As if Hong Kong’s bureaucrats are not miserable enough, the Heritage Foundation relegates the city from first to second place in its oh-so important list of Freest Economies in the Solar System.
Apart from the bureaucrats and the dogmatic fetishists of the Heritage Foundation itself, few took the ranking seriously. Anyone who understood the benefits of free markets wondered why the top spot kept going to a place where the state owns all the land and official policy distorts the whole domestic economy to benefit four or five families who operate a property development cartel.
Presumably, the logic was that ‘freedom’ = allowing tycoons to force Hong Kong middle-class home-buyers into semi-serfdom. The Heritage Foundation adored Hong Kong’s economy for how it worked in theory, rather than in practice. Perhaps Singapore’s leaders will be less enthralled with the think-tank’s attentions.
While the inevitable sulky HK government statement ensues, the Chinese authorities make clear their opinion of freedom by kicking out all US citizens working for the NY Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
The pretext is retaliation, though there is an obvious underlying desire to silence these outlets’ highly effective and embarrassing reporting on (in particular) Xinjiang concentration camps and the CCP’s disastrous handling of the Wuhan Virus. Most of all, it’s a Panda-tantrum – Beijing throwing all its toys on the floor in frustration at a world that won’t buy the CCP’s perverse fantasy of how and where the disease broke out.
Beijing is also apparently forbidding the expelled journalists from working in Hong Kong (where some might have residency, and would not require PRC Foreign Ministry press passes). As HK Free Press points out, this would seem to run counter to press freedom, and specifically Basic Law Article 33 guaranteeing residents freedom of choice of occupation. At least, when Hong Kong officials try to squirm out of explaining it, they won’t have to worry whether it means losing the precious Freest Economy tag.