Media release: Free Market Foundation concerned about deterioration of freedom in Hong Kong

Media release
3 July 2020

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) has joined an international group of think tanks from 35 nations and territories from around the world in an open letter condemning the actions of the government of the People's Republic of China and supporting the people of Hong Kong.

The letter condemning the Chinese government's actions is signed by 37 member organizations of the Economic Freedom of the World Network, led by Canada's Fraser Institute.

FMF Project Manager, Chris Hattingh said, "The new national security law passed by the Chinese government represents a grave threat to the civil liberties, and economic freedoms, of the people of Hong Kong. The law gives Beijing new powers to shape the lives and actions of those in Hong Kong, and will be used to curtail protest actions, as well as freedom of speech."

On 30 June, the Chinese legislature passed its controversial security law, which violates Hong Kong's constitution and encroaches on the autonomous city's freedoms. One day later, Hong Kong police arrested hundreds of demonstrators, including ten under the new law, giving the Chinese government the power to impose life imprisonment on those who protest injustice.

"With this letter, we support the people of Hong Kong as they fight to preserve the right and freedoms that made Hong Kong one of the most prosperous places on the planet," said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Chair of Economic Freedom research at the Fraser Institute.

The letter details Hong Kong's success since the Second World War in becoming one of the most prosperous, entrepreneurial, and freest places on Earth.

For example, in 1950, Hong Kong's per capita GDP was similar to the world average at just over $2,000 (in 2010 US dollars), but by 2018, Hong Kong's per capita GDP—$40,000—was four times the world average.

Likewise, Hong Kong has the highest new business formation rate in the world at just over 28 new businesses per thousand working age people, compared to an average of just 1.5 worldwide.

The recent large-scale arrests, and the Chinese government's encroachment on Hong Kong is in direct violation of the "one nation, two systems" principle that China agreed to when Hong Kong came under Chinese rule in 1997.

"Hong Kong is a shining example of how greater levels of economic freedom, and freedom generally, improve people's lives, and its why people in Hong Kong are willing to risk so much to preserve it," McMahon said.

"The people of Hong Kong deserve international support in their fight to preserve the 'one nation, two systems' tradition."

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