This article depicts changes in the public’s perceptions in Hong Kong of the implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy following the handover in 1997 and discusses the role of the China factor in shaping such perceptions. It finds that the Hong Kong people’s rating of “one country, two systems” was quite positive in the first two years after the handover, but the rating started to fall after April 1999 and reached its record low in April 2004. Although the rating has since risen somewhat, the Hong Kong public has not regained all the confidence it previously had in the policy. Beijing’s Hong Kong policy is the most powerful variable shaping the public’s perceptions of the “one country, two systems” policy, followed by trust in the Hong Kong government, the government’s performance in mainland-Hong Kong relations, and the government’s political performance. Since all four variables are largely politically related, it seems that the public’s perceptions of “one country, two systems” have largely been shaped by political affairs related to maintaining Hong Kong as a highly autonomous system in the “one country, two systems” plan.


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pp. 127-153
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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