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Milestone Refugee Returns To Fanfare

Sat., Aug. 10, 1996

The 50,000th Vietnamese refugee to return home voluntarily from Hong Kong arrived at Hanoi’s airport Friday to a welcome of cookies, flowers and a bus ride home.

“I feel happy when I return to my homeland,” said Nguyen Xuan Dong as he squeezed past reporters at the airport.

Dong, who spent the last seven years in a Hong Kong detention camp, came back with his wife and four children on a chartered Vietnam Airlines flight with more than a hundred other returnees.

One of 800,000 Vietnamese who fled their country since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Dong was declared an economic migrant rather than a political refugee and refused asylum in the West.

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