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Grounded at Kai Tak

Chinese Aircraft Impounded in Hong Kong, 1949–1952

The tale of a legal saga surrounding seventy-one airplanes in the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War.

Set against the backdrop of regional and international post–Second World War tensions, Grounded at Kai Tak is the most comprehensive account of the complex legal struggle for ownership of seventy-one airplanes belonging to the two main Chinese airlines, which were stranded at Kai Tak airfield in Hong Kong at the end of the Chinese Civil War. The resulting contest for possession of them took place in the courts and among politicians and diplomats on three continents. In the process, the struggle became entangled with the anti-communist policies of the United States in the emerging Cold War, British hopes for the restoration of her pre-war commercial position in China, disagreements between nations about recognition of the new government in Peking, and the delicate balance that the colonial government of Hong Kong had to keep to preserve the colony’s interests. Merry tells the tale of this legal saga by weaving together archival documents and news reports of the day, revealing the international alignments that emerged from the aftermath of the wars and the colorful cast of actors that influenced the outcome of the dispute.

296 pages | 6 x 9

Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series

Asian Studies: East Asia

History: Asian History

Law and Legal Studies: Legal History

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Table of Contents

1. The Saga of the Chinese Aircraft
2. Hong Kong in 1949
3. China in 1949
4. Great Britain in 1949
5. The USA in 1949
6. The Planes Fly In
7. Insurrection
8. The Tussle for Control
9. The US Ramps Up the Pressure
10. Waiting for Judgment
11. Sir Leslie’s Surprise
12. Detaining the Planes
13. Two Opinions
14. A Most Unfriendly Attitude
15. Change in Mood
16. Back to Court
17. Full Court Again
18. And so to London
19. Aftermath
20. Appraisal
21. Epilogue
Timeline: Chronology of Principal Relevant Events

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