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Last Taiwanese employee of TECO in Hong Kong returns home

Taiwanese TECO staff denied visa renewal in Hong Kong after refusing to sign 'one China' pledge

Lippo Centre Tower 1 in Hong Kong's Admiralty area.

Lippo Centre Tower 1 in Hong Kong's Admiralty area. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The last Taiwanese staff member of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Hong Kong is returning home, leaving operations in the hands of local employees for the foreseeable future.

Seven of the eight Taiwan nationals working at the TECO office were forced to leave Hong Kong in June after refusing to sign a document pledging support for the "one China" policy in order to have their visas renewed. The remaining Taiwanese employee, Economy Division Director Ni Po-chia (倪伯嘉), is flying back Friday afternoon (July 30), CNA reported, as his visa will expire next week.

TECO in Hong Kong lamented last month that visas would no longer be issued or renewed for Taiwanese personnel due to the "unreasonable political conditions" set by the Bejing-backed Hong Kong government.

Taiwan-Hong Kong relations have plummeted since Taipei's full-throated support of the 2019 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and condemnation of the crackdown on protesters due to the sweeping national security law imposed on the city by Beijing. Hong Kong pulled the plug on its representative office in Taiwan, citing "repeated and gross interference" in its internal affairs.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office announced Wednesday (July 29) that it is moving to a temporary new location, with visa and passport services to resume on the 11th floor of the Lippo Centre Tower 1 on Monday (Aug. 2).

On July 16, Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council published the results of a poll in which 81.7% of respondents opposed the Hong Kong authorities' demand that Taiwanese TECO employees sign the "one China" commitment. The survey collected 1,071 valid responses by telephone from Taiwanese adults over the age of 20.