Judging from the media reports, many Hong Kong people are simply relieved that Tung Chee-hwa's turbulent era is over and would be happy to see him fade quickly into obscurity. That is a pity. Mr Tung's election yesterday as a deputy CPPCC chairman with the rank of a state leader should not be seen simply as Beijing's reward for his personal loyalty and hard work over the past eight years. His elevation will also bring more advantages for Hong Kong by enhancing better communications with the central government. Indeed, this is what he is really good at, as he has the complete trust of leaders in Beijing. The odds are he could do a much better job communicating with the central government than when he was chief executive. Little more than two years ago, the South China Morning Post ran an editorial headed: 'Time for Mr Tung to step up and sit back', which caused quite a stir in Hong Kong. That was the first time the biggest political taboo was brought up. The editorial argued that Mr Tung should assume a new title similar to a position of party secretary on the mainland and delegate the day-to-day management to his No 2. Mr Tung could then devote his attention to things he does best, such as promoting Hong Kong in Beijing and internationally. Understandably, the article attracted strong negative reactions from mainland officials and pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong, although it won applause from others. Despite the anger from Beijing, the article did get mainland officials thinking about Mr Tung's role.His resignation on Thursday and elevation yesterday have validated the foresight of the Post's leader published on February 28, 2003. Looking at it from all sides, Mr Tung is the ideal person to act as a conduit between Hong Kong and the central government. After nearly eight years as chief executive, he has a unique insight into the evolving relations between Hong Kong and Beijing. Now as a deputy CPPCC chairman and as a respected state leader, Mr Tung will be in a better position to argue Hong Kong's case and seek more support and understanding from the central government. Mainland officials are likely to be more receptive, not only because of Mr Tung's new title but also because his views will be seen as more mature and more neutral. For instance, Mr Tung could play an active role in helping Hong Kong's further integration with the Pearl River Delta, a step critical to Hong Kong's efforts to maintain its status and competitiveness. Hong Kong still has much to talk about with neighbouring Guangdong over co-operation on infrastructure projects including highways, railways and airports, as well as on environmental protection, telecommunications and other issues.