Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui says Hong Kong's recent slide in various international rankings of freedom should serve as a wake-up call and indicate that the city's economy could suffer if it fails to live up to international standards.
Speaking on RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong programme, Mr Hui rejected the idea that overseas criticism of Beijing's interventions in Hong Kong affairs amounted to "foreign interference" in the city.
"Losing our freedom and openness could be detrimental to our economy and could be used in the escalating US-China trade war, such as losing separate tariff territory status," Mr Hui said. "Will we really become just another Chinese city?
"Various organisations from different parts of the world have already expressed their deep concerns on how, in reality, Beijing's interference to Hong Kong's affairs is a threat to the city's ranking as the world's freest economy. The 'foreign interference' Beijing is calling is actually serving as a wake-up call that if Hong Kong does not live up to international standards we will all suffer not only politically but also economically."
In January, Canada's Fraser Institute ranked Switzerland ahead of Hong Kong in its Human Freedom Index. The SAR had held top spot for the previous two years. In Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index, the city has fallen from 18th in 2002 to 70th this year.