Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday announced plans to begin terminating the contracts of civil servants who refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the Hong Kong government.
Civil Services Secretary Patrick Nip told lawmakers that 129 out of 170,000 civil servants did not sign a statement of loyalty, with some writing on the form that the request violated freedom of speech. their commentary.
The statement swears that the officials will “be loyal to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China … and accountable to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
Nip’s civil services office said 25 civil servants had resigned, and the rest had been suspended or unpaid leave.
“Because as a permanent resident or public servant of the Hong Kong SAR, the primary responsibility is to be loyal to Hong Kong and the government,” he said.
“We will be quickly monitoring the proceedings. This will be over and done within a few months, I’m sure,” Nip told the Legislative Council (LegCo).
The demand for pledging allegiance to the government is made in the context of the city conducting a crackdown on peaceful dissent and political opposition since the CCP imposed national security laws. draconian against Hong Kong from 1 July 2020.
In January, Hong Kong government broadcaster RTHK terminated the long service contract and rights of a journalist known for tough questions against government officials, the staff union said. .
The management asked news host Nabela Qoser to choose between resigning and signing a short-term contract, in a move widely denounced as political interference in the media.
Qoser’s contract was terminated after she raised a series of conundrums to CEO Carrie Lam about the July 31 attack of armed thugs on train passengers at Yuen Long. , prompting Lam and other top officials to leave a press conference.
The lawyers of opposition politician Tam Tak-chi detained on Monday filed a request to suspend proceedings against him, which are intended to serve as a legal basis for his detention. because of suspecting “seduction” because of shouting protest slogans.
Tam, vice chairman of the opposition People’s Power Party, can be charged with prosecution in District Court without a jury according to a ruling earlier this month.
His defense attorney Philip Dykes argues that the colonial embargo law is incompatible with the small city constitution, the Basic Law, which guarantees freedom of speech.
“The definitions of seductive intentions … are too general or so vague [the law] Dykes told the District Court. Judge Stanley Chan postponed the hearing and reserved his ruling until April 26.
Tam appeared at ease in court, and made a winning “V” move against the public showroom.
Chan reprimanded Mr. Tam’s supporters in the public showroom after they made their finger-up gesture, referring to five requests by the 2019 rally, including outright elections. democracy.
“Maybe this defendant is very popular in the public eye, but the court reiterates that they are in a courtroom,” Mr. Chan said. “In criminal cases, the court should be respected as a place that represents the independence of the judiciary. It is not a place for people to have fun or dance around.”
Tam was arrested in September 2020 for using the slogan “Hong Kong Free, Revolutionary Now!” and “Five required, not less than one!” while giving a speech on the streets of Kowloon from March to July.
Defendant Tam also shouted: “Cops are dirty, hope everyone in the family dies!” and complaints regarding police inaction during the crowd attack on 21 July 2019 against train passengers at Yuen Long and letting riot police assault passengers in Prince Edward MTR station August 31, 2019.
Takeover ‘just for show’
Meanwhile, the president of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Media Investment TV, Liu Changle, announced that he would sell nearly all of his shares in the company to the CCP-backed Bauhinia Culture Holdings and Common Sense. , owned by Pansy. Ho’s Shun Tak Empire.
“The Board of Directors does not expect the proposal [shares transfers] there will be any negative impact on the company’s business, ”Phoenix said in a document filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday.
A journalist based in the northern province of Hebei who only calls them Song, said the transfer of Liu’s shares shows that Beijing has clearer control over a TV station. founded by a former reporter of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“Bauhinia culture is state owned property,” Song said. “For it to regain control of Phoenix TV is just for show.”
“I think we will see a further trend towards the center [government] controls all of Hong Kong’s media organizations, “he said.
“This could mean they centralize all their privately owned media, including publishers, and put them under the same regulation as in mainland China, or even under the same regulation. can be controlled more closely. “
Reports by Chan Yun Nam and Lau Siu Fung for RFA’s Cantonese Service, and by Qiao Long for Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.