At the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong SAR, Path of Democracy released its first report on its attempt to calibrate the current state of ‘One Country Two Systems’ (henceforth 1C2S). The Index serves anyone who is interested in the progress of 1C2S.

The 1C2S Index is developed based on a public opinion survey in Hong Kong on 1C2S, and also international indices that compare Hong Kong with other countries and territories in relation to human rights, various freedoms and democracy.

To complement our public opinion survey on 1C2S, we also introduced a 1C2S Mass Media Index (MMI) by making use of big-data to measure the sentiment of Hong Kong newspapers towards 1C2S since 1998 as news sentiment has very significant influences on public opinion.

It should be stressed that Index (A), Index (B), and MMI are determined by perception and may or may not reflect the reality. Even so, changes in perceptions of 1C2S of the HK public, of international think tanks, and of the HK press are nevertheless important. We will analyse the reasons for the changes in these perceptions as they are crucial for the implementation of 1C2S.

Summary (AUG 2021)

Index score

The performance of 1C2S implementation stands at:

5.60 (-)


1) Index (A): Public Opinion

The latest reading is 3.62 in July 2021. Compared to last round in January 2021, the index remains at the same level. Five of the twelve dimensions experienced decline since January 2021, with only one of these changes, namely ‘freedom of speech’, reaching statistical significance, while strongest rises come from dimensions related to Hong Kong-Mainland relations, namely ‘resolving differences via dialogue and negotiation’ and ‘full implementation of 1C2S in the future’.

2) Index (B): International Perspective

The score encountered a slight decline from the estimate of 7.74 in 2019 to 7.58 in 2020. Due to time lag in the compilation of international indices, further decline at the international level is anticipated given the perceived deterioration in rule of law, freedom of association and freedom of expression.

3) 1C2S Mass Media Index (1C2S MMI)

The upward trend observed in the latter half of 2020 continued after the decision on electoral reform that foregrounded the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’, despite mass arrests against democrat primaries. MMI briefly went down between the first and second quarters as District Councilors assessed whether to resign or pledge allegiance. Nonetheless, overall sentiments have increased by 10.4% from January to June 2021 and this appeared to coincide with an apparent adjustment of reporting style of media that used to be highly critical of 1C2S. The latest score is 88.4.

Methodological Notes

1C2S Index is the average of Index (A) and Index (B).

Index (A) is the average of sub-scores obtained from 12 questions on different dimensions of 1C2S in a telephone poll conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Index (B) is the average of 3 indices, namely, the Economic Freedom Index and Personal Freedom Index of CATO-Fraser Institutes, and the Democracy Index of the EIU (Economic Intelligence Unit).

1C2S MMI is a net sentiment index of newspaper articles over a given time. MMI is set at 100 in the base month of July 2017, the 20th anniversary of HK’s return to China.