Seven-strong team is appointed to help handle affairs after leaders are shocked by the scale of public demonstrations Mainland leaders have decided to take a more personal interest in major Hong Kong matters, sources said yesterday. As Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa wrestles with his biggest political crisis since taking power, the sources said President Hu Jintao would take more of an interest in the city, while Vice-President Zeng Qinghong would play a leading role in co-ordinating central government responses to issues and events. The move is designed to ensure that any major Hong Kong matter will receive scrutiny at the highest level in order that decisions can be made and strategies thrashed out as soon as possible. It was also the central government's way of showing its support for Mr Tung and his administration, the sources said. The Economic Times reported yesterday that seven government and Communist Party leaders would be involved in helping to manage Hong Kong affairs. In addition to Mr Hu and Mr Zeng, it said the team would include Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice-Premier Wu Yi, director of the general office of the party's central committee Wang Gang, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and the director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Liao Hui. But analysts said it was unlikely all seven would be involved as there would then be too many voices within the central government. They suggested only some leaders, including Ms Wu, would focus on Hong Kong matters. Instead, Mr Tang and Mr Liao would continue to shoulder the chief responsibilities for managing the affairs of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as previously arranged. Analysts said leaders in Beijing had been shocked by the scale of the demonstrations in Hong Kong and the strong anti-Tung sentiment. The analysts stressed that with Mr Zeng expected to co-ordinate central government responses to Hong Kong issues, the city should have a strong ally in Beijing. Mr Zeng, one of the nine standing committee members of the Communist Party's politburo, joined Mr Hu in meeting Mr Tung during the chief executive's visit to Beijing last week. Analysts said it was very rare for both the president and vice-president to meet a visitor together. Following the central leadership changes in March, some Hong Kong people expressed concerns that responsibility for the city's affairs had been handed to Mr Tang, a state councilor. In the previous administration under Jiang Zemin, vice-premier Qian Qichen oversaw ties with Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as foreign policy. Many people in Hong Kong had expressed hope that tough-talking Ms Wu would manage Hong Kong affairs. But although she was present at the meeting between Mr Wen and Mr Tung, analysts said she was just there to lend support. China analyst Johnny Lau Yui-shui expected the new leadership to fine-tune existing conservative policies towards Hong Kong drafted in Mr Jiang's era, saying: 'They will focus on helping Hong Kong revitalise its economy while adopting a more flexible approach.'