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 (Feb 2020)


Index score

The performance of 1C2S implementation stands at:

5.70 (↓10.6%)


1) Index (A): Public Opinion

After falling to its lowest at 3.26 in October 2019, Index (A) recovered to 3.53 in December 2019 from 4.84 in December 2018, falling by 27.1% in total. The decline in Index (A) was statistically significant, sending a worrisome signal. Moreover, all nine dimensions have declined in the past year with statistical significance which is again a point of concern.

2) Index (B): International Perspective

The latest reading came in at 7.87, down from 7.89 in 2018, representing a drop of 3.3% from the peak. The decline was mainly due to the fall in Democracy Index, suggesting a democratic regression originated from pre-existing deficiencies in Hong Kong’s political stability.

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

The anti-extradition movement emerged abruptly and caused the worst governance crisis since the Handover in June 2019 which dragged MMI from 91.6 to 84.5 points in the first half of 2019 before plummeting further to 67.2 as 2019 drew to a close, representing a drop of close to 24.4% on a year-on-year basis.


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.