Taiwan officials leave Hong Kong over restrictive visa rule

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Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Taiwan’s government said on Sunday that staff members of its representative office in Hong Kong left after failing to renew their visas, virtually terminating relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

According to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s government agency on policy dealings with Beijing, the Hong Kong government from 2018 required Taiwanese officials working in the city to sign an affidavit recognizing Beijing’s “One China” principle in order to renew visas.

MAC spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng told dpa on Sunday that seven of the remaining eight Taiwanese officials at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Hong Kong flew back to Taipei on Sunday, as they refused to sign the affidavit.

The remaining official’s visa would expire in one month, Chiu said.

Chiu said the operations of TECO in Hong Kong would now be run by about 50 locally hired employees.

Chiu said the Taiwan government wanted to “seriously warn and condemn the Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong government” over the visa policy.

Wu Rwei-ren, a researcher at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, told dpa that the episode means relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong are virtually terminated.

In mid-May, Hong Kong suspended the operations of its representative office in Taiwan.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-governing democracy part of its territory.

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