A leading pro-Beijing politician says Hong Kong Public Servants should be allowed to join legal rallies against Government policies despite the China-imposed National Security Law.
Former President of the Legislative Council, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (pictured), who now leads the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute, urged the administration to roll out clear guidelines on what words and actions constituted a breach of oath to allay the concerns of the city’s 177,000 Public Servants.
His suggestions were floated two days after the Legislative Council endorsed a resolution requiring the removal of any member found to have violated their duty of allegiance or endangered national security. Four opposition lawmakers were immediately stripped of their seats.
While the resolution did not directly target Public Servants, some questioned whether the new red line would eventually be applied to Government workers hired since July, who as part of new employment conditions have to take an oath to uphold Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and pledge allegiance to the city.
Releasing a report on Public Service oath-taking requirements, the think tank’s Senior Researcher, Kay Lam Chi-yan said breaches should be limited to speech and behaviour aimed at achieving Hong Kong independence or overthrowing the Government.
“If any legal assembly aims only to oppose a certain Government policy and does not involve the ‘one country, two systems’ principle defined by the Basic Law, participants shouldn’t be considered as not upholding the Basic Law,” Ms Lam said.
“Their political expressions should be protected if participants do not reveal their identity as a public officer.”
The think tank also opposed any direct ban on Public Servants’ online remarks against Government policies, with Ms Lam saying the line should be drawn at whether such behaviour would embarrass the administration or be perceived as detrimental to the Public Service’s image of political neutrality.
Hong Kong, 15 November 2020