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China accepts Tung resignation, approves temporary successor

[JURIST] China's State Council Saturday approved the resignation [Xinhua report] of Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, submitted earlier this week [JURIST report]. While Tung cited his failing health as his reason for resigning, some believe he was pushed out by the Chinese government for poor handling of the SARS outbreak and domestic legal and economic issues. China has meanwhile announced its "full support" for his deputy, Hong Kong Chief Secretary Donald Tsang [China Daily report]; selection of a new chief executive by an 800-person committee has been scheduled for July 10th. Tasnag indicated in a televised press conference [RealPlayer video] Saturday that he had been advised by government law officers and Chinese officials that the term of office for the executive to be appointed in July would under Hong Kong's Basic Law be two years, the remainder of Tung's second five-year term. A new election would be held for the next 5-year term in 2007. Tung has been appointed to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference [Chinese government backgrounder], a post typically reserved for retiring officials. AP has more.

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