Tens of thousands of civil servants were told by the Hong Kong government on Friday to sign a declaration of allegiance within the next four weeks or face possible dismissal.

The form, issued by the Civil Service Bureau, requires civil servants to pledge allegiance to the government and uphold the Basic Law.

civil servants declaration
Photo: Yvonne Tong via Twitter.

“Under the Basic Law and the Civil Service Code, it has consistently been the duty of civil servants to uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to the HKSAR, be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the HKSAR Government,” said a statement by the bureau.

“This has all along been what the Government and the society expect and require of them. All civil servants should in no uncertain terms acknowledge and accept these basic duties,” it added.

The form reads: “I declare that, as a civil servant of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law…, bear allegiance to the [HKSAR], be dedicated to my duties and be responsible to the HKSAR Government.”

The city’s top civil servants, including RTHK Director Leung Ka-wing, pledged to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the government in official oath-swearing ceremonies last month.

carrie lam oath ceremony civil servants
Top officials take oaths of allegiance in December 2020. File photo: GovHK screenshot.

Civil servants must return the signed declaration form within four weeks time or face a review of their suitability to remain in their jobs.

“Negligence or refusal to take the oath or to duly sign and return the declaration by a civil servant casts serious doubts on his or her willingness to take up these basic duties and his or her suitability to remain in the civil service to continue discharging his or her official duties,” a government spokesperson said during an oath-taking ceremony in December .

Disciplinary procedures

The government said any civil servants found to have violated their oaths of allegiance would be subject to existing disciplinary mechanisms.

Activities considered contrary to upholding the Basic Law include advocating Hong Kong’s independence, soliciting foreign interference in its affairs, and other acts deemed to endanger national security, according to a government circular quoted by one staffer.

The declaration requirement applies to civil servants appointed before July 1 last year. Those who joined after that date have already signed — over 4,000 of them, according to government figures.

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Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.