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Acting head of Taiwan office in Macao forced home

ROC Central News Agency

06/29/2021 12:33 PM

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) The acting head of Taiwan's representative office in Macau has been forced to return home after the Macao government refused to grant him a visa extension, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday.

Chen Chia-hung (陳佳鴻) was not granted a visa extension because he refused to sign an affidavit recognizing Beijing's "one China principle," and he returned to Taiwan on Sunday, the day his visa expired, MAC said in a statement.

The one China principle is China's insistence that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, something Taiwan's government and a majority of Taiwanese disagree with.

With Chen's departure, only four staff members remain at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Macao, though the office will continue to operate, said MAC, which oversees Taiwan's dealings with China.

In the statement, the council said pro-Beijing individuals protested in front of TECO in the former Portuguese territory recently, which reflects an attitude of "disrespect and unfriendliness held by the government and people of Macao towards Taiwan."

The future of TECO there is uncertain, and the government is preparing for all possible contingencies to protect the rights of Taiwan's people, MAC said.

The same situation played out in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Seven Taiwanese officials at TECO Hong Kong were forced to return home on June 20 because Hong Kong authorities rejected their applications for visa extensions, also due to the officials' refusal to sign an affidavit recognizing the one China principle.

Only one Taiwanese official, whose visa expires in July, remains at the office.

Hong Kong closed its representative office in Taiwan in May, accusing Taiwan of "offering assistance to violent protesters and people who tried to shatter Hong Kong's prosperity and stability."

Macao followed suit on June 19, citing Taiwan's refusal to issue visa extensions to its officials.

MAC responded at the time that the move was meant to counter Macau's "unreasonable political requests" imposed on Taiwanese officials stationed in Macao.

(By Lai Yen-hsi and Chiang Yi-ching)

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