Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s official organ in Hong Kong, has left the city for Beijing after completing his posting. He is expected to be promoted to head the office that oversees Hong Kong affairs.

Zhang, 54, was the director of the China Liaison Office in the city. He is known as one of the group of Chinese officials who have taken a hardline approach in Hong Kong.

He joined the State Council’s Hong and Macao Affairs Office in the 1980s and was promoted to deputy director in 2004, before taking the top Hong Kong position in 2012. Zhang will move to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office as the new director, replacing Wang Guangya, 67, who is to retire.

zhang xiaoming
Zhang Xiaoming. File photo: In-Media.

Zhang made several controversial comments during his tenure, including a suggestion in 2015 that the chief executive holds a “special and transcendent status” over the three branches of the government.

During his parting speech at the airport, he quoted several Chinese poems to express his feelings on leaving and returning to Beijing.

Firstly he cited Su Sui’s Calming of the Storm: “Looking back over the bleak passage survived, the return in time, shall not be affected by windswept rain or shine.”

He then cited Xu Zhimo’s Taking Leave of Cambridge Again: “Gently waving my sleeve, I am not taking away a single cloud.”

He said he received many calls and messages from friends in Hong Kong, including a family photo of a Hong Kong person with many words of wishes: “I will take away the real sentiments of many friends in Hong Kong.”

Wang Guangya
Wang Guangya. File

Zhang lastly cited singer Faye Wong’s lyrics from Legend: “I have been always around you, never far away.”

He also cited a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visited in July, as he said Hong Kong people should “believe in themselves, in Hong Kong, and in the country.”

He said Xi has pointed out the direction for Hong Kong’s future, since China is coming to its “great era,” Hong Kong’s prosperity has its fundamental guarantee and Hong Kong people’s lives will be better.

Wang Zhimin
Wang Zhimin. Photo: Liaison Office in Macau.

Wang Zhimin, 60, the head of the China Liaison Office in Macau, is expected to replace Zhang.

Wang was formerly the Hong Kong Liaison Office’s head of youth work department between 2006 and 2009.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.