The Hong Kong government has said it would consider giving voting rights to hundreds of thousands of citizens living over the border in mainland China, prompting the immediate question of whether this would be extended globally. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said at the weekly Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday that any arrangements for polling outside Hong Kong must be critically examined. “[We must consider things] such as how the polling and counting process could be effectively monitored as well as transportation of ballot papers and boxes to and from polling stations outside Hong Kong,” Nip said, adding that the relevant electoral legislation, any emergency risks and unforeseen incidents also had to be considered.
Nip was responding to a question from Starry Lee Wai-king, the chairwoman of the city’s biggest pro-government party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Lee’s colleague Gary Chan Hak-kan said promoting the Greater Bay Area while denying voting rights to those who worked there was contradictory.
“There are an estimated 500,000 Hongkongers studying, working and retiring north of the border,” Chan said. “On the one hand you promote the Greater Bay Area [national scheme] and encourage Hongkongers to go there for development … but on the other hand, you deprive them of their voting rights.”