United States expert Xie Feng becomes new foreign ministry commissioner in Hong Kong
Xie’s arrival comes as Beijing becomes increasingly critical of recent stances taken by US Congress and politicians
A diplomat with two decades of experience in handling Sino-US relations has been appointed to head the foreign ministry office in Hong Kong.
Xie Feng succeeds Song Zhe, who has been promoted to become a deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing.
Xie’s assignment to Hong Kong comes at a time when Beijing is increasingly critical of accusations by the US Congress and politicians that Beijing has “interfered” in the city’s affairs, such as the chief executive election.
The ministry’s office in Hong Kong issued a statement in March opposing foreign institutions making “irresponsible comments” on the city’s affairs.
Aged 53, Xie graduated from the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. In the early years of his career, he was assigned to the British desk of the ministry’s West European Affairs Department and then to the Chinese embassy in Malta.
From 1993, he focused on the US, becoming the deputy director of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs, and later press counsellor and spokesman at the Chinese embassy in Washington. In 2008, he was promoted to become deputy chief of mission and minister there.
In 2014, he was named ambassador to Indonesia.
In his farewell speech in Indonesia on Friday, Xie talked about his work in facilitating a high-level economic dialogue between the two countries and his involvement in a project to build a high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung – the first such link in Southeast Asia.
In Hong Kong, Xie will be responsible for handling foreign affairs concerning the special administrative region and coordinating the city’s participation in international organisations and conferences and the establishment of offices in the city by international bodies.
His office also helps with bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and foreign governments, and processes applications for visits by foreign state aircraft and warships.