Underground Front: The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong

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Underground Front: The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong
By Christine Loh
University of Washington Press, 2010
325 pp. $45.00
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Contrary to the expectations of many, Hong Kong has retained much of its liberal identity since the handover to China from the United Kingdom in 1997. The rule of law still applies, the media are still relatively free, and enough pro-democratic politicians are elected to the legislature to block proposed constitutional changes. Nevertheless, the influence of the Chinese Communist Party has been growing since 1997. Yet despite its being in effect the ruling party, it continues to remain underground. Loh, a former legislator and the leader of a Hong Kong think tank, breaks new ground in charting the history of the party in Hong Kong. Beijing's relations with the local party branch, she finds, have not always been harmonious, most recently when it failed to anticipate the huge demonstrations in 2003, which blocked state security legislation. But the party has been successful in co-opting the business elite and in winning elections. At issue now is how it will apply "united front" tactics to gain support for its version of elections for Hong Kong's leader and legislature.