Civil service unions have expressed concerns about whether they could hold rallies or speak to the press in future, in light of a new pledge of allegiance the government is demanding civil servants make.
Around 180,000 civil servants have been told they face dismissal unless they sign a declaration stating that they will uphold the Basic Law, pledge allegiance to the SAR, be dedicated to their duties, and be responsible to the government.
Leung Chau-ting, chairman of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, said a few members have already told him that they are not going to sign.
Although he stressed that only a small number of people have indicated they will refuse to make the pledge, others have concerns including whether the binding effect of the declaration will be life-long.
Leung said he would like the government to provide further explanations, and he called on the Civil Service Bureau to brief government departments on the matter.
He also said he felt that the rules on civil servants are being tightened and he's now worried about agreeing to interviews with the media.
"If some media ask you for an interview, you have to see what kind of organisation it is. If it is an anti-China organisation, you may be in trouble," he said on an RTHK radio programme.
Leung added that the biggest concern is whether civil servant unions can still organise or participate in rallies, with fears that they could be held responsible if any of their actions trigger clashes or social movements in society.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants’ Association demanded a clear explanation from the government about what will happen to those who refuse to sign.
The association's Li Kwai-yin said members want to know if failing to make the declaration means civil servants will be sacked or forced to retire, as these are quite different things.
She also said she believed that the bureau pushed ahead with the declaration requirement too hastily, having refused to hold briefing sessions on the matter as unions requested.