In this book, the author gives the background to the 15-year-long saga of Hong Kong and the asylum seekers from Vietnam. In the run-up to 1997 - when the territory will become a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China - there has been increasing tension associated with the presence of 50,000 Vietnamese men, women and children in Hong Kong. The majority of the people who fled from Vietnam are imprisoned in what has often been described as "appalling conditions' by a local adminstration that has been unable to find a solution to the problem. The principal themes of the book cover screening and repatriation, the violence in the detention centres, the plight of children and the urgent need for the international community to be more generous to a group of people suffering from the horrors of war. The author points to the wasted opportunities and the "unlived lives" of thousands of ordinary people from Vietnam who have been physically and emotionally bruised by the politics of another era, and the entrenched positions and vested interests of the Hong Kong, British and United States Governments.