According to Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen , the way for people with different views on Hong Kong's democratisation process to co-operate is to seek common ground on major issues and let minor differences remain. Bao Diao ('Defending the Diaoyu Islands') is certainly a major issue on which there can be much common ground among all political groups in the territory, and between these groups and the Chinese Government. Not that they are all in total agreement on the matter. Those who are as a rule censorious of the mainland government have still found fault with the way China is handling the Diaoyu Islands dispute. There have been petitions and protests at Xinhua's (the New China News Agency) office, though not as frequent and belligerent as those at the Japanese consulate. Some rebuke the mainland government for doing nothing, while Hong Kong people march in the streets in demonstrations against Japan. Others condemn Beijing for harassing activists in China and stopping them from holding similar rallies on the mainland. China must have been watching the protests in Hong Kong with mixed feelings. It is not often that people in the territory show any concern for China's territorial integrity. Like the Bao Diao campaign in the 1970s, the current protests will lead to an upsurge in nationalism and patriotic feeling. Beijing may find this desirable on the eve of Hong Kong's return to China. On the other hand, the mainland government cannot help but be wary of the possible consequences if a mass movement gets out of hand. Officials must have noticed with apprehension that some of the speeches made - and slogans shown - in the rallies held in Hong Kong have been directed against Beijing. It is obvious that China does not want to see the kind of mass protests held in Hong Kong to be transported to mainland cities. As the protest movement in the territory escalates, China will find it difficult to stop it spreading to the mainland. One can hardly expect, therefore, that mainland officials and Hong Kong activists will be of the same mind about how - and how far - the Bao Diao campaign should develop. On the fundamental question of defending China's sovereignty over the islands, however, the mainland government and Hong Kong people are at one. To defend the Diaoyu Islands against the Japanese is a call that no Chinese can reject. For the first time since the rift between them started seven years ago, political activists in Hong Kong and the mainland government are united in a common cause and against a common adversary. Leaders of the Democratic Party had never been admitted into Xinhua's office before - as they made protests against the mainland government on various issues. But when they appeared with a petition urging the mainland to take a firm stand against Japan's claim to the Diaoyu Islands, Xinhua officials could not turn them away. Different political 'camps' in the territory are now united. 'Pro-China' groups have no reason to boycott Bao Diao rallies arranged by 'pro-democracy' forces, nor can the latter stay away from similar activities organised by the former. It would be naive to suppose that prominent figures in hitherto-opposing or competing political groups will see no problem in joining each other's ranks after Bao Diao, or that the movement will make them set aside their long-standing differences on other major issues. But strong feelings against a common enemy may bring them closer together.