The last representative at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Hong Kong is set to leave before his visa expires next week, a source said on Tuesday.
Last month, seven of the office’s eight remaining Taiwanese staff were ordered to leave the territory after their work visas were not renewed, leaving only Economy Division Director Ni Po-chia (倪伯嘉).
With his visa set to expire on Friday next week, Ni has bought a plane ticket so that he can return to Taiwan before then, a source with knowledge of the matter said.
The Hong Kong government has since July 2018 ordered TECO section leaders to sign an affidavit recognizing Beijing’s “one China” principle when applying for a work visa, but they have all refused, resulting in the forced return of 11 Taiwanese staffers since last year.
The rule extends to director-level staff at the Hong Kong offices of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Tourism Bureau.
The lease on TECO’s 40th-floor office in Tower One of the Lippo Centre in Admiralty reportedly ends this month.
Starting on Aug. 2, the Service Division is to share the National Immigration Agency’s (NIA) 11th-floor office in the same building, TECO announced on its Web site.
The lease on the NIA’s office, which mainly handles visas for Hong Kong and Chinese applicants, reportedly ends in December.
After that, the Service Division and the NIA are planning to relocate to the Ministry of Culture’s Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center in Wan Chai, which has a lease until March 2023.
TECO’s other divisions and local staff are to move to the Kwang Hwa center this month.
In a report published earlier this month on Hong Kong’s 24 years since being handed back to China, the Mainland Affairs Council said that territory officials have been deeply dissatisfied with the Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office, which helps Hong Kongers move to Taiwan.
Since the office’s creation last year, the Hong Kong government has been increasingly reticent to hold economic or cultural exchanges, the report said.
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