HK among top freest economies

September 19, 2023

Hong Kong continues to rank among the top in the Economic Freedom of the World 2023 Annual Report published by the Fraser Institute, coming in second place globally.


Among the five assessment areas in the 2023 report, the city continued to rank top in “Freedom to trade internationally”, and third globally in “Regulation”.


Hong Kong’s scores and rankings in “Size of government” and “Sound money” also improved from those of last year.


In a statement, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government said Hong Kong is one of the most liberal and easiest places to do business in the world, being home to almost 9,000 Mainland and overseas companies.


This is a testament to Hong Kong’s distinctive institutional strengths under ‘one country, two systems’. Hong Kong remains the only place in the world where the global advantage and the China advantage come together in a single economy.


The Fraser Institute’s claims that the Mainland imposed new and significant barriers to entry, limits on the employment of foreign labour, and increases in the costs of doing business in Hong Kong are factually wrong.


The Hong Kong SAR Government said it totally disagreed with and was disappointed in such unfounded claims.


It pointed out that there is no change to the labour policy in the Hong Kong SAR. On the premise of according employment priority to local workers, the Hong Kong SAR Government operates different schemes for employers to apply for importation of labour on account of their actual circumstances.


Such schemes serve to supplement skills not readily available in the local labour market, and sustain the competitiveness and meet the development needs of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government also strives to maintain the city as an attractive place for labour from different places to work.


It also stressed that the argument of the so-called “Mainland’s military interference on Hong Kong’s rule of law” in the 2023 report is completely fictitious and contrary to the facts, noting that the Hong Kong SAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy under “one country, two systems”. The rule of law in Hong Kong is not subject to military interference.


Under Article 14 of the Basic Law, military forces stationed by the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR for defence shall not interfere in the local affairs of the region and in addition to abiding by national laws, members of the Garrison shall abide by the laws of the Hong Kong SAR.


Similarly, under Article 9 of the Garrison Law, the Hong Kong Garrison shall not interfere in the local affairs of Hong Kong.


In relation to the so-called “eroding confidence in judicial independence and the impartiality of Hong Kong courts”, the Hong Kong SAR Government reiterated that, as a matter of fact, Hong Kong’s legal and judicial system has always been highly regarded by international communities.


The Constitution and the Basic Law provide constitutional guarantees for fundamental rights and freedoms. The appointment and removal of judges in Hong Kong are free from political or other irrelevant considerations.


Judgments of the courts contain detailed reasoning for the relevant decision and are publicly available on the website of the Judiciary, which the public can access at any time. Equality before the law is a fundamental principle observed in Hong Kong.


The allegation against the independence and impartiality of the Hong Kong SAR’s judiciary is totally groundless and unsupported by objective evidence, the statement added.


In relation to the implementation of the National Security Law, the Hong Kong SAR Government reiterated that national security is a matter within the purview of the central authorities. It is the responsibility and right of every country to safeguard its national security.


The Hong Kong SAR's law enforcement agencies have been taking law enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the people or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance or background.


The 2023 report’s comments on the relevant enforcement actions are biased, casting doubt on the impartiality of the report's conclusion.


The Hong Kong SAR Government said that since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, it has been fully, faithfully and resolutely implementing the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law to ensure Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.


Hong Kong has entered a new stage of advancing from stability to prosperity, it added.

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