Date: Jun 19, 2015
By: James Pomfret and Greg Torode
Hong Kong’s democrats won their battle to veto a Beijing-backed electoral reform package, but face an
increasingly organized campaign by pro-Chinese government movements in the longer war over the former British colony’s democratic future.
The tense hours before the vote sparked protests by dozens of pro-Beijing groups outside the Legislative Council – a push diplomats, politicians and academics believe highlights an intensified effort by China to exert control over the Asian financial hub.
That effort is run through the United Front Work Department, a branch of the Communist Party’s Central Committee with a mission to spread China’s reach by gaining control and influence over a range of groups not affiliated with the party, sources with ties to Beijing have told Reuters.
United Front Hong Kong operations have expanded since mass pro-democracy protests last year, when the so-called Occupy Central movement shut down parts of the city, a Reuters study has found. The United Front Work Department did not respond to requests for comment. [FULL STORY]