Hong Kong

Supported in part by WYNG Foundation

From Transit to New Lives investigates refugees’ intermediary lives in Hong Kong. Through field research and documentation of several asylum seekers’ movements in Hong Kong, this project attempts to unfold the seemingly homogeneous social landscape in the heart of Metropolitan Asia, and moreover reconsiders the idea of body and mobility bound by indefinite destinations in indefinite futures. 
Hong Kong is a transition locale for asylum seekers to receive refugee status determination. Over 10,000 asylum claims were made in the area in 2016 and the number is increasing, with the majority of claimants from South Asian and African countries. An average of less than 0.05% of claims in Hong Kong are recognized and granted third-country resettlement resolution, whereas 42% of the claims are put on pending reviews lasting over 7 years— leaving thousands of individuals in a “permanently temporary” state. 

From Transit to New Lives is an ongoing inquiry on humans, places, and identifications in the context of refuge and mobility. It looks into the emotive as well as the factual contradictions of undermined bodies within a city(s) overwhelmed by capital and commerce, and hopes to connect all people through sharing stories of simple yet exceptional everyday struggles. 



​ALL IMAGES © 2014-2020

Arif, center, talks with his friends, committee members from the Refugee Union, on the rooftop of an old building in Hong Kong, China, 2015. Arif fled Bangladesh in 2009 at the age of 22. He came to Hong Kong as a refugee and had been waiting for 7 years for status approval. He and a former Indonesian domestic helper in Hong Kong gave birth to a baby girl in 2015, and the two married in 2016. Arif now hopes to receive a resident status in Hong Kong through his wife.