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CE: Election Committee, district councilors must take oath

By Gang Wen and Wang Zhan | | Updated: 2021-01-13 18:24
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Witnessed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, permanent secretaries, heads of department and directorate civil servants at the rank of D6 or above swear to uphold Hong Kong's Basic Law, bear allegiance to the HKSAR, be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the HKSAR government during a ceremony at the Central Government Offices, Hong Kong, Dec 18, 2020. [PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT]

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday said district councilors and members of the 1,200-strong Election Committee that picks the chief executive should be considered public officers and swear allegiance to the city in accordance with the National Security Law for Hong Kong.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told reporters that the government will table an amendment in the legislature that clarifies the meaning of "public officer", noting that Hong Kong laws pertaining to public service aren't uniform in their definition of such a position. She didn't say when the amendment would be offered.

Article 6 of the National Security Law for Hong Kong states that residents who stand for election or assume public office shall confirm in writing or take an oath to uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR and swear allegiance to the region in accordance with the law.

Article 104 of the Hong Kong Basic Law stipulates that public officers, namely the chief executive, principal officials, members of the Executive and Legislative councils, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary must swear allegiance to the HKSAR when assuming office.

In his Jan 6 LegCo reply, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said the government considered the scope of "public officers" referred to in the National Security Law "a very complex issue that needs careful study."

"The government is now actively studying the subject matter, and will announce the implementation details of the related requirements at an appropriate juncture," he said.

Tsang said the government plans to introduce amendments to the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance to reflect the detailed oath taking requirements and arrangements set by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

He added that government was also reviewing relevant laws to ensure that any violation of the oath would be dealt with appropriately, reflecting "the severity of breach of the oath."

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