The Policy Change Index (PCI) is a series of open-source machine learning projects that predict authoritarian regimes’ major policy moves by “reading” their propaganda publications. The first three projects inducted into the series are about China’s policies and based on its official newspaper — the People’s Daily.
PCI-China: predicts China’s policy changes from 1951 Q1 to the present.
PCI-Crackdown: predicts how close in time the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests are to a Tiananmen-like crackdown by China.
PCI-Outbreak: measures the severity of an epidemic outbreak in China, such as COVID-19.
A spike in the PCI-China signals a major policy change, while a vertical bar marks the ground truth of the change labeled by the event. The PCI-China often spikes months before policy changes take place, validating the index’s predictive power. Click here to learn more about how it works.
The closer the PCI-Crackdown gets to the June 4 line, the higher the possibility of a Tiananmen-like crackdown. The PCI-Crackdown for the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests remained within three weeks from the crackdown line throughout 2019. The issue reemerged in 2020 as China pushed for a national security law. In comparison, the PCI-Crackdown for the 2014 Hong Kong protests is lower and downward-trending. Click here to learn more about how it works.
The index uses the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as the benchmark. The higher the indicator, the larger the scale of the outbreak. Click here to learn more about how it works.
Aug 29, 2022: McDaniel and Zhong released an open-source analysis of risks to the U.S. economy if China invades Taiwan.
Feb 10, 2022: Zhong discussed with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the PCI and the latest China news in the Newt’s World podcast.
Jan 7, 2022: Zhong discussed the PCI and why China’s tighter media control means more opportunities for open-source intelligence.
Sep 13, 2021: McDaniel and Zhong used the PCI-China to assess noneconomic considerations for a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement.
Dec 14, 2020: The PCI-Outbreak for COVID-19 in China was updated to September 15, 2020.
Dec 10, 2020: The research paper behind the PCI-Outbreak was released.
PCI-China: to be upgraded to monthly.
PCIs for North Korea, Cuba, Iran, etc.