China has given foreign consulates in Hong Kong one month to submit the names, addresses and job descriptions of their local staff, according to diplomatic sources and documents seen Tuesday by several media outlets.
The documents include a letter in English and Chinese dated Monday from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (OCMFA) in Beijing, as well as two forms for consulates to fill out with contact details for their local staff.
The letter gave consulates until October 18 to “return completed forms to the Protocol Division.”
Under the city’s mini-constitution, Beijing is in charge of Hong Kong-related foreign affairs. China has tightened its control over the semi-autonomous city in recent years and imposed a sweeping national security law in 2020 following huge pro-democracy protests.
Two diplomatic sources confirmed their consulates had received the documents and told Agence France-Presse it was the first time personal information on local staff members had been requested. “We are still evaluating the document and will review it,” a source said.
Hong Kong Free Press also reported on the letter, saying missions were “requested to complete the form within 15 days of the start of the appointment” of any new staff members.
A representative from the EU office in Hong Kong and Macau said it was “carefully studying the matter” and declined further comment.
OCMFA and the Hong Kong government’s Protocol Division, which handles consular affairs and official visits to the city, have been contacted for comment.
The letter asks all Hong Kong consulates to “provide information on all locally engaged personnel… (including) permanent residents… and non-permanent residents”.
One form, titled “Notification of Locally Recruited Staff,” requires consulates to provide information on staff members’ names, positions, residential addresses and ID numbers.
The other form asks consulates to notify authorities of any termination of employment.