Patriotism condition of political diversity

2021-03-27 12:04:06

Witnessed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, permanent secretaries, heads of department and directorate civil servants at the rank of D6 or above swear to uphold Hong Kong's Basic Law, bear allegiance to the HKSAR, be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the HKSAR government during a ceremony at the Central Government Offices, Hong Kong, Dec 18, 2020. [Photo/HKSAR GOVERNMENT] During the first meeting of the Hong Kong legislature's subcommittee on electoral improvements on Friday, a senior government official stressed that political diversity must be based on the premise of "patriots administering Hong Kong". Replying to a lawmaker's question whether the opposition can still enter the administrative structure after the electoral changes, Hong Kong Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said that the central government welcomes administrators from across the political spectrum, but the precondition is that they must be patriotic. He also cited the remarks of Xia Baolong, head of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, that the electoral improvements are definitely not for the sake of pursuing "uniformity", nor excluding any particular forces or parties. The subcommittee was set up last Friday to prepare for the upcoming local legislation amendments. Friday's meeting elected Martin Liao Cheung-kong and Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan as the subcommittee's chairman and vice-chairperson. Next Monday and Tuesday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee plans to deliberate amendments to Annex I and Annex II of Hong Kong's Basic Law. After the decision was passed, the Hong Kong government will propose a comprehensive draft bill to the LegCo to amend local election legislation. Tsang said that the subcommittee will later scrutinize the bill. Roy Tang Yun-kwong, permanent secretary of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, said that after an initial assessment, the local revision may involve four major pieces of legislation and 28 subsidiary pieces of legislation. He added that the government will start related legal work and explain the legal provisions to the public next week. When asked whether the candidates for election committee members, chief executive and lawmakers should meet a higher standard of patriotism, Tsang said he believes the requirements for them will be no different from other candidates. In his reply to another question, Tsang said members of a vetting committee will be subject to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, a regulation that is binding on all Hong Kong people.