‘Hong Kong for Ulster’ report passed without comment

The News Letter, Oct 25, p6, 1983
The News Letter, Oct 25, p6, 1983

The News Letter of October 1983 was packed with news of paramilitary supergrass cases, the ongoing IRA campaign, and the massive Maze jailbreak of the previous month.

Internationally, the paper was also carrying tales of unrest in Grenada and the hugely bloody bombing of a US military base in Beirut.

Amid such stories of violence and intrigue sat a six-paragraph, roughly 180-word article on page six of the October 25 edition about a call to move the whole Hong Kong population to Northern Ireland before the Chinese took it over from Britain in 1997.

This piece – ‘Ulster to adopt Hong Kong?’ – characterises academic Christie Davies’ suggestion as being an attempt to “save the finest example of the capitalistic system from extinction” by relocating it wholesale to Northern Ireland – adding that Mr Davies believed that by confining Hong Kong’s inhabitants to north Co Londonderry, the Province’s indigenous inhabitants “would not be disturbed”.

The article sparked no Morning View editorial that day, or in the two days which immediately followed.

It also seemed not to have stirred the imagination or ire of the wider public, with no follow-up articles on the suggestion published.

The result is that, almost 32 years later, it has earned several times more column inches than its editor of the day ever intended.