Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
|Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
|Vice-chairman||Ann Chiang, Starry Lee, Cheung Kwok-kwan, Thomas Pang, Chan Yung|
|Founded||10 July 1992|
|Merger of||Progressive Alliance|
|Headquarters||12/F, SUP Tower
83 King's Road
North Point, Hong Kong
|Political position||Centre to Centre-right|
|National affiliation||Pro-Beijing Camp|
|National People's Congress|
|Political Consultative Conference|
|Politics of Hong Kong
|Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong|
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), formerly known as Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, is the largest pro-Beijing political party in Hong Kong. The party was founded on 10 July 1992. Headed by Tam Yiu Chung, it is the largest party in the Legislative Council. It is seen as a shadow Communist Party in Hong Kong.
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".
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. and at the time was the public face of the Communist Party of China in Hong Kong. It reportedly received financial support from left-wing trade unions and support from Communist Party of China sources under British colonial rule.
The party is known for stressing the "one country" part of the "One country, two systems" principle. As for issues on democratic reform, it take a position to support slower pace in relative to what the Democratic Party of Hong Kong supports, DAB claims by doing so stability and prosperity will be achieved.
- Furthering co-operation between Hong Kong and the mainland, promoting mutual trust, and creating opportunities economically.
- "Constructive monitor" of the HKSAR 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), with the Democratic Party coming third (9 seats).
Twelve district councilors 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. 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.
Legislative Council elections
| % of
District Councils elections
| % of
1967 Leftist Riots
Claim of no Tiananmen massacre
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". However, Vice Chairman Lau Kong Wah, immediately offered to apologise, and distanced the party from Ma, saying that Ma had expressed "a personal opinion". The DAB Central committee declined any further action against Ma following their meeting, and there was no official apology.
Allegations of 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 in Hong Kong.
As the largest 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
List of chairmen
- Jasper Tsang (10 July 1992 – 9 December 2003)
- Ma Lik (9 December 2003 – 8 August 2007)
- Tam Yiu-chung (8 August 2007 –)
- "Hong Kong pro-Beijing party chairman dies", Reuters, 8 August 2007
- Andy Ho (30 September 1997). "The old pack reshuffled". The Standard. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
- Beatty, Bob. Democracy, Asian Values, and Hong Kong: Evaluating Political Elite Beliefs.  (2003). Praeger/Greenwood. ISBN 0-275-97688-2.
- Bush, Richard C. Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait (2005). Brookings Institution, p. 232. ISBN 0-8157-1288-X.
- Chan, Ming K. So, Alvin Y. White, Lynn T. Crisis and Transformation in China's Hong Kong.  (2002). M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0-7656-1000-0.
- Cannix Yau, "DAB chief resigns over 'worst setback'", The Standard, 25 November 2003
- "Chan 'flabbergasted' by attack" South China Morning Post, Thursday, 6 December 2006
- Ambrose Leung, "Fury at DAB chief's Tiananmen tirade", Page 1, South China Morning Post, 16 May 2007
- 「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 (Chinese)