Protesters cost HK its free economy crown, says govt - RTHK
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Protesters cost HK its free economy crown, says govt

2020-03-17 HKT 18:40
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  • The govt says a 'high level of civil disobedience, acts of vandalism and intimidation of people holding a different political standpoint' hurt the SAR's reputation. File photo: AFP
    The govt says a 'high level of civil disobedience, acts of vandalism and intimidation of people holding a different political standpoint' hurt the SAR's reputation. File photo: AFP
The SAR government said on Tuesday that "protests under the pretext of opposing an extradition bill" were to blame for Hong Kong losing its top spot in an annual ranking of the world's freest economies.

The city lost out to Singapore in this year's business survey by the Heritage Foundation, with its overall marks dropping 1.1 points "due primarily to a decline in the investment freedom score". Hong Kong had held the freest economy crown for 25 years.

In a statement, the SAR government said it was disappointed by the drop in the ranking, but it welcomed the Heritage Foundation's recognition of the city's strengths as a global financial centre.

The government said a "high level of civil disobedience, acts of vandalism and intimidation of people holding a different political standpoint" had tarnished the SAR's reputation as a safe and orderly place, and this might have affected its investment score.

The Washington-based foundation had also said that Hong Kong’s traditionally open and market-driven economy had "become increasingly integrated with the mainland through trade, tourism, and financial links".

The Carrie Lam administration rejected the suggestion that the city's exposure to the mainland is a risk, saying such integration won't erode Hong Kong's freedoms and will instead benefit the SAR as the mainland embarks on its Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road initiatives.