Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has denied rumours that Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang was “dissatisfied” with Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah’s work report.
A report on news site HK01 on Wednesday claimed that Zhang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, spent most time during a closed-door government meeting on Tuesday commenting on Tsang, rather than responding to others.
The report suggested that Tsang’s potential run for Chief Executive may suffer following the comments.
“There was absolutely no such thing, as I was there at the time as well,” Leung reportedly said on Thursday, after Zhang left for Beijing. “The NPCSC chairman indeed cared very much about the social and economic development of Hong Kong.”
Leung added that Zhang’s responses will not improve his chances of seeking re-election, and he will try hard to do his work in the interim.
When he made an appearance at the Legislative Council, Tsang said he would not comment on the content of the meeting as it was closed-door.
“It was unethical to leak the contents of a closed-door meeting – I would not do anything unethical,” Tsang said.
He added that he did not care about the rumours and did not know who made the leak.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of mainland think tank Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said the rumour was untrustworthy.
Lau, former head of the Central Policy Unit, said after a RTHK programme on Friday that the goal of Zhang’s visit was to make the political atmosphere more relaxed in Hong Kong and to unite the government internally.
“Based on that, I don’t think Zhang Dejiang will depreciate John Tsang in front of principal officials and [civil servant] permanent secretaries, it could easily hurt the morale of some officials, and create new contradictions inside the government,” Lau said.
Lau added that he did not think Zhang was giving hints on the potential candidates for the Chief Executive election by appreciating the work of Leung and the government. The Central government rarely hinted who will be nominated as Chief Executive, he said.