Some days, you wake up to songbirds cheerily tweeting outside your window. Other days, you wake up to news that makes you want to pull your hair out.

Today is the latter.

Several years ago, in Service of Process in Hong Kong means Hong Kong, CHINA, I discussed the danger of putting the former British colony on an equal linguistic footing with a sovereign state. Later on, in A Hong Kong Cautionary Tale, I updated the previous thought to include similarly worded problems in exhibits… a most ingenious paradox if ever there was one.

It’s never been an issue with requests for service on the mainland.  By all accounts, the Hong Kong authority was merely hyper-sensitive to condoning any such offense to the PRC, while the folks in Beijing didn’t really seem to care.

No more. They care.

This morning, one of my Hague Service Requests to the PRC came back rejected. The reason?

My client hadn’t delineated Hong Kong, China (or the accepted alternative, Hong Kong, SAR) in the text of the complaint.

As such, be warned, colleagues. All prior advice on recognizing consciously that Hong Kong is a political subdivision of the People’s Republic of China should pervade every bit of drafting you do.

* The only possible exception: where Hong Kong appears as part of a name or trademark, like “Bob’s Happy Fun Time Fireworks Company (Hong Kong), Ltd.”