Walled City Community Committee is formerly known as “Kowloon Walled City Neighborhood Welfare Promotion Committee”, which was born out of the Kowloon City Anti-Demolition Committee. The committee was founded in May 1, 1963, to unify the residents, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests and promote the welfare. The aims of the committee are to concerned about residents’ livelihood, to provide services for them and to foster the spirit of mutual help in the community.
In 1993, the Hong Kong government initiated a plan to demolish the neighborhood. In the same year, the committee registered as a non-profit organization called “Kowloon Walled City Neighborhood Welfare Promotion Committee Ltd.”. With the land allocated by government and donations from a wide cross – section of society, the community hall was completed in June 2003, which can be used for conferences, exhibitions, trainings, festivals, feasts, parties, performances etc.
Before the demolition, the committee devoted itself to the hygiene management of Kowloon Walled City that was in a state of anarchy and paid for the costs of street lighting and guideboards. It played an important role as a bridge between residents and Hong Kong government to safeguard the rights and interests of residents, particularly during the consultation about demolition compensation. Most of the residents have been properly settled in social housing and received corresponding compensations. The government also compensated the factory owners, doctors and businessmen suffering losses of the relocation.
What is noteworthy is that the committee makes efforts to building community awareness among the inhabitants. It works to bring the residents self-esteem, social recognition, respect and to help the others to realize the fact that the Walled City does not hinder the development of other parts of Hong Kong. It organizes various social activities. Before the demolition, the committee appealed to the colonial government directly to provide all kinds of public services for the walled city and reversed the view that Kowloon Walled City was isolated from other parts of Hong Kong. Furthermore, to bring up sense of belonging and sense of identity, the committee printed a number of publications which had proved the importance of the walled city in the local history. It also initiated discussions to refute the prejudice that the residents were immoral and backward, and establish a collective identity that the residents are hard working, proud of courage and achievements of the ancestors and concern for others. In 1984, the community even raised a sum of money to help the victims in Ethiopia, expressing their social consciousness to give, not only to receive welfare. All of those brought the residents increasingly respect of other citizens.
After the demolition, the committee continues to serve the residents of Kowloon Walled City. On the one hand, it helps the residents to adapt to the new life in other communities. On the other hand, it has strived for allocation land to reconstruct the community hall. With the new community hall, the committee is committed to providing various training courses and hobby courses, and organizing cultural, sports and recreational activities to promote the spirit of the community.
HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of Kowloon Walled City
Harter, Seth. “Hong Kong’s Dirty Little Secret: Clearing the Walled City of Kowloon.” Journal of Urban History 27, 1 (2000): 92-113.