Chung Sze-yuen, who was known as the Godfather of Politics in Hong Kong, passed away at St Teresa’s Hospital on Wednesday morning. He was 101.
He represented Hong Kong’s people in meetings with paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping during sovereignty talks and was made the first Executive Council convenor in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Chung had been the oldest senior politician in Hong Kong.
He had been a politician for 50 years and had a birthday celebration two weeks ago where he was congratulated by long-time government officials such as Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and former Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
An engineer by training, Chung oversaw a critical time in the run-up to China taking over the former British colony in 1997.
Along with other senior citizens Sir Lee Quo-wei and Baroness Lydia Dunn, Chung spoke to then Chinese President Deng Xiaopeng about safeguarding the “one country, two systems” agreement and maintaining stability and prosperity for 50 years.
He was instrumental in suggesting a mechanism that would bar Beijing from interfering in Hong Kong affairs outside the Basic Law.
Exco member Regina Ip praised Chung for the important role he played in the Sino-British negotiations, especially drafting the Basic Law and promoting party politics.
Chung was arguably the most influential home-grown politician and one of the few elites who served in both the Legislative and Executive Council during British rule. He was a senior member of the Legislative Council from 1974 to 1978 and a senior member of the Executive Council between 1980 and 1988.
He was the first Executive Council convenor in the SAR in 1997 before he retired two years later and handed over to Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive for the HKSAR from 2012-2017.
“He (Chung) was in public service and served Hong Kong for 50 years, and he had no regrets,” said Allen Lee Peng-fei, a former lawmaker who followed Chung’s footsteps into politics.