Hong Kong Legislature Approves China Loyalty Laws
Muhammad Irfan 1 month ago Wed 12th May 2021 | 04:32 PM
Hong Kong's opposition-devoid legislature approved new powers on Wednesday allowing the government to sack public office holders and bar election candidates from standing if they are deemed "disloyal" to local authorities or China
Hong Kong, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th May, 2021 ) :Hong Kong's opposition-devoid legislature approved new powers on Wednesday allowing the government to sack public office holders and bar election candidates from standing if they are deemed "disloyal" to local authorities or China.
The new laws are part of sweeping changes that Beijing has ordered for Hong Kong's already limited electoral system which will dramatically reduce the number of directly elected politicians and ensure only "staunch patriots" enter politics.
Under the new powers, all public office holders will be required to make a "pledge of loyalty" that they must adhere to throughout their term.
It also includes over 470 district councillors -- local neighbourhood officials who are the only people Hong Kongers can choose via universal suffrage.
At least 26 district councillors resigned in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's legislature meeting.
The law grants authorities sweeping vetting powers. Political views of public office holders will be weighed against a "positive" and "negative" list designed to weed out disloyalty and any acts that might "endanger national security".
Critics say the definitions in those lists are overly broad.
Loyalty vetting will also continue beyond the pledge and throughout a person's term.
A public official will be immediately suspended if the Secretary for Justice finds him or her disloyal.
"Some people might seem serious when taking the oath but can commit unlawful acts afterwards," Regine Ip, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, told the legislature, adding she was "very glad" to vote for the new law.
Authorities are also writing up a separate suite of laws that will also empower a committee -- with help of police intelligence -- to vet all election candidates for whether they are a national security threat.