Standing Committee on Pressure Groups

Standing Committee On Pressure Groups

Standing Committee on Pressure Groups

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The Standing Committee on Pressure Groups (SCOPG) was a secret committee set up in 1978 by the Hong Kong government to monitor the activities of pressure groups. The existence of this committee was first revealed in the New Statesman on 12 December 1980. The article, written by Duncan Campbell, asserted that any political group had been subjected to surveillance. Furthermore the SCOPG had actively sought to undermine, co-opt or coerce eleven groups that were specifically targeted in a confidential report obtained by the paper. What was even more surprising, the SCOPG had been set up to infiltrate pressure groups. The greatest emphasis was placed on a group called the Hong Kong Observers Ltd. Due to political pressure the committee ceased to exist in 1983.

Government response

The government officially recognized the existence of the committee but denied that it had any sinister motives. The claim was that it was set up to monitor pressure groups in order to better understand the groups' opinions. Furthermore the government attacked the New Statesman for inaccuracies and lies (such as the allegation that the committee had sought to infiltrate pressure groups). The report had also put pressure on the government to reveal details about the Special Branch, which Campbell had put at 20% of the police force. The government rejected these figures and also asserted that the staff of 1,200 was used to accommodate state visits, avert terrorist acts, and subversive activities by......
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