voluntary youth organizations to deal with the problems of ‘juvenile delinquency’ and regulated youth leisure.

It also engages the broader imperial context by examining how the post- war youth policy in Hong Kong compared with Britain itself and other British colonies, addressing to what extent it was an influential model in and of itself.
Ryan IuRyan Iu

Imperial Graduates: Mapping Hong Kong’s Elites’ Networks across the British Empire, 1862-1941

Ryan Iu's project investigates the Hong Kong Chinese and Eurasian elite in a local, transregional, and intra-imperial context. These were the alumni of either the Government Central School (est. 1862) or the Diocesan Boys’ School (est. 1869). Through colonial education, they secured a pathway to elite status, and an access to an established ‘old boys’ network’ and the political/ commercial opportunities to expand into Britain and across the Empire.

In time, these local elites formed transpacific, maritime, and intra-imperial connections and significantly causing the origin of internationalism in early Hong Kong under colonial rule.