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Hong Kong: 16 more pro-democracy councillors ousted over loyalty oaths

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Asia | October 22, 2021 7:17:08 AM IST
The pro-Chinese Hong Kong government has disqualified another 16 district councillors from the New Territories following the final oaths of loyalty ceremony.

With this, only 60 pro-democracy councillors have left in office, Hong Kong Free Press reported.

The Home Affairs Bureau announced on Thursday its final list of district councillors whose oaths of allegiance to the government were considered invalid.

The government's oath administrator initially questioned the validity of oaths offered by 17 councillors, with one opting for resignation before the final decision came down. It left 16 disqualified.

The last batch of district councillors disqualified for invalid oaths were unseated with immediate effect, including Roy Kwong.

Kwong was a prominent figure during the 2019 protests, and one of the few democrats spared any protest or national security-related prosecutions.

Pro-democracy candidates took control of 17 of the 18 district councils during the 2019 November election, in the wake of the anti-extradition bill protests.

But the government introduced mandatory oaths of allegiance for the city's local-level representatives earlier this year, after requiring all civil servants to take the same pledge shortly after Beijing's passing of the national security law last June.

The polls were the only fully democratic elections in the city.

Since the beginning of the oath-taking ceremonies, all councillors -- who were asked to submit "more information" -- have been ousted by the government.

Earlier this year, the government had announced the mandatory oath of allegiance for the city's local-level councillors.

The introduction of the oaths, and the ensuing rumours that salary and benefits will be recouped from up to 200 councillors who faced disqualification, prompted over 100 to resign ahead of the ceremonies, according to Hong Kong Free Press. (ANI)

 
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