Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong gains new deputy head from Fujian province

Chen Dong, who will be youngest deputy at 53, had a long and illustrious career in the province

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 3:56pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 10:54pm

A senior Fujian official has been appointed a deputy head of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, the central government announced yesterday.

Chen Dong, 53, who oversees Fujian’s judicial and law enforcement affairs, will become the youngest of eight deputy directors of the liaison office.

Born in Fujian, he has worked in the province throughout his career.

A number of officials with Fujian backgrounds have taken up senior positions in the Chinese government and the Communist Party in the years since President Xi Jinping took the helm in 2013.

Xi himself spent 17 years working in the province, from 1985 to 2002.

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But according to their public resumes, Xi and Chen did not work together back then.

Chen started his career as a secretary in the general office of the provincial government.

He advanced through the provincial legislature and Youth League committee before becoming a deputy mayor of Zhangzhou, the southernmost city in Fujian, in 2008.

Since then, he has clocked up rapid promotions to become the city’s mayor and then party chief, and was promoted to vice-governor of Fujian before getting a seat on the provincial party standing committee in 2015.

He visited Hong Kong as Fujian province’s senior official in September 2015, when he attended an event organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations.

During that event, Chen praised the “close relations” and “frequent interactions” between Hong Kong and the province, and expressed his hopes for the deepening of cooperation between the two, Hong Kong newspaper Wenweipo reported at the time.

In Beijing, two standing committee members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference praised Chen’s work.

Lam Shu-chit, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations, said Chen is “young and knowledgeable”.

“He’s good ... He’s knowledgeable, young and eager to learn,” Lam said.

He added that Chen’s performance as deputy provincial governor had also been “good”, but that Chen might not be familiar enough with Hong Kong affairs.

“People from Fujian should be quite familiar with Hong Kong in general , but he has never been directly involved with the city’s affairs,” Lam said.

And Hung Chao-hong, a lifetime honorary chairman of the federation, said of Chen: “He is very experienced... I really don’t know why he was tapped to go to Hong Kong, but he’s a very capable and polite person.”

Chen’s appointment follows a series of recent reshuffles in Beijing’s Hong Kong affairs departments.

Dr Tan Tieniu, formerly a vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was also appointed a deputy of the liaison office in December.

The State Council Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office also gained two new deputy directors in December.

They were Song Zhe, Beijing’s top foreign affairs official in Hong Kong, and Huang Liuquan, who was internally promoted from his post as director general of legal affairs.