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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Hong Kong resignations prompt mixed response
Tung Chee-hwa
Several papers criticised Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa
Hong Kong papers have given a mixed reaction to the resignations of Security Secretary Regina Ip, the key figure behind a controversial anti-subversion bill, and Financial Secretary Antony Leung, embroiled in a scandal over the purchase of a luxury car shortly before raising vehicle taxes.

One paper welcomes their departure, seeing it as a victory for democracy, while others find the resignations regrettable, arguing that Hong Kong already has a dearth of political talent.

Several criticise Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's handling of the crisis and contend that he will have an uphill battle to restore credibility in his government.

Here is a selection of their comments:

If a loyal senior official like Mrs Ip can step down, then 'car-gate scandal' Financial Secretary Antony Leung should have resigned long ago... The prestige of Tung Chee-hwa's governance of the Special Administrative Region has vanished without a trace, so reorganising the Executive Council and the team of accountable officials may not do any good.

Oriental Daily News - Hong Kong

Hong Kong people must govern Hong Kong, but there is a serious lack of political talent. If someone like Secretary for Security Ip, who is capable and willing to accept critical attacks, resigns from office, not only has the SAR Government lost an official with high standards, but this could also have an impact on other capable people who sincerely want to serve the public. Excitable people must carefully consider whether Hong Kong's political development is a good thing or not and whether it is really worth toppling a senior official like this.

Sing Tao Daily - Hong Kong

We feel extreme regret over two important officials leaving the SAR leadership team. Even though policy-making officials are themselves extremely hard-working, a lack of experience and less than optimum conditions has made their work proceed with difficulty, efforts have been wasted and some mistakes have often been unavoidable. Of course, it is necessary to criticise their shortcomings and point out their mistakes, but there should be more understanding, encouragement and help.

Wen Wei Po - Hong Kong

Tung Chee-hwa's sluggish way of dealing with personnel matters, has not only made the regard of his own people fall to an unprecedented point, but has also affected the entire SAR government's prestige... Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa must rapidly respond with decisive action, otherwise not only will citizens be dissatisfied, but the remaining members of Tung's team will be at a loss on how to proceed, and the government could very easily fall into a state of paralysis state and lose prestige.

Ming Pao - Hong Kong

By dithering and trying to keep them as part of his team, Mr Tung has only made his weakness and lack of leadership skills all the more apparent... We urgently need to find a way of solving our economic problems - tackling the fiscal deficit while at the same time creating jobs. There are the lessons to be learned from SARS, political reforms to meet calls for more democracy, and, of course, those national security laws. If there is one time when Mr Tung needs to show he is capable of acting decisively, that time is now.

South China Morning Post - Hong Kong

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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