Academic calls for second-in-command with political skills An influential mainland academic has suggested Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa delegate some of his duties, particularly political affairs and the tough job of dealing with different political camps, to a deputy to make up for his lack of political skills. Shi Yinhong, a professor at the school of international studies at People's University in Beijing, told the South China Morning Post that his proposal might be one of the options being considered by the central government to improve Mr Tung's governance. The professor also called on democrats in Hong Kong to adopt a more rational approach and be ready to make compromises. In a commentary published in the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao newspaper on Tuesday, Professor Shi said someone who enjoyed a good reputation and possessed outstanding political skills should serve as deputy to Mr Tung to make up for the chief executive's shortcomings. The professor, who is a mainland expert on international relations, said the central government might be aware of the chief executive's inadequacies in responding to the crisis triggered by the July 1 protest march against the controversial national security laws. 'Mr Tung lacks political skills and has been poor in handling crises,'' he said. 'He is stubborn and reluctant to listen to different views. Besides, he is not adept in making compromises. 'But for the Chinese leadership, Mr Tung is a crucial political symbol, and preserving political stability in Hong Kong tops its agenda. The central government has no alternative but to reiterate its support for the chief executive.'' Professor Shi, also director of People's University's centre for United States studies, said the central government should recognise the need to help improve Mr Tung's governance to prevent another crisis. The chief executive should reduce his own portfolio and workload and let a deputy handle the political work, particularly the tough job of dealing with different political forces. 'It's not good for Mr Tung to adopt a hands-on approach in every policy area,'' Professor Shi said. He said his proposal might not necessarily result in the appointment of a deputy chief executive. The professor did not name anyone to act as Mr Tung's deputy but said Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen enjoyed a good reputation and was widely accepted by different political camps. He said the Tung administration and pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong should learn a lesson from the current crisis, particularly the art of making compromises. Professor Shi said the pro-democracy camp should not pursue a 'winner-takes-all scenario'' but its voice needed to be heard.