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Hong Kong and Pakistan Witness Sharp Declines in Freedom Index

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In the recently released Human Freedom Index 2023 report by the Fraser Institute and Cato Institute, alarming trends emerge as both Hong Kong and Pakistan experience significant drops in global freedom rankings. This article will delve into the key findings of the report, shedding light on the factors contributing to the decline in these territories’ freedom indices.

 

Hong Kong’s Precipitous Fall:

 

Hong Kong, once celebrated for its high degree of autonomy and civil liberties, has seen a drastic decline in its freedom ranking. The city dropped 17 places in the global freedom ranking, landing at 46th out of 165 jurisdictions. Factors such as the rule of law, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly witnessed substantial declines, attributed to China’s increasing restrictions on liberties within the territory.

 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Freedom:

 

The report highlights that sharp declines in freedom are not isolated incidents but part of a global phenomenon exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement and trade worldwide have led to a widespread erosion of personal liberties. However, Hong Kong stands out as a case where the decline is explicitly linked to Beijing’s interference and the violation of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.

 

Pakistan’s Slump in Freedom Rankings:

 

Simultaneously, Pakistan experienced an alarming drop of 18 places in the global freedom ranking, marking the third-steepest decline globally, following only Myanmar. This plunge underscores significant challenges to freedom within the country, raising questions about the factors contributing to such a substantial drop.

 

Catalysts for Pakistan’s Freedom Decline:

 

The Human Freedom Index 2023 report attributes Pakistan’s decline in global freedom rankings to various factors. Examining the impact of regional security concerns, transnational terrorism, and geopolitical dynamics, the article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges Pakistan faces in upholding personal liberties and maintaining a favorable global perception.

 

Hong Kong’s Economic Freedom vs. Personal Freedoms:

 

Despite Hong Kong maintaining its second position in economic freedom globally, concerns arise over the simultaneous decline in personal freedoms. While rivaling Singapore for economic prowess, Hong Kong’s scores on the rule of law, freedom of association, and freedom of expression have witnessed alarming setbacks. Understanding this delicate balance between economic success and individual liberties is crucial for comprehending Hong Kong’s complex situation.

 

Beijing’s Role in Freedom Erosion:

 

The report explicitly ties Hong Kong’s decline in freedom to Beijing’s increasing interference. The violation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, has raised international concerns. The article will explore the nuances of China’s role in Hong Kong’s diminishing freedoms and the implications of these actions on the global stage.

 

Conclusion:

 

In conclusion, the Human Freedom Index 2023 report sheds light on the precarious state of global freedom, with Hong Kong and Pakistan experiencing significant declines. This article has explored the reasons behind these drops, emphasizing the role of COVID-19 in the global erosion of personal liberties and delving into the specific challenges faced by Hong Kong and Pakistan. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for policymakers, analysts, and citizens alike as they navigate the evolving landscape of global freedom.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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