Beijing’s top man in Hong Kong makes rare public appearance to commend restaurant owner for charitable work

Zhang Xiaoming also donates undisclosed sum of money to Chan Cheuk-ming, owner of Pei Ho Barbecue Restaurant

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:48pm

The head of the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong has made a rare appearance in public, visiting a restaurateur known for giving away meals to the city’s impoverished and needy.

Zhang Xiaoming also donated an undisclosed sum of money to Chan Cheuk-ming, owner of Pei Ho Barbecue Restaurant in the working class district of Sham Shui Po, and paid tribute to his charitable efforts by awarding him with a scroll of Chinese calligraphy.

The visit by Beijing’s top representative to Pei Ho Counterparts, a restaurant and social enterprise, was only disclosed on Monday on the liaison office’s website.

“After greeting ‘Ming Gor’ and a few diners inside the restaurant, Zhang bought a few cups of milk tea and sat down with Chan and a young volunteer,” an article on the website read.

Chan is often affectionately known as “Ming Gor”, or “Brother Ming”, among Hongkongers.

Zhang said he had long heard of Chan’s contributions to the community, and was touched by his selfless acts.

To show his gratitude, he presented Chan with a giant scroll of Chinese calligraphy – a work of his own – which read: “Virtue is its own reward”.

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A similar scroll given by Zhang to an annual fundraiser for Hong Kong’s biggest political party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, last year fetched HK$18.8 million.

The liaison office director made his donation to Chan in a personal capacity, the article said, although the amount was not disclosed.

“Zhang acknowledged Chan’s persistence in performing good deeds, and praised his acts as displaying traditional Chinese morals,” the article said.

“If everyone does his or her utmost to contribute their love and help the needy, society will be more harmonious.”

While Zhang is a frequent guest at government receptions, ceremonies and official functions, it is rare for the mainland official to appear in public places.

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According to the liaison office’s website, Zhang has made only two such “visits” since he took office in 2012. They were to a Sikh temple in Wan Chai last year and an elderly care home in Wong Chuk Hang in 2015.

It was believed his latest visit was aimed at building a friendly image of the liaison office, which has been accused by pan-democratic opposition politicians in Hong Kong’s legislature of meddling with the city’s governance and political affairs.