HK commissioner expected to retire
Foreign Ministry Commissioner Yang Wenchang is expected to retire later this month and will be succeeded by Vice-Foreign Minister Lu Xinhua .
A formal announcement of the departure of Mr Yang, who took up the post of Hong Kong commissioner two weeks after the 500,000-strong march against national security legislation in July 2003, is likely to be made this week.
This means that the Spring Festival reception to be held by the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Commissioner in Hong Kong this week may turn into Mr Yang's farewell party.
A group of business leaders and university heads are scheduled to hold a farewell reception for Mr Yang at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai on Friday.
Sources close to Beijing said Mr Lu, 55, recently arrived in Hong Kong to prepare to take over from Mr Yang.
The departure of Mr Yang, 61, is seen as a normal personnel change, as previous Hong Kong commissioners usually stayed in the post for only two to three years.
Ma Lik, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, lauded Mr Yang's performance as commissioner.
'He made no hesitation in hitting back the attempts of the British and US to interfere in Hong Kong affairs,' Mr Ma said.
Mr Yang, known for his amiable character, engaged in dialogue with university and secondary school students on the country's foreign policies and Hong Kong affairs.
A former secretary to former vice-premier and foreign minister Qian Qichen, Mr Lu was appointed vice-foreign minister in October 2003. He has been in charge of ministry administration and finances.
Mr Lu was China's ambassador to Finland from 1998 to 2001.