President Jiang Zemin launched a scathing attack on the Hong Kong media yesterday after he was asked if it was an 'imperial order' from Beijing for Tung Chee-hwa to serve a second term. Mr Jiang accused the media of making a fuss out of the Chief Executive's possible bid, branded their questions 'too simple and sometimes naive' and said they needed to improve their standards. The criticism angered the industry and lawmakers, who said the question was legitimate and reflected public concern. The outburst came as Mr Jiang spoke at a photo-call ahead of his meeting with the Chief Executive in Beijing. Mr Jiang joined other leaders in saying he supported Mr Tung serving a further five years. But he appeared to lose his temper when asked if the open support amounted to an 'imperial order' to keep Mr Tung, despite the Basic Law saying the second chief executive will be returned by an 800-strong electoral college. Rising from his chair to confront journalists, Mr Jiang jabbed his finger in the air angrily, saying the only thing good about Hong Kong reporters was that they could run faster than their counterparts in the West. 'Actually, you media need to brush up your general knowledge level. Got it? You guys are only good at one thing. You go to every corner of the world [to cover stories] and can run faster than Western reporters. 'But the questions you keep asking - too simple, sometimes naive! Understand it or not? Got it? I'm sorry I have to tell you this in the capacity of an elder person. I am not a journalist but I must tell you the truth about life. 'You cannot make an uproar and say it is big news,' said Mr Jiang, referring to Mr Tung's possible bid. '[You should not] say we have any imperial order and then criticise me.' The top leader said the next chief executive would be elected according to Hong Kong law, but he said Beijing also had a role to play. 'Our decision is also extremely important, since Hong Kong belongs to the Government of the People's Republic of China. We will make our stance known when the time comes.' As Mr Jiang spoke, he twice moved as if to go back to his seat, before returning to the criticism. Mr Tung remained in his seat, a smile on his face. Mr Jiang issued a warning to the media. 'If your reports are not accurate enough, you will have to be held responsible. I did not say giving an imperial order. No such meaning at all,' he said. Mr Tung said after his meeting with Mr Jiang that the President had made his comments out of goodwill. 'He praised Hong Kong reporters' running quickly and working hard,' Mr Tung said. '[Mr Jiang] merely gave kind encouragement. I think it is a good thing for people to improve their standards.' Mak Yin-ting, of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, said Mr Jiang had been asked a fair question and overreacted. 'He seems to have mixed up the views of the media with the views reported by the media,' she said. Ms Mak said journalists were aware of the necessity to be accurate and did not need a lesson from Mr Jiang. Xinhua did not report Mr Jiang's criticism, but said that, during the meeting with Mr Tung, he had stressed the importance of social harmony in the SAR. Xinhua did not say whether the remarks referred to the protests and hostility triggered by Mr Tung's reforms. Mr Jiang said Hong Kong needed a stable social and political environment and urged the community to be united in supporting Mr Tung. Mr Jiang was the third leader within two days to give support to Mr Tung for a second term. Vice-Premier Qian Qichen did so on Thursday and in a meeting with Mr Tung earlier yesterday, Premier Zhu Rongji said: 'I of course agreed with Vice-Premier Qian's words. We always support Mr Tung.' But Mr Zhu sought to dampen the furore, saying state leaders could also freely express their support. He said Beijing had taken into account public opinion in the first election in 1996. Mr Tung, who returned to Hong Kong last night, played down the support he received. He said it was the stance the leaders had stated previously.