Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen has voiced support for embattled tycoon Li Ka-shing, who recently came under fierce attack from state media. "The allegation about his withdrawal from the mainland market is neither true nor fair to Mr Li," Tang said on his Tencent weibo social media account yesterday, two days after Li's first response to hit back at his critics. Li noted President Xi Jinping had stressed that the mainland would stay committed to the path of reform. The 87-year-old tycoon said he believed the negative language in articles bashing him was "not representative of the progressive economic policies" of the central government. He rejected the withdrawal accusations and said: "The reorganisation of our group using Cayman Islands companies does not change the fact that the group is still registered and listed in Hong Kong." Likewise, Tang pointed to Xi's remarks about the deepening of economic reforms on the mainland in defending Li's move. "The reorganisation of [Li's companies] was in accordance with market-oriented practices and conformed to the development and arrangements on the mainland," said Tang. Tang added that he believed all Hong Kong businessmen were patriotic and passionate about giving back to society. "Mr Li was among the first group of Hong Kong businessmen who invested in the mainland [after economic reforms began in 1978] and actively participated in charity there," he said. "Those criticisms of him have broken the hearts of patriotic Chinese." Tang had Li's backing when he ran in the 2012 chief executive election.