How China Subverts Freedom with the “United Front” | Sonny Lo | China Uncensored

A shadowy Communist agency Is responsible for infiltrating free societies And Hong Kong is losing the fight Welcome to China Uncensored, I’m Chris Chapell. Joining me today is Dr Sonny Lo, an author, professor and political commentator. Thanks for joining me. Hi, my pleasure. So one of your areas of expertise is the United Front work in Hong Kong. What is the United Front? The United Front was originally the strategy of the Chinese Communist Party to cooperate with the Nationalist Party in China during the early 1920s and later during the
1930s to fight against the Japanese so that both sides can form a kind of alliance to deal with the Second World War. The United Front work later on has evolved
into an instrument used by the Chinese Communist
Party to win the hearts and minds of the people. And in the context of Hong Kong, United Front means that the Chinese government has to do everything in order to win the hearts and minds of the Hong Kong people. So what are some of the goals of the United
Front? Who are they targeting in Hong Kong? The goals of United Front is to number one, to win the political support of the ordinary
people and secondly to get the support of the Hong
Kong people who would support not only the local government
of Hong Kong, but also the central government in Beijing. And thirdly, United Front work aims to prevent the local Democrats from grabbing more seats
in the legislature and also the district councils because in
the minds of Beijing, if the political opposition in Hong Kong can get into political power, then the situation in Hong Kong would be tipped in favor of the opposition rather than Beijing. So basically the goal is to make Hong Kong
less autonomous and more in line with the Communist Party’s
goals. In the minds of Beijing, United Front work can coexist with the autonomy of Hong Kong. Because in the minds of Beijing, if United Front work is successful, then the pro-Beijing forces would garner sufficient
public support and capture most of the seats in the legislature. So how does the United Front infiltrate a
Hong Kong society? The United Front work infiltrates into Hong
Kong society by using many interest groups like women, like labor unions or like district [inaudible] or even like neighborhood associations. Many of these interest groups were formerly pro-British before 1997 but after 1997 most of these interest groups have turned to Beijing mainly because of political
loyalty and also because of financial incentives. Because Beijing has dished out a lot of financial and monetary incentives to all these leaders of the interest groups. And most importantly, the leaders of the interest groups have been appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Chinese National People’s Congress. So in terms of status, inference and power, those co-opted Hong Kong elites, they feel that they are more politically powerful
than ever before. Is it just special interest groups or is the United Front involved in the education? Business sector? The United Front work also involves deeply
in the business sector because many business people are highly pragmatic. They want to do business with China, they don’t want to antagonize China. So the business sector is particularly vulnerable. The least vulnerable sector in Hong Kong or to put it in another way, the most resistant sector to United Front
work is the education. Because in the education sectors, many intellectuals, academics, students, they are highly post materialistic if you
like. In other words, they attach importance to values like human
rights, democracy, sustainable development, civil
liberties, and they are less interested in material incentives. So from this perspective, the education sector is the least vulnerable
to United Front work. I’m curious, you talked about the business
sector. How can you tell the difference between United
Front work and just organic natural exchanges between mainland China and Hong Kong? The organic exchanges between mainland China
and Hong Kong involves some more formalistic levels of exchange, like for example, you know, business associations interacting with the Chinese government departments. Before United Front work, it can proceed from formal to more informal
co-optation. That is to say they try to make friends with
you and in the process of making friends, they try to woo your side to support their
side politically. So gradually the co-opted targets become their
friends, and even solid supporters. So it is a kind of a longterm movement to
win friendship, to change friendship to political loyalty. And when we’re talking about the United Front, the United Front is actually a division of the Chinese Communist Party itself, correct? The United Front Department within the Chinese
Communist Party is mainly responsible for United Front work. However many other Chinese departments are also dealing with United Front work. For example, in the case of Hong Kong we have their liaison office, which is the representative office of the Central Government in Hong Kong and it is also responsible for United Front
work. And quite often when the mainland Chinese
government departments come to visit Hong Kong, they may interact with some of the business associations in Hong Kong. And quite often United Front work is defined
broadly. That is to say to win friendship, to interact with our potential friends and then to gain their political and economic support in the long run. So United Front work in China is not conducted solely by the United Front
department. It can be conducted by many other departments
as well. So sort of like a whole of society method of subverting and changing a society to be in line with the Communist Party of
China? Yeah, we can describe it as a kind of mechanism in which various Chinese departments are engaging with their opposite numbers, so as to win the hearts and minds of the targeted
people, targeted interest groups and targeted organizations. So how successful has United Front work been
in Hong Kong? Actually, United Front work has been quite successful in Hong Kong, particularly since the 2012 when the anti national education campaign was launched by many young parents and also students as well as intellectuals. However, the October the, the September to December Occupy Central movement
in 2014 constituted a strong resistance to United
Front work in China. Many young people in Hong Kong together with
intellectuals, they were determined to push for democratization by using the Occupy Central movement, in 2014. It failed, and so United Front work in China
has deepened further, until this year when the government of Hong
Kong led by Carrie Lam decided to introduce an extradition bill and that extradition bill alienated many young
Hong Kong people as well as ordinary people, because many people were frightened that such
extradition bill would probably lead to the possibility that many Hong Kong people would be transfer from Hong Kong to mainland China. So United Front work that has its limitations. The limitation is that with the education
sector being very resistant to United Front work, the extradition bill has failed to win the hearts and minds of the ordinary people. So what is it about the education sector that makes United Front work not work? The education sector is characterized by very independent minded intellectuals whose understanding of China is not really through ideological indoctrination or even socialization. Unlike the mainland Chinese intellectuals
and students who were educated in the mainland, who are socialized and indoctrinated to combine the cultural identity with the political identity of accepting the CCP rule in the mainland. In Hong Kong, traditionally the colonial rulers were very loose in educating Hong Kong people not to mention about Chinese nationalism. So in Hong Kong traditionally and historically the education system did not inculcate strong
patriotic sentiment in the psyche of many young people. And after 1997 this perhaps semi-colonial
education legacy persists. Not only that, with the era of globalization, many young Hong Kong people understand China not through the textbook but through the Internet. So in that sense the education sector in Hong
Kong is highly autonomous. So how does the United Front respond to things like the Umbrella Movement or the extradition
bill protests, much of which is student led, student and teacher led? The United Front, you know, machinery responds to the Umbrella Movement by resuscitating or reorganizing the youth
groups in Hong Kong. They try to organize many pro-Beijing youth
groups to support mainland’s policy towards Hong
Kong such as the recent Greater Bay Area plan in which young people of Hong Kong are encouraged to do business in China, to work in China and even to reside in China. However, the opposition to the extradition
bill has dealt a severe blow to China’s United
Front work in Hong Kong because many young people are proven to be
very resistant to the idea of political and economic integration between Hong Kong and mainland China. And I know the United Front is very active in countries around the world. How does the United Front work in Hong Kong tie into United Front work globally? United Front work in Hong Kong cannot be easily translated into foreign countries for several
reasons. Number one, in other foreign countries, there are many overseas Chinese who have long
been assimilated into the mainstream society of these countries. So they are not so vulnerable to United Front
work. Secondly, United Front work conducted by China tends to focus on the individuals, like the individuals, politicians or the individuals who tend to have a emotional attachment to
China. So in other words, United Front work in Hong Kong is one thing. United Front work, you know, conducted by China in foreign countries remains a relatively underdeveloped and under-researched topic, which is a fascinating one. So with elections coming, what chances do the pro democratic factions have against the United Front? Because of the protests of almost a million to 2 million people against the extradition
bill, we can safely anticipate that in the upcoming November district council elections, the localists and the Democrats will have a strong political comeback. However, whether the government of officials, including the electoral officials responsible
for elections, whether they allow some localists to run in
the elections remains to be seen and it will probably become a controversial
issue because some localists advocate the idea of quote self determination end of quote, which is legally and politically unacceptable to both Beijing and the Hong Kong authorities. So there’s going to be an effort to make sure pro-Beijing forces win? There will be such a thrust to ensure that
candidates who are, you know, relatively pro-Beijing who support
the basic law and also the SAR government will be allowed to run in the election. However, the localists who are now anti government, anti China, they may face the possibility of being disallowed to run in the election. So this will possibly be a bone of contention. So with United Front active around the world, why should other countries like the United
States care about what’s happening in Hong Kong? Countries like United States can care about
Hong Kong because Hong Kong can be regarded as a semi-democracy. Hong Kong doesn’t really look like a democracy
as with the West, but Hong Kong has a pluralistic society. We also have civil liberties combined with
the rule of law. Hong Kong is a good indicator of how China may democratize in the long run. So in that sense Hong Kong is extremely important
to the West because Hong Kong’s existing civil liberties and also pluralistic system belong to the universal values shared by many western democratic countries. In that sense, Hong Kong situation deserves to be observed. So Hong Kong can show an example of how China could become more democratic, but could it also show the world the ways in which the Chinese Communist Party undermines democratic institutions? In a sense, yes, because the extent to which
China penetrates and infiltrates into the semi-democracy
of Hong Kong can illustrate that kind of erosion of autonomy. Do you think the US should be concerned about the United Front work in general? Well, many foreign countries are actually
concerned about United Front work conducted by China in general because of the perception of the China threat, many countries like a United States, Australia,
New Zealand, they have been highly concerned about United
Front work conducted by China in their countries. To that extent, I think United Front work can be regarded
as a potential threat to the national security
of these countries. In particular, if United Front work involves say provision of a donation to, you know, politicians in America, Australia or New Zealand and that donation may be orchestrated by pro-Beijing groups and individuals. And in this scenario there may be a possibility of violating the domestic law of foreign countries, just like the case of Australia. So United Front work sometimes can trespass or step into the boundaries or direct bottom line of the foreign countries. So you United Front work can be potentially
problematic and controversial because of the campaigning and the electioneering activities conducted by the pro-Beijing groups and individuals in foreign countries. So what is the future of United Front work after these extradition protests? I think after the extradition protest, United Front work has to be resuscitated, reorganize, rearrange in such a way as to
win the hearts and minds of the people of Hong
Kong. In the short run, China’s United Front work in Hong Kong, will encounter tremendous obstacles. I don’t think that United Front work conducted
by China will really be easy in Hong Kong mainly because many Hong Kong people, they tend to treasure their civil liberties. They tend to have their post materialist values and they tend to be less materialistic. In mainland China, many citizens are encouraged to adopt a materialistic attitude towards
society and economy and exactly because of this focus and emphasis
on materialism, mainland China doesn’t have significant inroads towards political liberalization and political
democratization. Hong Kong is very different. Hong Kong traditionally has a very strong
liberal minded society. In that sense, I anticipate that United Front work conducted by China in Hong Kong will still encounter tremendous obstacles from now to the year 2047. When the One Country Two System policy ends. Yeah. And we can expect that with such strong opposition to China’s United
Front work, one country, two system, will likely continue. And mainly because a one country two system was originally designed by Deng Xiaoping to appeal to Taiwan for reunification. Given the fact that one country two system has become so turbulent and problematic and given the fact that Taiwan is unwilling to accept the one country two
system easily, we can boldly anticipate that Beijing may prolong the idea of one country, two system so as to appeal to Taiwan for reunification so as to buy time for Taiwan to consider or reconsider this one country, two systems. And I imagine the United Front is very active in Taiwan as well? Yeah. United Front work is also trying to penetrate into Taiwan, but Taiwan has very strong local Taiwan identity and that kind of resistance to United Front
work is even stronger than the case of Hong Kong. So we can see this interesting tug of war between Taipei and Beijing in the coming years. So somebody wanting to learn more about you
or the United Front, where should they go? What should they do? I think to learn more from a United Front
work, they can assess China’s policy not only towards
Hong Kong but also towards Taiwan. And secondly, outside observers have to understand and assess whether China’s policy in Hong
Kong and Taiwan are opposed by the local people. And that kind of opposition and resistance can be regarded as good indicators of the
extent to which United Front work can work or cannot
work. And you have an upcoming book, is that right? Yes. My book on China’s new United Front work in
Hong Kong will be published soon. That’s the name of the book? Yes. All right. We’ll keep an eye out for that. Thank you so much for joining me today, it was a pleasure to hear about the United
Front. Thank you. Thank you.

100 thoughts on “How China Subverts Freedom with the “United Front” | Sonny Lo | China Uncensored

  • Hit them where it hurts, stop buying products made in China. I started doing that 30 years ago. The Chinese communist can’t function without money.

  • If the West keeps its doors open for the Chinese government, it will not be long before democracy dies forever.

  • There are many factors that can tell who is paying for this show. After all, they report that nothing will show any evidence.


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  • When Don's deal with Xi falls through, it will be easier to purge the Party loyalists (not American nationals) from the US. First, Orange Man has to have his chance with the trade situation.

  • What will Hong Kong be like in 2047? Well they will have to keep a separate customs territorial border in place indefinitely. Because the people of Hong Kong will always raise their children with the truth about the CCP. And the CCP doesn't want to erase the border with Hong Kong so that the people can just walk freely into Shenzhen or anywhere else in China so they can influence chinese everywhere within China with the truth that is censored. So while I do see Hong Kong becoming like another Shanghai or another Chengdu, just any other city where Hong Kong has nothing that anywhere else in China doesn't have, they will probably abolish the Hong Kong flag and it's currency and start using RMB is their currency, the same education and media control will be implemented in Hong Kong, but the people of Hong Kong will still be a separate customs territory. Just without a mini constitution.

    If anything, Hong Kong will become another Wukan.

  • A very good piece. The CCP is very good at united front, even in the United States, there are many united front activities.

  • I just wouldn't put it past Beijing to aggressively push for reunification by 2047. It may become economically critical to the CCP. I tend to agree, FWIW, that no significant inroads will have been made on the mainland with regards to sociopolitical liberalization. But that will depend entirely on economic viability of political authoritarianism in the coming decades.

    Personally I think it is untenable–but I'm no economist. Seems like too costly an empire to defend to the needed degree.

    Will the Mainland population ever grow up? I genuinely cannot guess. I tend to think they will carry on with status quo until a brick wall/cliff. For all its longterm planning, there remains a tendency toward Confucian complacency. But I do believe the mainland population will follow its own belly before policy.

  • Sonny Lo is brilliant and well spoken. I highly recommend looking up his work. Here is a good start:

  • Hong Kong peoples stand.hong Kong don't let communist China put Hong Kong peoples to in the cage.see peoples in China in the Cage . Vietnam , Venezuela , and more contries China communist control …they have terribles life!!!

  • Your country is earthquake if you continue video or not/nước mỹ của bạn đang bị động đất bạn có làm tiếp video hay là không

  • Hong Kong will become an independent city-state. The Hong Kongers don't want to be ruled by Beijing. Taiwan will be an independent country.

  • Really Important Topic! He said it exactly how it is and in the west its happening for a long time now with the Indoctrination of the youth into communism with all those nutjob leftist we are seeing all over the world getting indoctrinated by infiltrators in the education system, teach your children when teachers try to indoctrinate them into socialism=marxxismus=totalitarian-communism. communism would not be if there where not forced indoctrination! Really Important!

  • Would be cool to hear about what Tom Green thinks on all that is going on. He seems to care with his latest music video Live With Dignity.

  • yall are gonna have to arm yourselfs and kick each and everyone of those commie bastards outta your country or worse. allways remember its your country not theirs.

  • Even if China managed to get every disputed territory under it's reign, China will start claiming territories of other countries over 1000s of miles away. 'Beware of the Greed of the Dragon'

  • Hong Kong needs to negotiate an Air Force Base on Taiwan. If Beijing troed to invade Hong Kong, their fighter jets can deploy to defend Hong Kong autonomy.

  • It's finally time for YouTube to counter-censor the 50 cent propaganda comments.
    Shameless thugs using a free, illegal platform to spread lies about how "strong" and "good" that Pooh regime is.
    Get loss, Xi Winnie. You can threaten people, but you can't stop the fire of Freedom.

  • This is similar to the National Liberation Front also known as Việt Cộng in Vietnam during Vietnam war (1950s-1970s)

  • Much of what Mr. Lo points out is already at work and in place here in the Philippines since the 1990s. However, the most notable in recent times is how Facebook has been utilized in social engineering, eroding traditional values and promoting material secularism.

    The affluent Filipino-Chinese community, most pioneers of whom are politico-economic refugees from the Cultural Revolution, appear to be more receptive of this incursion in the name of business. Since they are insulated from upheavals that can disrupt the lives of the masses, they seem to ignore the repercussions of the influx of Mainlanders whose front is to work in online casinos.

  • The education is HK isn't state-controlled, it's very private, which has allowed it to stay independent and unsubverted.

  • Why would not the United Front try to stack their proxy members, also members they have captured through corrupt deals, into the Hong Kong legislature? In other words, try the dirty tricks option?

  • I am getting it. China tries to woo young Hong Kong Chinese, instead of mowing them down with tanks and small arms, like Tianamen Square in 1989. The reason why the CCP doesn't use strong arm military tactics in Hong Kong (to date), is because it does not want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Hong Kong should therefore strengthen ties with Taiwan and Singapore, for example, as democratic solidarity with free Asian countries with a significant Chinese culture.

  • I think it's accurate to call China communist anymore. They are more of a Trotskyite fascist hybrid like State Capitalism, which is corporate fascism.

  • What is up with socialist trying to take over everything? They failed 100 years ago, but still want to push their agenda.

  • CCP = Chinese Capitalist Party (it stop being a red diaper when business and foreign capital gave it Lux milk.

  • The CCP are doing much the same as Germany under Hitler in the 1930's. Telling that they own the truth, that they as a race (Han Chinese) are better than all others, that they have been wronged, try to expand to areas that previously were part of their nation as they seem them as rightfully theirs, blame fourgen powers for much of of the bac thing that happened and have happened in there nation(mostly Japan and the US but also european nations), remove all who go against them and blame and punish minorities, in Germany it were the jews in China it's Urighurs, Tibetans, Falun Gong and many other minorities.

    In short the CCP are today's Nazis, and the biggest danger for the world!

  • THANK YOU : Bringing level headed intellectuals with Chinese origin… guiding people to less prejudice and more open to the Greatness that is offered by many Chinese people. The problem is “all about the CCP !

  • 油管干嘛老给我推这傻B频道,看一帮被媒体洗脑的老外对CCP装模作样品头论足的样子也是蛮搞笑的。

  • communists united is an evil force to be reckon with.if FREE people don't stand against them,they could destroy liberty.🇨🇳👿

  • For a North Korean perspective, buy and read "Dear Leader" by Jang Jin Sung. Easily the most terrifying book I have read.

  • Chris, could you please cover China’s subversion in Australia? It is probably the only western country with huge and active Chinese population and it is so distant geographically, that we know nothing about them in Europe. Thank you.

  • FREEEEEEEEEEDOM🇺🇸🇹🇼🇭🇰🇺🇸🇹🇼🇭🇰🇺🇸🇹🇼🇭🇰🇺🇸🇹🇼🇭🇰🇺🇸🇹🇼🇭🇰

  • bearded man , u are not helping the hong kong people ( protesters ) by reporting rehearsed questions that u expect could create perceived empathy from viewers . instead u will be practically burying coffins for them when the long arm of the Chinese law catches up . say what u will but u can't change anything !

  • This guy knows his shit. While he may sturggle ever so slightly with the language, I am at the same time impressed with his range of his language. Anyways, this guy knows his stuff. That was quite informative, thanks Chris & Sonny.

  • 0:30 No… The United Front was originally implemented by the 3rd Comintern in the 1930s to unite all Socialist and Communist parties of given countries into Coalitions…It's not a CCP idea.

  • Not really subjugated freedoms
    you have to remember this
    Country is advancing so fast soon the US will be 1000 years
    Behind china the US better get
    Better relations with china to
    Save our competitive edge
    Or we will completely lose the pace of Technology with china

  • I like your channel bring facts to the surface about the CCP and what tactics they use to extend their influence. The freedom of choice is what the CCP dislikes the most because it limits their power to rule. The freedom of choice is the most important thing for me and I cannot live in that type of society.

  • "United Front"? what is this? WW2?

    edit- in case you dont get this history joke the United Front, specifically the Second United Front, was an alliance between Naitionalist China (Kuomintang) and the Communists to fight back against the Japanese invaders.

  • can one both be against the horrific chinese government and for hong kong's freedom, while also being anti weird ass falun gong right wingers and anti trump

    i'm trying to figure out the "deal" with this channel, because i would love freedom for hong kong and the chinese people, but i ain't cool with right wingers promoting that shit, and i'm pretty skeptical of falun gong weirdos

  • Im curious about the extradition bill. It seems China ignores laws when they are inconvenient. I. E. Book sellers who suddenly appear in mainland China. And they are apologizing for printing books that are negative about the CCP.

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