The new law is apparently intended to smoke pro-democracy local councilors out of office.
Hong Kong the government has initiated a new law that would force all politicians and officials to swear an oath of allegiance to China and the Hong Kong Constitution, news agencies report.
The purpose of the law is to “ensure that Hong Kong is led by patriots,” said the Minister for Constitutional Affairs Erick Tsang at a press conference on Tuesday. According to Tsang, politicians deemed unreliable will no longer get into political positions.
The Chinese government had demanded the patriotism of the Hong Kong leadership the day before Tsang’s press conference.
Law will be considered by the Hong Kong Legislative Council in March. According to Tsang, the Hong Kong Constitution calls for its introduction.
“You can’t claim to be patriotic, but you don’t love or respect the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party – it makes no sense,” Tsang explained.
“Patriotism is holistic love.”
If the law comes into force, the courts will remove politicians who do not pass the test of allegiance and are not allowed to stand for election for the next five years.
Tsang has already announced that at least four politicians will be dismissed on the basis of their previous behavior.
By law the pro – democracy commissioners, who won almost 90% of the seats in the 2019 local elections in Hong Kong, are apparently to be removed from office.
Yuen Long Regional Commissioner for Democracy Henry Wong commented to Reuters that it has not yet decided whether to agree to swear an oath.
“This is just a way to legalize their brutal use of force to silence the voice of democracy,” he told Reuters.
Local councilors are Hong Kong’s only fully democratic institution, and while they have no power over significant national affairs, the election defeat was a humiliation for Chinese supporters.
Even before the new law is debated, the Chinese Parliament also intends to propose changes to Hong Kong’s electoral arrangements. Critics say these changes will further accelerate the SAR’s move toward an authoritarian model.