Hong Kong’s Civil Service Bureau released a notice on Friday, demanding that all civil servants sign a document pledging their loyalty to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR).
The notice is the latest development in Hong Kong’s ongoing crackdown on opposition, since the promulgation of its national security law on June 30, 2020. It requires all civil servants joining the HKSAR government on or after July 1, 2020, as well as all those who joined before July 1, 2020, to declare that they will uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR (Hong Kong’s ‘mini constitution’), bear allegiance to the HKSAR, be dedicated to their duties and responsible to the government.
The Union for New Civil Servants, formed during the 2019 antigovernment protests in Hong Kong, on Saturday became the first union to disband since the notice was published on Friday, citing concerns that the oath-taking requirements would force some of its members to leave the government.
The Civil Service Bureau has warned that negligence or refusal to sign the declaration would cast serious doubts as to a civil servant’s “sense of duty and commitment to serve as a civil servant,” and that it would then be at the government’s discretion to initiate proceedings to terminate the service of the officer.
Civil servants have been given until mid-February to sign the declaration.