Futian Port reopens: Family reunions top Shenzhen, Hong Kong wish list

The border crossing in Shenzhen between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong closed on February 8, 2020. For reopening, Jiemian News talked to some of those making the trip for the first time in almost 3 years.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By ZHANG Xilong


For the January 8 reopening of Futian border crossing in Shenzhen between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, anonymous administrative buildings were bedecked with red lanterns and flowers. The border closed on February 8, 2020.

Jiemian News talked to some of those crossing the border on the first day as they shared their hopes.

New mother Zhong Fang lives in Shenzhen

My husband is a Hong Konger and works in Hong Kong. We live in Shenzhen. Since the pandemic, he has only come home twice, each time with two-week quarantine. He missed the birth of our baby. Without him around, I had to quit my job to take care of the baby.

Before the pandemic, it was a two-hour journey on the subway from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. My husband would come two or three times a week, I would also go to Hong Kong frequently.

Today, when I came to Futian at 8am, not many people were going to Hong Kong, and it took me only 15 minutes to cross the border. My husband has only seen his son once, and my parents-in-law in Hong Kong, not at all. The worst is behind us, I hope our lives go back to normal soon.

Dr. Yu Jing works in Hong Kong

I couldn’t go home for Spring Festival for two years, so I was watching the news all the time to see when the border would reopen.

I came to the port at dawn, worried that there might be a long queue. But in half an hour I was in Shenzhen. Each of us was greeted with a small gift at Futian, I almost burst into tears when I saw the lanterns and rabbit mascots welcoming us.

Academic exchanges and conferences with the mainland moved online, and it was not that much of a problem. But I missed my family. We have only talked to each other online for more than two years.

Hong Kong has been through so many waves of Covid outbreak that I’m pretty relaxed about it. I’m going to see my travel with my family this year and try to make up for what has been lost.

Financial advisor Fang Bin lives in Hong Kong

I’m on a long overdue business trip in Shenzhen. I plan to visit many of my clients.

The economy of the mainland has a huge impact on my job. So commuting between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and other mainland cities was a routine. Being unable to see my clients and do due diligence face-to-face was a huge blow, but I guess I was not the only one.

When the government said the border would be closed for three months, we were all very anxious. Are you mad? Not working for three months? But now that the border has been closed for almost three years, and I don’t really care that much. Sure our income shrank, but whose didn’t?

Since I’ve had less to do in the past three years, I’ve had more time to explore Hong Kong. I climbed all the mountains and went to the gym more often.

Entrepreneur Huang Hui lives in Hong Kong and Shenzhen

Last November, I was still talking to my friends about not being able to meet for another year or so, but now here we are. A lot of work has to be done, after three years of the pandemic.

I’ve been here for more than ten years. I studied here and founded a biotech company. When we shifted our business focus to Beijing,  Shanghai and Tokyo, I moved to Shenzhen.

I spent Spring Festival holiday and my birthday in quarantine last year. It was not a good feeling. Some friends who had to commute between Hong Kong and the mainland spent months in hotel rooms.

Now that the border is open, I’m planning to call my teams back to Hong Kong, and invest more in R&D. The city is important to us.

In February, I saw lots of doctors and nurses from the mainland going to Hong Kong. It was not just medical aid, but an exchange of emotions between Hong Kong and the mainland.

I hope with the border reopened, such emotional exchange will recover to what it always was.

Journalist Xu Dong lives in Hong Kong

I haven’t been home for more than a year. I applied several times last year but didn’t make it. Mainlanders in Hong Kong are all eager to spend the new year with their families back home.

There was a strange feeling when I was walking along the river on Shenzhen River after crossing the border. Before the pandemic, I walked this path almost every week, but that was until three years ago. 

When I applied for my leave, I planned eight days of quarantine, now I have eight extra days to relax.

I focused on local Hong Kong news for three years, but there is a lot going on here on the mainland every day, and it’s good to have the opportunity to write more stories.