Born and raised in Hong Kong, Darkus Yu had never considered his home for nearly half a century. But last year’s events changed their minds.
Al Jazeera documented the last four months of the Yu family in Hong Kong, their story a poignant perspective on why a family decided to move to a country where they do not speak the language and have few friends or job prospects instead to Stay in Hong Kong |
The publication of this story was delayed at his request.
“I love this place”
The continued repression of political dissent and the overhaul of the education system since China introduced a extensive national security law in late June 2020, it finally forced him to make a life-changing decision.
“Hong Kong is a place where I believe. I love this place. But the government has been destroying this city … such as history and the education system. This city has been torn to pieces and is no longer recognized, ”Yu said.
The Yus were a typical middle-class family in Hong Kong. Yu and his wife, Esther Law, lived in their own apartment and had stable jobs with decent incomes working as an animator and executive assistant.
But for the sake of their 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 no one ‘they have never been.
“We won’t leave Hong Kong if we don’t have children,” Yu said. “I do not trust the Hong Kong education system now. Patriotic education is equivalent to brainwashing.
The Yus were concerned about the October 2020 decision by the Education Office to disqualify a teacher who had been accused of promoting Hong Kong’s independence.
Subsequently, the Hong Kong government announced controversial changes and changed the name of subject to Liberal Studies, whom it accused of helping to provoke the 2019 protests as “Citizen and Social Development”. In addition, they will now be children up to six years old lessons given on “national security” and they are expected to sing China’s national anthem.
“It’s torture to stay in Hong Kong”
“Since the introduction of the national security law, the political situation here has deteriorated rapidly. We are concerned about the future of Hong Kong, also the future of my twins. We want to leave as soon as we can, “Yu told Al Jazeera before the move.
The couple had a lot to weigh: the cost, the education system, language problems and the paperwork to get into the UK, which now offers up to three million people in Hong Kong. the possibility of moving to Britain and finally gaining citizenship.
Meanwhile, the government has continued its political repression.
Pro-democracy lawmakers and activists have been arrested and prosecuted. Many opposition figures, including the veteran opposition legislator Martin Lee and media mogul Jimmy Lai – were tried. Beijing also announced one review of the Hong Kong electoral system, in which all candidates would be examined to ensure that only “patriots” were able to run the city.
For Yu, the events only served to vindicate his family’s decision to leave … and soon. They advanced their departure in mid-March 2021.
“It is torture to stay in Hong Kong today if it does not support the government. I have no choice but to leave because the events here are daunting. It pushes us to the edge of the cliff and there is no way back, ”he said.
Yu said he would not miss Hong Kong. There was nothing to make them stay longer. This city was no longer his home.