Tung bows to doctor and stops tai chi

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2007, 12:00am

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa has been forced to abandon his daily tai chi workout on doctor's orders.

He says he has given up the exercise, which for years formed part of his daily routine before he took a bath and had his breakfast.

'I cannot do it now because my doctor said it is not good for my legs,' Mr Tung said. 'I did not get my postures right anyway. So I am now concentrating on other exercises. I need to lose another 10 pounds.'

But Mr Tung, speaking in his newly refurbished office in his first big interview since stepping down two years ago, said his health was improving.

'Because my doctor has been taking good care of me, I am also losing a bit of weight, thanks to the exercises I am doing,' he said. Mr Tung will be 70 next month. The shipping magnate-turned-politician complained of leg pain in March 2005, when he resigned midway through his second term.

As a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the city's first chief executive no longer works the 16-hour days that earned him the nickname of '7-11'.

He says he now works eight hours a day and has been able to spend more time with his wife, Betty Tung Chiu Hung-ping, and the rest of his family.

This year he took his children and nine grandchildren to Osaka, following holiday trips to Kunming and Beijing with a smaller group of family members.

Asked where he saw himself in 10 years, Mr Tung said: 'I'll be 80 years old ... my oldest granddaughter should have just about graduated from the university. So I hope to be attending her graduation.'