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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021

District councilors split over upcoming oath

Sha Tin district council chairman Ching Cheung-ying said he would be taking the oath to pledge allegiance to the SAR government and the Basic Law along with others, including Tung Chung councilor Wong Chun-yeung, who made a U-turn.
Ching said he was not aware of anyone who would not take the oath so far. "Unless there are sudden shifts in arrangements, I plan on taking the oath."

Last month, the government announced that district councilors would be required to take an oath swearing to uphold the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the SAR, a day after a senior official in China's cabinet said provisions should be made to ensure "patriots" run Hong Kong.

Secretary for Mainland and Constitutional Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said those who violate the oath will be barred from running in elections for five years.

Soon after the announcement, Wong said he would resign once the bill was passed. However, he announced yesterday on Facebook that he would take the oath. "In the end, I have decided to stay and take the oath. Staying will give me one more tool. Even though slogans are banned, for now, it is not that important."

Yau Tsim Mong councilor Chan Tsz-wai also said he would take the oath. He said he came to his decision because of community support. "They know that I am not afraid of authority and that I work hard," he said. He added there had been overly expensive maintenance projects when the pro-establishment had been in charge of the council in the past.

Chan also said public security officers had talked with his relatives, who live in the mainland.

However, some district councilors remained undecided over whether to take the oath or not.

Tsuen Wan district council chairman Sumly Chan Yuen-sum said he needed to know the substance of the oath before making his decision.

He said he would take the oath if it was similar to the promises he had to make while running to be a district councilor.

Tuen Mun district council chairwoman Josephine Chan Shu-ying also said she needed to know more before deciding. "Right now, we are not very clear about the amended bill. Therefore, I cannot say for certain whether I will take the oath."

She said the Tuen Mun council had a meeting this month, where they agreed to submit a petition to the Secretary for Mainland and Constitutional Affairs requesting he consult the district councils before gazetting the bill.

"For example, after I take the oath, who will decide that I have violated it, or will there be any legal proceedings to judge that and unseat me?" she questioned. "These details will definitely affect our decisions."

Wong Tai Sin district council chairman Hui Kam-shing from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood said his party has yet to decide.
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