POLITICS

Hong Kong-mainland Relations

Exco convenor fends off speculation CY may face tougher time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 November, 2012, 4:18am

The Executive Council convenor has fended off speculation that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying may face a hard time under the nation's new leaders.

Key businesspeople also dismissed concerns that the central leadership's policies towards Hong Kong would change.

"This speculation is very unnecessary," Lam Woon-kwong, who was appointed convenor in July, said. "We should look at the big picture."

The new Politburo Standing Committee line-up, announced on Thursday, is seen as dominated by former president Jiang Zemin's allies. This led to suggestions in some quarters that Leung, who was elected in March, could be in an unfavourable position. Leung's rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen, was believed to be Jiang's preferred candidate. His father, Tang Hsiang-chien, fostered close ties with Jiang, a fellow Shanghainese, in their younger days.

Lam said Beijing had let Hong Kong tap the country's economic growth and in turn had made use of the city's financial and professional expertise to accelerate its economic development.

"This is what they will do in the long run," he said. "No matter who takes charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, I think these policy directions will remain unchanged and we don't have to get anxious about it."

Leading business figures echoed this view. Eddy Li Sau-hung, vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said the new leaders "seem to be more pragmatic than in the previous term. They are very familiar with the economy in Hong Kong and know how we do business."

Some pan-democrats were worried. Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who met one of the seven Standing Committee members, Zhang Dejiang, in 2005, said he did not expect the new leaders to understand the core values of Hong Kong people.