The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong

Infobox Political_party
party_name =The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
party_logo =
leader1_title =Chairman
leader1_name =Tam Yiu Chung
colorcode =Blue
foundation =10 July 1992
headquarters =12/F, SUP Tower
83 King's Road
North Point, Hong Kong
national =Hong Kong Pro-Beijing Camp
colours =Blue, Red
website =

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) (zh-t|t=民主建港協進聯盟, or 民建聯 in short), formerly known as "The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong" (民主建港聯盟) is the largest pro-Beijing political party in the Hong Kong. Founded in 10 July 1992, the party has been headed by Ma Lik since December 2003 until his death in August 2007.


A year before the founding of the group in 1991, the party members did not admit to having any pro-Beijing affiliations.

The DAB and the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance (HKPA) allied with each other in the crucial Provisional Legislative Council debate on the substantial arrangements for the 1998 elections. This move was tacitly endorsed by the Heung Yee Kuk, and heralded as the unofficial merger of the parties. Critics labelled the union as the "Democratic Progressive Party of Hong Kong". [cite news|title=The old pack reshuffled
author=Andy Ho
publisher="The Standard"
date=30 September 1997

A formal merger with the HKPA was announced on 16 February 2005. The two parties were merged with new leadership selected on 31 May 2005. The group was formed with the assistance of the Xinhua News Agency.Beatty, Bob. Democracy, Asian Values, and Hong Kong: Evaluating Political Elite Beliefs. [2003] (2003). Praeger/Greenwood. ISBN 0275976882.] and at the time was the public face of the Communist Party of China in Hong Kong.Bush, Richard C. Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. [2005] (2005). Brookings Institution. pg 232. ISBN 081571288X.] It also received financial support from Leftist trade unions and continuous financial support from mainland China sources under British colonial rule.

The party is known for stressing the "one country" part of the "one country, two systems" principle. They also support a gradual move toward democracy to maintain stability and prosperity.

The party has immense manpower and financial support from pro-Beijing, conservatives, and kaifong forces during election times. Its main claim is that it is natural for ethnic Chinese in Hong Kong to be "patriotic" and pro-PRC.Chan, Ming K. So, Alvin Y. White, Lynn T. Crisis and Transformation in China's Hong Kong. [2002] (2002). M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0765610000.]

Party beliefs

The DAB is a pro-Chinese government party.

The DAB chairman Ma Lik (in July 2005) [ [ The Speech by Chairman Ma Lik at the 13th Anniversary Reception] , Ma Lik, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, 12 July 2005] listed the party's five objectives:

#furthering co-operation between Hong Kong and the mainland, promoting mutual trust, and creating win-win opportunities economically.
#"constructive monitor" of the SAR government, scrutinising various government policies and decisions, providing "constructive policy alternatives" whilst securing the progress, prosperity, social stability and harmony for Hong Kong.
#to break down social barriers based on the common interest of Hong Kong; to strengthen communications with Hong Kong residents to better reflect their opinion; to be more accountable to the public.
#to nurture political talent by committing the necessary funding, organising training, providing opportunities for those who want to take part in politics.


The party started with a single seat on the Legislative Council (LegCo). The 1995 LegCo elections increased the DAB's share to six seats. After 1997 when Hong Kong was transferred to the People's Republic of China (PRC), DAB enjoyed political favour from the PRC, and gained a number of seats in Legco through Functional Constituency election which was deemed unfair, and they remain unfavour in local district direct election. In 2000 it had ten councillors in Legco. The most recent Legislative Council election in 2004, it become the largest (by number) political party to be represented with 12 seats, with the Liberal Party coming second (10 seats), and the Democratic Party coming third (9 seats).

Twelve district councillors joined the party on its formation, a share that increased to 37 seats in the 1994 elections and 83 in 1999. In the wake of the controversies over the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law in 2003, the party's popularity dropped drastically and the November 2003 District Councils elections saw its seats drop to 62. The election results have led to the resignation of its former Chairman, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing [Cannix Yau, [ "DAB chief resigns over 'worst setback'"] , The Standard, 25 November 2003] . However, as Ma Lik had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer from 2004 until his death in 2007, Tsang still effectively controls the DAB.

The DAB and its sister organisation HKFTU are well-known for their ability to mobilize their supporters, including employees of PRC state-owned companies, to vote for their candidates in elections. In the 2004 Legislative Council election, they managed to exploit the proportional representation electoral system to equalise votes for two of the candidates the party endorsed standing in the same constituency. Although support of Chan Yuen Han (DAB) was far higher than Chan Kam Lam (HKFTU), according to earlier polls, the two organisations managed to have both elected. At another constituency, the ticket of Ma Lik and Choy So Yuk ultimately benefitted from a democratic camp mix-up that led to the resignation of the Democratic Party's leader, Yeung Sum.

Controversies and Allegations

The 1967 anti-British riots

Notable DAB member Tsang Tak-sing participated in the Hong Kong 1967 Leftist Riots. He was arrested and jailed for two years for distributing "inflammatory leaflets" [ "Chan 'flabbergasted' by attack"] "South China Morning Post", Thursday, 6 December 2006 ]

Tiananmen Square incident denial

On 15 May 2007, party leader Ma Lik provoked widespread condemnation within the local community when he claimed that "there was not a massacre" during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, as there was "no intentional and indiscriminate shooting". He said the popular belief of foreigners' "rash claims" that a massacre took place showed Hong Kong's lack of maturity. He said that Hong Kong showed, through this lack of patriotism and national identity, that it would thus "not be ready for democracy until 2022".

Vice Chairman Tam Yiu Chung defended Ma, but questioned the timing: "people will understand it gradually"Ambrose Leung, "Fury at DAB chief's Tiananmen tirade", Page 1, South China Morning Post, 16 May 2007] . However, Vice Chairman Lau Kong Wah, immediately offered to apologise, and distanced the party from Ma, saying that Ma had expressed "a personal opinion"「馬力認輕佻拒撤觀點,否認促為六四定調 願受黨處分」, Ming Pao, 7 May 2007 zh icon] . The DAB Central committee declined any further action against ma following their meeting, and there was no official apology.

Financial irregularities

The DAB has been accused by pro-democracy media and politicians of providing benefits to certain people, including seafood meals and local trips to outlying islands at prices significantly lower than market rates in order to win their support. Other allegations include free transport to mobilise people for their cause. However, none of these practices are strictly illegal.


As the biggest political party of Hong Kong, the 10-year-party can be divided into three main factions:

* Unionists, i.e. members belonging or came from the Federation of Trade Unions.
* Indigenous residents in the New Territories
* Fujianese

List of chairmen

#Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (10 July 1992 - 9 December 2003)
#Ma Lik (9 December 2003 - 8 August 2007)
#Tam Yiu Chung (8 August 2007 -)


ee also

* Politics of Hong Kong
* List of political parties in Hong Kong

External links

* [ Official website]

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