Pro-Beijing district reps in oath disqualification push

All 86 pro-establishment district councilors have urged the government to amend the law to facilitate disqualification of councilors found to have breached their oath. Constitutional and mainland affairs chief Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said Thursday plans are afoot to table an amendment bill...

Michael Shum

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

All 86 pro-establishment district councilors have urged the government to amend the law to facilitate disqualification of councilors found to have breached their oath.

Constitutional and mainland affairs chief Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said Thursday plans are afoot to table an amendment bill after the Lunar New Year, requiring district councilors to take an oath upholding the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the SAR government.

The bill is to amend the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance to require anyone assuming public office to take the oath.

The councilors yesterday said authorities should amend the District Councils Ordinance too to make it possible to disqualify councilors if they breach their oath.

"The ordinance does not have any clauses to deal with councilors who have breached their oath, so we demand the government amend it," they said. "Opposition district councilors have been making use of their positions blatantly opposing the central and SAR governments They have made the district councils a critical platform to advocate anti-China ideas and cause chaos in Hong Kong."

Under the ordinance, councilors can for now only lose their seats if they are convicted of treason, suffer from mental issues that make them incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities, or become judicial officers.

Lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong met home affairs chief Caspar Tsui Ying-wa to push the government to bypass the councils and fund district activities directly as they had rejected funding for National Day celebrations and livelihood issues.

Southern district chairman Lo Kin-hei rejected the accusation, saying councilors were quick to react to social issues and even distributed masks quicker than the government.

"The pro-establishment camp is being a sore loser. They want more funding when they are the majority and less when they are the minority," he said. In November 2019, the pro-democracy camp won a landslide victory, winning 388 seats and gaining control of 17 of 18 district councils.