Controversy has erupted over whether second-tier political appointees to the government should give up their foreign passports, even though the law does not require them to do so. This follows the revelation, two days after the first appointments were announced, that the new deputy minister for commerce and economic development, Greg So Kam-leung, holds a Canadian passport. The government said the Basic Law barred only principal officials and heads of disciplinary forces from holding right of abode in a foreign country. But political analysts said the government should consider extending the rule to the second tier, which did not exist when the law was drafted. A government source said it would be unreasonable to ask deputy ministers to abandon their foreign nationalities. 'Even the deputy chief of the Independent Commission Against Corruption is not required to be a Chinese citizen,' the source said. 'Surely the ICAC's work is more sensitive than that of the commerce and economic development bureau.' The source declined to say how many of the eight deputy ministers held overseas citizenship. Mr So could not be reached for comment. Assistant law professor at the University of Hong Kong Eric Cheung Tat-ming said the new appointees were not bound by the requirement. But he noted that when the Basic Law was drafted, the new tier of appointees had not been anticipated. '[Therefore] one cannot use the Basic Law to remedy this issue. The administration will have to decide whether it wants to follow the spirit that top officials are subjected to these requirements.' A similar controversy arose in 1997 when secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-see was deputised as she was on a five-day official visit to Inner Mongolia. At the time, Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu said the nationality requirement did not apply when the policy secretary was absent through sickness or on official leave. But Chinese University political analyst Ivan Choy Chi-keung said: 'Even directly elected legislators are required to abandon their foreign passports. Deputy ministers should politically follow the same rule.'