Hong Kong is positioning itself for a post-recession lift-off, according to Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Mr Tsang was writing in the Economist in a response to the magazine's cover story a fortnight ago, which suggested the SAR had been harmed by worries about the rule of law, cronyism and freedom of the press. In the article, 'Hong Kong's clear skies', Mr Tsang wrote that claims of favouritism and of tilting the playing field missed the point of long-term plans to position Hong Kong at the forefront of innovation and technology in Asia. He was apparently referring to the controversial decision to award the Cyber-Port high technology and property project to Richard Li Tzar-kai's Pacific Century Group without putting it out to tender. Mr Tsang described the project as 'a visionary private-sector initiative'. He maintained that the Government was still assuming a 'small, non-interventionist' role. 'We are not departing from the traditional values and philosophy of allowing businessmen, not bureaucrats, to take business decisions.' Mr Tsang argued that robust debates over legal and judicial issues reflected further steps in the development of Hong Kong's system of common law jurisprudence. But Hong Kong 'must find precisely how it interfaces constitutionally with the civil law of the mainland'. Mr Tsang said: 'Hong Kong has continued to evolve socially, politically and economically as it steers its way through the uncharted waters of the 'one country, two systems' formula enshrined in our constitution, the Basic Law.' On competition, Mr Tsang wrote: 'China has kept her promise. We certainly don't expect Beijing to be boosting our claims over any other mainland city. 'We are happy to compete on our own terms with any rival, anywhere, armed with the autonomy we enjoy under 'one country, two systems'. It gives us all the freedom we need to do so.' Mr Tsang admitted that officials had misjudged the extent of the Asian financial turmoil. 'We are the first to acknowledge that the Asian financial crisis came as a rude shock. Like many others, we, frankly, underestimated its impact.'