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[01 Weekly Editorial] District Councillors Swear to Delimit Hong Kong Needs Truth and Good Governance

2021-05-18T07:13:39.034Z

The Legislative Council passed the "Public Service (Participation and Appointment) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021" in its third reading last Wednesday (May 12), extending the oath of office requirement to cover district board members. Before the bill was voted on, a number of non-



editorial

Written by: Hong Kong 01

2021-05-17 06:00

Last update date: 2021-05-17 06:00

The Legislative Council passed the "Public Service (Participation and Appointment) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021" in its third reading last Wednesday (May 12), extending the oath of office requirement to cover district board members.

Before the bill was voted on, a number of non-establishment district board members resigned successively. Among them were new blood and some veterans who had served for more than ten years. Some of them clearly stated that they were unwilling to take an oath in accordance with the new law.

Now that the lines of responsibility of public officials have been clearly drawn, it is no longer unavoidable. Anyone who intends to work in Hong Kong can not fail to know whether they will continue to play their political stance in the future or perform their duties pragmatically.

The legislative amendments were proposed by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam in his Policy Address last year to improve the oath arrangements and deal with violations of oaths after taking the oath of office.

The oath mentions that district councillors will definitely support the Basic Law, be loyal to the SAR, be dedicated to their duties, abide by the law, be honest, and serve the SAR.

The ordinance lists positive and negative lists to assess whether the district councillors have violated the oath.

The positive list includes support for the constitutional order of the SAR, support for the unity of national sovereignty, recognition of the central government's exercise of governance power over the SAR in accordance with the Basic Law, and support for "one country, two systems."

The negative list includes acts or activities that endanger national security, promotes or supports "Hong Kong independence" claims, seeks foreign governments or organizations to interfere in the affairs of the SAR, opposes government bills indiscriminately, promotes "disguised referendums", and insults the national flag and national emblem National anthem, regional flag and regional emblem, etc.

In January this year, the SAR government held a civil servant oath ceremony at the government headquarters.

Witnessed by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam (middle), the permanent secretary, heads of departments, and civil servants who are at point 6 or above of the directorate salary scale sworn to uphold the Basic Law, to be loyal to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, to be loyal to their duties and to the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China The government is responsible.

(Information Services Department)

Some resigned members claimed that they did not know the government's red line and did not want to restrict themselves after taking the oath.

However, the content of the oath only reaffirms the political requirements for public officials to respect "one country, two systems" and maintain constitutional order. It is a boundary that all public officials should be aware of.

For example, "Hong Kong independence" is the red line, and paralyzing government governance is the red line. Did the district board members ever think they could challenge these bottom lines?

Even before the implementation of the "Hong Kong National Security Law", the government used the "Societies Ordinance" to ban the Hong Kong National Party and disqualified some candidates for elections at all levels. The political red line should not be surpassed.

If the district councillors have to go to the government to make amendments to the regulations and join the swearing requirement before they realize that they must respect the Basic Law and abide by the principle of "one country, two systems," it is obviously a lack of political wisdom.

There are also some district councillors who oppose the oath ordinance because it was added in the middle of the current term of office.

But the reason for this is that, in addition to complying with the requirements for public officials to swear by the "Hong Kong District National Security Law" that was implemented last year, it is also in response to the political chaos of the current district council.

The 2019 District Council elections are in the midst of an anti-regulation campaign. Both newcomers and political veterans are running for the election under the political banner. The citizens use their votes to make political statements, which has deviated from the original intention of the District Council in handling district affairs.

Many people even settled accounts for the anti-revision legislation at the beginning of their new positions. For example, someone in the Yau Tsim Mong District Council asked the government to independently investigate the use of force by the police force, reform the Police Supervisory Commission, and discussed and passed motions such as restructuring the police force. Other districts The council discussed 12 Hong Kong people who crossed the border illegally, the history of the diploma exam, and even asked the Liaison Office to stop attending district council funding activities.

Some issues are worth discussing, but the problem is that they are beyond the purview of the district boards.

Some people in the Yau Tsim Mong District Council have asked the government to independently investigate the use of force by the police force and reform the Police Supervision Commission.

Some issues are worth discussing, but the problem is that they are beyond the purview of the district boards.

(Profile picture)

People's livelihoods in areas increasingly politically dominated

In fact, the politicization of district boards has not happened overnight.

Some people regard the district councils as a stepping stone to gain experience and popularity and to join the Legislative Council. Some politicians naturally take the opportunity to express their political positions and win support.

In their minds, the District Council is just a Legislative Council with a small number of voters and small constituencies. District Councillors are the preliminary version of Legislative Council Members.

However, as stated in the "District Councils Ordinance", the functions of the district councils include providing opinions to the government on the welfare of citizens in the district, public facilities and services, and the use of public funds in the district. It also allocates public funds for cultural and recreational activities and encourages the community. Participation, building management and other matters.

Simply put, it is based on the district affairs of the people's livelihood.

Of course, not all district board members are blindly politicized.

For example, some members of the Kwun Tong district of the Democratic Party have focused on improving the community, hoping to deal with the problem of aging facilities in the district, and some members of the Shatin district of the Civic Party are interested in improving traffic and the problems of district housing estates. These are all worthy of recognition.

In the "post-sworn era," non-establishment district councillors will inevitably have scruples and think that the political space is narrowed, but if they can focus on people's livelihood affairs from then on, society will be obvious to all.

Some resigned and returned to their hometowns, while others were willing to take an oath to stay in the district council in order to continue to serve the citizens.

The ADPL, which has been rooted in the Sham Shui Po District for many years, issued a statement last week saying that it will stick to the community front. Although the Democratic Party allows individual district board members to consider it individually, it also expressly recommends that they take the oath.

In the "post-sworn era," non-establishment district councillors will inevitably have scruples and think that the political space is narrowed, but if they can focus on people's livelihood affairs from then on, society will be obvious to all.

(Data Picture/Photo by Zhang Haowei)

Officials did not do their best in the establishment of the system

But anyone who thinks that in the "post-sworn era," district councils can perform their functions and automatically improve community governance is obviously too naive.

The establishment district councillors have always been regarded as patriotic and love Hong Kong and will not touch the political red line, but what are the political achievements of the district councils under their leadership in the past?

After the defeat in the 2003 district elections, the establishment rebuilt the regional network and regained a lot of support. However, in recent years, they insisted on building unused regional projects such as the Kwun Tong open-air fountain and the giant goose sculpture in Sham Well, as well as being exposed from time to time for funding. Friendly groups, years of accumulated community practices have not shown signs of improvement, which has caused disappointment.

In addition, the government does not necessarily deal with the problem of district facilities.

The recently completed waterfront musical fountain in Kwun Tong cost as much as half a billion yuan. Although local opposition is not small, the Home Affairs Department has stated that it will not stop construction on the grounds of "respect for procedures." This is obviously a rigid bureaucratic procedure.

For many years, the Government has been "lazy and lazy" about the traffic congestion problem in Kwun Tong. On the contrary, the current District Council has spent about a year studying practical and feasible short-term congestion relief proposals. Officials should reflect on the faults of district administration.

In the past year and a half, district councils have been highly politicized, and agenda items have exceeded the scope of their powers from time to time.

In the face of these situations, it is understandable that officials do not support.

However, there were complaints from Civic Party district councilors that their Sha Tin District Council was discussing issues such as whether to open a Social Welfare Department office or a home affairs consultation center in Ma On Shan, or discussing the MPF scheme. The Home Affairs Department refused to provide secretarial services, and officials also refused to provide secretarial services. Not attending.

If politicization occurs not only in non-establishment district board members, but also in government officials, the functions of district boards may be distorted and reduced to a platform for political posture.

At the same time, the inclusion of the Election Committee into the Fight Crime Committee, the District Fire Protection Committee and the Area Committee but the removal of the District Council also raises concerns about the marginalization of the District Council.

It has also been nearly a year since the Central Government promulgated the "Hong Kong District National Security Law". Together with the reform of the electoral system, the obstacles to political struggle should have been cleared. The SAR government and even the parliament can handle economic and people's livelihood affairs and resolve years of troubles.

(Profile picture)

Improve community governance through consultation with district councils

As a matter of fact, as a district advisory body, the elected members of the district council can frequently and in-depth contact the residents to understand the needs and problems of the residents, which can spur officials to improve policies.

After the amendment to the Oath Ordinance, the political boundaries of district board members have been clearly drawn. In the future, they will only focus on their duties. Government officials should be open to them and adopt more suggestions that help improve governance.

In the past, the government proposed to delegate power to district councils, for example, to manage some district facilities. The private sector also suggested that district councils directly participate in street management and even have greater financial autonomy.

In the future, the district councils will be able to return to normal and will no longer be a stage for a political posture. The government can greatly increase the power of the district councils to attract talented people to serve areas and promote the reform of district governance.

In recent years, Hong Kong has suffered political toss and should have entered a new stage of improving governance as soon as possible.

The start of the anti-revision law incident was nearly two years ago. It has been nearly a year since the Central Government promulgated the "Minato National Security Law". Together with the reform of the electoral system, the obstacles to political struggle should have been cleared. The SAR government and even the Parliament Both can handle economic and people's livelihood affairs, and solve many years of hardship.

Among the district councillors who continue to perform their duties, there are also those who are aspiring to the future of the community. As long as all parties put aside their political struggle thinking and work together to improve housing, transportation, and medical facilities and services, the lives of citizens can definitely become better.

In recent years, the CCP has repeatedly emphasized the "modernization of national governance system and governance capabilities", which includes improving governance systems such as the legal system and government management systems, but also focusing on governance capabilities such as policy implementation and governance effectiveness.

Governance is not only at the national or SAR government level. In fact, community governance is also an important level. It can even be said to be the "last mile" to achieve good governance.

How to relocate old districts, how to improve the environment of the "three noes" buildings, how to protect public health under the epidemic, etc. are all important issues in community governance, which have the most direct impact on the quality of life of the citizens.

Whether it is a district council led by the democrats or the establishment, or even government officials, if they can only talk about political discourse all day long, but do not know how to solve the problem of regional governance, then they have not realized the importance of their responsibilities, but only It can be said that the time spent in Hong Kong is completely ignorant of politics.

Please pay attention to the 265th "Hong Kong 01" Weekly News published on May 17, 2021, which is available at major newsstands, OK convenience stores and Vango convenience stores.

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District Council One Country, Two Systems Carrie Lam Policy Address Basic Law 01 Weekly Editorial 01 Views 01 Weekly

Source: hk1

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