chapter  3
16 Pages

The boat people crisis of 1978–79 and the Hong Kong experience examined through the ethnic Chinese dimension

The main aim of this chapter is to examine the ‘boat people’ crisis of 1978-79 and the Hong Kong experience through the ethnic Chinese dimension. The importance of this dimension can clearly be seen from the fact that some 60-70 per cent of the arrivals by boat from Vietnam to Hong Kong and to neighbouring countries during 1978-79 were ethnic Chinese, which made up about 2.5 per cent of the total Vietnamese population. The context in which the large-scale exodus took place is analysed and the factors that could help understand why the ethnic Chinese left Vietnam are identified. This contributes to a better understanding of the broader boat people crisis as a whole and more specifically to the Hong Kong experience.