Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, Hong Kong Island
The site of the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (HKMCD) was originally occupied by Lei Yue Mun Fort, a British military installation that had been built in 1887 to protect Victoria Harbour from the east and which had seen most of its action during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941. In the run-up to Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997, the fort was to be developed into a museum dedicated to the Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers), the locally-raised multi-ethnic formation that had, since the 19th century, been the colony’s own home-defence force and which had also fought the Japanese in World War II.
However, in the wake of the ‘handover’ a more Chinese-centric design was favoured. When the new museum opened its doors in 2000, it told the story of 600 years of China protecting its coastal borders against foreign aggression, underlining the historical ties that existed between Hong Kong and the mainland. The permanent exhibition galleries cover the Qing and Ming periods, the British colonial period, the Japanese occupation and the period after the ‘handover’.
The Second World War still occupies an important place in these galleries. But the HKMCD allocates much attention to the Chinese guerrillas of the East River Column, whose recruits had come from both Hong Kong and neighbouring Guangdong Province, to illustrate Hong Kong’s part in the overall anti-Japanese resistance in China. It emphasised how Hong Kong’s protection had been dependent on mainland China in the past and continues to do so in the present (currently provided by a continent of the People’s Liberation Army).
Source: Daniel Schumacher