José Rizal — linguist, swordsman, ophthalmologist and founding father of Filipino nationalism — angered the ruling clique in the Philippines with his satirical novels about corrupt colonial officials and hypocritical clergymen. He went into self-imposed exile in Hong Kong in the fall of 1891. During his first year, he befriended many of the city’s leading luminaries including the editor of the Hongkong Telegraph. He used the newspaper to continue his advocacy for Filipino rights, publishing several articles that slipped past government censors in the Philippines and reached an audience starved for dissenting voices. He was arrested en route to Cuba and eventually executed by the Spanish authorities in Manila. A plaque in Hong Kong’s Central district commemorates Rizal’s brief, but industrious, stay in the city.
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