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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 19:22 GMT
Hong Kong leader abandons reforms
By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Hong Kong

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang
Donald Tsang says he will switch his attention to other issues
Hong Kong's leader has told lawmakers he won't make any further attempts to make the territory's voting system more democratic during his current term.

Donald Tsang's proposals for limited democratic reform were vetoed by pro-democracy lawmakers last month because they didn't go far enough.

Now Mr Tsang says he will switch his focus to other issues like the economy.

Last month's rejection of his plans for constitutional reform was a slap in the face for the relatively new leader.

So in his first question-and-answer session with lawmakers since they rejected his plans, he made clear there was nothing else on the table.

I should focus on other important issues like people's livelihoods and the economy
Donald Tsang
Hong Kong leader

Other issues

He has just 18 months left before a new chief executive will have to be chosen - he was only given a two-year term. As a result, he said, there wasn't time to come up with another package of reforms.

"I should focus on other important issues, like people's livelihoods and the economy," he told the lawmakers.

He gave a hint that the setback had made life difficult for him with his political masters in Beijing.


Without doubt, he said, the result of the vote against him had brought on a lot of disappointment.

"We can't pretend nothing has happened but we will have to show our sincerity and respect for each other," he said.

The Chinese leadership offered Mr Tsang public support in the days after the vote but some believe the rejection of his plans will have damaged his standing. Beijing, they say, wants someone in charge who can deliver.

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