02/19/2021, 16.15
HONG KONG – CHINA
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Hong Kong civil servant quits over oath of allegiance

Michael Ngan organised protests against Hong Kong’s extradition bill, its handling of the pandemic, and the security law. For him, Hong Kong civil servants are accountable only to Hong Kong authorities. Police arrest university student for supporting Hong Kong independence.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The former head of the disbanded civil servants’ union has resigned from his post at the Labour Department to avoid taking an oath of allegiance to Hong Kong and mainland China.

Michael Ngan Mo-chau made the announcement himself on the organisation’s Facebook page; the Union for New Civil Servants disbanded itself last month to protect its members.

“I only lose a job,” he wrote on the popular social networking service and social medium. “What is more important is that I have faced myself truly and chosen what is right to do.”

In August 2019 he led a protest by public officials against the extradition bill (which the authorities later withdrew). A year ago, under his leadership, the union criticised the city government's handling of the pandemic.

Ngan also targeted mainland China’s security law, pointing out that under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Hong Kong civil servants are only accountable to Hong Kong authorities, not to the central government.

Last month, those same authorities imposed an oath of allegiance after the security law was adopted in June last year.

Now the Autonomous Region’s 180,000 civil servants must take the loyalty pledge by the end of the month; if they refuse without justification, they are automatically dismissed.

Since the start of the year, many doctors, nurses, dentists and public health researchers have already resigned in order not to comply with this obligation.

This comes as Hong Kong authorities, backed by Beijing, continue their crackdown on dissent, as evinced, for example, by the various arrest warrants against pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

Yesterday, police arrested a 19-year-old student for taking part in an anti-government protest on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in November. The police detained eight people in December back in December.

On 19 November, a hundred CUHK students had protested peacefully against the university’ decision to hold their graduation ceremony online.

Demonstrators also displayed pro-independence flags and banners, shouting slogans in favour of the independence of the former British colony.

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