The Chinese Club
The Chinese Club (Chinese: 華商會所) is a private business and dining club in Central, Hong Kong. Its members include senior local business people and, when originally established, those holding the high level, and exclusively Chinese, position of comprador in Western trading firms.
The Chinese Club was established in 1897 by Australian born Tse Tsan-tai (謝纘泰 or 謝贊泰), a social and political reformer, a merchandiser and a reporter, who vowed to overturn the Qing dynasty by force. At the time of its founding, Chinese (or part Chinese) men were never proposed for membership at the prestigious, and Caucasian, Hong Kong Club irrespective of their social or business standing in the community.
Tse, together with Cheung Tsoi, Luk King-fo and Leung Lan-fan, decided to found a parallel club for Chinese to meet and socialize, and to raise funds from wealthy local businessmen for the revolution. Tse was already friends with business leaders sympathetic to the cause, such as Robert Ho Tung.
Ho Tung became the first chairman, projecting a less revolutionary image in the minds of the Hong Kong Police, reducing the likelihood of Police raids on the Club.
The Chinese Club was originally in Wyndham Street, but moved a few months later to Queen's Road. Starting in the 1920s it was housed on the top floor of the Bank of Canton Building at 6 Des Voeux Road Central (opposite Prince's Building) until 1964. The Club moved into its own premises in 1967.
Originally the membership was open to "any Chinese man" (this included Eurasian men). Membership is now open to "all persons of Chinese origin".
The Chinese Club Building
The Clubhouse building at 21-22 Connaught Road Central opened on February 1, 1967.
As early as 1927 the Club created a building fund. Two adjacent three story buildings were purchased on the November 30, 1940. One building was sold during the Japanese occupation to pay debts.
In the 1960s, construction of a neighboring building undermined the pilings on the Club's building and the Government condemned it. The Club then built a new 17 story Clubhouse. The basement through third floors were sold to pay off the construction mortgages.
The Club owns 12 floors of the Chinese Club Building. The 8th to the 15th floors house the Club's facilities.
- Carrol, John (2005). Edge of Empires: Chinese Elites and British Colonials in Hong Kong. p. 101. ISBN 0674017013.
As the Hong Kong Club was the mechanism for reaffirming social prestige among the European community, the Chinese Club became the gentleman's club for the Chinese community. Membership and directorship were restricted to some of the most prominent Chinese and Eurasian businessmen and professionals in Hong Kong.
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