HK halts Taipei office, slams support of rioters as SAR no longer haven for secessionists’ collusion
Published: May 21, 2021 10:58 PM
Hong Kong File Photo: VCG

Hong Kong File Photo: VCG

As all Hong Kong staff members have already left Taiwan and returned to Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Friday explained its recent decision regarding the suspension of operations of the Taipei-based Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office (Taiwan) (HKETCO), slamming Taiwan's gross interference in Hong Kong affairs and offering assistance to rioters in recent years, which have damaged the two regions' relations. 

Analysts viewed the SAR's move as Hong Kong's maturing under the framework of the "one country, two systems" principle in pushing national reunification. It also shows that the secessionists' past strategy to use Hong Kong and Taiwan as leverage to attack the mainland does not work from the Hong Kong side.  

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the HKSAR government slammed Taiwan's regional authority for grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs on repeated occasions.

"Taiwan has launched the so-called 'Hong Kong Aid Project' and unilaterally established the so-called 'Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services' under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC), offering assistance to violent protesters and people who tried to shatter Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. The provocative acts of Taiwan are inconsistent with the goal of the THEC, which is to promote exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan," reads the statement.

The HKETCO commenced operation in Taipei in December 2011 to promote economic, trade and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan, in accordance with the "1992 Consensus," reads the statement.

It also noticed that staff members of the HKETCO have been threatened by radicals in Taiwan, which also explained the office's suspension announcement on Tuesday that "It (Closure) is not due to epidemic reasons."

Hong Kong media reported that the uproar started from some Taiwan employees of the Taipei representative office in Hong Kong who refused to sign the routine "letter of commitment of one China." So, Hong Kong officials refused to renew the "visas" of employees from Taiwan when they were about to expire. And that led to Taiwan's retaliation, worsening the operating environment of HKETCO in Taiwan.

Conflicts between Taiwan and Hong Kong have finally erupted in view of the fact that the pro-secessionists Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan has been constantly linking up Hong Kong separatists and disrupting Hong Kong society in the past few years. 

Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday that the office suspension and statement are a "severe warning" to the DPP authority. 

Tang said that the national security law enacted in 2020 has swept the collusion between Hong Kong and Taiwan secessionists in the SAR into the dustbin of history. However, before 2020, Hong Kong suffered from the collusion, the social unrest in 2019, the Occupy Central movement in 2014, and years of instigation. 

Some secessionists from Taiwan have incited and offered ideas to extremists in Hong Kong to carry out social activities under the cover of cultural and academic exchanges, which have already formed a template. As a bridge to the mainland, it is not impossible for these "political performance arts" to enter the mainland through Hong Kong, Tang said.  

Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Friday that the national security law has brought the Hong Kong-Taiwan relationship back to its true colors. 

"There is no tacit agreement between the two regions on the expression of one China, only the bottom line," said Li, noting that SAR government's response is a reflection a more profound understanding of "one country, two systems."

With the transformation of the Hong Kong-Taiwan relationship, the SAR government is now shouldering its responsibility in promoting national reunification, Li said.  

The experts explained that driven by external forces, Hong Kong and Taiwan secessionists connived in Hong Kong to attack the mainland in past decades. "The past attempt to attack the mainland with Hong Kong as leverage no longer exists."  

Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University, told the Global Times on Friday that it is an open secret that Hong Kong has been an intelligence center for the Taiwan authorities, who have long provided behind-the-scenes information to Hong Kong secessionism activists.  

Taiwan-Hong Kong relations are a special part of the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, and Hong Kong could have become a buffer zone to promote cross-Straits exchanges. However, Taiwan-Hong Kong relations have been seriously damaged by the DPP's slander of one country, two systems and support for the riots in Hong Kong.  

Wang said it cannot be ruled out that with the support of the US, the DPP authority will still maintain a tough stance on Hong Kong affairs. However, the model of convergence of Hong Kong and Taiwan secessionists has been dealt a huge blow. 

If the DPP authority continues to refuse to recognize "one China," Taiwan's representative office in Hong Kong, where the mainland and Taiwan signed the "1992 Consensus," will no longer exist, said Li.