China’s Notary Office in Shanghai has been forced to shut down due to its high traffic and other factors.
The Shanghai notary service, which was set up in 2012 to provide notarial services for China’s citizens, was facing difficulties due to the influx of tourists, especially from Hong Kong, the Shanghai Daily reported on Wednesday.
The government has since decided to close the office, which has about 500 employees, citing high traffic, the newspaper said.
The decision to close down the notary offices came after the government began allowing citizens to apply for passports online.
The announcement comes as the number of people applying for passports in China has grown dramatically over the past year.
The number of applications for Chinese passports rose to 1.6 million in January from 0.7 million in December.
The Hong Kong and Macau governments are considering a law that would force foreign citizens applying for a passport to prove their citizenship in the mainland, the Daily reported.
The issue of foreigners applying for Hong Kong passports was brought up at a meeting of the Legislative Council, the country’s highest legislative body, on Wednesday, the news agency Xinhua reported.
Hong Kong and the Macau are currently locked in a territorial dispute over China’s use of its territory for economic development.
The United States has not recognized China’s claims to Hong Kong’s sovereignty.