CHINA'S top spokesman on Hong Kong affairs, Lu Ping, is recuperating at a resort outside Beijing after undergoing surgery to remove two-thirds of his stomach. Mr Lu, 68, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, has long suffered from serious stomach ulcers which failed to respond to drugs. His top aide, Chen Ziying, said yesterday it was not clear when Mr Lu would return to work. 'Director Lu's health is very good and he has already left hospital, but he has to have more rest out of the city,' he said. He did not specify where Mr Lu was. He entered hospital shortly after returning from a Hong Kong tour in June. There have been reports that Mr Lu was suffering from cancer, but this was denied by Beijing. Doctors in Hong Kong said the Governor, Chris Patten, might benefit from the improvement in Mr Lu's health. Relations between the two can be best described as frosty, but doctors said most people with serious stomach ulcers tended to be bad-tempered because of the severe pain they were in for most of the time. 'After the operation, in the immediate post-operative period, he will obviously still be in pain, but that should go,' said the senior medical officer of Queen Mary's Hospital, Dr Lai Kam-chuen. 'If anything, when the pain is removed the patient is happier.' The Chinese University's chief of gastroenterology, Dr Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, said: 'An ulcer usually causes a dull aching pain at the centre of the abdomen. 'That sort of pain could affect his temperament and performance. 'Usually, patients will have a smaller appetite because they cannot hold so much.' When most of the stomach is removed, food goes straight into the small intestine for digestion. Some patients suffer dizziness.