The regulation of customary practices under colonial administration: Kinship and mortgages in a Hong Kong village

Kwok Shing CHAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines two Chinese customary forms of mortgage, dian (典) and diya (抵押), in a Tang (鄧) lineage village in rural Hong Kong under British colonial rule. It finds that the colonial government was active in imposing a set of standardized administrative rules and legal measures to regulate these two customary practices. And, an examination of 314 records of mortgages in a lineage community during the period 1905–65 reveals that diya was a common form. This form of mortgage bears the following characteristics: non-kin ties played a more active and dominant role; Tang mortgagors did not receive special interest rates from kin mortgagees; both grain and cash were used as means of paying interest, but the latter was more common; one-year loans were the most common in both land and house mortgages; the majority of cases had a one-year redemption period; and monthly interest rates were usually in the range of 1 per cent to 2 per cent of the principal loan. The findings of this article complement the current literature on the nature of British colonial rule and on the role of non-agnatic ties in mortgage practices in a Chinese lineage village.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-396
Number of pages20
JournalChina Information
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • British colonial policy
  • Chinese customary mortgage
  • collateral loan
  • corporate estate
  • kinship ties
  • moneylending

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