Politicians holding office in Hong Kong will be required to swear an oath of loyalty to Hong Kong and Beijing, failure to comply with this new requirement will result in the removal of the individual from office and a 5-year ban from running again.
This appears like another step into the integration of the territory into the People’s Republic of China after the introduction of the national security law last year which gave Beijing sweeping powers in Hong Kong. Since the introduction of the law, The PRC has either expelled or imprisoned several opposition members from the city’s legislative council.
Erick Tsang, secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs stated the bill will “ensure that patriots govern Hong Kong”. The bill could act retroactively, meaning that any government official elected in the recent 2019 election must pledge their allegiance and any previous actions which are found to be deemed ‘unpatriotic’ will also be reviewed but there is no specific wording on the matter.
Critics have accused the Beijing Government of not respecting the agreement reached for the handover of the territory from Britain in 1997. China was to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and rights for at least 50 years under the “One China Two Systems” arrangement. Foreign observers have also commented on the violation of the freedoms of speech and preventing opposition from participating in politics.