Premier Wen Jiabao left no room for speculation about Beijing's opinion of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. With the cameras still rolling, though the photo call before their meeting on Friday was over, Mr Wen put on record the central leadership's view of the Hong Kong government's performance. 'Let me say once again that the central government totally believes in the leadership of the Hong Kong government, and through the efforts of all sectors, Hong Kong can ... resolve the difficulties brought by the financial crisis,' he said on the final day of Mr Tsang's 'duty visit' to Beijing. At a news conference later, the chief executive made much of the premier's praise. 'The central government has given its full affirmation to the work of the chief executive and the SAR government,' Mr Tsang said. To counter criticism that the government was seeking favours from Beijing like a spoiled child, he reiterated that any proposals Hong Kong put forward must be win-win - benefiting not just the city but the nation in the long run. With fears growing about the stability of the financial sector, the fate of enterprises and a surge in unemployment, the state leaders and Mr Tsang are critically aware of the importance of buoying confidence with their words and deeds. By rolling out a package of 14 measures to support Hong Kong on Friday, Beijing hoped to convey the message that its pledge to provide a 'strong backstop' for the city was no empty slogan. The package, the latest of several adopted since 2003 to help the Hong Kong economy, covers sectors ranging from banking and tourism to Hong Kong enterprises on the mainland, cross-border infrastructure and the city's food and water supplies. The leadership hopes the measures will shore up confidence in the economy in the short term and deepen Hong Kong's integration with the mainland - particularly its economic and financial integration - in the long run. Given the scale of the global recession, it is not surprising that state leaders did not say anything publicly during Mr Tsang's three-day visit about the problems of governance besetting his administration. This is despite the fact Beijing has drawn lessons from the post-handover development of Hong Kong and begun to realise that the issue of governance should not be dismissed as something created by the democrats and blown up by sections of the media. They well know that these problems stem not only from the deficiencies of the post-handover political architecture but from the mindset and approach of the Tsang team. Still, Beijing is convinced that maintaining a vibrant economy is the key to Hong Kong's stability and harmony. And it must be said that the city's political and governance problems are difficult to handle, let alone resolve. As long as the governance problems are manageable, Beijing is happy to leave them to Mr Tsang and his team while helping to boost their popularity through economic aid. Beijing and Mr Tsang may like to emphasise that Hong Kong and the mainland are in the same boat as they try to help each other stay afloat in stormy economic seas. But like it or not, ordinary people are more likely to give credit to Beijing than to Mr Tsang for the measures to help the city's economy. Moreover, their doubts about the chief executive's ability to master the course of the city's development may only grow. The mere suggestion that Hong Kong is moving from economic interdependence with the mainland to economic dependence on Beijing will cast a shadow over Mr Tsang's leadership and the city's long-term development. To show that deeper integration is win-win, Hong Kong must work harder to strike a balance between going to Beijing for help and our own efforts to make the most of our strengths and boost our competitiveness.