Friday, September 18, 2015

LLM (Human Rights) Student Carol Xuan Profiled in the SCMP

"'We were in constant fear: former inmate tells of childhood in Hong Kong's Vietnamese refugee camps"
Raquel Carvalho
South China Morning Post
14 September 2015
When Carol Xuan was 10 years old her father picked her up out of the blue from the family home in Hai Duong, Vietnam and bundled her on to a rickety boat. She had no idea where she was going. That was 27 years ago, and while the destination is no longer a mystery, to this day she has no idea why.
     Xuan, now 37, was embarking on a harrowing and dangerous 14-day sea voyage during which she would encounter storms, sleep deprivation and severe hunger which forced her and her fellow boat people to stop off in villages along the coast of China to beg for rice.
     As dreams of hope battled the little girl's very real fears, Hong Kong's skyline shimmered before them like a mirage: "Oh my God! When we saw the lights from afar … those little dots … we were … ah! That's it," she recalled. "Lighting meant life and hope. And it meant we had survived."
     Their joy was short-lived. They were sent to Green Island, one of Hong Kong's detention camps.  "It was a very small place … Men and women were sleeping next to each other. There were no proper bathrooms. I remember we were having showers in an open space, using a blanket or something like that to cover one another," she recalled.
     Later she was transferred to Whitehead, where she spent most of her eight years in detention. The images of riots, mass demonstrations and other refugees being transferred by truck to other camps or sent back to Vietnam still haunt her... Click here to read the full article.

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