Born and raised in Hong Kong, Darkus Yu had by no means thought of his house for nearly half a century. However occasions final 12 months modified his thoughts.
Al Jazeera documented the Yu household’s final 4 months in Hong Kong, their story a poignant perspective on why one household determined to maneuver to a rustic the place they don’t communicate the language and have few associates or job prospects slightly than stay in Hong Kong.
Publication of this story was delayed upon their request.
‘I like this place’
The persevering with crackdown on political dissent and the overhaul of the training system since China launched a sweeping National Security Law on the finish of June 2020 lastly compelled him right into a life-changing choice.
“Hong Kong is a spot the place I develop up. I like this place. However the authorities has been destroying this metropolis…such because the historical past and training system. This metropolis has been torn into items and is not recognisable,” Yu mentioned.
The Yus have been a typical middle-class household in Hong Kong. Yu and his spouse, Esther Legislation lived in their very own flat and had steady jobs with respectable incomes working as an animator and government assistant.
However for the sake of their six-year-old twins Grace and Jayden, the couple determined to sacrifice every little thing they’d in Hong Kong and to migrate to Birmingham, UK, hoping for a greater life in a rustic none of them has ever been to.
“We is not going to depart Hong Kong if we don’t have youngsters,” Yu mentioned. “I’m not assured with the training system in Hong Kong now. The patriotic training equals brainwashing.”
The Yus have been unsettled by the Training Bureau’s choice in October 2020 to disqualify a instructor who had been accused of selling Hong Kong independence.
The Hong Kong authorities subsequently introduced controversial adjustments, renaming the Liberal Research topic, which it blamed for serving to stoke the 2019 protests, as “Citizen and Social Improvement”. As well as, youngsters as younger as six will now be given lessons in “national security” and be anticipated to sing China’s Nationwide anthem.
‘It’s torture to remain in Hong Kong’
“For the reason that introduction of Nationwide Safety Legislation, the political scenario right here is quickly deteriorating. We’re frightened about the way forward for Hong Kong, additionally my twins’ future. We need to depart as quickly we are able to,” Yu informed Al Jazeera earlier than the transfer.
The couple had loads to weigh up: the price, the training system, language issues, and the paperwork to enter the UK, which is now providing as many as three million individuals in Hong Kong the chance to move to Britain and eventually secure citizenship.
In the meantime, the federal government has continued its political crackdown.
Professional-democracy legislators and activists have been arrested and prosecuted. Many opposition figures – together with veteran opposition legislator Martin Lee and media tycoon Jimmy Lai – have been placed on trial. Beijing additionally introduced an overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, by which all candidates can be vetted to make sure that solely “patriots” would be capable to run the town.
For Yu, the developments solely served to vindicate his household’s choice to go… and shortly. They introduced ahead their departure to mid-March 2021.
“It’s torture to remain in Hong Kong these days if you don’t help the federal government. I’ve no alternative however to go away as a result of the occasions listed below are disheartening. We’re being pushed to the sting of the cliff and there’s no means again,” he mentioned.
Yu mentioned he wouldn’t miss Hong Kong. There was nothing to make them keep any extra. This metropolis was not their house.