(Bloomberg) -- China has asked consulates in Hong Kong to submit information on locally hired employees, including their home addresses, a move giving Beijing stepped up oversight of the city.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry wants the missions to provide a copy of local employees’ ID cards and details including job titles, employment start date, permanent residency status and visa information, according to a letter and form sent to consulates in Hong Kong on Monday and seen by Bloomberg News.
The documents tell missions to comply with the request by Oct. 18 and submit information on new staff within 15 days of their first day. The form also indicates the personal data provided can be shared with other bureaus and departments.
The Hong Kong Free Press reported earlier on the letter. Representatives from the Hong Kong government and China’s Foreign Ministry based in the city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other nations ask missions for similar information about locals they employ, and embassies on the mainland must hire Chinese nationals through a government-controlled agency. Still, the move by China appears to be in step with its focus on national security in the former British colony. Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in mid-2020 in response to mass protests against the government.
Read: How China’s National Security Law Changed Hong Kong: QuickTake
In 2019, the UK summoned the Chinese ambassador after a former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong said he was beaten for information about protesters while detained on the mainland. China criticized then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and warned that interference in its affairs “will eventually harm UK interests.”
This summer, Hong Kong officials placed a HK$1 million ($127,900) bounty on eight overseas activists, alleging they committed offenses under the law even after leaving the financial hub. The US said extraterritorial applications of the law set “a dangerous precedent” that threatens people’s rights and freedoms.
See: Beijing’s Top Official in Hong Kong Warns of ‘Anti-China Forces’
Last year, the Financial Times reported that Beijing had asked foreign diplomats for floor plans of all properties rented by foreign missions in Hong Kong.
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