Chinese Aircraft Grounded at Kai Tak 1949-1952
February 14, 2023 (Tuesday), 12:30 – 13:30
Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong (Live via Zoom)
Registration: Please click Here
In the spring of 1949 as the Chinese Civil War reached its conclusion, the two main Chinese airlines, controlled by the Nationalist government, moved their aircraft to Kai Tak aerodrome in the then British Crown Colony of Hong Kong for safety from the advancing Communists. There followed a 3-year struggle for ownership of the planes between the PRC and American interests who had bought the planes from the Nationalists. The British and Hong Kong governments were caught in the middle, insisting that ownership was purely a legal question, despite pressure from the USA and the PRC and the dispute becoming enmeshed by contemporary political tensions. The ensuing litigation raised issues of international law including those of Sovereign Immunity and State Succession to Property. This talk, which is based on the author’s recent book, will examine those aspects, how they arose and how they were resolved, and describe the international tensions in which they were set.
Malcolm Merry spent more than 40 years in Hong Kong as a practising barrister, author, lecturer/senior lecturer and associate/adjunct professor at the University of Hong Kong. He is known for his writings on land law, but more recently has developed an interest in and published works on Hong Kong’s legal history, including two books with Hong Kong University Press, The Unruly New Territories (2020) and Grounded at Kai Tak (2022).
Professor Albert Hung-yee Chen, Cheng Chan Lan Yue Professor and Chair of Constitutional Law, University of Hong Kong