Swapping Hong Kong for Crewe: ‘We won’t go back’

Swapping Hong Kong for Crewe: 'We won't go back'
Eddie, Hayley and Yowin in Hong Kong Yowin Mo

A large number of people from Hk have moved to the UK in the past year. Many have fled stress with Chinese specialists there – other people say they are attracted by a slower speed of life. The BBC has been speaking to some new arrivals about life in the united kingdom.

Yowin Mo, Eddie Wong and their nine-year-old daughter Hayley changed their high-rise flat in Hong Kong for a two-bed semi within Crewe, in the north-west of England. These people didn’t know anyone here and had by no means visited the UK prior to they moved, yet so far they’ve had a good impression. “Most British people are polite and laid-back, ” says Yowin.

It wasn’t a simple decision for the trio to leave their particular friends, family and work behind. “My father cried, he failed to want to leave, ” remembers Hayley. The girl wasn’t sure concerning the move either, yet getting a puppy helped her settle in.

In Hong Kong, Yowin’s marketing job has been very demanding and she worked long hours. Eddie was a photojournalist. Right now they’ve given up their particular hectic lives in a bustling world city to move to a little town with reduce house prices plus good schools.

“We don’t expect to end up being rich, ” Yowin says. “We are simply hoping to have a basic life here, plus hopefully Hayley may grow up happy. ”

Yowin, Hayley and Eddie with their dog

Yowin and Eddie felt making Hong Kong was in Hayley’s best interests. She has gladly settled into the nearby primary school, exactly where 11 other Hong Kong children have since joined.

Yowin says going to college in Hong Kong has been far more stressful : there was no play ground to run around in and Hayley had homework to do till 19: 00 every night.

But her main concern was that in the event that her daughter got stayed in Hk she would be “brainwashed”. Yowin says Hong Kong’s education program has changed drastically because children are now being taught the Chinese state-approved curriculum. She also worries the phasing-out of the speaking of Cantonese within schools, and that Hayley would be taught in Mandarin Chinese. “That’s one of the reasons I avoid want to stay in Hk. ”

The Hong Kong government denies claims associated with brainwashing and states its education program has consistently created generations of abilities. It also says students are taught Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, and English.

Another of Yowin’s concerns is definitely censorship. She thinks Hayley wouldn’t have the “true news” in the news. “Maybe only bogus news, you know? Within Hong Kong, she might not be able to say whichever she wants. inch

On a high rack, out of Hayley’s achieve, Yowin keeps a book of photographs of the 2019 protests known as Defiance, including several showing violent clashes between protesters plus police. When Hayley is a bit older, Yowin hopes the photos will help explain precisely why they felt that they had to leave.

“When two million people are marching on the street and the government still ignores these sounds, you will find the city is certainly hopeless, ” says Yowin. “Every time I talk about it, I cry. ”

Protesters hold their mobile phones during a rally to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong on October 19, 2019. Hong Kong's unrest, sparked by a now-shelved bill allowing extraditions to the mainland, morphed into a movement demanding greater democracy and police accountability

Getty Images

They’re far from on your own in wanting to make the life-changing move. Government statistics suggest 140, 500 Hongkongers have put on live in the UK under a new visa route. It had been brought in last year in response to China imposing a questionable new security regulation in Hong Kong , which the UK said was an chafing of freedoms and rights.

The road allows millions of people through Hong Kong – who applied for a type of nationality called the British National Overseas (BNO) citizenship before 1997, when the UK passed the former colony back to China – to utilize to live, work plus study in the UK. Family members can travel with them. After five many years they can apply to stay permanently.

The North of England is a superb destination, with many family members settling in places like Crewe, Stoke, and Warrington. Plus businesses are springing up to service this flurry of migrants.

One recruitment organization has taken on two Cantonese speakers to tap into the new labour force. “We noticed there was quite a large opportunity in terms of individuals coming over from Hong Kong, ” states Charlotte Shaw through KPI Recruiting within Stoke.

The particular agency hopes Hongkongers might offer an answer to the labour disadvantages, driven both simply by Covid and Brexit, says Charlotte. “We found that a lot of Far eastern Europeans decided to leave the UK and have eliminated back home. ”

They’ve already acquired thousands of messages through Hongkongers looking for function.


Since last year, thousands of people from Hong Kong have remaining everything they knew behind to start brand new lives in the UK.

iPlayer bottom

About 70% of those moving to the UK have a college degree or higher and much more than half worked as professionals or even senior managers within Hong Kong. So far, the recruiters have helped Hongkongers take up tasks in call centres, food processing and office administration.

Eddie and Yowin know that they won’t necessarily be able to earn the salaries they do back home, but they possess a cushion of cash from the sale of their flat.

Yowin wants to work as a cashier or receptionist, whereas Eddie, who is taking English classes, hopes to be a shipping driver. The recruiter offers them a 10-hour shift in the meat factory. “It’s going to be like working like a robot, inch says Yowin.

Yowin working a trial shift in a newsagent's

Meanwhile, in Warrington, Matthew Tse offers set up a property company to help Hongkongers purchase homes. He says their team of Cantonese speakers is getting 20 to 30 new customers a day, and that typically each client is definitely bringing £700, 1000 to the UK. Bidding wars have damaged out, he says, along with properties sometimes heading £30, 000-£40, 000 above the selling price.

One potential buyer, Charlie, is offering her apartment within Hong Kong for about £650, 000 and has been on remote viewings of properties in Warrington, Cheshire, really worth about £220, 000.

“I’ve never visited Warrington before, ” she admits. “But I’ve got several friends there. In my opinion most of the houses in the uk will be big enough regarding my kids to run close to. ”

A housing estate in Warrington

The growing interest in moving to the UK has fuelled an huge increase of Hong Kong YouTubers documenting their new lives in Britain. Video clips rack up thousands of hits and range from evaluations of new housing developments to a guide to eating a full English breakfast time.

Hongkonger Heidi Simpson, who hails from Nottingham, has become a full-time YouTuber since relocating to the UK a year ago with her fiance, Chris. “People in Hong Kong want to see movies of real life in the united kingdom, ” Heidi says. “Like how to rent a house or using the self-service checkout. ”

A cover image from one of Heidi Simpson's YouTube videos. Cantonese writing reads: Vlog - Deep Travel In Leeds - Leeds University Leslie Cheung

Heidi Simpson

Her videos are certainly not political, but still they have become a target of these supportive of China’s government. Heidi made a video about how hard it was to make a GP appointment, but a pro-Beijing YouTube route lifted parts of it as evidence that will Hongkongers can’t get medical treatment even if they have money. She feels the girl content has been used as propaganda in order to warn Hongkongers towards moving to the UNITED KINGDOM.

“I had been so shocked. I am just not happy with it. Yet I don’t know how to proceed, ” says Heidi.

She will carry on posting, but has concerns about the girl videos being supervised, and doesn’t talk about her family back in Hong Kong.

The channel has not responded to the particular BBC’s request for comment.

Many of those who have took part in protests in Hong Kong have taken refuge in the united kingdom.

Nathan Law any of Hong Kong’s most high-profile pro-democracy campaigners. He’s at this point in political exile in Britain as he says he would face imprisonment if he or she returned home. Yet even here, he is still a focus on of Chinese propaganda and online attacks.

“You’re facing the largest authoritarian program in the world, their achieve could be stretching in each and every corner of the society, ” he says. “And they can mobilise the required resources to hurt you in many ways. ”

Since arriving, one of the most serious threats Nathan has had was on a Chinese messaging company where users were offering a bounty of £10, 000 for details of where he lives in the UK.

As a consequence, he is wary of being seen in public. “I rarely talk to our neighbours. I rarely go to the pub, since you never know whether this information will fall into the wrong hands. ”

But he refuses to allow that stop him. “I need to be fearless enough to continue the work. If I halted working, as somebody who campaigned for Hong Kong’s democracy, after that’s a victory for your Chinese Communist Party. ”

But the BBC has found evidence that, from time to time, tensions from Hong Kong have surfaced in the UK. Some Hongkongers possess told us how they have received abuse on the internet, and in person, from those who support the government’s policies in Hong Kong.

Joe, not his real name, says he was attacked on the night out last fall by a group of Chinese men after he or she shouted a pro-Hong Kong slogan on them.

Alan bloodied face


“Around 10 men chased me then one of them pushed myself onto the ground, inch he says. He was kicked in his head and ribs. He or she showed us an image of his encounter, covered in blood. The police arrested a couple in connection with the event, but the case has been dropped.

“I’m angry plus scared because it is in the uk, not in Tiongkok. How can I suffer this particular? ” he says. “This is a country known for democracy and rule of law. inch

In Liverpool, Christie has started training martial arts self-defence courses after hearing regarding similar incidents of violence involving Hongkongers and those who support the Chinese Communist Party. She displays the class the best way to block someone if they happen to be attacked. “We require some basic skills for Hongkongers to shield themselves when they encounter this kind of situation, inch she says.

Christie teaching martial arts

But for others, living in the UK is peaceful.

Yowin has been offered a trial shift at her local newsagent in Crewe, stacking shelves plus learning how to use the check out. “As long as it can support my fundamental living, that’s sufficient for me, ” she says.

Chris and Heidi on a Wedding photo shoot in London

KaFu Wedding ceremony Photography UK

And Heidi plus Chris are getting yourself ready for their wedding. For their photo shoot these people chose the most Uk of backgrounds, the particular Houses of Parliament.

Heidi is usually sad that their families won’t be able to go to, but she plans to stay in the UK. “We don’t see a future in Hong Kong, ” she says.