Pop Gingle’s Cold War

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During its first century as a colonial entrepôt (1841-1941), Hong Kong was defined by free trade imperialism and global interconnection. Founded to anchor the opium trade between British India and Qing China, Hong Kong emerged in the late nineteenth century as the principal hub of overseas Chinese migration to and from North America and Southeast Asia. The Second World War’s brutal Japanese occupation and the Cold War seemed to spell doom for Hong Kong’s future as a center of mobility and exchange, however. The unraveling of European Asian empires, the rise in regional anti-Chinese nationalisms, and the collapse in U.S.-China relations all undermined the established commercial networks passing through the territory. In reality, Hong Kong’s fraught continuation as a Crown colony allowed it to persist as a node of unique and overlapping political possibilities and economic interactions. This article investigates early Cold War Hong Kong as an interstitial node of contested sovereignties and loyalties through the shifty figure of American restaurateur “Pop” Gingle. A charismatic and shrewd opportunist, Gingle deployed mounting U.S. regional influence as cover over his non-aligned personal empire of patronage, money, and information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPacific America : histories of transoceanic crossings
Place of PublicationHonolulu
PublisherUniversity of Hawaiʻi Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780824855765, 0824855760, 9780824881511, 0824881516
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Hong Kong
  • Cold War
  • ex-patriot community
  • non-state actors
  • espionage


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