New civil servants in Hong Kong required to swear to uphold Basic Law

The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong.(Photo: Xinhua)

HONG KONG -- All civil servants joining the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on or after July 1, 2020 are required to take an oath or make a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR, bear allegiance to the HKSAR and be responsible to the HKSAR government, according to a circular issued by the Civil Service Bureau on Monday.

The new requirement for appointment to the civil service was introduced to enhance civil servants' awareness of the expectations and responsibilities brought on them by their official positions, a spokesman for the Civil Service Bureau said, adding that while most prospective appointees are required to sign a declaration when accepting the offer of appointment, those appointed directly to senior positions such as heads of departments will be required to take an oath.

The requirement for civil servants to take an oath or make a declaration is an open acknowledgement of the acceptance and a genuine manifestation of the responsibilities of and expectations on civil servants, which will further safeguard and promote the core values that should be upheld by civil servants, and ensure the effective governance of the HKSAR government, said the spokesman.

This arrangement also accords with the relevant provisions of the national security law in Hong Kong, the spokesman said.

It has consistently been the duty of civil servants to uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to the HKSAR and be responsible to the HKSAR government under the Basic Law and the Civil Service Code. Appointees to civil service posts should in no uncertain terms acknowledge and accept these duties, said the spokesman.

Article 6 of the national security law in Hong Kong stipulates that a resident of the HKSAR who stands for election or assumes public office shall confirm in writing or take an oath to uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR and swear allegiance to the HKSAR in accordance with the law.

"Where an officer is suspected or is found to have breached the declaration or oath while in service, the case will be dealt with according to civil service rules and regulations, including disciplinary action under the Public Service (Administration) Order or the relevant disciplined services legislation," the spokesman added.