Split in forces backing China

THE territory's pro-Beijing forces split further yesterday, the day after the liberals formed a new alliance.

A new pro-China party, the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, to be officially launched today, has more than 50 members, most of whom have close contacts with the Chinese Government.

Its core members include Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, a Hong Kong affairs adviser and Central and Western District Board chairman; Yu Sun-say, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee; Yu Kwok-chun, an affairs adviser and owner of the Yue Hwa Chinese Products Department Store.

Mr Lau said members did not share the political beliefs of the pro-China flagship, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), and felt they needed their own party.

''There's no reason why we should join DAB and not form our own party,'' Mr Lau said.

He said it was unfair to label the party as pro-China, but emphasised that their strong links with China would enable better communication.

Members have informed Xinhua (the New China News Agency) of their intention to form the party.

The party will field candidates for September's District Board election.

Its platform is being drafted, but Mr Lau said it would emphasise good communication with China and lobbying the Chinese Government privately on issues affecting Hong Kong rather than adopting a confrontational position.

He said the party would be moderate and pragmatic.