From 2012 to 2016, Hong Kong experienced a period of intensified debate on political reform and the meaning of the “One Country, Two Systems” formula that has governed relations between the Region and the mainland for almost two decades. In January 2016, representatives from NDI, led by Howard Dean, the Institute’s board member, former governor of Vermont, and former candidate for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, met with members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, political parties, academia, the press, and broadly representative civil society organizations to discuss the political environment in Hong Kong. The various perspectives presented to NDI’s team of representatives informed the drafting of this report.
Titled The Uncertain Future of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’ the report provides an overview of key political events from the past four years, examines specific challenges facing Hong Kong’s democratization process, and assesses the territory’s progress in pursuit of democracy. Since 1997, NDI periodically has published assessment reports evaluating the status of democracy in Hong Kong. Through this series of reports, titled The Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong, NDI has sought to raise awareness of the challenges and the progress toward universal suffrage, which is set forth as the “ultimate aim” in Hong Kong’s Basic Law. This report is the sixteenth in that series.