President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday called on a delegation of tycoons to support Tung Chee-hwa's Government.
The tycoons, including Cheung Kong Holdings' Li Ka-shing, Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee, Sun Hung Kai Properties' Walter Kwok Ping-sheung and Wharf Holdings' Peter Woo Kwong-ching, are on a three-day visit organised by Beijing leaders.
State-run media said Beijing was satisfied with Mr Tung. 'The SAR Government under the leadership of Tung Chee-hwa has demonstrated wisdom and capability to govern under [a] complicated situation. We hope the business sector can unite and support the Government to govern in accordance with the law to ensure the Basic Law is fully implemented,' it quoted Mr Jiang as saying at a meeting in Zhongnanhai.
Speaking before the meeting, Mr Li urged critics of Mr Tung to be fair. 'He [Mr Tung] has sometimes been asked to be held accountable for many things which were left behind by the former administration. People may have yet to see the outcome of some things he has done very well.' Mr Li gave Mr Tung's support for the hi-tech industry as an example.
But asked whether he would support Mr Tung for a second term Mr Li said: 'It is still too early to say. I will surely support someone who is good for Hong Kong's economy, livelihood and future.' Another delegation member, Tung Chee-chen, chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce and Mr Tung's younger brother, was also cautious on whether he would support Mr Tung for another term. 'It is difficult to say because it involves many different factors.' Mr Li said he would not raise the property issue with state leaders during the visit that ends today, despite a suggestion by delegate Robert Ng Chee-siong of Sino Land that it should be discussed. 'Hong Kong's property market is our own business. It should be left to the SAR to decide,' he said.