South African think tank the Free Market Foundation (FMF) has joined 36 other such institutions, spread across 35 countries and territories, in releasing an open letter condemning the actions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government regarding Hong Kong. The think tanks form the Economic Freedom of the World Network, headed by the Fraser Institute in Canada. The letter also expressed support for the people of Hong Kong.
“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 Kong Kong,” affirmed FMF project manager Chris Hattingh. “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.”
The Chinese legislature passed a new security law, covering Hong Kong, on June 30. The FMF and its partners pointed out that Hong Kong was meant to be autonomous and said that the new law constrained the port city’s freedoms and violated its Constitution. “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 protested injustice,” stated the FMF.
The FMF said that Beijing’s action was a straightforward violation of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ regarding Hong Kong. China had agreed to this principle when it resumed control of Hong Kong in 1997.
The joint letter highlighted Hong Kong’s success to date. Thus, in 1950 (the year after the foundation of the PRC) Hong Kong had a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) that was similar to the global average, at just over $2 000 (in 2010 US dollars). But in 2018 the territory’s per capita GDP was $40 000, which was four times the global average.
“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,” asserted Fraser Institute chair of economic freedom research Fred McMahon. “Hong Kong is a shining example of how greater levels of economic freedom, and freedom generally, improve people’s lives, and why people in Hong Kong are willing to risk so much to preserve it. The people of Hong Kong deserve international support in their fight to preserve the ‘one nation, two systems’ tradition.”