Beijing's key body on cross-strait affairs has joined a row over the future of Taiwan's representative office in Hong Kong, accusing Taipei's ruling Democratic Progressive party of "groundless slander", as well as sheltering rioters and meddling in the SAR's affairs.
A spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office made the comments on Sunday, as seven of the eight Taiwanese staff at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong headed home amid a visa row. Taipei said it would set out plans for the office on Monday.
State news agency Xinhua quoted the spokesman, Ma Xiaoguang, as saying that the DPP showed "no remorse" in meddling in Hong Kong affairs while providing support and shelter for rioters, as well as advocating "Taiwan independence".
"We firmly supports the HKSAR government in dealing with Taiwan-related affairs in accordance with the HKSAR Basic Law, and the policies of the Chinese central government," Ma was quoted as saying.
He accused the DPP of trying to "sabotage the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong", which he said would "result in severe punishment".
Taipei's Mainland Affairs Council said the staff members were asked to sign a statement to support the view that Taiwan is part of “one China” for them to be granted a work visa.
It said the remaining staff member would leave when their visa expires next month. Both Hong Kong and Macau have suspended the operations of their respective offices in Taipei.