Wen Jiabao

Wen highlights top six problems in Hong Kong for Leung Chun-ying

Leung urged to focus on key areas including poverty, housing, environment and the elderly

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 8:39am

Premier Wen Jiabao has urged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to address problems in six areas including housing, poverty and the city's ageing population.

President Hu Jintao also had a message for Leung on the second day of his first duty visit, offering some rare praise. He said Leung and local authorities had "faced many kinds of problems" and he "affirmed" their efforts in sorting out housing and poverty problems of public concern.

In probably their swansong messages to Leung, both Hu and Wen expressed full confidence in Hong Kong's future despite challenges and affirmed the Hong Kong government's work since the 1997 handover.

"The global financial crisis is not yet over. The economy is now facing strong downward pressure," Wen said. "The SAR government has to particularly pay heed to, and properly solve, livelihood problems such as employment, prices, housing, poverty, the environment and the ageing population, which are matters of practical interest to our Hong Kong compatriots."

When Donald Tsang Yam-kuen visited Beijing as chief executive he was told on two occasions, in 2005 and 2009, to resolve conflicts in Hong Kong. Both Hu and Wu will step down in March.

Hu told Leung: "Since the inauguration, you and the new Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government have faced many kinds of problems, but you take the bull by the horns, and are progressive and striving, which shows a good attitude."

On Thursday, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping , who will be the next president, said Leung's administration was "progressive, striving, pragmatic and promising".

Hu said the city's government "have insisted on the policy vision of putting livelihood issues first and pouring every effort in solving housing and poverty problems of public concern", which he said had "gained people's recognition".

He added that Beijing affirmed and supported the work of Leung and his administration. Leung has been under relentless attack in Hong Kong. Last month he survived a motion of no-confidence in Legco over illegal structures at his homes that critics say have undermined his integrity.

On the "one country, two systems" formula, Hu said it had been a "huge success" and "Hong Kong will certainly have a better tomorrow" if it continued to adhere to the principle and the Basic Law.

Leung expressed his gratitude for Beijing's support and pledged to build a better Hong Kong. He also disclosed that Wen had told him the central government "will certainly take policy initiatives to develop Hong Kong as a yuan clearing platform more soundly".

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said that the six problems mentioned by Wen showed that "the deep-rooted conflicts in Hong Kong have not been fundamentally solved".

"Wen was only citing problems and did not mention the result and outcome of anything Leung has done," he said.

At Xi's reception of Leung, Hu was accompanied by the Politburo members expected soon to take charge of Hong Kong affairs - Zhang Dejiang and Li Yuanchao.