China asks consulates in Hong Kong for local staff details

China asks consulates in Hong Kong for local staff details
China asks consulates in Hong Kong for local staff details

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A general view of Victoria Harbour and downtown skyline is seen from the Peak in Hong Kong August 4, 2017. China has given foreign consulates in Hong Kong a month to submit their local staffers’ names, home addresses and job descriptions. — Reuters pic

HONG KONG, Sept 19 — China has given foreign consulates in Hong Kong a month to submit their local staffers’ names, home addresses and job descriptions, according to diplomatic sources and documents seen by AFP today.

The documents include a letter in English and Chinese dated yesterday from Beijing’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as two forms for consulates to fill in with their local staff’s details.

China has in recent years ratcheted up control of the semi-autonomous city, and imposed in 2020 a sweeping national security law in the aftermath of a huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protest movement.

Two diplomatic sources confirmed their consulates had received the documents, and told AFP that it was the first time local staff members’ personal details had been requested.

“We are still assessing the document and will look into it,” one source said.

The other source confirmed they had received the documents.

“It is the first time we have this kind of request,” the source said.

AFP has reached out for comment to the OCMFA as well as the Hong Kong government’s Protocol Division, which handles consular affairs and official visits to the city.

The letter gave consulates until October 18 to “return the completed forms to the Protocol Division”.

It also asks all consulates in Hong Kong to “provide information on all staff locally engaged...(including) both permanent residents... and non-permanent residents”.

One form, titled “Notification of Staff Locally Engaged”, requires consulates to provide information on staffers’ names, positions, residential addresses and identity document numbers.

The other form asks consulates to notify the authorities of any termination of employment status. — AFP

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