From outrage to smiles for the Hong Kong media

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 12:00am

Just over 12 months after a furious President Jiang launched a verbal assault on Hong Kong reporters, the Chinese leader was all smiles as he met the SAR press pack once again.

Mr Jiang's tirade last October came during a photocall with Mr Tung, but yesterday, at a similar event, he charmed reporters, saying: 'Ask any questions that you want to ask. Today, I am ready to talk.'

Last year, Mr Jiang jabbed his finger angrily in the air and accused SAR journalists of being 'too simple and sometimes naive' by repeatedly asking him whether he supported Mr Tung running for a second five-year term. His outburst captured international media attention.

Yesterday, Mr Jiang told journalists he had been good at 'dictation' during his schooldays and knew how and when to 'recite'.

'You kept asking me the same question. You asked me whether I supported or [did] not support Mr Tung Chee-hwa. I said I supported him . . . you asked me whether I believed or [did] not believe Mr Tung would get re-elected. I said I believed.

'Do you understand what I mean?'

'[I] understand,' one female journalist responded.