Shanghai's new mayor shows his true colours

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 12:00am

Little is known about Shanghai's new mayor, except that he's a big fan of Liverpool Football Club - and he has not been slow to let foreign diplomats know.

Not that Han Zheng doesn't also like the team's city rivals, Everton - and all the other clubs in the English Premier League.

'Han is a fan of Liverpool, everyone knows that,' said the director of the city's sports television channel, which shows 10 hours of football a day, including three Premier League games each week.

One diplomat who has met Mr Han said: 'When the subject turned to football, his voice and expression changed. He was very enthusiastic.'

It is not known if Mr Han has ever seen Liverpool in person, nor where he developed his passion for the club. According to his official biography, he did not study or work overseas and Liverpool has not played a game in Shanghai.

The 49-year-old, the youngest mayor in the history of Shanghai - a sister city of Liverpool - took office in March. Everton, meanwhile, has attracted a huge following on the mainland because Chinese midfielder Li Tie is on the team.