United Front and Women Interest Groups from Pro-British to Pro-Beijing
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Beijing’s united front work targeted at Hong Kong’s women groups and activists has become extensive and intensive since July 1, 1997. Some formerly pro-British and pro-colonial government women groups, such as the Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Club and the Women’s Welfare Club, have been co-opted and absorbed into the PRC’s united front umbrella. Moreover, pro-Beijing women groups have grown by leaps and bounds, including the utilization of core groups such as the All-China Women Federation, the Hong Kong Federation of Women and the Hong Kong Development Association. Pro-Beijing women activists and groups have been politically encouraged and mobilized, and financially supported, to participate in legislative and local elections, thereby gradually increasing the quantity and quality of women participation in politics. At the same time, women activists have been politically appointed and coopted into China’s and Hong Kong’s political institutions, strengthening their subjective feelings of being socially and politically recognized and of having their status elevated. In recent years, pro-Beijing women federations have envisaged their leadership rejuvenation and renewal, trying to sustain the momentum of development in the long run.