Born and raised in Hong Kong, Darkus Yu never considered his home for nearly half a century. But last year’s events changed his mind.
Al Jazeera documented the Yu family’s last four months in Hong Kong; their story showed a sharp perspective on why a family decided to stay in Hong Kong to a country where they don’t know the language and have few friends or few work solutions.
The publication of this story was delayed at their request.
‘I love this place’
Ongoing repression of political dissent and innovation in the education system, China a Expanding the National Security Act In late June 2020, he was finally forced to make a life-changing decision.
“Hong Kong is where I grow up. I love this place. But the government has been destroying this city … history and the education system for example. This city has been divided and is no longer known, ”Yu said.
Yus was a typical middle-class Hong Kong family. Yu and his wife, Esther Law, lived in their own home and had decent incomes with stable jobs working as animators and executive assistants.
But for the sake of the six-year-old twins Grace and Jayden, the couple decided to sacrifice everything they had in Hong Kong and emigrate to Birmingham (UK), hoping to have a better life in a country where none of them were.
“We will not leave Hong Kong if we do not have children,” Yu said. “I’m not sure about the Hong Kong education system. Patriotic education is the same as brainwashing. “
Yus did not worry about the decision to disqualify a teacher who was accused by the Board of Education in October 2020 of promoting Hong Kong independence.
The Hong Kong government then announced controversial changes, named the Liberal Inquiry into the issue, and accused it of helping to spark the 2019 protests, as “Citizen and Social Development”. Also, there will be children up to the age of six now give lessons on “national security” and they are expected to sing the Chinese national anthem.
‘Torture to stay in Hong Kong’
“Since the enactment of the National Security Act, the political situation has been deteriorating rapidly. We are concerned about the future of Hong Kong, as well as the future of my twins. We want to get out of there as soon as possible, ”Yu told Al Jazeera before moving on.
The couple carried a lot of weight: cost, education system, language problems and procedures for joining the UK, which now offers three million people in Hong Kong Opportunity to go to Britain and finally secure citizenship.
Meanwhile, the government has continued its political repression.
Democrats and pro-democracy activists have been arrested and tried. Many people in the opposition – including veterans of the opposition legislature Media mogul Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai – they were judged. Beijing also announced it Innovation in the Hong Kong electoral systemwhere all candidates would be selected to ensure that only “patriots” would be able to run the city.
For Yu, the development only served to proclaim his family’s decision to leave … and soon. The departure was brought forward to mid-March 2021.
“It is now torture to stay in Hong Kong if you do not support the government. I have no other choice but to leave here because the events here are disappointing. They push us to the edge of the cliff and there is no turning back, ”he said.
Yu said he would not miss Hong Kong. There was nothing more to stop. This city was no longer their home.