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 (Mar 2021)

Index score

The performance of 1C2S implementation stands at:

5.48 (↓0.2%)


1) Index (A): Public Opinion

The latest reading is 5.48 in January 2021. Compared to last round in June 2020, the index fell by 0.2%. Despite being the new lowest index score, three of all nine dimensions have rebounded to late-2019 level in the past six months but only the statistically significant changes was ‘full implementation of 1C2S’.

2) Index (B): International Perspective

The score encountered a slight decline from the estimate of 7.74 in 2019 to 7.59 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)

Against the backdrop of the enactment of National Security Law, the postponement of the LegCo election for a year, the immediate disqualification of four lawmakers following an NPCSC decision and the arrest of pro-democracy mogul Jimmy Lai, MMI was seen rising from 66.7 to 78.0 in the latter half of 2020. The rise coincided with Xi’s assuring remark on the future of 1C2S in a speech he delivered for the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen SEZ, the 14th Five-Year Plan and the 2035 Vision. The index rose by a further 0.6 points between December 2020 and January 2021 to 78.6 despite the mass arrest against democrat primaries, demonstrating a reasonably consolidated upward trend.

Methodological Notes

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

Index (A) is the average of sub-scores obtained from 9 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.