One HK district councilor removed, seven in question after first oath-taking ceremony since new rules
Published: Sep 10, 2021 03:39 PM
Hong Kong Photo:Xinhua

Hong Kong Photo:Xinhua

A district councilor in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was immediately disqualified after failing to attend an oath-taking ceremony on Friday, while seven district councilors' oath-taking remain questionable following the first of four planned ceremonies after the city strengthened oath-taking requirements in May.

Twenty-five district councilors were supposed to attend the oath-taking ceremony, but one, Peter Choi Chi-keung, from the eastern district did not show up. Choi was immediately disqualified, while the other 24 were sworn in, according to media reports, citing HKSAR Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai. 

The HKSAR government later said that the validity of seven district councilors oath-taking remains questionable and has not been confirmed. These district councilors, including Clarisse Yeung, who was among the 47 anti-government figures charged with subversion for organizing and participating in a primary vote for the LegCo election, have been requested to submit additional information to help determine the validity of their oaths.

Friday's ceremony was the first of four planned to swear in 211 district councilors. The ceremonies come after a bill on oath-taking requirements for district councilors came into force on May 21. The widely-applauded bill requires all district councilors to pledge loyalty to the Basic Law and the HKSAR.

After the ceremony, some district councilors who completed the oath-taking ceremony told reporters that the ceremony was like the one for the Legislative Council (LegCo) members and "even more solemn." 

District councilor Kwok Wai-keung said that the ceremony marked "one of the milestones of enforcing 'patriots ruling Hong Kong.'"

Another district councilor Paul Tse Wai-chun said the attendees solemnly took the oath and behaved "100 percent normally." 

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said earlier this week that if there would be any oath that the HKSAR government doubted, the district councilors involved would have the opportunity to make representations and the oath-commissioner would judge, with legal advice possibly involved.

Requiring oaths from the city's civil servants is in line with the principle of only "patriots governing Hong Kong," Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times in an earlier interview. "Through this process, we can screen people in order to further enhance the quality of Hong Kong civil servant services, and only let those who are truly qualified for the positions serve."

Global Times