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Hong Kong loses pride of place for economic freedom to rival Singapore

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Hong Kong loses pride of place in economic freedom league table to rival Singapore for first time, after 53 years at top

Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute says Hong Kong dropped to second place amid fears over increasing mainland Chinese interference in city’s affairsHong Kong government rejects institute’s views and insists ‘one country, two systems’ and Basic Law guarantees city’s freedomsHong Kong economyJess MaPublished: 12:28am, 20 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Hong Kong has been dethroned for the first time in 53 years as the world’s freest economy by rival Singapore in a Canadian think tank’s international league table because of what was said to be Beijing’s greater interference in city affairs – a view dismissed by the government.

The Fraser Institute, a public policy research organisation headquartered in Vancouver, said on Tuesday that mainland China was responsible for the demotion.

But the Hong Kong government rejected many of the conclusions drawn by the institute and insisted it had been “fully, faithfully and resolutely implementing the principles of ‘one country, two systems’,” with “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high level of autonomy based on the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

The government went on the offensive after the institute said the city had been No 1 “since the first time comprehensive data became available in 1970” and warned Hong Kong’s ranking in its economic freedom listings could slip further.

“This is the first year Hong Kong has not ranked number one on the index since its inception, and the expectation is that its score will only fall further as the Chinese Communist Party continues to suppress freedom of all sorts,” said Fred McMahon, the holder of a research chair in economic freedom and a resident fellow with the Fraser Institute.

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