U.S. Department of State
Hong Kong’s Diminishing Freedoms
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
MARCH 31, 2022
Over the past year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has continued to dismantle Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, placed unprecedented pressure on the judiciary, and stifled academic, cultural, and press freedoms. As the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Beijing approaches, Hong Kong’s freedoms are diminishing while the PRC tightens its rule.The differences between Hong Kong and cities in mainland China are shrinking due to ongoing repression from the PRC.
This year’s Hong Kong Policy Act Report documents actions taken by leaders in Hong Kong and the PRC that have further eroded both democratic institutions and human rights, and profoundly impaired independent media operations and freedom of expression. These policies have far-reaching implications for all aspects of life in the city, including for the international business and financial communities.
Sweeping arrests of Hong Kong residents, as well as the forced closure of institutions including Apple Daily and the June 4 Museum, underscore the scope of these deeply damaging changes. In response to heightened risk and uncertainty, some international firms in Hong Kong have relocated entirely, while others have shifted key staff or operations elsewhere. Beijing will ultimately force many of the city’s best and brightest to flee, tarnishing Hong Kong’s reputation and weakening its competitiveness. Hong Kong’s position as a free, global financial center will continue to suffer as a result.
A fully functioning civil society, rule of law, and individual liberties form the bedrock on which vibrant societies grow. We stand with people in Hong Kong.