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Hong Kong’s pro-democracy district councillors have been blocked from applying for permits to enter Taiwan

Posted by on 2023/04/07. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

As cross-strait tensions rise, ties between Taiwan and Hong Kong are tightening, affecting even Hong Kong Democrats who share similar ideals with Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party. According to Hong Kong media reports, at least two incumbent democratic district councillors were recently blocked from applying for entry and exit permits from Taiwan. This may be related to their pledge of allegiance to the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.

After the Hong Kong Government required public officials to take the oath in mid-2021 in accordance with the Hong Kong National Security Law enacted by China for Hong Kong, Taiwan soon added entry restrictions for Hong Kong and Macao residents, stipulating that those who are or used to work for the Chinese Party, government, military or other public agencies, or their investment organizations or news media in Hong Kong and Macao are not allowed to enter Taiwan.

We are informed that some of the former employees of RTHK who pledged allegiance to the HKSAR were rejected after leaving the broadcaster; In addition, although the Hospital Authority is only a statutory body in Hong Kong, some former employees have given up going to Taiwan on the assumption that they would not be approved.

Two pro-democracy district councillors, who declined to be named, said that one of them was rejected due to “professional connections” while the other did not give a reason for applying for a Taiwan entry permit through an online channel used by people born in Hong Kong and Macao after Taiwan announced the opening of free travel for people from Hong Kong and Macao in late February, Hong Kong’s Ming Pao reported Wednesday.

The two men then went to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong to apply for the “cloud application” from foreigners. However, the application usually takes only five working days. About a month later, there was still no news. One of them was notified to claim back the application fee paid after the proposed date of entry.

They assessed that the incident was related to their position as a District councillor and their previous oath taking. They understood that the Taiwan side had its own considerations and would be more careful in examining and approving applications from public officers. Another resigned District Council member said he had learned that “quite a few” District Council members had been refused visas and would not apply.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council declined to comment on individual cases, reiterating that it is Taiwan’s consistent position to promote healthy and orderly exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong and safeguard “national security”. The competent authorities have always examined and handled applications from Hong Kong and Macao residents to Taiwan in accordance with existing laws, procedures and “individual cases”.

Under the Basic Law, which is seen as Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, district Councils are regional bodies set up by the government to advise it on matters affecting the lives of residents in the area. In the 2020 district council elections, Democrats swept to 80% of the 452 seats, depriving the establishment of control over district affairs.
The following year, the Government required all District Council members to retake their oaths, and could determine whether their oaths were valid based on their words and actions. As a result, at least 314 District Council members, representing nearly 70% of the total number of District Council seats, either resigned or were reelected after their oaths were ruled invalid.

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