HK continues to be world's freest economy

(Xinhua)    13:31, January 28, 2015

HONG KONG, Jan. 28 -- Hong Kong continued to be the world's freest economy, despite a slight drop in total score from last year due to the decline of perceived level of corruption, the Hong Kong government said on Wednesday.

The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom Report released by the Washington based Heritage Foundation on Jan. 27 (Washington, DC, time), revealed that Hong Kong has been ranked the world's freest economy for 21 consecutive years with an overall score of 89.6 (on a scale from 0 to 100).

Singapore ranked second with 89.4, followed by New Zealand, 82. 1, Australia, 81.5 and Switzerland, 80.5.

Among the 10 Economic Freedom Components measured in the report, Hong Kong continued to come in first in business freedom, trade freedom and financial freedom; second in investment freedom.

Hong Kong's overall score edged down 0.5 points from last year was mainly due to a drop in the ranking in "freedom from corruption" in the index, which, a government spokesman said, was ascribed to high-profile cases that impacted perceptions about corruption in the special administrative region.

In respond to the report, local graft-buster Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said, extensive media coverage on some of the cases, including the prosecutions and convictions of a former senior government official, may have affected respondents' impression.

Rafael Hui, Hong Kong's former Chief Secretary, and Thomas Kwok, co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, a local major developer, were found guilty in a corruption case in December.

Yet, the ICAC said, these isolated cases should not be seen as an indicator of deterioration in the probity situation in Hong Kong. According to the 2014 ICAC Annual Survey conducted by an independent research company, only 1.5 percent of respondents had come across corruption in the past 12 months, showing a very low level of corruption.

"We are keenly aware of competition from other economies within and outside the region. We always try to keep up with the latest global economic developments, and strive to enhance our competitiveness," the spokesman said. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Yao Chun)

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