Refugee protection and spaces: seeking asylum in Hong Kong

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Journal Article

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...This article examines refugee tactics used to negotiate spaces for living within current refugee policy arrangement in Hong Kong. Space, as Henri Lefebvre has defined, is relations between activities, processes and elements in the environment (Lefebvre 1991). Some scholars even perceive space as ‘landscapes of power’ (Zukin 1991). Space in this paper is a construct of power relations. I aim to examine the ways that refugees practice their lives in this refuge space. The refuge space is examined through the ways in which the local policies shape refugees’ opportunities, as well as by how they react to these structural settings; the power relationship between refugees and local people, and the tactics they use in their everyday struggles. As a volunteer worker at a refugee center in Hong Kong, over the past three years, I maintained contacts with refugees with whom I have developed a personal relationship. This article is based on interviews with refugees and ethnographic observation in refugee communities conducted between January 2010 and July 2011. I examine how refugees practice their lives in Hong Kong and provoke discussion about the viability of asylum in an urban context in Asia, which is underresearched.

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Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration

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