Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 13 News List

The view from Hong Kong

Leung Chun Ying, convenor of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, is expected by many to run for the position of chief executive in 2012, a rumor he neither confirms nor denies. He spoke last week to staff reporter Noah Buchan about changes in the territory since 1997, Beijing’s role on the international stage and President Ma Ying-jeou’s proposed economic cooperation framework agreement with China

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER


Leung Chun Ying (梁振英) has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in public service. From 1985 to 1990 he was one of 19 members of the consultative committee charged with drafting the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. As vice chairman of the preparatory committee, he was charged with working out the details of how Hong Kong would be governed under Chinese rule and was later appointed to the provisional legislative council. He was appointed to Hong Kong’s executive council in 1997 and has been its convenor since 1999.

After graduating with a degree in Estate Management from Bristol Polytechnic (known today as the University of the West of England), Leung joined Jones Lang Wootton, a real estate consultancy firm, and eventually became an equity partner — the youngest in the firm’s 200-year history.

Leung, 55, has extensive work experience in China, beginning in 1979 when he traveled to Shenzhen to teach officials about market economy practices. In the late 1980s he traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, among other cities, to consult the governments there on ownership and land-use rights. In the 1990s he was the first non-People’s Republic of China citizen to open a real estate service company in China. He is currently the largest shareholder of DTZ Holdings Plc, for which he serves as chairman of the Asia-Pacific region.

He will be in Taipei on Aug. 15 to give a lecture for the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation (龍應台文化基金會). The lecture will be moderated by news commentator Tsai Shih-ping (蔡詩萍) and will feature a screening of Young and Restless in China, a documentary by Sue Williams that explores the lives of nine young Chinese facing change in a rapidly developing country.


WHAT: Taipei Salon (台北沙龍): China in a

New Perspective/Rising and Restless (飛躍、躁動-看中國的新眼光), a lecture by Leung Chun Ying (梁振英)

WHERE: Yuehan Hall (月涵堂), 110 Jinhua St, Taipei City (台北市金華街110號)

WHEN: Aug. 15. The screening of Young and Restless in China (in English with Chinese subtitles) begins at 1pm; Leung Chun Ying’s lecture begins at 3pm

DETAILS: The lecture will be conducted in Chinese without translation; admission is free but those attending must pre-register by calling (02) 3322-4907, or online at

Staff reporter Noah Buchan recently spoke via phone with Leung about changes in Hong Kong since 1997, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (EFCA) with China and the 2012 chief executive election in Hong Kong.

Taipei Times: In 1985 you were elected as one of the 19 executive committee members by the Basic Law consultative committee. At the time what were your major goals and what difficulties did you encounter?

Leung Chun Ying: We were in a rather unique situation in that there was no precedent in the implementation of the concept of “one country two systems.” So we were working without the benefit of other people’s experiences. And there was a loss of confidence in the future of Hong Kong for various reasons.

You recall that after two years of negotiations, China and Britain signed the joint declaration which is an international treaty regarding the future of Hong Kong in 1984. The Basic Law drafting process started in 1985 and it was going to be a five-year process. In parallel to the Basic Law drafting committee, which was a committee of the National People’s Congress of China, a consultative committee comprising members from all walks of life — 180 of them — was set up in Hong Kong. And this committee had a five-year term between 1985 and 1990 and we were charged with the process of channeling — collecting and enlarging — the views of Hong Kong people through the drafting committee in Beijing. I was secretary general of this consultative committee.

Many people in Hong Kong, particularly the ones who were looking to emigrate, did not have much interest in the drafting processes. So the first thing to do was to get people involved and to overcome this cynicism or loss of confidence in the future of Hong Kong.

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