People joining the civil service on or after July 1 this year will be required to sign documents saying they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the SAR, the Hong Kong government proposed on Wednesday.
Similar arrangements and oath-takings are also proposed for higher ranking civil servants, including directorate grade officers, as well as those being promoted and handling sensitive matters, including people working in the disciplined forces, the Department of Justice and the press officers, according to the Civil Service Bureau.
The administration should clearly explain what consequences civil servants could face if they refuse to sign documents or take oaths
Ann Chiang Lai-wan,
The arrangement is being proposed in line with requirements under the National Security Law, the bureau said.
When formulating these policies, the bureau will also explain appropriate follow-up action should there be any violations of the law. The bureau will continue to consult with the secretary for justice and civil service unions for more details, it added.
The new arrangements aim to better protect and promote core values of the civil service so the SAR government can operate more effectively, the bureau explained.
Hong Kong’s more than 170,000 civil servants are the backbone of the SAR government and they answer to the chief executive. They also assist the city’s leader and the government in formulating, explaining and executing policies, as well as providing services to the public and also carrying out their duties.
According to Article 99 of the Basic Law, public servants must be dedicated to their duties and be accountable to the HKSAR government.
Lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan said the government’s proposal was “appropriate”. Chiang suggested the administration should clearly explain what consequences civil servants could face if they refuse to sign documents or take oaths.
Lee Fong-chung, chairman of the Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association, also endorsed the proposals. Lee said it was acceptable to ask higher- ranking public officers to take oaths when they are responsible for sensitive information.
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