26 September 2023

HONG KONG: Workers ‘must accept changed system’

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The head of the Hong Kong Public Service has told Government employees in a closed door meeting that they must work to promote any changes to the system announced by the Government.

Secretary for the Civil Service, Patrick Nip Tak-kue (pictured) also said Public Servants should make more frequent visits to mainland China to gain a deeper understanding of Beijing’s development plans.

Mr Nip was speaking after reforms to the city’s Election Committee, originally tasked with picking the Chief Executive, was empowered to nominate all potential lawmaker candidates as well as elect 40 representatives of its own to the Legislative Council.

Under the reforms, the number of lawmakers directly elected by residents has been cut from 35 to 20, while anyone hoping to run for office must now be vetted by a new committee — changes critics have argued would bar most opposition candidates from the race.

Mr Nip told Public Servants the reforms must be interpreted side-by-side with the Beijing-imposed National Security Law, which bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

He said he would continue to meet Public Service organisations and colleagues of different ranks to explain the electoral changes further over the next two weeks.

Chief Executive of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting said most city employees “will keep their mouths shut and remain politically neutral”.

“After the enactment of the national security law and the oath-taking requirements, most Civil Servants feel overwhelmed and dare not speak or share feelings that are not work-related,” Mr Leung said.

Mr Nip’s comments came days before it was revealed that more than 100 Public Servants had not taken the oath to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and to uphold its mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

In a statement, the Civil Service Bureau said it would review the status of those who had not signed and whether they should be dismissed.

Hong Kong, 11 April 2021

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