Hong Kong councilors start to take loyalty oath

District councilors in Hong Kong have started taking a mandatory oath of allegiance to the territory and its Basic Law.

The oath-taking ceremony on Friday was the first of four that are planned for 211 councilors.

The Hong Kong government introduced the requirement after the mainland leadership revised Hong Kong's electoral law, citing the need that territory should be "governed by patriots."

Anyone violating the oath will be disqualified and subject to a criminal punishment.

About 270 pro-democracy councilors who are opposed to the government have resigned since June.

The pro-democracy camp accounted for more than 80 percent of the district council seats. But more than half of them have stepped down.

The 211 councilors due to take the oath include those who have already been indicted for breaching the national security law.

A newspaper close to the government reported that about 50 councilors could be disqualified.