AbstractsPolitical Science

Constructing hegemony : patriotic united front on the youths in post-handover Hong Kong

by Chi-yan Lam

Institution: University of Hong Kong
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: Patriotism - China - Hong Kong
Record ID: 1155928
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10722/198840


This research aims at examining how the Central People’s Government’s Liaison Office (hereafter CPGLO) exercises political and ideological leadership over three pro-China youth organizations, namely the Youth Branch of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Y. Elites Association and the Federation of the New Territories Youth, through its United Front work in Hong Kong. It particularly looks into how the CPGLO (1) cultivates political connections with these pro-China organizations, and (2) gains its moral and ideological appeal among members of the organizations through patriotism. It compares patriotic discourses constructed by the members of the pro-China organizations with that of the CPGLO, and seeks to show consensus, negotiations and inner contradictions between the two in giving interpretations to various political events. This thesis argues that patriotic United Front is a governing strategy employed by the CPGLO to structure its relationship with the Hong Kong society, and the pro-China organizations function as part of the United Front. Critically drawn upon Antonio Gramsci, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, it also argues that the political relationship between the CPGLO and the pro-China organizations can be described as a hegemonic one. It finds that the CPGLO establishes and sustains political connections with the three pro-China organizations through assisting their establishment, co-opting the core members, serving as their patrons, and so on. It also demonstrates that official patriotism wins its moral and ideological leadership by projecting a collective imaginary called “the Chinese nation”. The collective is portrayed as threatened by antagonistic forces, and it can only survive under the political order established by the Communist party. Finding shows that the respondents from the three pro-China organizations agree with official patriotism at large. They establish the principles of supporting “one-party rule”, “the Socialist road” and “territorial integrity” as the baseline for being “patriotic” in the context of Hong Kong. These political orders are seen as indispensable to the survival of the Chinese nation, and they are not conditioned by any commitment to universal values. By selective recall of myths, traditions and episodes in history, interests associated with the Communist regime are generalized into the interests of the entire nation. Despite resemblance between the patriotic discourses constructed by the respondents and those of the CPGLO, negotiations of meaning and even resistance against top-down political orders can still be observed within these organizations. On certain occasions, the respondents reference to the democratic discourses in their interpretation of specific political events and issues, though the critical elements of these discourses are dismissed at large. published_or_final_version Politics and Public Administration doctoral Doctor of Philosophy