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Hong Kong Falls in Latest World Freedom Ranking Due to CCP Interference

Updated: Jan 30

21 December 2023Hong Kong has once again nose-dived in a major global freedom ranking as the National Security Law (NSL) continues to erode liberties and the rule of law. The city plummeted to the 46th position in the Human Freedom Index 2023, marking a staggering 17-point drop from its 2020 standing.

Although Hong Kong retains its position as the second economically freest jurisdiction in 2023, trailing behind Singapore, its fall from grace is attributed to alarming deteriorations in the rule of law, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly, with a spotlight on China's tightening grip on civil liberties in the city.


The ranking, released by Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute and the US-based Cato Institute on Tuesday, highlights China's "increasing interference" as the primary driver of Hong Kong's diminishing freedom, which they said was emblematic of Beijing's "increasing interference" and "violation of One Country, Two Systems."


In stark contrast to its once lauded status as the third freest jurisdiction worldwide in 2010, Hong Kong has witnessed a precipitous decline, becoming the second-largest fall on the list of 165 jurisdictions, just behind Myanmar.


Notably, Hong Kong's score on the rule of law plummeted from 7.5 in 2010 to 6.1 in 2023. The indicators for freedom of association, assembly, and civil society dropped from 8.1 in 2010 to a mere 3.2. Similarly, freedom of expression and information suffered a harsh setback, declining from 8.1 in 2010 to 5.3.


In May 2023, Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) press freedom report ranked Hong Kong 140th among the 180 regions in its international listing ranking, behind Colombia and Cameroon. RSF said the decline of Hong Kong’s once-vibrant media landscape is largely due to the Chinese Communist Party’s crushing application of the NSL since June 2020 which has led to journalists being threatened, silenced, and jailed.


In July 2023, The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) submitted evidence to the United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review of China, underscoring how the increasingly Beijing-controlled Hong Kong authorities have eroded the independence of the judiciary, the freedom of the press and religious freedom in Hong Kong since its previous review in 2018.

Mark Sabah, Director of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation said:  

 “It’s extremely sad to see Hong Kong slide down these rankings as China tightens it’s grip on the city. All the features that made Hong Kong unique and such a great global city, are being strangled and eroded. Businesses and governments around the world should take note of this and warn investors that they are putting themselves and their reputations at risk, buy continuing to act as if everything in Hong Kong is as it was. 'One Country, Two Systems' is dead. We need to start recognising that fact.”

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