Refugees Closing the Doors

With millions of people in search of asylum, compassion is drying up

Tai A Chau, a little island off Hong Kong, is a hilly, barely habitable patch that measures less than half a square mile. Abandoned more than a decade ago by native fisherfolk, the islet is teeming with life these days. Its new residents are Vietnamese boat people who, having fled their homeland and braved the dangers of the high seas, expect to make it the departure point for a better life elsewhere. More than 4,500 refugees vie for space in Tai A Chau's dozen crumbling huts and 50 tents, and the number keeps rising. Last week alone more than 700 boat...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!