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Hundreds of Hong Kong Politicians Quit, Protesting New Loyalty Oath to China

Hundreds of Hong Kong Politicians Quit, Protesting New Loyalty Oath to China
folder_openAsia-Pacific... access_time 12 days ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Dozens of local community politicians in Hong Kong swore a newly required loyalty oath to China on Friday after hundreds of their colleagues quit in protest.

The new oath was enacted as authorities try to purge the city of "unpatriotic" elements.

In late 2019, towards the end of months of huge democracy protests, opposition candidates critical of China's rule won a landslide.

China has since responded with a crackdown on dissent as well as an overhaul of the city's political system that reduces the number of directly elected officials and vets politicians for their perceived patriotism.

On Friday, the first 24 councilors took the oath in a closed-door ceremony, according to the government.

Under the new rules imposed by Beijing earlier this year, a national security committee can disqualify anyone deemed an "anti-China" actor.

"If we have doubts on certain councilors' oath-taking and could not completely trust whether they have pledged loyalty and allegiance, we will give them the opportunity to explain... If their oaths are invalid in the end, they will be disqualified," chief executive Carrie Lam said earlier this week.

However, a majority of the elected district councilors have simply quit rather than adhere to the vetting process.

So far a total of 260 – more than half of the 452 elected members – have resigned.

Since the 2019 protests, China has imposed a national security law that has criminalized much dissent.

Several district councilors have been charged with national security crimes. Many others have fled overseas.

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