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3. What are the legal rights of Chinese citizens/nationals in Hong Kong?

Some of the major legal rights of Chinese citizens in Hong Kong are explained in the following.


Under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, only Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of Hong Kong can hold senior posts, such as Chief Executive or senior government officer. Only Hong Kong Chinese citizens are entitled to apply for Hong Kong SAR passports and "home return permits" (for travel to Mainland China). Non-Chinese citizens, regardless of whether they are permanent residents of Hong Kong, can only obtain a passport from their country of nationality, and need a visa to enter the Mainland.


Voting rights in Hong Kong do not derive from citizenship. According to section 27 of the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap. 542 of the Laws of Hong Kong), any person who is a permanent resident of Hong Kong is eligible to register as an elector for a constituency. In other words, foreigners who are Hong Kong permanent residents are entitled to the same voting rights as Chinese citizens in Hong Kong.


Note that a Chinese citizen does not automatically enjoy the right of permanent residence in Hong Kong. There are statutory requirements limiting the status a Chinese citizen with close connections with Hong Kong to be eligible. Details about these requirements and the legal rights that Hong Kong permanent residents enjoy are given in Section II.