Youth Interest Groups from Pro-Beijing Front to Radical Resistance
China’s new united front work in Hong Kong is characterized by the creation of new youth groups to win the hearts and minds of more Hong Kong people. The All-China Youth Federation remains the core pro-Beijing youth group which politically co-opts some young Hong Kong elites into the umbrella of united front work. Utilizing personnel appointment and an elaborate system of nomenklatura, PRC authorities skillfully maintain a close network of pro-Beijing youth groups who have further connections with young elites from political parties and other professional associations. In this way, the united front work of the PRC in the HKSAR can be expanded, renewed, rejuvenated, revived and sustained. The localist groups that resist the PRC united front work appear to be weak. They are outnumbered and underdeveloped in terms of manpower and resources. The radical remarks and actions of some post-materialistic localists were excessive and incautious, presenting golden opportunities for the authorities of Hong Kong and mainland China to initiate a crackdown. Under these circumstances, the PRC’s united front work targeted at the young people can and will gradually gain inroads in the coming years, especially as many youths are imbued with materialistic values and the desire for more political influence and status in both Hong Kong and the mainland.