My mother's passport serves as a reminder of her family's escape of communism and their dual-immigration story. My grandparents lived the majority of their lives in Guangdong, China, but because of communism, they immigrated to Hong Kong. At the time, Hong Kong was a British territory because of China’s loss in the First Opium War, and all of the citizens of Hong Kong were named British Dependent Territory citizens. As a result, all of the members of my mother’s side of the family grew up living under British rule and received British passports. As Britain’s ninety-nine year lease on Hong Kong approached its last ten or fifteen years, rumors of communist China taking back Hong Kong became a real threat to the citizens of Hong Kong. Many people wanted to immigrate to the United States, and as a result, a quota of only five thousand Hong Kong citizens a year were allowed to enter the country. My mom's family came to the States, a couple at a time, and eventually everyone was able to immigrate. By the time all of the members of my mom’s family were able to come to America, they had been separated for a good ten to fifteen years. This was the passport that my mother took with her when she immigrated to the United States. She still keeps it to remind herself of the extent that her family took to escape communism and of what her life would have been life had she had been in Hong Kong when communist China assumed control of it.
– Christine S.