Former Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang. Photo: Asia Times

Former Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who is seeking to become the city’s Chief Executive in March, has cited his government experience over two decades as evidence of his good relations with Beijing.

“There is no reason to believe I’m not trusted by Beijing,” said Tsang in a briefing on Thursday. The 66-year-old resigned on December 12 from his post as financial secretary but was only given the Central government’s approval to run for the top job on January 16.

The fact that he had held so many key positions in government over the last two decades showed that he had Beijing’s trust, he said.

His remarks came after former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told local media in a closed door meeting last week that she is running for election because she wants to avoid the constitutional crisis that would arise in the event of a winning candidate who was not trusted by Beijing.

Chan Wing-kee, a standing committee member in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a member of the 1,200-people Election Committee, was reported in two local newspapers on Wednesday as saying that “whoever doesn’t nominate Carrie Lam is anti-Central government.” Chan later denied making the comment.

Tsang said that he had already met with representatives from different sectors since announcing his campaign on January 19. He will seek support from people with different political views, including the pro-democracy camp, he added.

Tsang also pledged that if he wins the election he will abolish the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) examination, which has been blamed for heaping too much pressure on primary school pupils.

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau this week launched a revised version of the TSA, the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA).

Others seeking to become the city’s Chief Executive in March are: New People’s Party chair Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, former chef secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, retired high court justice Woo Kwok-hing and a former member of a pro-Beijing party Wu Sai-chuen.