Taiwan’s chief representative in Macau has been expelled from the former Portuguese colony following his refusal to sign a “One-China” statement.
On Monday (June 28) Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council stated that the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Macau, Ch’en Chia-hung (陳佳鴻), was forced to leave Macau after he declined to sign a “letter of commitment to One-China”.
Ch’en’s visa expired on June 27 and the Macau authorities refused to renew it. He therefore returned to Taiwan. Only four Taiwanese government staffers remain in Macau.
On June 20, seven members of Taiwan’s TECO in Hong Kong had been denied new visas after they had refused to sign a similar “One-China” statement.
Macau was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999, when it was handed over to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and became its second Special Administrative Region alongside Hong Kong.
Special Administrative Regions were promised broad autonomy and the protection of the freedoms and civil liberties they enjoyed prior to their handover to the PRC. But Beijing has increasingly tightened its grip on the former colonies.
The “One-China” principle refers to the PRC’s claim to be the legitimate government of China, that there is only one China in the world and that Taiwan is part of it. Beijing has vowed to seize Taiwan by force.
Taiwan is an independent state and its government rejects the PRC’s sovereignty claims. The two countries do not recognize each other diplomatically. Taiwan’s TECOs serve as de facto embassies in the PRC.
Taiwan’s representative office in Macau was originally registered in 1989 as the “Taipei Trade and Tourism Office.” However, its legal status and the rights of its staff were not explicitly guaranteed.
After negotiations between the two sides, on 4 July 2011 Taiwan’s representative office in Macau was renamed as the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Office”. Its functions and status were upgraded, and Taiwan’s Office personnel was granted preferential arrangements similar to those enjoyed by diplomatic staff (Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, Vol 29 (2011, p. 325).
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