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 2020)


Index score

The performance of 1C2S implementation stands at:

5.58 (↓2.2%)


1) Index (A): Public Opinion

The latest reading is 5.58 in June 2020. Compared to last round in December 2019, the index fell by 2.2%. The 1C2S Index increased by a very moderate 0.01 from its lowest, 5.57, recorded in October 2019. The decline in Index (A) was statistically significant, sending a worrisome signal. Moreover, all nine dimensions have declined in the past six months but only the decline recorded in the dimension ‘freedom of speech’ has been statistically significant.

2) Index (B): International Perspective

The score encountered a slight decline from 7.91 in 2018 to 7.76 in 2019. 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)

Personnel change in the central departments responsible for Hong Kong affairs pushed MMI upwards from 67.2 to 73 in the beginning of 2020. The dispute over border closure of borders was followed by waves of sentimental speculations about the expeditious introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law. The index sprang back to 65.5 in July 2020, producing a decrease of 1.7 percent compared with December 2019.

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.