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Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港) is a territory in southeast China, with an area of approximately 1100 km², located in the eastern side of the Zhū Jiāng (珠江, Pearl River) estuary on the South China Sea.

In 1842, as part of the Treaty of Nánjīng ending the First Opium War, the Chinese Emperor ceded Hong Kong island to Great Britain. In 1860, another emperor ceded an additional small area in southern Kowloon. In 1898, the British leased the much larger area south of the Shēnzhèn Hé (深圳河, Sham Chun River) for 99 years. In July 1997, the Crown colony territory was returned to Chinese control, being ruled as a Special Administrative Region.

Since 1990, Hong Kong has ranked in first place in the Economic Freedom of the World report.

Geographical type: Territory

Latitude: 22.3° N — Longitude: 114.2° E

Area: 2,755 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: HK

Measures of Freedom

Economic Freedom Summary Index, Economic Freedom of the World, 10 Sep 2020
2018 Overall score: 8.94, Rank: 1
Hong Kong | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2022
2016: Status: Partly Free, Aggregate Score: 63, Political Rights: 5, Civil Liberties: 2
A political standoff over the degree of autonomy and democratic rule in Hong Kong remained unresolved in 2015. In a decision the previous year, the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) had authorized the self-governing territory to hold a direct popular vote for its chief executive for the first time in 2017, but an effectively pro-Beijing committee would control nominations for the contest.
Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2021
2019: 8.41, Rank: 30, Personal Freedom: 8.06, Economic Freedom: 8.91


A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
Founded as a free port in 1841, Hong Kong has an economy today that depends on export-oriented light manufacturing industries along with a myriad of servicing industries within a free-port, free-enterprise environment. Highly developed banking, insurance, and shipping systems complement its industrial sector ... In short, free trade, free markets, low taxes, nonintervention, and personal liberty are the hallmarks of Hong Kong's economic success ... Hong Kong's resilient capitalistic economy has successfully weathered international recessions, trade quarrels, oil shocks, and internal disputes.
Hong Kong's Legacy, by James A. Dorn, The Journal of Commerce, 1 Jul 1999
Discusses the potential results of Hong Kong moving away from "its policy of laissez-faire capitalism" such as intervening in support of stock prices versus the effects of Hong Kong influencing mainland China towards a freer and more prosperous economy
Hong Kong's third year as a Special Administrative Region of China begins today. ... Hong Kong cannot afford to allow corruption to creep into its institutional infrastructure if it wants to preserve its legacy as the crown jewel of market liberalism. The principle of non-intervention that has served the former colony so well — as Sir John Cowperthwaite, financial secretary from 1961 to 1971, constantly reminded Hong Kong's Legislative Council — must not give way to pressures for a 'third way.'
Related Topics: China, Democracy, Rule of Law
Liberty's Gilded Door, The Wall Street Journal, 11 Mar 1992
Editorial condemning Hong Kong's actions preventing Vietnamese refugees from taking asylum there and mostly inaction by the George H. W. Bush administration
Hong Kong's administration calls it a success to have finally deterred Vietnamese boat people from seeking asylum in the British Crown Colony. Hong Kong's authorities announced proudly that for the first time in seven years, the number of new Vietnamese refugee arrivals in Hong Kong dropped to zero. ... It is pathetic to see Hong Kong officials congratulating themselves that they have succeeded in broadcasting the message that Hong Kong will no longer serve as a haven of liberty in Asia.
Related Topics: Statue of Liberty, Vietnam
Red Flag Over Hong Kong, by Richard Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Jan 1997
Revew of Red Flag Over Hong Kong (1996) by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, David Newman, and Alvin Rabushka, which discusses the then potential effects of the handover of Hong Kong to China
On July 1, 1997, [155] years of Western rule will come to an end, and the five and a half million residents will be handed over to the tender mercies of the communist authorities in Beijing ... What has made Hong Kong the free and prosperous place that it is, the authors argue, has been individual rights; rule of law; private property; a very free market in all production, commerce and trade; low and nondiscriminatory taxes; and a high degree of confidence that freedom and free enterprise would be protected and respected. This has been in stark contrast to China's history and present practices.
Related Topics: China, Communism
What Beijing needs to learn from Hong Kong, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 26 Sep 2003
Discusses China's recent progress in economic liberalisation and the need for further reform, particularly in protecting private property
Moreover, Hong Kong's demand for limiting the reach of the Chinese government, as witnessed by the mass demonstrations against the proposed anti-subversion law, is a sign that Hong Kong's quest for political freedom may spread to the mainland. ... Hong Kong has taught us that economic liberalism is a catalyst for peace and prosperity. We must continue to advocate it, but also remember that economic reform is not enough.
Related Topics: China, Property Rights


Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by E. G. West, The Region, Jun 1994
Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
Smith: Are the economic premises in America different from those in Asia? ... One Asian country, in fact, comes much closer to my ideal market economy than does modern America. Hong Kong has had considerably more economic freedom than the United States since the 1950s. There have been no tariffs and no import or export quotas except those such as textile export quotas forced upon Hong Kong by US protectionists ... Taxes in Hong Kong have ranged between 10 percent and 20 percent of the national income, which is very much lower than in the United States ...


Free Trade vs. Protectionism, by Don Boudreaux, 31 Aug 2011
Defines free trade and protectionism, the use of tariffs to implement the latter, and gives Hong Kong and the United States as examples of the benefits of free trade
The greatest example [of free trade in practice] is Hong Kong. Hong Kong has virtually no natural resources; I think feldspar is the chief natural resource of Hong Kong. And Hong Kong is one of the world's most wealthy places. And the reason Hong Kong is wealthy is because for years Hong Kong has had a policy of pretty much unilateral free trade. It has a deep water port, and it allows its citizens to buy, on whatever terms its citizens want to buy, goods and services from wherever else in the world they want to buy those goods and services. As a result, Hong Kong is very, very rich.