07/09/2020, 09.46
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, security law: public officials and students brought to order

They must swear allegiance to institutions and the Basic Law in writing. Democracy activists: They want to align state officials with government positions. Students will no longer be able to sing the anthem of the democracy movement.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - All public employees who enter service on July 1st will have to swear in writing allegiance to city institutions and to the Basic Law, the local mini-Constitution. It is one of the first effects of the national security law imposed by Beijing to control dissent and repress the democracy movement.

The oath must also be taken by state officials already in service who occupy "crucial and sensitive" roles, and by those who are promoted to management level.

The new legislation, which came into force on 30 June, introduces the crimes of separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The Chinese Communist Party claims to have imposed it to restore order; the anti-Beijing front, which has been demonstrating for the past year for democracy in Hong Kong and to safeguard its liberal system, instead accuses the Chinese leadership of wanting to stifle the population’s aspirations.

A large number of public employees participated in the demonstrations last year.

Democracy activists believe the oath obligation is a tool to align public employment with government positions, limiting their freedom of speech and expression. The government is studying a special measure to punish state officials who break the oath.

The same goes for the decision to stop students from singing "Glory to Hong Kong" in schools. The popular anthem of the democratic movement, the authorities say, contains political messages contrary to the security law. The authorities also want to ban human protest chains organized by students in school spaces.

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