“Freedom” in Hong Kong

Natasha Khan had a piece in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal concerning the implications of the People’s Republic of China’s 30 years ago Tiananmen Square bloody crackdown on today’s Hong Kong, especially in light of the PRC’s increasing and increasingly direct control over Hong Kong.  In the course of that piece, Khan asked about the implications of tightening freedoms on Hong Kong’s position as an international finance center.

To which I answer:

The implications of the PRC’s “tightening” of freedoms in Hong Kong are obvious and universal. The “tightening” is not that, it’s a direct attack on those freedoms with a view to converting them from actual freedoms to freedom to do as the PRC and its ruling Communist Party of China require.

Such an attack can only result in the destruction of freedom, and from that, the destruction of a people’s ability to prosper physically and morally.

The proximate impact will be the destruction of free market business in Hong Kong, followed by the departure of foreign businesses from Hong Kong, taking with them their economic activity and their jobs. That will lead to the impoverishment of the Hong Kong people.

There’s an upside, though. It’ll provide a clear, empirically done object lesson of the differences in outcomes between free markets and freedom on the one hand and a centrally controlled economy and freedom to do whatever the men running the Communist Party of China will allow from time to time on the other hand.

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