Inflatable speedboats, iPhones, compasses … Five young people aged 18-26 from Hong Kong risked fleeing to Taiwan by sea last July for fear of easy equipment and more than 10 hours of steering. did.These are some of the scenes the three recently shared The Wall Street Journal..
The three young men are Ray, a 25-year-old warehouse employee. Tommy, a 22-year-old art student. And Kenny, a 26-year-old civil engineer. They told The Wall Street Journal that all three were hiding when they escaped from Hong Kong, two of whom were charged by Hong Kong authorities and could face years of imprisonment.
For security reasons, only English names were given and surnames were withheld.
Ray, Tommy and Kenny all decided to flee Hong Kong after feeling unfairly persecuted for their involvement in the anti-democratic movement in 2019. We spent about $ 1,300 each on inflatable speedboats with twin engines. Previously, Tommy and Kenny each spent thousands of dollars escaping from Hong Kong, but it didn’t help.
To avoid retaliation from the Hong Kong government, they did not reveal who organized the escape.
One day in mid-July last year, after taking turns steering for more than five hours and traveling to the high seas with an iPhone and compass, they slowed down and ate a tip, candy, and canned corn shop.
Then, after more than 10 hours on the water, the engine was stopped. Kenny wrapped a rope around the propeller, overheating and damaging one of the engines. They thought that if there was only one engine running out of fuel, those who found them would have to land them.
In the dark, they sent an SOS signal with a flashlight, and about an hour later, the Taiwan Coast Guard took them to the East Shrine, from which they took them to Kaohsiung’s secret location. Authorities there provided them with daily necessities.
Some of the five wanted to stay in Taiwan, but they were told they had to leave. Taiwan’s national security officials were concerned that supporting Hong Kong’s fugitives could be used by the Chinese administration as an excuse to invade Taiwan.
Samuel Chu, director of the Hong Kong-born Washington-based Democratic Council of Hong Kong, contacted him after the State Department learned of the escape and asked him to help take five men to the United States. Told the Wall Street Journal. Humanitarian parole process. The State Department refused to comment on this issue.
It took half a year, but on January 13, this year, five men arrived in New York on a commercial flight via Zurich. Currently, they are applying for political asylum in the United States.
But not everyone who escaped the mainland was so lucky. On August 23, last year, another 12 Hong Kong residents fled at sea, but were intercepted by the Cantonese Marine Corps. They were arrested and detained.
Two months later, eight of them were sentenced to seven months in prison.
Chinese police also spent two months centrally monitoring and intercepting information about their escape attempts.
And last October 10th, 9 Hong Kongers He was arrested for helping 12 people in an escape attempt. Of the four men and five women, the youngest was 27 and the oldest was 72. Among them is Zhong Xueying, a member of a local political group. Hong Kong indigenous people, And the wife of a social activist in Hong Kong, Tang Yuen Ching Christina Liu San Qing..
On January 14, the Hong Kong Police Force was the mother of lawyers and district councilors Daniel Won Quoctun and Willis Ho, and the Hong Kong Federation of Students. Wong has set up an “umbrella” restaurant in Taiwan to help Hong Kong activists in exile in Taiwan. They have been involved in protests against extinction bills in Hong Kong.
The risks associated with escape attempts are high. However, for many Hong Kongers facing a long ruling for participating in the Extradition Ordinance protests, they still choose to flee.
In February, a group of US democratic activists saidNew Operation Yellowbird OperationTo save the people of Hong Kong who are facing arrests and judgments.
Operation Yellowbird, Vice-Chairman of the Democracy Party of China’s United States Headquarters, told the Epoch Times that it had begun to help the people of Hong Kong who were forced to flee.
“We have no place to go after they flee, so we help them come to the United States and seek protection here,” Chung said.
So far, four Hong Kong residents who have been granted asylum in the United States through Operation Yellowbird have been exiled to the United States through Operation Yellowbird, and more are waiting for interviews and court appearances.
One of them, a 21-year-old Hong Kong asylum seeker, Van (a pseudonym), was granted asylum in an immigration court in mid-June. Van is still injured left by Hong Kong police.
On June 17, the Democracy Party of China’s Union Headquarters received a certificate from California State Legislature Linda Sanchez (D-CA) recognizing Operation Yellowbird’s efforts.
The name “Operation Yellowbird” comes from the program “Operation Yellowbird” that helped Chinese people flee China after the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989.
The name “Operation Yellowbird” comes from the poem “Operation Yellowbird” by Cao Zhi, a prince and skilled poet of Wei Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD). ..
“The snare is happy to catch the yellow bird,
The young man feels sorry for it.
“When he pulls out his sword and cuts the snare,
The yellow bird is set freely to cut the air. “
At that time, Cao Zhi was unable to save his close friend, so he expressed his pain in this poem, which has been widely loved and spread in China since then.
KathleenLi contributed to this report.