Hong Kong allows mainland residents to vote in elections

The Hong Kong leader stated that the authorities will set up polling stations on the border with mainland China to allow Hong Kong people living there to vote during the upcoming legislative elections.

Lin said at a regular press conference that after voting, they must return immediately without undergoing coronavirus quarantine in mainland China.

She said: “At present, there are still people stranded in the mainland. They cannot return to work or study, nor can they return to Hong Kong to vote (without these measures).”

Currently, people travelling from Hong Kong to mainland China must be quarantined for at least 14 days. Passengers from mainland China to Hong Kong who have not been to any high-risk areas in the mainland can enter the city without any isolation.

The legislative election is the first time Hong Kong has amended its electoral law to ensure that only “patriots” who are loyal to Beijing can manage the city. The number of directly elected seats has been reduced, and many legislators will be elected by a predominantly pro-Beijing committee.

Hong Kong people living on the mainland are considered more likely to support pro-Beijing candidates. This measure can also increase voter turnout, which is widely expected to decline after the election reform this year.

Lin said that those who wish to vote at the special polling station must register in advance.

“The entire voting process will enter a closed loop. Voters visiting these special polling stations cannot leave the polling station area, and they cannot enter the community,” she said.

In addition, Lin said that a mainland delegation composed of COVID-19 experts has visited Hong Kong for four days to prepare for the possible opening of the border.

On Thursday, there will be a second meeting to discuss joint anti-epidemic work in Shenzhen, a city in southern China that borders Hong Kong.

She said: “I do look forward to an orderly announcement of the border opening as soon as possible.”

The Hong Kong authorities have been pushing China to allow travel from Hong Kong to the mainland without isolation. Hong Kong has implemented strict quarantine regulations on overseas travelers arriving in Hong Kong to prevent new outbreaks of the epidemic.

The city has one of the strictest quarantine policies in the world, and travelers returning from abroad must be quarantined for up to 21 days in government-designated hotels.

Lin called on Hong Kong residents to get vaccinated because the city has not yet reached the 70% first dose vaccination rate.

Lin said: “I call on the public to perform their civic duties so that normal activities can resume as soon as possible.”

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