In Hong Kong's biggest government shake-up since its return to the Chinese sovereignty, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa named a new Cabinet of political appointees.
The 14 members of the Cabinet will be politically accountable to Tung, replacing a system in which top bureaucrats were responsible for government departments.
The chief executive described the new arrangement as the "dawning of a new era for the governance of Hong Kong."
At a news conference introducing the new Cabinet lineup, Tung sought to ease concerns that the change will distance Hong Kong's government from its roots as an evenhanded and honest civil service.
"In pursuing any reform, I will not allow the integrity and stability of the civil service to be compromised," he said. "On the contrary, I intend to strengthen these core values."
Tung said that the development of the Accountability System marks the dawning of a new era for the governance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, The Associated Press reported.
He pledged to be a government which is more accountable to the people of Hong Kong in the next five years.
Tung said the appointments signify the establishment of the Principal Officials Accountability System.
"Ours will be an open, enlightened and progressive government. We will be an administration which feels the pulse of the community and which places importance on public sentiments," Tung said.
"Ours will also be a government which is fully committed to Hong Kong and which has the resolve to work closely with different sectors to pursue the overall interest of the community," he added.
Tung emphasized his belief that the Hong Kong Civil Service is of high quality, uncorrupted, efficient, politically neutral and dedicated to serving the community.
The new Cabinet will be in place for the start of Tung's second five-year term on July 1. The chief executive was earlier re-elected unopposed.
The new lineup contains many officials who worked their way up through the ranks of the old system. His top three deputies - Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang, Financial Secretary Antony Leung and Justice Secretary Elsie Leung - will keep their jobs.
Tung also named 11 political appointees to serve as secretaries in charge of government bureaus, including six from within government and five outsiders.
He described his new Cabinet as coming from a "variety of backgrounds" and promised it will be ac-countable to the people of Hong Kong as it "feels the pulse of the community."
Tung also filled high-level posts in Hong Kong's bureaucracy and in other departments, including the police and immigration.
The five non-official members are Leung Chun-ying, James Tien Pei-chun, Tsang Yok-sing, Cheng Yiu-tong and Andrew Liao Cheung-sing. Tung welcomed the five non-official members for joining his team of principal officials in the Executive Council, which is the highest policy-making body in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.
"They come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from the labor sector, the business sector, the legal profession and the political sector. I have every confidence that they will enrich the input and advice that I will be able to obtain from the Executive Council as a whole," he said.
Tung paid tribute to the outgoing Executive Council members, Yang Ti-liang, Nellie Fong Wong Kut-man, Dr Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, Tam Yiu-chung, Dr Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-fung, Charles Lee Yeh-kwong and Chung Shui-ming, for their invaluable advice and notable contribution to the running of Hong Kong over the last five years.
"I am sure that they will continue to serve the community with dedication and vigor in many other areas of public service following their departure from the Executive Council," he said.
Leung Chun-ying, 47, is a chartered surveyor and Chairman of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung Global. Leung serves on a number of Government boards and committees including as Convenor of the Executive Council, Member of the Commission on Strategic Development and Member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Advisory Committee. He is the Chairman of the One Country Two Systems Research Institute.
James Tien Pei-chun, 55, is Chairman of Manhattan Holdings Limited. He is a Legislative Councilor and Member of the District Council, Central and Western. Tien was Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (1996-1998), Chairman of the Yan Chai Hospital Advisory Board (1994-1999), Chairman of the Hong Kong Productivity Council (1989-1993) and Chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council (1985-1988). He has also served in many public organizations and bodies, including the Trade Development Council, Education Commission, Public Service Commission, Vocational Training Council and Textile Advisory Board.
Tsang Yok-sing, 55, is a Legislative Councilor. He has been in the education sector for more than 30 years. He became School Supervisor of the Pui Kiu Middle School in 1997 after serving in a number of teaching and management posts in the school.
Tsang is currently Non-Executive Director of the Securities and Futures Commission and Council Member of the Open University of Hong Kong. He has held many key posts in education organizations including Chairman, Hong Kong Association of Chinese Middle Schools, Vice President, Hong Kong Private Schools Association and Vice President, Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers.
Cheng Yiu-tong, 54, is the President of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. Cheng has contributed significantly to labor matters over several decades and has rich experience in labor union work. He is a member of the Strategic Development Committee and the Task Force on Employment, and chairman of the HK- China Relations Strategic Development Research Fund. He has served in the Consultative Committee on the New Airport and Related Projects, Labor Advisory Committee, Legislative Council and Hospital Authority.
Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, 52, is a Senior Counsel. He served as Deputy Judge of the High Court in 1990 and as Recorder of the Court of First Instance, High Court in 2000. Liao has been actively involved in the reform of intellectual property laws in Hong Kong. He regularly speaks on intellectual property issues, including those relating to the World Trade Organization. Liao has served on various Government boards and committees. He was a member of the Law Reform Commission, Chairman of two Appeal Board Panels on products safety and Chairman of the Copyright Tribunal. Currently he is Chairman of the Non-Local Higher and Professional Education Appeal Board, Chairman of the Consumer Council's Trade Practices Committee, Arbitrator appointed under the Labor Relations Ordinance and Convenor of the Pensions Appeal Panel.
(china.org.cn June 25, 2002)