Over a hundred Hong Kong civil servants have refused to sign a declaration of allegiance to the government, local media reported.
According to Sing Tao Daily, on July 24 the Hong Kong Secretary for the Civil Service, Patrick Nip Tak-kuen (聶德權), said during an interview with public broadcaster RTHK that 129 civil servants have refused to sign a declaration of allegiance to the Hong Kong government and the Basic Law. 70 of them have already resigned.
In January of this year, tens of thousands of civil servants were required to sign the new declaration of allegiance.
The declaration reads: “I declare that, as a civil servant of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [HKSAR] of the People’s Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law…, bear allegiance to the [HKSAR], be dedicated to my duties and be responsible to the HKSAR Government.”
Nip stated that all civil servants, regardless of their position, must support the HKSAR government and be wary of situations that might “endanger national security” (防範危害國家安全的情況出現).
He further said that all civil servants must fulfill their responsibility but that “high-ranking civil servants must bear a bigger responsibility” (中高級公務員需要負上的責任為更大).
Around 170 pro-democracy district councillors face removal from office under a new law requiring councillors to swear an oath of allegiance to the government.
The government has drafted a “negative list” (負面清單) of past behaviour which the authorities deem in violation of the National Security Law (NSL) and which would lead to disqualification from office.
The “negative list” includes acts such as taking part or coordinating a primary election for pro-democracy candidates held in July 2020, the use of office spaces as polling stations during the primary, and signing a primary election manifesto.
After the introduction of the NSL in June 2020, the Chinese Communist Party has tightened its grip on Hong Kong, restricting its freedoms and persecuting political opponents.
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