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In 1997, Hong Kong underwent an instantaneous transformation from a colony governed by England to a Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) under “one country, two systems”. The swiftness of this great change in its political system led to new social, economic, political, and other challenges and conflicts. At present, Hong Kong is again facing the issue of the gradual opening up of its political system, and the gradual implementation of the election by universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council, as stipulated in the Basic Law. Social and political transformations have become inevitable. How to address these significant political changes while not affecting Hong Kong’s present economy, legal system, and lifestyle, achieving sustainable development, and maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, is undoubtedly a research topic of both great urgency and importance.

In view of this, the Centre for Social and Political Development Studies (CSPDS) was established in January 2008 under the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies to explore and summarize experiences and lessons from the practice of “one country, two systems”, to formulate instructive, practical, and scientific theories and policies for the reference of people from different sectors of society, and to stimulate research on social and political transformations in Hong Kong.

In 2010, The Social Indicators and Social Development of Hong Kong Programme was reorganized into and under the auspice of the centre. The Programme focuses on measuring and studying social development in Hong Kong. Its prime purpose is to build up a set of logitudinal data on the subjective and objective dimensions of social conditions and social change in Hong Kong.

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