Hong Kong sat atop the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom for 25 years. When the 27th edition of the index is released Thursday, Hong Kong won’t be found. In explaining the decision to remove Hong Kong (and Macau) from the index, the editors noted that while both special administrative regions “offer their citizens more economic freedom than is available to the average citizen of China . . . developments in recent years have demonstrated unambiguously that those policies are ultimately controlled from Beijing.” Indeed, the loss of political freedom and autonomy suffered by Hong Kong over the past two years has made that city almost indistinguishable in many respects from other major Chinese commercial centers like Shanghai and Beijing. […] In truth, however, China’s assimilation of Hong Kong started long before the handover of formal control from London to Beijing.
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