Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK law requiring civil servants to take oath comes into effect

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor signs the Public Offices (Candidacy and Taking Up Offices) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2021 on May 20, 2021. (PHOTO / INFORMATION SERVICES DEPARTMENT, HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – A law that requires Hong Kong's public officers, including district councilors, to take an oath to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was published in the Gazette and came into force on Friday.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday signed the Public Offices (Candidacy and Taking Up Offices)(Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2021.

It (the ordinance) stipulates very clearly for the first time the legal requirements for oath-taking of public officers, marking an important step for safeguarding the 'patriots administering Hong Kong' principle.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor,  Chief Executive, Hong Kong

Upholding the Basic Law and bearing allegiance to the HKSAR is the legal requirement and the precondition for public officers and is also the fundamental obligation and responsibility of people standing for election or taking up public office, Lam said.

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"It (the ordinance) stipulates very clearly for the first time the legal requirements for oath-taking of public officers, marking an important step for safeguarding the 'patriots administering Hong Kong' principle," she said.

"To implement 'one country, two systems' fully and accurately, we must act in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law," Lam said, stressing that the ordinance will be conducive to the implementation of "one country, two systems".  

The ordinance explains the meaning of upholding the Basic Law and bearing allegiance to the HKSAR, introduces the oath-taking requirement for members of the District Councils and specifies oath-taking requirements.

It also standardizes the arrangement of oath administrators, enhances the mechanism to deal with breach of oaths, and introduces restrictions on participation in public elections for related situations.

The oath-taking requirements are in line with Article 104 of the Basic Law, the interpretation of the article by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 2016, and the National Security Law in the HKSAR.

The related bill was introduced into the Legislative Council for the first and second reading on March 17 and was passed by lawmakers on May 12.

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According to the bill, district council members could be suspended for violating their oaths or legal requirements of upholding the Basic Law and bearing allegiance to the HKSAR.

The government is working on the related arrangement and will unveil the details soon.