28th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Former Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee-hwa, has stepped down as Chairman of Our Hong Kong Foundation and assumed the position of Honorary Chairman. Bernard Charnwut Chan, the Vice Chairman, has been promoted to the role of Chairman. The foundation expressed its delight at Tung Chee-hwa’s continuation as Honorary Chairman, contributing to the nation and Hong Kong.
During a board meeting held today (28th), the Our Hong Kong Foundation unanimously decided to appoint Tung Chee-hwa as Honorary Chairman, while Bernard Charnwut Chan assumed the position of Chairman with immediate effect. The foundation praised Tung Chee-hwa for his unique contributions to Hong Kong’s prosperity, stability, and the successful implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle. Over the past nine years since the establishment of the Our Hong Kong Foundation, Tung Chee-hwa has been actively involved, dedicating his efforts to making the foundation one of the top 1% think tanks globally. The foundation expressed great pleasure at Tung Chee-hwa’s continued contributions to the nation and Hong Kong as Honorary Chairman. It stated that it will continue to uphold Tung Chee-hwa’s founding principles, striving to gather new ideas and perspectives, and working together with stakeholders of the foundation to make fresh contributions to Hong Kong’s prosperity, stability, and sustainable development based on the “one country, two systems” principle.
At the age of 86, Tung Chee-hwa stepped down as Vice Chairman of the CPPCC during this year’s leadership transition. He served as Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive from 1997 to 2005, following the transfer of sovereignty on 1st July 1997. In March 2021, Tung Chee-hwa unexpectedly fell during the opening ceremony of the National People’s Congress and had not made a public appearance since July of the same year. He subsequently underwent heart surgery at Queen Mary Hospital.
Tung Chee-hwa, born on 7th July 1937, is a prominent Hong Kong businessman and retired politician. He took over his father’s business, Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), after his father’s death in 1981. Facing financial difficulties in 1986, OOCL was saved through government intervention by the People’s Republic of China. Tung was appointed as an unofficial member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong in 1992 and was considered Beijing’s favored candidate for the position of Chief Executive. In 1996, he was elected Chief Executive by a 400-member Selection Committee. His tenure was marked by various crises, including the bird flu outbreak and the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Tung was re-elected unopposed in 2002 but faced widespread public protests in 2003, demanding his resignation due to proposed legislation and the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). He resigned from his position on 10th March 2005, midway through his second term.
Following his resignation, Tung was appointed Vice Chairman of the CPPCC by the Beijing government. In 2008, he established the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) to influence public opinion towards China in the United States. In 2014, he founded Our Hong Kong Foundation, a think tank consisting of influential tycoons. Tung remains influential in Hong Kong politics and is often referred to as a “kingmaker.”