Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)



First Advisor

Prof. HAMPTON, Mark Andrew

Second Advisor

Prof. POON, Shuk Wah


Pressured by the Chinese authorities and the Foreign Office, the Shanghai Municipal Council was forced to compromise with the Nationalist government on the issue of the arrest of communists in the Settlement between 1927 and 1937. Planning for a gradual retreat in the face of fervid Chinese nationalism, the British government had no choice but to ask the Shanghai Municipal Council to satisfy the demands of the Chinese. Meanwhile, confronted with the communist assassinations and open assaults, the law and order in the International Settlement was under serious threat if the Shanghai Municipal Council refused to cooperate with the Nationalists.

My research is a study of the cooperation between the Chinese authorities and the Shanghai Municipal Police in arresting communists. The judicial autonomy of the Settlement authorities was severely weakened following the use of three legal processes involved in the treatments of communists, namely, arrest, extradition and reformatory measures.

This topic has a policy implication. As one of the greatest colonial powers, Britain used to exercise great influence around the world. Britain and her white settlers strive for the survival of their informal empire in China at the expense of sacrificing their judicial autonomy. My thesis offers a new conceptualisation and periodisation of British decolonisation in East Asia.

Recommended Citation

Law, K. F. P. (2015). Colonialism and compromise: The Shanghai Municipal Council and the arrest of communists, 1927-1937 (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from

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