Thousands of Hong Kong civil servants left in the past year, a 14-year high

More than 1,800 local civil servants resigned in 2020/21, a 14-year high, Radio Television Hong Kong said Thursday, citing the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau.

The number of civil servants in Hong Kong stood at 178,000 at the end of March this year, the report said, citing a document submitted by the department to the Legislative Council. In the previous year, the number of civil servants lost was 8,500, or about 5 percent of the total number of civil servants. The main reason for leaving was retirement, but it also included resignations, contract departures and deaths. The authorities said about 1 percent of civil servants resigned during the past five years, and most of them left before the end of their probationary period, which is the start of a civil servant’s career, and they understandably chose to leave if they found themselves unsuitable for a long-term career in the government.

After the outbreak of the “anti-China” movement in Hong Kong in 2019, many civil servants participated and even mobilized other civil servants to join the march and rally. Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Wednesday passed the third reading of a bill on the oath of office for public officials, which requires district councillors to swear to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the SAR government. Secretary for the Civil Service Nip Tak-kuen said recently that 129 civil servants had refused to sign the declaration of support for the Basic Law, and 25 of them had resigned on their own.