US embassy cable - 06HONGKONG851

LU XINHUA, HONG KONG'S NEW MFA COMMISSIONER

Identifier: 06HONGKONG851
Wikileaks: View 06HONGKONG851 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Hong Kong
Created: 2006-03-01 10:32:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM PINR PREL HK CH
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO3061
PP RUEHCN
DE RUEHHK #0851/01 0601032
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011032Z MAR 06
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5217
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HONG KONG 000851 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP AND EAP/CM 
NSC FOR DENNIS WILDER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/01/2031 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PINR, PREL, HK, CH 
SUBJECT: LU XINHUA, HONG KONG'S NEW MFA COMMISSIONER 
 
 
Classified By: E/P Chief Simon Schuchat. Reasons: 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On February 27, Lu Xinhua arrived in Hong 
Kong and took up his new post as the Commissioner of the PRC 
Foreign Affairs Office, replacing the outgoing Yang Wenchang. 
 Lu will be Hong Kong's fourth commissioner since the 
handover and at 55, will also be the youngest.  During his 
thirty-year career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lu 
has served at the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, as 
Ambassador to Finland, and most recently as the Vice Foreign 
Minister in charge of administration and personnel issues. 
His most prominent position, however, was his ten years as 
Secretary to former Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.  In media 
 
SIPDIS 
interviews prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, Lu expressed 
confidence in Chief Executive (CE) Donald Tsang's leadership 
of Hong Kong but warned foreign countries against interfering 
in Hong Kong affairs.  End Summary. 
 
Speculation on Yang's Departure 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On February 27, Lu Xinhua arrived in Hong Kong and 
took up his new post as the Commissioner of the PRC Foreign 
Affairs Office, replacing the outgoing Yang Wenchang. 
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) 
announcement on February 16, Yang -- who had completed a two 
and half year term as commissioner -- will return to Beijing. 
 The MFA announcement did not provide details of Yang's 
onward assignment or other future plans.  Yang's departure is 
not unexpected, but comes a few months earlier than 
anticipated.  There has been recent speculation about 
personnel changes of several Chinese officials in charge of 
Hong Kong policy that might be linked to the failure of the 
Fifth Report on constitutional development, including rumors 
that Liao Hui, head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office 
(HKMAO) would step down after the March National People's 
Congress meetings.  In response to questions regarding his 
own departure, and in implicit response to such speculation, 
Yang told Hong Kong media that there were "no political 
reasons" for his departure.  He was 62 and wanted to give way 
to a younger generation.  Yang told us that he wanted to 
return to Beijing to be with his sick wife.  He has also said 
in private that he may be named head of the Chinese People's 
Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), which would be a 
promotion. 
 
Career Diplomat Appointed as Commissioner 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Lu will be Hong Kong's fourth commissioner since the 
handover and at 55, will also be the youngest.    Perhaps in 
a bid to introduce Lu to the Hong Kong public and to raise 
his media profile, Lu gave a series of interviews on February 
24, prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, to the pro-Beijing 
newspaper "Ta Kung Pao" in Beijing.  The interviews provide 
some background information on Lu's diplomatic career and 
offer some insights into his thinking on Beijing's policy 
towards Hong Kong. 
 
4. (SBU) Lu began his career with the MFA in 1974 as a 
diplomatic courier, a position that ultimately took him to 
more than eighty countries around the world.  (Note: In the 
1970s, it was not uncommon for junior Chinese diplomats to 
begin their careers as couriers.  End note.)  In his 
thirty-year career with the MFA, Lu has had just two overseas 
postings.  From 1981-1986, he was posted to the Chinese 
mission to the United Nations and from 1998-2001, he was the 
Ambassador to Finland.  His most prominent position, however, 
was his ten years serving as Secretary to former Foreign 
Minister Qian Qichen.  Lu explains that this job had a 
profound impact on his career, even though "it was not an 
easy job."  In 1993, after Qian was promoted to Vice Premier, 
Lu followed Qian to Zhongnanhai, where he gained experience 
in the policy formation process at the highest levels.  More 
recently, Lu served as Vice Foreign Minister and was in 
charge of administration and personnel issues. 
 
On Policy Towards Hong Kong 
--------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Lu told "Ta Kung Pao" that he had no experience 
working on Hong Kong issues, though he had visited the city 
several times.  Most memorably, Lu, along with Vice Premier 
Qian, attended the handover ceremony in 1997.  Lu praised 
previous commissioners for developing "sound working 
relations with the HKSAR Government."  He believed that Hong 
Kong, under Chief Executive (CE) Donald Tsang's leadership, 
would "continue to unite various sectors in Hong Kong and 
make more stunning achievements in maintaining Hong Kong's 
 
HONG KONG 00000851  002 OF 002 
 
 
social harmony and enhancing its economic development."  He 
added, "he was full of confidence in Hong Kong's future." 
 
6. (SBU) Lu, did however, issue a warning to foreign nations, 
"engaging in activities in Hong Kong that infringe upon 
China's sovereignty and that affect the well-being of Hong 
Kong."  He noted that in response to "irresponsible remarks" 
made by some foreign countries, the MFA Commission in Hong 
Kong would take up the issue with the foreign forces at an 
appropriate time.  "Maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and 
stability are also in the interest of these countries.  They 
have put a great amount of investment in Hong Kong.  If Hong 
Kong is in chaos, their interests will also be jeopardized. 
I believe they should take note of that," said Lu. 
 
Biographic Information 
---------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Lu Xinhua, born in January 1951, is from Zhejiang 
province.  He graduated from the Foreign Languages Department 
of Hangzhou University.  He has a wife and a daughter.  Lu 
told the media that his wife, also a diplomat, had at one 
time worked in Hong Kong. 
 
MFA Experience: 
 
1974-1981 Staff Member, MFA, General Office 
 
1981-1986 Attache, Third Secretary, and then Second 
Secretary, Chinese Mission to the United Nations 
 
SIPDIS 
 
1986-1988 Second Secretary, MFA, Personnel Department 
 
1988-1998 Secretary, MFA, General Office 
 
1988-1998 Secretary, General Office of the State Council 
 
1998-2001 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, 
Chinese Embassy, Finland 
 
2001-2002 Ambassador, MFA 
 
2002-2003 Assistant Minister, MFA 
 
2003-2006 Vice Minister, MFA 
 
2006-     Commissioner, PRC Foreign Affairs Ministry in Hong 
Kong 
Cunningham 

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