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Prisoners' Right to Vote in Hong Kong: A Human Rights Perspective

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According to Article 26 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, permanent residents shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with the law. In the eyes of the public, voting is a fundamental right of democracy and promotes citizen participation in choosing the people to represent them in the political system. It is true to say that, 'an inclusive democracy values all of its citizens' (Right to Vote, 2005). However, does every citizen who is above 18 years old have the right to vote in Hong Kong? While prisoners are deprived the right to vote in Hong Kong, other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada currently practise criminal disenfranchisement in more limited ways. To fill the gap, this paper aims to examine whether laws should be reviewed and amended to remove the barrier to voting faced by the prisoner in Hong Kong. It argues that Hong Kong should grant the right of prisoners to vote through examining relevant laws and several landmark court cases.

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


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