HC Deb 03 November 1909 vol 12 cc1804-5

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the subsidiary coinage current in Hong Kong was partly British and partly Chinese; whether the Chinese coin was only accepted by money changers at a considerable discount; whether, in sympathy, the British coin was also depreciated to an almost similar extent, to the loss both of Government and of traders; whether he was aware that the Hong Kong Government appointed a Committee to suggest remedies, and that the Majority Report of the Committee recommended that the circulation of Chinese coin should be prohibited; whether, though eighteen months have elapsed, no action has yet been taken by Government; and whether the Secretary of State will instruct the Hong Kong Government to prohibit the circulation of Chinese coin with a view to enabling British coin to realise its face value in a British Colony?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)

The answer to the first four clauses of my hon. Friend's question are in the affirmative. In the Minority Report, however, of the Committee referred to a strong opinion was expressed as to the difficulty and undesirability of prohibiting the import and circulation of subsidiary Chinese coins in Hong Kong, and as to the adverse effect which such a measure would have on trade between Hong Kong and Canton. The Governor has been endeavouring to arrange with the Viceroy of the two Kwang Provinces for the cessation of the coinage in Canton until the coins reached par, and thereafter for a restriction upon output in accordance with the actual needs of the community, and it appeared from the latest report we have received on this subject, in the summer of last year, that the Viceroy was taking satisfactory measures to deal with the matter. The Secretary of State has recently requested the Governor of Hong Kong to report on the present position, and on receiving the report will consider what steps should be taken.


If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will look at the last report of the Hong Kong Government, published this summer, he will find that no answer has been received to the representations made.

Colonel SEELY

Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a question? I can hardly admit the precise accuracy of his statement, but it may be so.