The Civil Service Bureau is planning to make it mandatory for all civil servants to sign an oath to uphold the Basic Law and to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong government, according to a civil service union which attended a consultation session with the bureau this week.
The government already requires new recruits who joined the government after 1 July (effective date of National Security Law) to make a written declaration. Those who are involved in decision-making or have roles with sensitive duties like administrative officers, information officers, legal officers and disciplined services staff, have been the first to make the declaration.
"The requirement for civil servants to take an oath or make a written declaration is basically a manifestation of their established responsibilities. So there is nothing new. These responsibilities are set out in the Basic Law Article 99 and the Civil Service Code. It's also consistent with the national security law, particularly Article 6," said Patrick Nip, secretary for the civil service, in a statement.
"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 1 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," he added.
According to Article 6 of the National Security Law, it states that “a resident of the Region who stands for election or assumes public office shall confirm in writing or take an oath to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China in accordance with the law".
Employees who were hired before 1 July did not have such terms in their contact when they were hired. Nip has not yet revealed the timeframe for them to undergo the process.
“Nip did not go into details of how the new measure would be implemented. But several times he highlighted the clause in the national security law on cases of breach of the oath or declaration by civil servants,” a participant told the SCMP.