Hong Kong’s home affairs chief has unseated another 16 opposition district councillors today, bringing the total ousted local politicians to more than 50.
Newly appointed foreign secretary Liz Truss has condemned the actions, calling the move “deeply concerning”, as the political climate in the former British colony remains unstable.
“It is deeply concerning that 55 district councillors have been disqualified and over 250 pressured to resign for political reasons – the first time that such action has been taken against democratically elected district councillors in the Hong Kong SAR,” she said.
Truss added that it comes as a number of trade unions, interest groups and NGOs have also been forced to disband.
“The Hong Kong SAR Government must uphold freedom of speech and allow the public a genuine choice of political representatives,” the foreign secretary said in a statement.
As part of Beijing’s controversial national security law, which it imposed on the city in June last year, all public officers – not just top officials, legislators and judges – must pledge allegiance to the city.
The law attempted to ensure that all public officers, including civil servants and district councillors were sufficiently patriotic.
Around 260 opposition councillors stepped down from their positions earlier this year, following rumours that they would have to pay back their salaries, should they be ousted over their oaths, according to the South China Morning Post.