10/12/2020, 14.29
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Hong Kong public officials required to pledge loyalty

The measure affects all those hired after the new security law came into effect. For local authorities, those who oppose it want to "subvert" the government and risk being sacked. So far 46 employees have been suspended for taking part in pro-democracy rallies. For pro-democracy advocates, the government wants "yes-men". The independence of Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK is at risk.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – New recruits who joined the Hong Kong government after the enactment of the national security law will be asked to swear allegiance to the city.

Those who violate the loyalty pledge may be seen as seeking to “subvert” the government, Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip told a radio station on Saturday.

The new security legislation, imposed by Beijing to control dissent and suppress the pro-democracy movement, went into effect on 30 June. It introduces offences such as separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The Communist Party of China claims that it was forced to impose it in order to restore order.

For Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing movement, which last year demonstrated in favour of democracy and for the maintenance of Hong Kong’s liberal system, the mainland wants to stifle the aspirations of the population.

Pro-democracy activists note that the obligation to make a pledge of allegiance is a tool to force public servants to toe the government line.

Scores of public servants took part in protests last year.  Of those, 46 were suspended on suspicion of participating in “illegal activities”, Nip revealed.

The government wants to extend the loyalty pledge to cover all 180,000 civil servants, including the top brass of the civil service.

Nip said that, in cases of serious violations – such as a breach of the security legislation – the civil servant concerned would be sacked immediately and barred from taking up public office.

Pro-democracy advocates condemned the decision of Carrie Lam's government, accusing it of wanting only "yes-men".

Quoted in the Hong Kong Free Press, pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting notes that the obligation to pledge loyalty also jeopardises the independence of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), the territory’s public broadcasting service.

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