The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong as Flagship of China’s United Front Work
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The Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) has succeeded in expanding its membership and voters’ support from 1992 to the present. It has been playing the dual roles of providing a solid base of political and electoral support for other pro-Beijing and pro-government forces, while simultaneously increasing its popular support to check and balance the pro-democracy camp. The DAB performs strongly at the local District Council elections and it works hand in hand with other pro-Beijing forces to narrow the gap of popular support with the pro-democracy camp. Nevertheless, the DAB’s political position, including its rhetoric of supporting universal suffrage, has ironically become an electoral liability that constrains its popular support. Many pro-democracy voters perceive the DAB as too pro-Beijing and lacking a clear platform supportive of Hong Kong’s democratization, human rights and judicial autonomy vis-à-vis Beijing. Despite its limitations, the DAB remains the most important united front agent for Beijing to win the hearts and minds of more Hong Kong people.