Penetrative Politics from Neighborhood Associations to District Federations: Electoral Mobilization and Competition
The creation, utilization and mobilization of district-based federations, together with the gradual political co-optation of kaifong or neighborhood associations, are the prominent united front strategies of the Chinese authorities and their agents in the HKSAR. These kaifong associations have been reorganized under the new united front umbrella of district-based federations, constituting a powerful force in electoral preparation and mobilization of pro-Beijing voters and ensuring the victory of pro-Beijing candidates and parties in local direct elections. Furthermore, district-based federations are tasked to support the Hong Kong government policies and expected to be a politically and socially stabilizing force in the society. Most importantly, they work side by side with the DAB, FTU and Fujianese interest groups to constitute powerful electoral machines in local politics, trying to win the hearts and minds of more Hong Kong people. District federations are like the “transmission belt” of China’s new united front work in the HKSAR, penetrating deeply and extensively to every corner of the society. Penetrative politics has one ultimate objective: to stop the democrats from grasping more directly elected seats at the legislative and district level and increase the chance of success of the pro-Beijing candidates in the local elections.