Beijing thought Tung was 'flawed', WikiLeaks reveals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2011, 12:00am


Beijing regarded former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa as 'a flawed manager' after the pro-democracy protest by 500,000 people on July 1, 2003, according to diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks whistle-blowing website.

Despite its reservations, the central government 'would continue to be supportive' of Tung and expected him to serve out his term, according to the dispatch sent from the United States embassy in Beijing to the State Department in Washington in mid-December 2003.

Tung resigned in March 2005, two years before the expiry of his second term, claiming ill health.

The cable quoted an assessment provided by Yu Jiafu, a former head of Xinhua news agency's international affairs section, and said that senior leaders 'recognise that he [Tung] is flawed as a manager of Hong Kong's problems'.

Tung's office did not reply to a request from the South China Morning Post for comment last night.

Yu was a long-time expert on Japanese and Korean affairs. He was jailed in 2009 for up to 18 years for selling state secrets to Japanese and South Korean diplomats.

The cable also revealed that the central government thought Tung needed to 'listen to the views of a broader array of the Hong Kong population', and that the state leaders told Tung in 2003 to 'do a better job of representing the Hong Kong people'. This message was conveyed to Tung during his visit to Beijing in 2003, when he met state leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao .

Yu told the US diplomats that he believed the central government 'made a commitment after the July 1 demonstration to better understand all segments of Hong Kong society, including political parties'. Yesterday Albert Ho Chun-yan, chairman of the Democratic Party, said the mainland government did take more of an interest in his party's views in the few months immediately after the July 1 demonstration.