Mon, Sep 12, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Chinese VP Zeng woos residents on Hong Kong jaunt

AP , HONG KONG

Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong (曾慶紅) set out to win the hearts of Hong Kong locals yesterday, breakfasting with businessmen, chatting amiably with a family of four at their apartment and asking after the health of the elderly.

Zeng, who is in the former British colony on a three-day visit to preside over the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, said on Saturday he was aware that his "Hong Kong compatriots wanted (him) to listen", the official Xinhua news agency reported.

On his arrival in Hong Kong on Saturday, Zeng spoke with reporters in their native Cantonese dialect before heading into talks with the territory's leader Donald Tsang (曾蔭權).

Zeng praised Tsang for fostering a more optimistic outlook in Hong Kong since taking over the top job two months ago, Xinhua reported.

He also said Hong Kong was enjoying greater stability, an improved economy and prosperity in all sectors during a meeting with Tsang on Saturday, the report said.

It said Zeng "hoped the Hong Kong government would continue to work hard, properly handle various issues of common concern, and further improve the prosperity and stability Hong Kong is now enjoying."

Zeng, who told reporters at the start of his visit Saturday "my heart is always with Hong Kong," continued to woo Hong Kongers yesterday, stopping at a home for the elderly and visiting a family of four in their home.

The leader also had breakfast with tycoon Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠) and his two sons before visiting a racecourse that will host equestrian events in the 2008 Olympic Games, Cable TV reported.

Zeng was to meet Hong Kong lawmakers, including the pro-democracy opposition, at a banquet in his honor yesterday evening, and officiate at the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland today.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have expressed disappointment that they had little opportunity to discuss moves toward democracy with Zeng.

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