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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
New Hong Kong leader inaugurated
Donald Tsang and Wen Jiabao
China's premier (right) presented Tsang with his appointment letter
Donald Tsang has been sworn in as the new leader of Hong Kong, at a ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presented Mr Tsang with his appointment letter as chief executive of the territory.

Mr Tsang, 60, is a former civil servant popular with Hong Kong's public. He has been serving as acting chief executive since Tung Chee-hwa resigned in March.

His appointment will run for the next two years, until the end of Mr Tung's original term of office.

An election will be held in 2007.

Mr Tsang, wearing his customary bow-tie, told a press conference after the inauguration that he would work hard for Hong Kong's future.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the Hong Kong people and the country," he said.

DONALD TSANG
Knighted for work during British colonial rule before 1997
Mostly held financial posts, and became first Chinese to be Financial Secretary
Popular with public but loyal to Beijing

According to China's official Xinhua news agency, Mr Wen quoted an old Chinese saying to Mr Tsang: "The task is arduous and the road ahead is long".

Popular support

Mr Tsang was appointed chief executive after he won nominations from 710 of the 800 election committee members.

His success in the leadership contest was never in doubt, because of his experience and the fact he had Beijing's backing.

But he was keen to gain the overwhelming support of the election committee, to gain a mandate.

Polls show Mr Tsang enjoys public support of more than 70%, a stark contrast to the unpopular Tung Chee-hwa, who stepped down citing health worries.

Many in the territory feel that the Chinese mainland wields too much power and stifles the high degree of autonomy it was promised when Britain handed it back to China in 1997.

It cannot directly elect its own leader, and Beijing can effectively veto any changes to its political system.




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See the inauguration of Hong Kong's new leader




SEE ALSO:
Hong Kong's orderly succession
15 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
HK chief enters leadership race
25 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Donald Tsang
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Regions and territories: Hong Kong
25 May 05 |  Country profiles
Hong Kong looks to life after Tung
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Tung Chee-hwa
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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