- Hong Kong has been removed from the annual index of the world’s most independent economies.
- The think tank that compiled the league table said the city was now under the direct control of Beijing.
- In the last 26 years, Hong Kong has been at the top for all but one year.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong has been removed from the annual index of the world’s freest economies because a think tank that compiled the league table says the city is now directly controlled by Beijing.
The announcement comes as a major blow to Hong Kong as Beijing stepped up its efforts to quell dissent in 2019 following widespread and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, publishes an annual index of countries and territories that rank for economic freedom to see how its rules are business-friendly.
In the last 26 years, Hong Kong has been at the top for all but one year. It is a source of pride for the city government, which has often praised it in its official press releases and investment brochures.
But when the 2021 ranking is released later on Thursday, Hong Kong will not appear because the authors of the report believe that the city is no longer independent of Beijing to justify separate inclusion.
Edwin J. Fowler, founder of the Heritage Foundation, said: “The political independence and sovereignty that Hong Kong has experienced over the past two years has made the city very different from the major Chinese shopping malls such as Shanghai and Beijing. Written in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
“[Hong Kong´s] “Relations with Beijing are becoming increasingly forged in steel, while the traditions of common English law, freedom of speech, and democracy have been significantly weakened,” Fellner added.
The Heritage Foundation is one of the leading think tanks influencing financial conservatives in the United States.
Fellner is also a vocal critic of Beijing and chairman of the Victims of the Communism Memorial Foundation.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government accepts the think tank’s league table every year.
In 2019 – when Hong Kong topped the list for the 25th year in a row – the government said it had improved the city’s economic stability, high quality legal framework, low tolerance for corruption, high degree of government transparency, and efficiency. Demonstrated regulatory framework and openness to global trade. “
The city fell from the top spot to rival Singapore for the first time last year after Beijing imposed a clear national security law on Hong Kong.
Beijing says legislation was needed to restore stability.
But it has also changed Hong Kong’s legislative and judicial relations with the dictatorship.
This has caused some hesitation within the international business community, especially when Beijing is out with a growing list of Western powers.