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Sunday, Apr 11, 2021

200 civil servants say no to pledge

Around 200 people are set to leave the civil service after refusing to sign a declaration pledging allegiance to the Basic Law, according to Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen.
All civil servants were requested to take an oath or sign a declaration upholding the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the SAR within four weeks starting January.

In a press conference yesterday, Nip said up to 200 of the city's 177,000 civil servants refused to sign the declaration by the deadline set at the end of February.

"The preliminary number showed that more than 100, or around 200 people, didn't sign the declaration. So far we do not have the exact figures. We will release the data later," Nip said, adding it will be reported to lawmakers next month.

"We will follow up the cases in accordance with the public service [administration] order. As we don't have faith in civil servants who refuse to sign the declaration, we will go through relevant procedures and ask them to resign."

Nip has earlier said their departure may be good for the civil service overall.

"If there was anything on the declaration they could not accept and they chose to leave, that is their personal choice. It's not a bad thing for the civil service," he said.

"Those who sign and stay understand their positions and duties which are to serve the public and to preserve the 'one country, two systems' principle."

Nip said the authorities will examine whether any civil servants break the declaration after signing it.

He sidestepped the question of whether civil servants can attend the June 4 vigil and chant "end one-party rule."

Nip said it depends on whether the assembly is legal and peaceful, adding that civil servants should know they should not do anything that is against the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong."

He also said the government will look into the suggestion that senior civil servants should be banned from having foreign passports or the right of abode in foreign countries.

Currently, civil servants are only required to be permanent residents, with no restrictions regarding their nationality. But the government may consider any suggestions that could ensure the smooth running of one country, two systems, he said.

Nip cautioned that criticisms against civil servants should be based on facts.

State media had slammed Vivian Lau Lee-kwan, permanent secretary of food and health, for not being "patriotic enough" when she failed to ensure Lennon Walls were taken down during the unrest.

The pro-Beijing camp also claimed her husband Chau Hoi Wai, chief executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, was the "mastermind" behind the unrest.

"All criticism and controversy should be based on facts. It is important to collect true information in order to avoid misunderstandings and affecting one's morale," he said.

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