Christian Identity and Business Success: Lin Zifeng (1892-1971)and his Public Career in Hong Kong

Wing Hin Kam (2011). Christian Identity and Business Success: Lin Zifeng (1892-1971)and his Public Career in Hong Kong PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Wing Hin Kam
Thesis Title Christian Identity and Business Success: Lin Zifeng (1892-1971)and his Public Career in Hong Kong
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Chi-Kong Lai
Associate Professor Andrew Bonnell
Dr Patrick Jory
Total pages 340
Total colour pages 3
Total black and white pages 337
Language eng
Subjects 210302 Asian History
Abstract/Summary This dissertation explores the significance of Lin Zifeng’s Christian identity for his public career by examining his engagement in educational and philanthropic endeavours as well as in his business ventures. Lin was a prominent figure in the Chaozhou Christian business community in twentieth century Hong Kong. Through studying Lin it enables us to understand the relationship between the Christian identity of Hong Kong businessmen and their successful public careers in twentieth century Hong Kong. This dissertation draws on substantial archival materials regarding Lin and his enterprises in various archival collections. I also conduct oral history to supplement the material which has not yet be discovered by the existing scholarly. I use textual analysis to examine how Lin’s Christian belief influenced his philosophy of philanthropy, business and Christian education. I employ Martin L. Maehr’s theory to analyze how significant his Christian beliefs were in motivating his educational and philanthropic endeavours. I also use Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of different forms of capital to explain how Lin accumulated and utilized his capital through different social activities. I apply location theory to illustrate how Lin drew on his symbolic capital to promote his banking business. Lin Zifeng is the major case study discussed in this dissertation. To explore and compare the universal practices between Christian businesspeople I use the methodology of comparative history. I select a number of Christian businesspeople who lived in Hong Kong, China and the West in order to make comparisons with Lin and his enterprises. I also select some non-Christian Chinese businesspeople to compare with Lin in order to assess the importance of native-place ties and to explore other common attributes shared by both Christian and non-Christian Chinese businesspeople. This dissertation is divided into eight chapters. Chapter 1 is the introduction. Chapter 2 discusses the business setting of twentieth century Hong Kong and provides an overview of the Christian Chaozhou business communities. Chapter 3 focuses on the formation of Lin’s Christian identity and how it influenced his philosophy of philanthropy, business, and Christian education. Chapter 4 analyzes the importance of his Christian background in contributing to his social engagement and the building of social contacts. Chapter 5 assesses how significantly Lin’s Christian identity contributed to his business practices. Chapter 6 addresses two questions: how did his Christian identity help Lin become a renowned Christian educator? What did he obtain from those projects? I have given particular attention to the establishment of the Hong Kong Baptist College. Chapter 7 discusses how Lin’s Christian identity contributed to the achievement of his Christian philanthropic endeavours. In light of the fact that no scholar has yet provided an analysis of how symbolic capital can be used in the banking business, this chapter tries to fill this gap by analyzing how Lin utilized his reputation in Christian and educational circles to boost the business of the Ka Wah Bank Ltd.
Keyword lin zifeng
christianity
christian chinese businessman
hong kong business elite
christian education
hong kong higher education
Additional Notes p.60, p.246 and p.250 please print in colour.

 
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