On the heels of World War I, Chinese nationalism grew stronger and more influential. The Strike-Boycott of 1925-1926 was an indication that the power of such revolutionary nationalists movements was beginning to be felt across the harbor in Hong Kong – and there was little the British could do about it.
The situation in the region became even more volatile when troops under foreign command killed more than 50 Chinese protesters in Canton. Union and labor leaders in Canton called for a general strike in southern China, especially in the symbolically imperialist Hong Kong.
In the first two weeks of the strike, more than 50,000 left Hong Kong for the mainland in protest. A run on the banks and aggressive picket lines resulted in an economic standstill, as close to 250,000 more residents streamed across the border. By the time the strike and accompanying boycott ended in 1926, China’s influence over the colony had been clearly reaffirmed.