Civil service union calls for clarity on declaration - RTHK
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Civil service union calls for clarity on declaration

2021-01-15 HKT 19:31
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  • Civil service union calls for clarity on declaration
The chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting, said on Friday that more clarity was needed on what exactly would constitute a breach of the new declaration required of public servants.

The city’s 180,000 civil servants were told earlier on Friday that they will be given four weeks to sign the declaration, which says they will uphold the Basic Law, pledge allegiance to the SAR, be dedicated to their duties, and be responsible to the government. Those who fail to do so face being sacked.

Leung said a circular issued by the Civil Service Bureau about the requirement – and potential breaches – was too vague, and civil servants would need more detailed briefings to make sure they understand the new requirements before they sign the declaration or take an oath.

The circular said it was not feasible to list "exhaustively" all types of improper conduct that may constitute a breach – but advocating Hong Kong independence, refusing to recognise China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, soliciting intervention by foreign forces into the SAR's affairs and carrying out activities that endanger national security are definitely not allowed.

It went on to say that any act that "aims to undermine the government in the governance of Hong Kong" will also be seen as violating the declaration.

This could include seeking to "incite discontent in the society against the administration of the government of the day thus instigating or aggravating social instability".

Leung believes civil servants will have be very careful about what they say or share about the government or government policies in public and on social media, to avoid being considered as seeking to undermine the government.

"We’ve always reminded civil servants to be careful and not to say anything political publicly,” he said, “if you talk about politics – that’s not your problem – but you may get into trouble if someone snitches on you.”

The unionist said he doesn’t think it’s necessary for all civil servants to make the declaration because any misconduct can already be dealt with using existing regulations. He said the new requirement would give the government a lot more “excuses” to take disciplinary action against civil servants.