Taiwanese officials in Hong Kong have been told their visas will not be renewed unless they sign a document supporting Beijing’s claim to Taiwan under its “one China” policy, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The move comes after Taipei criticised a new security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing, and opened an office in Taipei this month to help people who may want to leave the Asian financial centre.
Several Taiwanese officials at its de facto Hong Kong consulate, who were due to renew their visas, have been asked by the city’s government to sign the document, said a senior Taiwan official with knowledge of the matter.
The official said the move was unprecedented and presented an “unnecessary political obstacle” for Taipei-Hong Kong ties.
“They won’t issue the visa if we don’t sign the document,” the official said. “We will try our best to defend our stance.” The Hong Kong Immigration Department said it would not comment on individual cases, but added that it acts in accordance with the relevant laws and policies when handling each application.
Taiwan’s China policymaking Mainland Affairs Council urged Hong Kong to return to “existing consensus” to maintain normal exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong. “Hong Kong should follow mutual agreements to ensure the office is free from political interference, and should not establish unnecessary obstacles beyond those agreements,” it said.
The source declined to say exactly how many Taiwan officials were asked to sign the paper but said its acting chief, Kao Ming-tsun, had returned to the island late on Thursday after he refused to sign the document upon his visa renewal.