Pro-democracy HK councillors lose seats

The Hong Kong government has declared invalid the loyalty oaths of seven Hong Kong pro-democracy district councillors, a decision that will unseat them from office.

The Hong Kong government now requires district councillors to take a mandatory oath of allegiance to the territory and China's Basic Law.

The measure was introduced 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 criminal punishment.

The seven councillors in question were among the 24 members of the council who became the first to take the oath last Friday.

The Hong Kong government has not explained why their oaths were deemed invalid.

But among the seven are two councillors, including Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, who have been indicted in connection with an unofficial vote to choose candidates for a Legislative Council election last year.

They are accused of violating Beijing's national security law, which was introduced in 2020.

About 270 pro-democracy councillors 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.