Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday urged chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying to maintain a clean government, amid an outbreak of corruption scandals surrounding Hong Kong's top officials. It is the first time since the handover that a state leader has placed such expectations on the city's most senior official. Speaking in Beijing after presenting Leung with his official appointment as chief executive, the premier also highlighted the need for unity after last month's divisive chief executive election - which is seen to have caused a split in the pro-establishment camp. Citing a passage from The Analects of Confucius in the meeting in Zhongnanhai, the leadership compound in Beijing, Wen said: 'To govern means being upright. If you lead the people by being upright and set a good example for others, who will dare not behave correctly?' Wen also told Leung: 'Those pursuing a political career should be corruption-free. As people, we should be corruption-free. As such, it will ensure smooth governance and a harmonious society as well as unify people's hearts and turn a new chapter in governance.' In the past few weeks former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, along with the joint chairmen of the Sung Hung Kai Properties empire, brothers Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, have been arrested by the ICAC in a probe into allegations of bribery and misconduct in office, and the anti-graft body has placed Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen under investigation for accepting favours from tycoon friends. Wen has quoted Confucius' teachings to Hong Kong's leaders before - in June 2005, when he cited another passage in The Analects to stress that Tsang's task would be arduous, and again two years later when he told Tsang that his job was a responsibility that lasted until death. Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Wen's remarks reflected the central government's concern about corruption within the administration. 'It is unprecedented for the chief executive and the former chief secretary to be involved in corruption accusations ... Beijing is concerned that worsening corruption will affect the administration's leadership, as it has on the mainland,' Lau said. Wen's remarks came as a University of Hong Kong poll found that Leung was the first chief executive-elect to receive a negative net approval rating before starting his term, with 51 per cent of 1,019 respondents surveyed from March 27 to March 30 opposing him as chief executive, compared with 38 per cent who supported him. He scored 51.5 points when respondents were asked to rate him out of 100. When Tsang took the top job in 2005, he had a net approval rating of almost 70 per cent and a support rating of over 70 out of 100. Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's first chief executive, scored almost 65 when he was elected in 1996. Wen said there were still problems with housing, health care and employment in Hong Kong. He hoped the Hong Kong government would put the city's economy and the improvement of people's livelihood at the top of its priorities. In the aftermath of last month's contentious leadership race, Wen stressed unity, a day after Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya called for reconciliation and urged the people to rally behind Leung. Leung pledged to Wen that he would do his utmost to develop Hong Kong's potential and solve long-standing 'deep-rooted conflicts'. Leung will meet President Hu Jintao this afternoon.