From subsistence to resistance: Asylum-seekers and the other 'Occupy' in Hong Kong

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Abstract

In 2014, the Refugee Union – the only asylum-seeker-led organisation in Hong Kong – organised an eight-month-long protest against assistance policies and practices which they argued dehumanized and jeopardised their dignity and survival. Central to this public protest, termed ‘Refugee Occupy’, was the transformation of a traditional mechanism for asylum-seeker containment – the refugee camp – into a vehicle for asylum-seeker voice, participation and resistance. In this article, we discuss the asylum-seeker assistance policies and practices over the last decade that have resulted in a borderless refugee camp in Hong Kong. We explore the asylum-seekers’ use of the camp concept and its spatial and political transformation into an instrument for asylumseeker resistance and political engagement. We conclude by situating the Refugee Union’s formation alongside other migrant-led social movements in Hong Kong and globally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-221
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Social Policy
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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