|Liaison Office overview|
|Formed||May 1947(as Xinhua News Agency Hong Kong Branch) |
18 January 2000 (as LGCPG)
|Preceding Liaison Office|
|Jurisdiction||State Council of the People's Republic of China|
160 Connaught Road West,
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
|Liaison Office executive|
The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Chinese: ?; abbr. LOCPG or ) is an organ of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It replaced the New China News Agency (NCNA) as the representative of the PRC government in Hong Kong in 2000.
The Liaison Office was established in 2000 as the replacement of the New China News Agency (NCNA), the unofficial representative of the PRC government in Hong Kong during the colonial period since 1949. It followed the NCNA to promote the pro-Beijing united front and coordinate pro-Beijing candidates, mobilising supporters to vote for "patriotic" political parties and clandestinely orchestrating electoral campaigns. It also supervises the mainland's enterprises and three pro-Beijing newspapers, Tai Kung Pao, Wen Wei Pao and Commercial Daily in Hong Kong. It is also responsible for running the Chinese Communist Party cells in Hong Kong.
The Liaison Office has officially been playing a communication bridge between Beijing and Hong Kong. According to the Liaison Office's website, the office's official functions are the following:
It was often criticised of acting beyond its jurisdiction and violating the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the Hong Kong Basic Law as "no department of the Central People's Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law" as stipulated in the Article 22 of the Basic Law.
The Office was originally established in June 1947 as Xinhua News Agency Hong Kong Branch (Xinhua) when Hong Kong was under British administration as a de facto mission. The Liaison Office was established in 2000 as the replacement of the Xinhua. It followed the Xinhua to promote the pro-Beijing united front and coordinate pro-Beijing camp, mobilising supporters to vote for "patriotic" political parties and clandestinely orchestrating electoral campaigns.
In late 2001, the Liaison Office coordinated and mobilised support among pro-Beijing elites for Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to run for another term of office. Jiang Enzhu, director of the Liaison Office and Gao Siren openly supported Tung. A Hong Kong representative of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) expressed he felt pressured to join the campaign otherwise his non-cooperation would be reported to the Liaison Office.
The Liaison Office was criticised for meddling in the election of the Hong Kong deputies to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC). It was accused of issuing a recommendation list to the electors before the election. James Tien of the Liberal Party criticised the Liaison Office for circulating the recommendation lists, the Democratic Party's Martin Lee viewed it as a "shadow government" meddling in elections in all levels, including the Chief Executive elections, coordinating with pro-Beijing parties in Legislative Council and District Council elections, and raising funds for the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB).
The Liaison Office led by Gao Siren backed the Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa government to push forward the controversial legislation of the national security bill as stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23. It was criticised for its failure in reporting to Beijing accurately the massive discontent toward the Tung regime and failure in predicting the unprecedented 2003 July 1 massive demonstration against the national security bill. It was said that the Liaison Office was too close to the pro-Beijing Hong Kong elites and naturally provided over-positive reports on the HKSAR to Beijing. As a result, the central government removed and replaced a number of deputy directors of the Liaison Office. A spy scandal was also revealed which involved with the leak out of the confidential information of the Liaison Office to the British agents.
After the pro-democracy tide in 2003, the Liaison Office established two new departments, one for police affairs and another for community organisations. It adopted a hard-line policy toward the democrats. In the 2004 Legislative Council election, the Liaison Office mobilised the members of the pro-Beijing interest groups and housing associations, including the Hokkien community, to support and vote for the DAB and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) candidates.
Beijing also strengthened the Liaison Office to influence day-to-day affairs in Hong Kong and effectively operated as a "second government" in Hong Kong, reviewing and approving all potential candidates in the elections. Cao Erbao, director of the Liaison Office's Research Department who coined the "second government" concept, wrote that Hong Kong went from being ruled by one entity to being ruled by two: the Hong Kong government and "a team of Central and Mainland authorities carrying out Hong Kong work." It sparked great controversy in some sectors of Hong Kong society, already worried about the growing interference of the People's Republic of China into Hong Kong's political affairs. Since 2010, Hong Kong protesters began targeting the Liaison Office as the destination of the demonstrations.
The Liaison Office worked on nurturing better educated candidates from the middle class to compete with the pro-democrats including Starry Lee and Chan Hak-kan of the DAB in the 2008 Legislative Council election. It also opposed the pro-business Liberal Party which caused the 2008 electoral defeats of James Tien and Selina Chow which wiped out the directly elected seats of the Liberal Party and a split within the party which saw four of its seven legislators quit the party.
The Liaison Office was alleged of rigging in the 2011 District Council election with one elected district councillor was found to be a previous staff of the Liaison Office.
In early 2012, the Liaison Office, located in Sai Wan district, aggressively lobbied the Election Committee members for Leung Chun-ying to be elected in the Chief Executive election. The Liaison Office was accused of lobbying the 60 members of the Agriculture and Fisheries Subsector to nominate Leung in order to enter the race. It was reported that the Liaison Office pressured the pro-Beijing members of the Legislative Council, including Jeffrey Lam, Andrew Leung, Sophie Lau and Abraham Shek who nominated Henry Tang, Leung's main rival, not to support pan-democrats' motion of setting up a commission to investigate Leung Chun-ying's conflict of interest scandal in the West Kowloon Cultural District project. Cao Erbao reportedly telephoning and pressing Prof Gabriel Leung, the Director of the Office of the Chief Executive to slow a conflict of interest investigation in the project that threatened to case Leung in a bad light. This allegation sparked a controversy in which the pan-democracy camp and business community condemned the Liaison Office of meddling into Hong Kong domestic affairs. The pan-democrat Election Committee members held a slogan of "No to Sai Wan ruling Hong Kong" in the polling station on the election day, in which the term was popularised in the following years. Leung Chun-ying was also criticised of undermining the "One Country, Two Systems" principle when he made a high-profile visit to the Liaison Office a day after his victory.
In the 2012 Legislative Council election, various candidates including Priscilla Leung and Paul Tse were alleged of being backed by the Liaison Office. The Liaison Office was also accused for orchestrating in the 2016 Legislative Council election. The term "Sai Wan Party" also became popular during the election, when several pro-Beijing candidates, including Priscilla Leung, Paul Tse, Regina Ip, Junius Ho and Eunice Yung were perceived backed by the Liaison Office, all of whom were elected with Liaison Office's supports.
In 2015, Next Magazine revealed that the Office also took control of Sino United Publishing, which controls over 80% of the book publishing market. It is Hong Kong's largest Chinese publishing group, and has 51 retail outlets in the territory, and an 80 percent market share. It was reported that the Liaison Office owns Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po, the two traditional pro-Beijing newspapers through a company called Guandong New Culture Development.
Starting from the end of August 2016, Sing Pao Daily News, which is known to be pro-Beijing, has been running anonymous critiques of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the Liaison Office. The paper accused Leung and the Liaison Office of "inciting" Hong Kong independence and accused the Liaison Office of interfering in Hong Kong's domestic affairs and manipulating local Legislative Council elections by supporting groups that divide the pro-democracy camp, including the localist groups such as Youngspiration which had pro-independence tendency. The paper then urged the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Chinese Communist Party to investigate Leung and Zhang Xiaoming, the Director of the Liaison Office over power abuse.
On Jan 15th 2018, during a public opening ceremony, Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing's Liaison Office confirmed Beijing's interference, as said he and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor shared the same wish that "Sai Wan" and "Central" must "walk together", cooperating in an even closer fashion.
On 21 July 2019, protesters surrounded the Hong Kong Liaison Office and defaced the Chinese national emblem, an act that was condemned by the government.
|No.||Portrait||Name||Term of office||Duration||Premier||Chief Executive||Ref|
|2 years, 215 days||Zhu Rongji
|6 years, 277 days|
|3 years, 207 days|
|4 years, 278 days|
|2 years, 104 days|