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. 



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At the end of 2016, Victor received state support from the US as a refugee. He had spent 13 years in Hong Kong. It was Victor’s first time boarding a plane since he transited through Hong Kong 13 years ago. He carried 3 large suitcases and was 10 kilos over the weight limit. “I was in Hong Kong for 13 years. I’m not sure what to take with me and what to leave behind,” he said.