lørdag 22. august 2020

He went missing as a child in China 20 years ago: remembering the tragic tale of Yu Man-hon

It has been 20 years this month since Yu Man-hon ran away from his mother and into the headlines. Physically, he was aged 15; mentally, the doctors said, he was about two. He was strong enough to leap off the MTR train just as the doors were closing at Yau Ma Tei station on Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula and, somehow, make his way to the Lo Wu crossing to mainland China 25km (16 miles) away. What he couldn’t understand was the concept of borders.

It must have been a sleepy Thursday afternoon at the frontier because he managed to dart across the bridge before China’s authorities grabbed him and returned him to Hong Kong. But the city’s immigration officials, having watched him cry unintelligibly, wet himself and throw food around, and having also assessed the low quality of his clothing, decided he was an illegal immigrant from the mainland. So he was sent back across the dividing line and from that day – August 24, 2000 – to now, he has not been seen again.