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could everyone here have moved here , previously secret papers published friday by the national archives reveal a bizarre discussion at the heart of government in nineteen eighty three with hong kong's return to chinese control looming officials mulled whether to move the city's people to northern ireland , the idea was floated by a professor at the university of reading christy davies said a new city states could be built for the five point five million people of hong kong , he suggested a spot between coleraine and londonderry the papers reveal an exchange of letters on the subject between the northern ireland office and the republic of ireland's foreign ministry the officials involved now say the exchange was meant light heartedly it certainly didn't stop hong kong reverting to china on schedule in nineteen ninety seven