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Research Seminars



Carina Hoang
Curtin University, Western Australia From Both Sides of the Fence: Vietnamese Boat People in Hong Kong, 1975–2000


4 Oct 2018

4:30 p.m.
4.36 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus



Between 1975 and 2000, more than 213,000 Vietnamese boat people (VBP) sought asylum in Hong Kong. Of these, 143,000 were resettled in other countries, more than 67,000 were repatriated to their country of origin, and 1,368 were resettled locally. The seemingly never-ending arrivals of VBP – the 'Vietnamese boat people crisis' – exemplified the difficulties of finding resettlement, the financial burden, the riots and disturbances in detention camps, the legal challenges lodged by the VBP regarding the screening procedure, the illegality of detention, and the complex repatriation schemes: forced, voluntary and orderly. Ms. Hoang's research makes extensive use of oral history records of some of the key participants involved, and the diaries and personal scrapbooks of one of the key witnesses of the early days of the crisis, as well as visual material including particular photo records of the Hong Kong Government. It goes beyond traditional historical studies based on archival and documentary records, allowing the voices of the various stakeholders (refugees, government officials, NGO's and local citizens) to be heard.


Carina Hoang escaped from Vietnam at the age of sixteen on a wooden boat with her two siblings and 370 other people. She survived the harrowing journey and the extreme challenges that followed in a primitive refugee camp, and ultimately was accepted for resettlement in the United States. She completed a BA in Chemistry at Rosemont College, Pennsylvania, a BA in Gender and Cultural Studies at Murdoch University, and an MBA at California State University, Pomona. She went on to hold management positions in the semiconductor, biotechnology, and healthcare industries. Her first book, Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus 1975-1996 (2011), received the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Regional Non-Fiction (Australia and New Zealand). In 2012 Carina was appointed as Special Representative to the UN Refugee Agency's Australian charity, Australia for UNHCR. In 2013 she released her third book, Permanent Impressions, which received the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Regional Non-Fiction (Australia and New Zealand). Carina’s story can be found at


All are welcome. No registration is required.