China instructs foreign governments to ‘refrain’ from Taiwan National Day event in Hong Kong

Chinese government breaks with diplomatic protocol and attempts to restrict behavior of foreign consulates in Hong Kong

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Kao Ming-tsun, left, with Tu Chia-fen, center, at Taiwan National Day event in Hong Kong.

Kao Ming-tsun, left, with Tu Chia-fen, center, at Taiwan National Day event in Hong Kong. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In an move that has caused offense, the Chinese government instructed foreign consulates in Hong Kong to ‘refrain’ attending an event celebrating Taiwan’s National Day at a hotel in Hong Kong, according to a memo seen by Hong Kong Free Press.

China’s effort to enforce a code of behavior on foreign governments in Hong Kong breaks with longstanding diplomatic protocol and is likely to have caused discontent, leading to the leaked memo.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Hong Kong (TECO-HK), Taiwan’s representative office to Hong Kong held a function at the JW Marriott Hotel on Oct. 10. The event was attended by acting head of TECO-HK, Kao Ming-tsun (高銘村), and head of Hong Kong for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Tu Chia-fen (杜嘉芬), according to CNA.

The diplomatic cable was sent to the Dean of the Consular Corps in Hong Kong, which is currently Argentina, and the Argentina government was informed that it has “the honor” to circulate the memo throughout foreign offices in the Special Administrative Region.

“It’s highly appreciated if you, as Dean of the Consular Corps in HKSAR, could refrain from attending such activities and remind other members of the Consular Corps to do the same,” reads the memo, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

The move comes amid growing efforts by the Chinese government to limit operations by consulates in Hong Kong. In April, the Chinese government began enforcing a law that requires consulates to apply to Beijing to be allowed offer voting services within their offices as part of elections.

Hong Kong currently hosts 120 foreign consulates, and six officially recognized bodies, according to the Hong Kong government.