Margaret Chan facing strong contenders, says vice-premier Vice-Premier Wu Yi has described the chances of former Hong Kong health director Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun securing the World Health Organisation's top job as tight in the face of strong contenders. But despite her reservations, Ms Wu still has every confidence in Dr Chan and yesterday said the central government would do all it could to help her WHO campaign. Ms Wu showed her support for Dr Chan, who is WHO assistant director-general, communicable diseases, when she met Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and a 100-member Hong Kong delegation in Changsha yesterday. 'The central government and its leaders would support Margaret in all ways and we would use all methods to campaign for her,' Ms Wu said, adding that the State Council had set up a special taskforce to help Dr Chan's campaign. 'We are supporting Margaret not just because she is a very high-quality candidate, but also because of the central government's relationship with the SAR government. 'The central government's support towards Margaret is the same as its support towards Hong Kong. I hope [the delegation] would see it in this way.' She admitted Dr Chan's race would be a tough one. 'I am very confident in Margaret, but her campaign is facing difficulties because there are strong contenders in the race, especially Japan's Shigeru Omi. But we still have a lot of confidence in her.' Dr Omi, who is the WHO's Western Pacific regional director, enjoys strong backing from the Japanese government for his candidacy. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok said the central government had invested 'much more resources than us for Margaret's candidacy'. 'We merely gave her an office in our Geneva trade office and gave her some administrative assistance. That is all. It is very minimal compared to what governments can do,' Dr Chow said. Hong Kong would do the same thing for 'anybody else who is an outstanding professional who is able to be nominated to a high position under the United Nations that may be serving other governments, including our own', he added. Director of Health Lam Ping-yan said he believed in his former boss. 'What we are concerned with is not how good she will be with the Chinese government, but how capable she will be in addressing international health issues. 'I'm sure she knows what she should do, so I have a lot of confidence in her,' said Dr Lam. 'She is a very sensational person. Sometimes she would shed a few tears, but then it's because of compassion. 'I'm sure she has the robustness to stand up to any challenge,' Dr Lam said. On criticism that not enough was being done to help Dr Chan's campaign, medical sector legislator Kwok Ka-ki said he believed the mainland and Hong Kong 'did not do less than Japan'. 'The top mainland officials came out to support her. Our senior civil servants [did too],' Dr Kwok said. 'But it is difficult to say what is enough. She is an ordinary citizen, but we arranged a senior civil servant to accompany her in her campaign office.'