February 2 - 8, 2018

Business & Economy

World’s Freest Economy for 24th year

Hong Kong has been ranked the world’s freest economy for the 24th consecutive year by The Heritage Foundation. In its newly released 2018 Index of Economic Freedom report (Feb 2), Hong Kong is the only economy with an overall score of over 90.  The think-tank, based in Washington DC, attributed this year’s higher score to the city’s improvement in government integrity, business freedom and monetary freedom.Hong Kong’s overall score of 90.2 is well above the global average of 61.1 across the 180 economies surveyed. Hong Kong’s overall score of 90.2 is well above the global average of 61.1 across the 180 economies surveyed.

Rule of Law

Commissioner reiterates judiciary integrity

In a Letter to the Editor published by the Wall Street Journal (“Hong Kong Following the Law in Wong's Case” on Feb 7), Hong Kong Commissioner to the USA Clement Leung noted that Joshua Wong had pleaded guilty to contempt of court in relation to a court injunction to re-open the roads in a blocked protest site.  Wong and others were also convicted and sentenced in another case, not for exercising their freedom of expression, but for their disorderly and intimidating behavior leading to violence and injuries to others. While there is no basis to claim Beijing pressured judges in adjudicating cases, Hong Kong’s judiciary is fiercely independent, and its integrity is beyond doubt, he reiterated. He was responding to a Jan 30 op-ed by Martin Lee on Wong’s prison sentences.

Response to CFA’s verdict

On the verdict delivered by the Court of Final Appeal pertaining to the sentencing of Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said in a statement (Feb 6) that the trio had been charged, not because of their political beliefs, but of their unlawful behavior in forcing their way into the forecourt of the Central Government Offices, causing injury to ten people.  It’s noted in the final judgment that unlawful assemblies involving any degree of violence will not be condoned and may justifiably attract sentences of imprisonment in the future.  The court has also decided to give little weight to the mitigation that the offending act was committed in the exercise of constitutional rights or civil disobedience, stressing "there is no constitutional justification for violent unlawful behavior."

HKETONY News

Director’s first visit to Pittsburgh

HKETONY Director Joanne Chu has visited Pittsburgh to explore collaboration opportunities in innovation and technology especially in robotics and life sciences (Jan 31-Feb 1). Along the way, she called on Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, among others, and visited the National Robotics Engineering Center at the Carnegie Mellon University as well as the Innovation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

Education

Asia’s top universities

Three Hong Kong universities have made it to the top 10 list of Times Higher Education Asian University Rankings (issued on Feb 6), a first for the city, making it the most represented territory on the list. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) climbed one place each to 4th and 5th respectively, while The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) rose 4 places to 7th. Overall, Hong Kong universities achieved a higher score for research this year, and the city as a whole achieved a high score in the international outlook category.

World renowned MBA programs

In Financial Times Global MBA Rankings for 2018 (issued on Jan 28), the universities from Hong Kong held strong with three entries in the top 50. The HKUST placed number 14, the second highest ranking school in Asia after Shanghai. The HKU ranked 33, while CUHK came in at 43.

Music

Carnegie Hall piano recital

Award winning pianist Rachel Cheung will perform a recital at New York’s esteemed Carnegie Hall (March 27).  Born and raised in Hong Kong, Cheung graduated with First Class Honours at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and earned her Masters at Yale School of Music.  A Steinway Artist, she assumed a style that has been called sophisticated, compelling and poetic by the Dallas Morning News. For tickets, visit: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2018/03/27/RACHEL-CHEUNG-0800PM

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems". 

Q: Is Hong Kong still a free port and a separate customs territory ?

A: Ships of all nations regularly call into Hong Kong which is virtually a duty-free port. The HKSAR, using the name "Hong Kong, China", is a member in its own right of the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. Hong Kong remains a separate customs territory, and the boundary between the Mainland and the HKSAR is clearly delineated and properly managed. Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the HKSAR or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by Hong Kong. (BL Articles 114; 116; 126)

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