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Govt proposes oaths for all civil servants

2020-07-08 HKT 17:21
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  • Govt proposes oaths for all civil servants
Timmy Sung reports
The government has proposed requiring all civil servants to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, and declare to uphold the Basic Law.

In a document to submitted to Legco, the Civil Service Bureau said it has all along been the duty of civil servants to uphold the Basic Law and be loyal to the Hong Kong SAR – and more importantly – to the government.

Officials said requesting civil servants to take oaths or make a written declaration could enable them to have a clearer awareness of their responsibilities.

As such, officials want all new civil service recruits after July 1 to confirm in writing to uphold the mini-constitution and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR.

Existing workers will also have to make such pledges as well, although this will be done in stages.

Those who are involved in decision-making, or have sensitive duties, like administrative officers, information officers, legal officers and disciplined services staff, are recommended to give their undertaking first.

Government staff who are to be recommended for promotion, or when their promotions are confirmed will also have to do the same.

For directorate officers of higher ranking, they will have to take an oath rather than do it in writing.

Officials said the proposal is in line with a requirement under the newly enacted national security law.

Pro-Beijing lawmakers have also criticised some civil servants for not being loyal to the government after a group of them organised a rally against the extradition bill last year.

The chair of the Senior Government Officers Association, Lee Fong-chung, said that requiring civil servants to uphold the Basic Law and support the Hong Kong government is already stated in the civil service code.

But Lee said he needed to see more details about the new statement and consult members to see if they support the proposal.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said the oath-taking proposal shows that the government mistrusts its own staff.

Wu said the new requirement will make it easier to punish civil servants who express concerns about government policies, even if they express their opinions in a personal capacity.