Taiwanese staff pull out as cross-strait ties sour

Top News | Maisy Mok 21 Jun 2021

All but one Taiwanese staff member of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong left the city yesterday as cross-strait relations deteriorated.

The office in Admiralty will have to adjust its operations today to only maintaining essential operations, with details to be announced by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council today.

Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of the council, told Taiwan media that there were eight Taiwanese staff based in Hong Kong and seven of them returned to Taiwan yesterday.

The only worker remaining is Ni Bochia, head of the office's economic division, whose visa will expire in a month.

The council said staff were unable to stay because Hong Kong's administration had repeatedly set "unreasonable political" visa conditions since July 2018. Among them were the requirement to sign a statement saying there is only one China.

The council added the one-China statement is an obstacle set up by the Communist Party and the Hong Kong government which has affected the office's staff job rotations and normal operations.

It added the Communist Party and Hong Kong government should bear the responsibility for damaging the Taiwan-Hong Kong relationship and Taiwan people's rights.

The office conducts services such as visa applications and Taiwan passport renewal.

Lin Fei-fan, deputy secretary general of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, wrote yesterday: "Taiwanese do not accept 'one China and one country, two systems.' Not now, not in the future. This is Taiwan's consensus."

The contraction of Hong Kong services came about a month after the SAR shut its economic, trade and cultural office in Taipei.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said there is no doubt that exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan should be conducted on the basis of the one-China principle.

Ma also slammed the DPP for its criticism of Hong Kong's move.


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