Tue, Sep 15, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Wu met pro-Beijing politician in HK

'RIDICULOUS' The Cabinet dismissed DPP doubts about Wu Den-yih’s meeting with Leung Chun-ying, who is seen in Hong Kong as a possible successor to Donald Tsang

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Executive Yuan yesterday said Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) met Hong Kong politician Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) during his visit to Hong Kong on Sept. 5.

Leung is the convenor of the non-official members of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and has been mentioned in Hong Kong media as a likely successor to Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) as the territory’s chief executive in 2012.

Citing the timing of the trip — two days before the announcement that Wu would become premier — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused Wu of meeting Chinese officials to discuss his premiership.

Executive Yuan Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday rebutted the claim as “ridiculous.”

“The Republic of China is a sovereign independent country. Saying that Premier Wu had to report to [Chinese authorities] concerning his appointment was a ridiculous allegation,” Su said.

“Premier Wu has been consistent regarding the purpose of his visit to Hong Kong, which was to exchange ideas on disaster prevention measures,” Su said yesterday. “His accusers have to show proof.”

Su denied that the Executive Yuan had been embarrassed into acknowledging the meeting after Wu’s Hong Kong itinerary was made public by a political commentator on a talk show on Sunday night.

Su said Wu had not hidden the meeting from the public but had mentioned when approached by reporters in Kaohsiung County last Thursday that the itinerary of his Hong Kong trip had been “arranged by Dr Leung Chun-ying.”

Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃), a political commentator, said on SET-TV’s Dahua News (大話新聞) that Wu had met Leung, citing a story published on Friday in the Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal daily that revealed the meeting.

Wu’s trip to Hong Kong on Sept. 5 was first reported on Wednesday, with Wu saying he had gone to learn from Hong Kong’s experience dealing with mudslides.

A report in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), cited Wu’s secretary as saying that Wu had visited Hong Kong with his wife, newly wedded son and daughter-in-law for a “family gathering.”

His secretary said Wu had also taken the opportunity to learn about measures Hong Kong had taken to combat mudslides.

Paul Lin (林保華), a commentator on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) history, told the Taipei Times yesterday that Leung is an “underground member” of the CCP and well-trusted by Beijing.

Lin said Leung’s close connections with the CCP belied his claims that he is not involved with the party.

Lin said Leung was appointed by Chinese authorities in 1987 as secretary-general of the Basic Law Consultative Committee created in 1984 to gauge public opinion for a draft of the Hong Kong Basic Law ahead of the territory’s handover from Britain to China in 1997.

“The secretary-general was in charge of the commission, which showed his relationship with the CCP. Leung’s predecessor was also an underground member of the CCP,” Lin said.

Lin said Xu Jiatun (許家屯), who headed the Hong Kong branch of China’s state news agency Xinhua until 1990, wrote in memoirs published in 1993 that a friend of his knew first hand that Leung was a communist.

Xu, a former CCP member, fled to the US in 1990 after learning of a plan to purge him from the party because of his pro-­student stance during the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations.

“There is a high chance that Leung will replace Tsang. In July, when asked whether he would run for chief executive, Leung said he would rather talk about the issue later. [That was] different from the negative answers he had given before,” Lin said.

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