About this project
This website is part of my PhD research at Curtin University.
My research adds to the field of anthropological and historical studies on refugees, asylum seekers and boat people. Until now, the stories surrounding Vietnamese boat people (VBP) in Hong Kong (HK) have not been presented on the web and the voices of these people have not been heard.
Between 1975 and 2000, more than 213,000 VBP sought asylum in HK, of these 143,000 were resettled in other countries, more than 67,000 were repatriated to their country of origin and 1,368 were resettled locally. The seemingly never-ending arrivals of VBP, became known as the ‘Vietnamese boat people crisis’. The name exemplified the difficulty of finding resettlement, the financial burden, the riots and disturbances in detention camps, the legal challenges lodged by the VBP regarding the screening procedure, the illegality of detention, and the complex repatriation schemes: forced, voluntary and orderly.
The main objective of the research is to compile a comprehensive historical account of the HK VBP crisis and consequently to identify lessons that can be learnt from the manner in which, the HK Government handled the 25 year-long crisis. The study contributes to the existing literature on this subject, by inclusion of stakeholder voices that are missing in research to date: VBP, government officials, NGOs and local citizens.
On the website, research findings are presented visually and with sounds. The website allows me to creatively exhibit materials related to the history of VBP in HK in ways that the traditional written thesis could not, i.e. films and audio interviews. The website includes the voices of the interviewees that reflect their feelings and emotion as they recalled their memories. For example, the magnitude of the historical riot took place on 20 May 1995 in the Whitehead Detention Centre was powerfully depicted in the documentary film, where one can hear the sound of chaos and sense the seriousness of the situation through the scene of thousands of armed police officers pushed themselves against the furious detainees. The website also displays multiple images of artworks created by Vietnamese while they were in detention centres, maps and pictures of the Vietnamese refugee camps and detention centres in HK, and hundreds of images of VBP in HK throughout the 25-year crisis.
You can find further information and analysis at ‘espace – Curtin’s institutional repository’ espace.curtin.edu.au
The author acknowledges the contribution of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in supporting this research.
Carina Hoang – Author