Taiwan to ‘adjust’ services of HK office amid row

Taiwan says it will be “adjusting” the services provided by its office in Hong Kong from Monday with all but one staff member having left the SAR, though “essential operation” will be maintained.

In a statement released on Sunday, the island’s Mainland Affairs Council said the decision was made in light of “unreasonable political conditions” the Hong Kong government imposed over its staff’s work visas.

The council said the staff members were asked to sign a statement to support Beijing’s view that Taiwan is part of “one China” for them to be granted a work visa.

Lin Fei-fan, the deputy-secretary of the island’s Democratic Progressive Party said most of the staff of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong have returned to Taiwan on Sunday, and only one representative from the ministry of economic affairs is staying.

He said this worker’s visa will expire in July.

The council said since the office was set up, all of its activities had complied with local laws and it had never exceeded its functions.

“The Communist Party and Hong Kong government used the statement to create a barrier, which affected the office’s staff rotation and normal operation,” the council said.

“They have to take full responsibility for harming the the relationship between Hong Kong and Taipei as well as the interest of the people,” it added.

A council’s spokesman is expected to give more details on Monday.

The move comes after Hong Kong and Macau both recently shut their trade offices in Taipei, with the Hong Kong government accusing the island’s administration of “grossly interfering” with the SAR’s affairs, such as providing assistance to what it called “violent protesters.”

The Hong Kong government also said staff members of its trade and cultural office had been threatened by “radicals” in Taiwan, and so they had to leave to protect their safety.