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Abstract: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has been a challenging test for the modern day application of united front strategy by the People's Republic of China (PRC). United front work in Hong Kong and elsewhere aims to extend the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by winning over non-Communist community leaders, and using them to neutralize Party critics. Because they are international in scope and occasionally coercive, activities associated with this work can amount to interference in the internal affairs of other nations, such as in the case of the former British colony of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, efforts had been underway since the 1980s to build a broad coalition of support - a united front - to effectively nullify opposition to the PRC's future control and ensure a smooth handover of the colony from its British masters. Winter 1998. Author: Holly Porteous is an Ottawa-based analyst who recently worked in Washington, D.C. as an associate editor with the defence publication Inside the Pentagon, and as a research associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies' Center for Nonproliferation Studies, tracking missile- and nuclear-related trade in the PRC, Taiwan, and the Korean peninsula.
Editors Note: Holly Porteous is an Ottawa-based analyst who recently worked in Washington, D.C. as an associate editor with the defence publication Inside the Pentagon, and as a research associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies' Center for Nonproliferation Studies, tracking missile- and nuclear-related trade in the PRC, Taiwan, and the Korean peninsula.
Disclaimer: Publication of an article in the Commentary series does not imply CSIS authentication of the information nor CSIS endorsement of the author's views.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has been a challenging test for the modern day application of united front strategy by the People's Republic of China (PRC). United front work in Hong Kong and elsewhere aims to extend the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by winning over non-Communist community leaders, and using them to neutralize Party critics. Because they are international in scope and occasionally coercive, activities associated with this work can amount to interference in the internal affairs of other nations, such as in the case of the former British colony of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, efforts had been underway since the 1980s to build a broad coalition of support - a united front - to effectively nullify opposition to the PRC's future control and ensure a smooth handover of the colony from its British masters. The most difficult aspect of developing this coalition was that the colonialist order China would be replacing had a lot going for it - not least of which was a government whose acceptance of the rule of law had created the conditions for Hong Kong's economic boom. United front work had to create a widespread consensus of opinion that the PRC could make good on its promise to preserve Hong Kong's capitalist system under the so-called "One Country, Two Systems" rubric. An added wrinkle was Hong Kong's growing interest in direct democracy, a trend which had to be suppressed without creating widespread dissention.
Lessons learned from this experience are already being applied in Taiwan. For example, according to Taiwan officials, China is employing united front techniques to strangle support for groups supporting Taiwan's independence and to create the conditions for reunification on its own terms.1
The significance of united front work cannot be overstated. To assess the ramifications of united front work, it is necessary to understand its nature, the institutions supporting its ventures, its targets, and finally, its expected outcomes. In this context, Canada cannot claim disassociation from the phenomenon, if only because of the sheer size of its Chinese community.2
United front work is essentially about taking power from a position of weakness. Temporary alliances of convenience with non-Communist entities empowered a fledgling CCP to first establish and then maintain its hold on power in China.3 Rather than "kicking out in all directions," the Party identified elements of Chinese society it could ally with to destroy the handful of "die-hard" elements who posed the greatest threat to its existence. In this manner, the voice of one political adversary after another was systematically quieted. Later, having established the Peoples' Republic, the CCP continued to use the united front to ensure that no potential opposition bloc could exist for long outside the Party-dominated system.
As a campaign to cultivate allies in key sectors of society and isolate true enemies, united front work is China's version of psychological warfare. Threats of ostracism or inducements of access to power are especially potent weapons in a society where individualism is an alien value and day- to-day survival is based on guanxi. Guanxi refers to a network of personal connections, among which connections to high-ranking officials are most highly prized, which is developed and nurtured through a ritual of mutually binding favours.
Though there are many local and regional bureaus that carry out united front work, overall responsibility for this activity resides with the United Front Department of the CCP Central Committee.4
The United Front Department bases its activities around three central premises. First is the idea that all Chinese are unified by their common heritage. Second is the theory that true enemies of the CCP actually represent only 5 to 10 per cent of society, and other elements - patriots and anti-imperialists - can be rallied to strike out at these "antagonistic contradictions." The final premise relates to Mao Zedong's three-thirds principle, whereby representation in CCP organs should be split between the Party (which would retain a leadership role), non-party progressives, and "intermediate sections who are neither left nor right."5 The three-thirds principle was a means to provide a vehicle for building a consensus, albeit a consensus that would exist only within the confines of a circumscribed spectrum of opinion. But, if one assumes like Mao did that truly intractable opponents constitute no more than 10 per cent of the citizenry, the consensus achieved will be sufficient to ensure smooth governance and the inevitable demise of opposition groups. Although it has not always worked this way in practice, the united front was intended to provide a non-threatening, two-way communications channel which would inform the CCP policy formulation process.
One of the strongest inducements to join the united front is the prestige attached to appointment to a consultative or policy-making post, even if the actual impact of this consultation on the crafting of policy is limited.
Though outlawed in Hong Kong when it was under British colonial rule, the CCP nonetheless maintained a presence in this territory under the guise of the Hong Kong branch of Xinhua, also known as the New China News Agency. Even post-handover, the agency continues to represent China's views in HKSAR. As a news organization, Xinhua propagates a pro-PRC view and supervises the editorial content of other Hong Kong-based, PRC-controlled outlets such as Wen Hui Pao and Ta Kung Pao.
Xinhua also carries out united front work. Populated with mainland operatives for intelligence and counter-intelligence, Xinhua - specifically, its Coordination Department - has been a means by which Beijing recruits sympathetic groups and individuals who can exercise influence on its behalf. Such influence on public opinion became increasingly important as China prepared to take back control of Hong Kong. Not only was it essential for Beijing to communicate to Hong Kong citizens that the transition would be successful, it also needed to assure jittery investors that Hong Kong's market would continue to deliver. And, perhaps most importantly, the handover had to showcase the benefits of reunification to the Taiwan public.
With Beijing's promise of political autonomy for Hong Kong, there has been some speculation as to whether the Hong Kong branch of Xinhua will continue to function as a quasi-embassy for the PRC. Appointed to head Xinhua's Hong Kong branch weeks after the handover, Jiang Enzhu signalled a reduced status for his organization when he said that "the role of the Xinhua branch in Hong Kong will alter." Jiang went on to promise non-interference in the politics of HKSAR.6
Xinhua's downward slide in the pecking order, marked by slated reductions of over half its foreign affairs department staff, does not mean its united front work in Hong Kong is at an end, however.7 Indeed, the December 1997 selection of Jiang by a 424-member Hong Kong election committee to become one of 36 deputies to China's central legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), suggests Xinhua will continue to play a role in building alliances with Hong Kong community leaders.8 Of course, Xinhua's other task as a disseminator of PRC propaganda has not changed.9
United front work is a combination of isolating enemies and forging alliances. In the context of Hong Kong, it has sought to win over leaders from every sector of society, including academics, the news media, youth, and civil servants. One would expect labour unions and leftist student organizations to be natural allies and easy targets of Beijing. This has not been the case, however, as both entities have been supportive of calls for greater democratic representation. Somewhat more surprisingly, though, members of Hong Kong and Macau's business elite - even the so- called landlord class despised by Mao - have proved to be important and willing allies of Beijing. The fact that many of the corporations owned by these ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs are international in scope can, in Beijing's eyes, only enhance the broadening of the united front. The same can be said of the international reach of the leaders of organized crime groups from Hong Kong and Macau.10
While the partnership between an authoritarian government and the denizens of two of the most free-wheeling capitalist enclaves in the world may seem startling at first blush, it is essentially an alliance between two highly conservative groups that have a common interest in preserving the status quo.11 In 1994, Hong Kong and Macau were responsible for 60 per cent of foreign investment funds in China, with Taiwan businesses next in line at 10 per cent.12 Partnership with these business elites underwrites the Jiang government's attempt to retain political legitimacy by substituting economic growth for political reform. Their money will, for example, help China modernize the lumbering state-owned enterprises that have been dragging the economy down. In the case of Taiwan, nurturing economic ties has the added benefit of helping to create a constituency for reunification.
Some observers believe China's alliance with the business leaders of Hong Kong and Macau, coupled with its promise to preserve HKSAR's economic and political freedoms, may provide the basis for political reforms that will eventually spread to the mainland. These observers argue that, even with a short-term rollback of certain political freedoms in Hong Kong, China's desire to maintain HKSAR's wealth-generating economy and its need to show Taiwan that reunification can work makes further democratization on the territory inevitable. What passes in Hong Kong, goes the argument, will eventually take place on the mainland. Recent PRC overtures to Taiwan on the issue of reunification appear to support the contention that China will have to accept further political reform in order to woo Taiwan back into the fold. Moreover, there is no denying that Hong Kong television programs, movies and music have an appreciable impact on a fascinated mainland audience. However, a recent study of the role of China's new business elite points to an alternative outcome. Conducted by U.S. academic Margaret Pearson, the study suggests that democratization is not an inevitable consequence of the rise of an entrepreneurial class.13
The political activism of corporate leaders in Taiwan and South Korea played a minimal role in bringing about democratization in their own countries, argues Pearson. She suggests the business elites of Taiwan and South Korea were more beneficiaries than instigators of democratization. Even if the potential contribution of this sector is taken into account, Pearson notes that corporate-state structures in the PRC have not developed along the same lines as those of its regional counterparts. Rather than being horizontally linked to each other or to organizations that can effect change in society, as is the case in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, Chinese businessmen must interact with the PRC government on an individual basis. This phenomenon is connected to united front work. Both the Kuomintang and Communist governments suppressed the political activities of merchant guilds by co-opting "reliable" elements within them. When it came to power in 1949, the CCP simply folded Kuomintang-sanctioned trade organizations into the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, placing this entity under the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).14 As on the mainland, united front tactics in HKSAR fragment the business community and force individuals to rely almost exclusively on guanxi to win PRC contracts. In this environment, short-term interests take precedence over long-term work towards political reform. Perhaps most importantly, in looking out for their own interests businessmen have little reason to connect their lot with that of the increasingly discontented middle class.
If united front work fails to address the alienation of the middle class, and large sectors of Hong Kong society become disenfranchised, there is a potential for political instability in the territory. The recent roller coaster ride taken by Hong Kong's stock market, the Hang Seng, only underscores the danger of relying on economic good times to maintain political legitimacy.
In its outreach to members of the business community, there are warning signs that Beijing has misjudged the risks associated with certain of these alliances. Some wealthy Hong Kong and Macau entrepreneurs with whom the mainland has concluded an entente cordiale also happen to be closely associated with organized crime groups, or triads. Racked by triad violence, Macau in particular provides Beijing with an object lesson in the limitations of trying to build stability through alliances with underworld power-brokers.15
Such shadowy links are not a new development. Mao wrote on the need to include triads in the united front. In a May 1997 conference at Hong Kong's Baptist University, former deputy secretary general of Xinhua Wong Man-fong said that in the early 1980s he was instructed to ingratiate himself with Hong Kong's triad "dragon heads" and offer them a deal.16 According to Wong, Beijing was prepared to turn a blind eye to the triads' illegal activities if they could promise a peaceful handover of the territory come 1 July. "I told them that, if they did not disrupt Hong Kong's stability, we would not stop them from making money," said Wong. If Wong is to be believed, the timing of the beginning of Beijing's outreach to the triads dovetails neatly with Deng Xiaoping's resurrection of united front work in 1978.
Finally, there are the bridges to the overseas Chinese. While this effort is not limited exclusively to corporate leaders, they are certainly a high priority target. When he revived the united front at the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CCP Central Committee in 1978, Deng underscored the vital role that the investment of China's diaspora would play in bringing about the so-called four modernizations. Without their help, said Deng, the PRC would never be able to live up to its full economic potential. In this connection, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the entire Pearl River Delta economic zone have become the engines driving China's growth.
United front work conducted among Chinese populations abroad has pitted the PRC against the Republic of China in a fight for investment and political support. In reminding its diaspora of their duty to the homeland, China has sometimes asked for more than just money and sympathetic words. Inducing Chinese abroad, by threat or by appeal to patriotism, to conduct economic and technical espionage is also an aim of united front work. A recent espionage case in the United States provides a compelling example of how feelings of connection with the ancestral homeland are exploited by the PRC. In December 1997, Dr. Peter Lee, a naturalized Chinese physicist working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, admitted to having included classified information in a series of lectures he delivered on the mainland in 1985. The information Lee passed on apparently related to work he was conducting for TRW Incorporated on the use of lasers to simulate nuclear detonations. Although he was provided with travel and hotel accommodation by the PRC government, Lee denied having passed on the secrets for money. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jonathan Shapiro, Lee was motivated by "a sense of empathy for the situation of the Chinese scientific community." 17
More disturbing perhaps are allegations that the PRC attempted to find a means to influence U.S. foreign policy by using various front men and companies to provide funds for the 1996 Clinton presidential campaign. Similar allegations were made in connection with funds raised in Hong Kong by the British Conservative Party for the 1992 general election.18
This does not mean, however, that ethnic Chinese who have settled abroad should be viewed as a "fifth column" for either China or Taiwan. Nor should the united front's attempts to evoke a sense of shared ancestry among the Chinese diaspora be judged as proof of its existence. Australian scholar David S. G. Goodman correctly argues that fears over the potential emergence of a worldwide "Chinese Commonwealth," are a self-serving misreading of reality.19 Focusing on the diverse ethnic Chinese communities of South East Asia, Goodman sees only a weak sense of identification with the PRC, the strongest ties being felt by a business elite whose enterprises have exploited familial or native-place ties on the mainland to gain a foothold. Thus, while China and Taiwan have been occasionally successful in their respective efforts to incite ethnic Chinese residing abroad to pass on technology or information, it should not be assumed that this help is automatically forthcoming. What is of interest here is the fact that pressures of this sort are being applied.
With the first stage of the handover transition now complete, united front work will focus on maintaining a steady state as political and economic relations with the HKSAR are solidified and attentions turn to wooing Taiwan. There are indications that Beijing is determined to make "One Country, Two systems" a success. For example, Beijing has to date acted with restraint as the Hang Seng reacts negatively to market downturns in Southeast Asia. Contrary to the predictions of many, local publications such as the South China Morning Post continue to offer critical and unbiased coverage of Beijing politics. Nonetheless, reports of media self-censorship, China's recent tightening of controls over use of the Internet, and warnings issued by Beijing officials to the Hong Kong press about the consequences of criticizing government officials or writing on Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong independence should give one pause.20
Liu Kin-ming, an editor with the Hong Kong Economic Times and vice-chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, says that it is not necessarily journalists who are pulling back from stories which might offend Beijing. According to Liu, "Chief editors, senior managers, and publishers do the dirty work for the government by watering down criticism or spiking offensive stories." Highlighting another dimension of Beijing's united front with Hong Kong business executives, Liu says: "The next time a foreign journalist comes to Hong Kong to explore the issue of 'self-censorship,' he or she should go directly to the owners of media organizations. They are the real censors. Ask these tycoons what they own in China or how much they are planning to invest on the mainland."21 Secure in the knowledge that most owners of these media outlets are not willing to place their financial holdings at risk, Beijing can work with an invisible hand in the HKSAR, avoiding open confrontation and appearing to fulfil its promise of non-interference.22
But Beijing faces other challenges in Hong Kong, not least of which is the continuing popularity of the Democratic Party, which is calling for democratic reforms.23 Even some political organizations co-opted into the united front are making life difficult for Beijing by pursuing their own economic and political agendas. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), for example, supports increased social welfare for Hong Kong citizens. Recently, DAB attempted to redefine the functional constituencies of the Provisional Legislature to ensure a good showing in the May elections.24
The manner in which united front tactics are being applied to address political opposition suggests future problems for Beijing. In the absence of direct democracy, the united front can perform the task of public "pulse taking." Used the way Mao conceived it, the united front is at once an early warning system for potential political upheaval and a pressure release valve. In keeping with past practice, however, it appears that united front tactics are being used more often as a means to eliminate all forms of opposition rather than create consensus.
In this connection, the CPPCC is illustrative because it provides a view into the workings of an important mainland united front vehicle, one that has included representatives from Hong Kong since before 1949. In theory, the CPPCC allows non-CCP politicians and other leading intellectuals the opportunity to "supervise" the decision-making of the CCP. By offering the hope of political participation to these groups, the CPPCC creates allies where disenfranchised enemies might have existed. Described somewhat disparagingly by Xinhua in 1994 as a "think tank," however, the CPPCC appears to be accomplishing little more than handing out patronage plums to "patriot capitalists" and select academics. This reluctance to move beyond political patronage to real consultation highlights the difficulty Beijing has had in finding a balance between opening itself to different viewpoints and, as Shenzen CPPCC head Zhou Ciwu put it, ensuring a "channelling of people's opinion."25
There is also evidence that a key HKSAR lawmaking institution, the Provisional Legislative Council, is being shaped according to Mao's "three-thirds" principle. In the upcoming Legislative Council elections this May, only a third of the 60 seats will be subject to direct election. In an interview with the Hong Kong press, Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee said that despite being the most popular political organization in HKSAR, the Democratic Party will be kept safely in the minority. Asked to estimate the number of seats the party would win, Lee said "Maybe 10 or so, and of the 20 directly-elected seats, we may win half, but only 2 to 3 of the functional constituency seats."26
However, it should not be assumed that the mainland's efforts to tailor Hong Kong decision- making organs with an invisible hand means China has an omnipotent control and view over the HKSAR. Steve Tsang of Oxford University, along with Michael Yahuda of the London School of Economics and John P. Burns of the University of Hong Kong, highlight the jostling that took place between various CCP cadres over who should serve as Beijing's eyes, ears and hands in HKSAR - be it the Xinhua/Hong Kong and Macau Work Committee network, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), the People's Liberation Army, or Beijing's Foreign Ministry. These observers believed the rivalry was noteworthy in that it suggested, prior to the handover, the CCP leadership might have been getting mixed signals on Hong Kong, leaving it less informed than it thought it was.27 Some of the worst aspects of this infighting appear to have been quelled, however, with the scaling back of Xinhua and HKMAO. Recent changes in personnel have seen authoritative HKMAO and Xinhua directors, Lu Ping and Zhou Nan, being replaced by the more deferential Liao Hui and Jiang Enzhu. These changes indicate that Beijing believes it can afford to take a more hands off approach because, thanks to united front work, HKSAR is now in the hands of trustworthy patriots.28
Thus, while Beijing may be allowing the press to operate more or less freely and demonstrations to take place under certain conditions, there are very distinct limits on access to decision-making institutions. In permitting access only to the business elite and other united front recruits who are most inclined to act on very narrow economic and political interests, interests that are expected to coincide with those of Beijing, there is a risk of alienating a large sector of Hong Kong society.
As a means to foster the continued stability and prosperity of HKSAR, united front work retains its importance, especially in light of China's hopes for reunification with Taiwan. Though successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy in Hong Kong is not likely to cause Taiwan to agree to reunification under China's current conditions, its failure will surely scotch any chance of bringing Taiwan back into the fold peacefully.
In placing too great an emphasis on alliance with Hong Kong's corporate barons, political toadies and criminal elements, Beijing risks seeing its carefully crafted united front fall asunder, as a disenfranchised middle class demands greater representation of its interests. In this vein, the balance of councillors elected to the provisional legislature next May must not weigh too heavily in favour of pro-Beijing candidates. No doubt, the CCP will maintain its dominant position, but Hong Kongers will need to see strong representation from the enormously popular Democratic Party.
For Canada, home to a significant ethnic Chinese population, the implications of this paper are clear. China's next major foreign policy goal will be to create the conditions for reunification with Taiwan on its own terms. With this in mind, both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China are intensifying their efforts to garner the financial, technical, and political support of overseas Chinese around the world. As the divide and rule tactics that characterize united front work will form the basis of this campaign, Canada must exercise vigilance to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Chinese-Canadians are not threatened.
I would like to express my appreciation for the comments and insights provided by Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Blasko, US Army Retired; Liu Kin-Ming, Vice-Chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association; Brian McAdam, former Canadian immigration officer; and Commentary's anonymous reviewers. Holly Porteous.
1Taiwan has long engaged in a counter-campaign to the PRC's united front. Recent Taiwan media reports quote the head of Taiwan's Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC), James Chu, as saying united front tactics are being employed by the PRC to drive a wedge between the Republic of China and overseas Chinese communities. Chu vowed that OCAC would launch its own campaign to counter that of the PRC. Taiwan Central News Agency (Internet Version), 9 August 1997, in FBIS Daily Report: China, 18 August 1997. Return
2According to 1991 Statistics Canada census figures, 586,645 Canadians are Chinese in ethnic origin.Return
3Historically, the concept of a Chinese united front dates back to 1922, when at the urging of their Comintern and Soviet mentors the fledgling CCP joined forces with its rival, the Kuomintang, to oust a corrupt and important imperialist leadership. It was essentially a means for the CCP, as the weaker of the two parties, to multiply its strength through alliance. This first united front ended in betrayal, when the Kuomintang party leader, Chiang Kai-shek, turned on his communist brothers in arms. A second united front was formed in 1937, when the two parties once again put aside their differences, at least on the surface, to fight an invading Japan. Again, the two erstwhile allies fell out, settling their differences, in civil war. Even before the Nationalists were pushed back from their mainland strongholds during this civil war, British-run Hong Kong - long a hotbed of espionage and subversive activity - was a high value target of united front work, and it remains so today. Key essays of Mao Zedong on this concept include, "Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society (March 1926)," "On Contradiction (August 1937)," and "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February, 1957)," in Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tsetung (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1971).Return
4The United Front Work Department is currently headed by Wang Zhaoguo, who is also vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an umbrella united front organization. See note 14.Return
5"On the Question of Political Power in the Anti-Japanese Base Areas," 6 March 1940, taken from Lyman P. Van Slyke, Enemies and Friends: The United Front in Chinese Communist History, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967), p 143.Return
6John Ridding, "Xinhua's new HK Chief Pledges Non-Interference," Financial Times, 7 August 1997.Return
7The foreign affairs department of the Hong Kong branch of Xinhua is expected to be reduced to about 300 personnel. It is not clear that the section responsible for united front work, the coordination department, will be pruned back. See "HK Changes at the Most Fundamental Level," South China Morning Post (thereafter SCMP), 8 October 1997.Return
8The importance of a position on the NPC should not be overstated, though. While some western analysts held out hope that its chairman, Qiao Shi, would be successful in his campaign to transform the NPC into something more than a rubber stamp for CCP policy dictates, Qiao's fall from power in the September 1997 15th Party Congress places doubt on this outcome.Return
9Citing Jiang's Xinhua mandate to represent mainland ideas in Hong Kong, Hong Kong's Democracy Party argues that his becoming a spokesman for Hong Kong in this mainland legislative body creates a conflict of interest. Associated Press, "Hong Kong Picks Legislative Aides," 8 December 1997.Return
10Macau is a Portuguese colony due to be returned to China in 1999.Return
11Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa is a superb example of the kind of individual Beijing has sought to cultivate from the business community. Respected by Hong Kongers as a fair-minded and well-intentioned individual, Tung was also viewed by Jiang Zemin as someone who shared Beijing's concern about the proper balance between individual freedoms and what Tung terms "the common good." Tung's patriotism and his focus on maintaining Hong Kong's economic and political stability made him the right kind of man to lead Hong Kong.Return
12Cited in Margaret M. Pearson, China's New Business Elite: The Political Consequences of Economic Reform (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997) p 13.Return
14Predating the National People's Congress, the CPPCC is the umbrella organization under which China's so-called multi-party consultation is carried out. Delegates include representatives from the so-called minor political parties which existed before the establishment of the People's Republic, representatives of united front organizations, and invited individuals. The CPPCC might be considered a modern day version of the Confucian "Censorate," through which an educated elite would speak for the people, criticizing wrong-doings of high-level authorities, even the emperor. Despite repeated calls for reform, however, the advice proffered by the CPPCC has never been allowed to challenge major policy. Return
15Although it enacted new anti-triad legislation on 4 August 1997, there are indications that the current Macau leadership lacks the willpower to enforce its laws. Citing a lack of evidence, a Macau judge is reported to have dropped arrest warrants against the suspected head of the 14K triad and four of his associates. Shortly after his decision, the judge resigned and made preparations to leave for Portugal. It is uncertain how the mainland will deal with this apparent abrogation on the part of the triads when its takes over Macau but the ongoing violence does not bode well for Hong Kong.Return
16Fredric Dannen, "Partners in Crime," The New Republic, 14 & 21 July 1997, pp 18-26.Return
17SCMP, 10 December 1997. The same article noted that the information passed on by Dr. Lee has since been declassified by the United States government.Return
18Peter Woolrich, Mark McSherry and David Healy, "Revealed: The Men Who Raised HK Money for John Major," SCMP, 27 June 1993, p 8; Anthony Cheesewright, "Cheques 'Rolled in from HK' for Tories," Hong Kong Standard, 3 July 1993, p1; Fanny Wong, "Tung Aid for Tories No Alien Practice," SCMP, 3 May 1997; Edward Gargan, "Hong Kong Donor to Tories Now Wants $1.7 Million Returned," New York Times, 25 January 1998, p5.Return
19David S.G. Goodman, "Are Asia's 'Ethnic Chinese' a Regional-Security Threat?", Survival 39/4 (1997-98), pp 140-55.Return
20Citing "One Country, Two Systems," the director general of Hong Kong's telecommunications, Anthony Wong, said Beijing's new restrictions on internet material would not apply to the HKSAR. Under the restrictions, Beijing will prosecute both individual users and service providers if banned items are found in their networks. See http://www.freedomforum.org/technology/1997/12/ 30chinet.asp.Return
21Indeed, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Xinhua maintains a list of Hong Kong media outlets that categorizes them in one of four ways: 1) China-controlled media; 2) friendly media; 3) neutral media; and 4) hostile media. Mainland advertising is directed to these outlets accordingly. See the 1997 annual report of the Hong Kong Journalists Association at http://www.freeway.org.hk/hkja/. Additional observations are based on personnel correspondence between author and Liu Kin-ming, December 1997 January 1998. Quotes taken from Liu Kin-ming, "The Self-Censorship Myth," in Freedom Under the Dragon: Can Hong Kong's Press Still Breathe Fire?, (report prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists and released in September 1997 during the World Bank and IMF annual meetings held in Hong Kong). The report can be read in CPJ's Website: http://www.cpj.org. Return
22Jimmy Lai, owner of the Chinese-language Apple Daily, exemplifies the fate of those who have dared thumb their nose at Beijing. After having offended Beijing by describing Premier Li Peng as a "turtle's egg with a zero I.Q." in Apple Daily's sister publication, Next, Lai's Giordiano clothing store chain suddenly began to experience licensing problems on the mainland. Even after Lai sold his shares in Giordiano, the company continued to have problems with mainland officials. Most recently, Lai's plans to go public with the holding company for Next, Next Media Holdings, fell through earlier this year when underwriter Sun Hung Kai International pulled out of the deal. According to a report issued by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, external pressures were behind Sun Hung Kai's decision to walk away from the deal with Next. Pamela Yip, "Hong Kong's Mighty Pen Now Faces China's Sword," Houston Chronicle, September 1997; 1997 Hong Kong Journalists Association Annual Report. Return
23A recent SCMP opinion poll indicated that public satisfaction with Democratic Party leader, Martin Lee, stood at 61 per cent. By contrast, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) - a united front political party, achieved satisfaction ratings of 50 per cent. SCMP (Internet edition), 8 December 1997. John P. Burns of Hong Kong University notes that Hong Kong's middle class has been the Democratic Party's greatest supporter. See John Burns, "The Role of the New China News Agency," in Hong Kong and China in Transition, Canada and Hong Kong Papers No. 3 (Toronto: University of Toronto-York University Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, 1994), p 37. Return
24"HK Changes at the Most Fundamental Level," SCMP, 8 October 1997.Return
25Willy Wo-Lap Lam, China After Deng Xiaoping, (Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, 1995), p 302.Return
26Chi-shih Nien-tai, Hong Kong, 1 August 1997, in FBIS Daily Report: China, 30 September 1997.Return
27Steve Tsang, Hong Kong: An Appointment with China (London, New York: I.B. Tauris, 1997); Michael Yahuda, Hong Kong: China's Challenge (London, New York: Routledge, 1996); Burns, "The Role of the New China News Agency".Return
28"HK Changes at the Most Fundamental Level," SCMP, 8 October 1997.Return
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