25th September 2020 – (Hong Kong) The government will require civil servants to take oaths or sign declarations in support of the Basic Law and allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region soon. The Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip said that a notice will be issued to the department next month to announce detailed arrangements. The government announced in July this year that it plans to introduce oaths or signing declarations for civil servants to uphold the Basic Law and show their allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Nip recently met with representatives of various civil service unions to discuss and expressed that most of the representatives agreed and supported the work, but hoped to know more details. Nip pointed out that civil servants need to support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the Basic Law. He hopes to make civil servants aware of their responsibilities by taking oaths and signing declarations.
Nips said today, ‘So we introduce this requirement, we hope that through this requirement there could be a manifestation of the civil service’s responsibility to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and also enable colleagues to be more aware of this responsibility. We are now setting out the arrangements. Basically for those new recruits joining the Government on or after 1st July this year, we would make arrangement for them to make a written declaration, and this will be part of the conditions for their employment.’
Civil servants who are newly recruited after 1st July this year must take an oath and sign a declaration as part of the terms of employment, the authorities will issue a notice to the relevant department next month to detail the arrangements.
Regarding whether existing civil servants need to accept the same arrangement, Nip consulted with different unions, stating that he would conduct research and implement the relevant arrangements in the future, and is also conducting related work with the Department of Justice to discuss follow-up actions if current civil servants do not sign a declaration. Nip emphasised that the Basic Law protects citizens’ freedom of speech and expression, but citizens should also be loyal to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and civil servants should be more commensurate with their status and should not cause any misunderstanding.
As for what words and deeds will be regarded as a violation of the oath, Nip says every violation needs to be reviewed individually. The most serious is the violation of the National Security Law. According to the current mechanism, the most serious punishment is the removal of the relevant civil servants.