The Government has welcomed the Fraser Institute’s ranking of Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy, once again, in the Economic Freedom of the World 2019 Report.
Hong Kong has been retaining the top rank since the report’s launch. Among the five assessment areas, the city came top in “Freedom to Trade Internationally” and “Regulation”, vividly reflecting Hong Kong’s long-standing and steadfast commitment to building a free economy with a level playing field.
The Government said it is fully committed to upholding Hong Kong’s institutional strengths, including the fine tradition of the rule of law, free trade and investment regime, simple tax system with low tax rates, favourable business environment and efficient government.
“These have provided a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, and enabled our economy to prosper and tide over challenges arising anytime.”
However, the Government takes exception to the Fraser Institute’s comments in its press release about the rule of law in Hong Kong, saying such comments are entirely ungrounded and not borne out by objective facts.
Since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been exercising “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law.
“One country, two systems” has been fully and successfully implemented. Human rights and freedom are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation.
Hong Kong has its own legal system and exercises independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, through its own courts. The rule of law and judicial independence are constitutionally protected, as are the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including the freedom of speech and the right of peaceful assembly that are routinely exercised by them.
The fact that eminent judges of the apex courts of other common law jurisdictions sit on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, and that Hong Kong cases are cited in overseas jurisprudence from time to time, speaks volumes on the global legal community’s confidence in the integrity and quality of Hong Kong’s judicial and legal systems.
Indeed, the robustness of Hong Kong’s rule of law is consistently reflected in the relevant reports of other international ranking institutions since 1997.
Regrettably, recent events have seen protesters deviating from peaceful means by resorting to escalating violence, which made it necessary for Police to exercise lawful use of reasonable force to maintain law and order.
The Government said it is committed to stopping violence and maintaining an open dialogue with the community at large to look for common ground and resolve differences on its own.
“The Government is and will always be strongly committed to upholding the rule of law, judicial independence and the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents which are strongly institutionalised.
“We will continue to work with the local and international communities to promote these core values of our society which we jealously guard.”