03/12/2005, 00.00
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Donald Tsang's faith is no guarantee of good leadership, says Bishop Zen

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Donald Tsang, Chief Secretary for the Administration, is Tung Chee-hwa most likely successor to the post of Hong Kong Chief Executive. Mr Tung, who resigned yesterday, has been appointed to a vice-presidential post in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Mr Tsang's appointment is expected to be officially announced this evening.

Donald Tsang, 60, two children, is a devout Catholic who attends St Joseph's Church every morning before going to work, but as Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun put it, "being a Catholic [is] not a guarantee that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would be a good chief executive".

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Bishop Zen noted that "Mr Tsang should [. . .] shoulder part of the responsibility [for] all of Mr Tung's failures. He should be held responsible, especially on those policies which had been carried out by him." They include the immigration policy that denies new migrants social security and the levy imposed on foreign domestic helpers.

Bishop Zen, who has become the symbol of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, has on several occasions expressed his disappointment towards Mr Tsang, especially when the latter failed to speak out against the security bill and the measures taken against Catholic schools and free speech.

For "whoever the next Chief Executive is," Bishop Zen said, "I have only this advice: the responsibility of safeguarding 'one country, two systems' mainly falls on [you]." 

This principle, which was laid down by China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to ensure the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, guarantees the Territory a high degree of internal self-government. However, ever since sovereignty was transferred in 1997 China—with Tung Chee-hwa's consent and support—has increased its heavy-handed influence on the Special Administrative Region.

"Only the Chief Executive can help the central government understand we are all patriotic. Our fierce criticisms and loud protests only came from our [sense] of patriotism," Bishop Zen said.

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