Fri, Feb 02, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Avoid China’s ‘united front’ tactics

By Paul Lin 林保華

Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy politician and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee (李柱銘) on Jan. 10 published an article headlined “Have I already become part of China’s united front strategy?” in the Hong Kong edition of the Apple Daily.

In the article, Lee reflects on an incident in 1986 at a meeting of the Hong Kong Basic Law Drafting Committee during which, as a committee member, he said he fell into a “united front” trap laid by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Lee said that he was invited by Beijing to participate in the committee, but at the time he did not understand the language and tactics of the CCP’s “united front” strategy, and due to his isolated position on the committee, he could achieve very little.

Once he realized his inclusion on the committee was to serve as political window dressing, Lee said he and fellow democracy activist Szeto Wah (司徒華) stepped down.

Lee’s reflections will be instructive to the new generation of pro-democracy campaigners, and that is a good thing, but it is a pity that he did not make the connection to show how the CCP was able to subsume the Democratic Party and Hong Kong’s pan-democracy camp into its “united front” campaign, since this is the reality that is facing the next generation of democracy activists in the territory.

Beijing is vigorously engaged in a “united front” campaign to crush the Hong Kong independence movement by infiltrating and appropriating the territory’s democracy movement, which includes doing whatever it takes to eliminate “troublemakers,” including placing them on an blacklist blocking them from entering mainland China.

Unfortunately, some Hong Kongers who have entered China have taken to posting online photographic evidence of their unhindered entry into China, a painful sight to see.

In Taiwanese and Hong Kong politics the “united front” is reduced to a simple concept: “China forming an alliance with its secondary enemies” — which means the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the anti-independence camp in Hong Kong — “to defeat its main enemies” — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong.

Although a secondary enemy has already been co-opted by China though its “united front” strategy, they remain an enemy in China’s eyes.

When China feels that they have defeated the main enemy that they were combating with their secondary enemy, that enemy now becomes the new main enemy.

In spite of this blindingly obvious logic, Hong Kong’s anti-independence camp are not only stupid enough not to understand what is going on, they are even assisting Beijing in its attacks on its main opponents: Hong Kong’s “nativist” political faction. In doing so, they are entering into a pact with the devil.

The KMT plays a similar role: the party is suffering from a collective amnesia and has completely forgotten how its members were slaughtered by the CCP when it treated the KMT as its main enemy.

The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) recently reported that national security intelligence information shows that China has zeroed in on 10 organizations and groups in Taiwan: local-level administrative organizations; youth; students; Chinese spouses; Aborigines; pro-China political parties, religious groups and temples; Taiwanese with family connections in China; agricultural and fishing organizations; and retired generals. These groups and individuals are being cultivated by China as it goes about unifying Taiwan with China.

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