The party proposed policies on various areas of governance through designated spokespersons, including:
Overall, the Democratic Party advocates economic policies pretty close to "liberalism" in the sense of John Rawls (rather than, say, of Robert Nozick or Friedrich Hayek, as commonly accepted outside North America), in sharp contrast with the traditional radical free-market orientation of Hong Kong. However, this point is rarely mentioned in the speeches held by party members during their trips abroad to seek political support. The party's position on social or cultural issues is not well-defined but verges on the conservative, partly due to sizeable support from Catholic constituents. In a way that may seem contradictory to traditional liberal ideology, the party generally opposes the legalization of commercial sex or gambling operations.
Before the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the UK to the People's Republic of China in July 1997, the DP was the largest party - following the earlier success of the pro-democracy camp in the 1991 LegCo election, the party won 19 seats in the 1995 Legislative Council (LegCo) election.
The popularity of the party principally rose from its position towards the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, for which it had solemnly condemned the Chinese Government. In the run-up to 1997, with widespread sentiment of uncertainty then towards the future of Hong Kong under Chinese rule, the party supported the controversial package of political reform bought about by the last British colonial Hong Kong Governor, Chris Patten.
The party's stance conflicted with the PRC government's, which, for a while, earned the party more popularity and recognition both locally and overseas. The founder and then party chairman, Mr. Martin Lee Chu-ming, became well-known internationally in the run-up to reunification as a human rights and democracy fighter, and won a number of international human rights awards.
The party refused to join the Provisional Legislative Council established in December 1996 in protest of its formation. As the body became the official legislature of Hong Kong SAR after reunification, the party lost all its seats in the legislature, until the first LegCo election of the HKSAR on 24 May 1998.
During this period, the party's popularity declined. Some analysis attributed this to increased concerns on economic issues as opposed to political ones, and unpopular party positions, such as on the Right of Abode issue in 1999. In the second LegCo election two years later in 2000, the party's share of the vote in the geographical constituencies dropped to 35%, and the party secured 9 out of the 24 directly elected seats. Its total number of seats in LegCo remained at 12.
Meanwhile, the party was plagued by internal fragmentation, further affecting its image. Lau Chin Shek was expelled from the party in 2000. LegCo member Chan Wai-yip quit the party in December 2001 following the succession of former Chairman Martin Lee by Yeung Sum, leaving the party with 11 seats in LegCo. In April 2002, some members in the "Young Turks" camp within the party left and joined The Frontier.
This factionalism stemmed from the political and economic orientation of the party platform. On the political side, some "Young Turks" of the party considered the party leaders too eager to establish a "dialogue" with Beijing and the HKSAR Government, and insufficiently confrontational with the authorities. Some also considered the party too "middle-class" and distant from the grass-roots on labour issues - such as proposed legislation on a minimum wage, which the party did not support.
2002 and 2003 saw a rebound in popularity, largely due to the Article 23 issue and the low popularity of the HKSAR Government headed by Tung Chee Hwa. The party benefited from its opposition standpoint and achieved an impressive victory in the 2003 District Council elections, claiming 92 seats compared with 86 in the last election in 1999.
In 2004, the popularity of other groups and individuals in the pro-democratic camp (such as members of the Article 45 Concern Group and Albert Cheng), together with the emergence of scandals concerning two of the party's candidates in the LegCo election this year, began to wane. As a result, the Democratic Party only won 9 seats (7 in geographical constituencies and 2 in functional constituencies) overall, becoming the third largest party in LegCo behind the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (12) and the Liberal Party (10). Last-minute party tactics aimed at securing votes in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency ironically led to the defeat of another democratic camp candidate, Cyd Ho, causing further dissatisfaction among some supporters of the party and the democratic camp generally.
Since early 2005, 24 members had quit the party, including district councillor Fong Chan Bong (who was forced out by the party) and Lau Tak Cheung. Twelve district councillors also left the party. Another district councillor died in a car accident. The number of district councillors decreased by 13 to 79.
In March, 2006, the Mainstream faction alleged that some senior members were involved in spying activities of China. The "suspects" were all Young Turks members including vice-chairman Chan King Ming and Gary Fan. Tension between the two factions increased.
The Civic Party was established in March, 2006. It is not clear that whether the DP will lose members to the CP. In January ,Grace Au Died In Heart Attack ,The Vacant Pursuant Replace In Sze Lan Hung .