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Henry Tang Ying-yen
GBM, GBS, JP
|4th Chief Secretary for Administration|
1 July 2007 – 28 September 2011
|Chief Executive||Donald Tsang|
|Preceded by||Rafael Hui|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Lam|
|3rd Financial Secretary|
5 August 2003 – 30 June 2007
|Preceded by||Antony Leung|
|Succeeded by||John Tsang|
|Chief Executive of Hong Kong|
25 May 2005 – 24 June 2005 (acting)
|Preceded by||Donald Tsang (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Donald Tsang|
|1st Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology|
1 July 2002 – 3 August 2003
|Tung Chee-hwa||Chief Executive|
|Succeeded by||John Tsang|
6 September 1952 |
|Alma mater||University of Michigan (BA)|
Henry Tang Ying-yen, GBM, GBS, JP (born 6 September 1952 in Hong Kong) was the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong until his resignation in September 2011. He was one of the three candidates in the Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2012, where 1200 members of the Election Committee are eligible to vote, but lost to Leung Chun-ying in unprecedented fashion (tsa wo).
Tang's family operated in the textile industry and came from Wuxi, Jiangsu to Hong Kong in 1949. Henry Tang himself was born in Hong Kong in 1952. Tang holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of class of 1975. He is married with four children, three daughters and a son. Tang is also widely rumoured to have an illegitimate child
Tang has extensive ties with PRC leaders. His father Tang Hsiang Chien is a former standing committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the advisory body to the National People's Congress.
Between 1995 and 2001 he served as the Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries. He was also a Committee Member of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and a Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He was also the Chairman of the Provisional Construction Industry Co-ordination Board (PCICB) before joining the government.
Tang has been a member of the Executive Council since the transfer of sovereignty of HK in 1997. He served as a member of the Legislative Council for seven years from 1991 to 1998. He was a member of the Liberal Party, a pro-businessmen and pro-Beijing party, before joining the government.
Tang has also served extensively on various government boards and public bodies, including the Trade Development Council, Town Planning Board, University Grants Committee, and Council of the City University of Hong Kong.
Tang took up his commerce post in July 2002 as part of a line-up of new secretaries aimed at improving the government's transparency. He was promoted from Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology to Finance Secretary on 4 August 2003 replacing Antony Leung. Leung resigned on 16 July 2003 due to allegations of tax evasion in regards to his new car. Tang briefly served from 25 May to 21 June 2005 as acting Chief Executive after Tung Chee Hwa, the former Chief Executive who resigned citing health reasons.
On 25 May 2005, Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration, resigned to stand in the 'by-election' for Chief Executive. Tang served as Acting Chief Executive of HKSAR soon after Tsang's resignation was announced.
On 28 September 2011, in a widely trailed move, Tang resigned from his post, and then in late November announced his candidacy for Chief Executive. He is believed to be preferred by Beijing, and hence many financial heavyweights quickly showed their support for Tang's candidacy, including Former Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong Tung-shun, and Father of Lan Kwai Fong, Allan Zeman. However in polls around the time of his announcement, including the kui hei tsou hai  and for some time afterwards, his main opponent, CY Leung, was leading in public polls. In the final rounds, it is revealed that Tang came in second place, falling to Leung Chun-Ying.
Tang was involved in the Harbour Fest controversy as Chairman of the Economic Relaunch Strategy Group responsible for pushing ahead with the plan to spend $100 million to revive the economy after SARS, and said that he should be held responsible. Tang had said that although Mike Rowse, a senior civil servant, had actually signed the contract, Rowse as such was not required to be held politically responsible. However, during a Working Group meeting on 31 October 2003 and during an independent inquiry in May 2004, Tang allegedly said Rowse had not acted improperly and that there had been no irregularity in the implementation of the event. Tang had also said that all parties had under-estimated the complexity of the event and may have been too ambitious in organising it in such a short timespan. He later withdrew the remark: just before a government inquiry opened on November 2004, Tang requested the ERWG minutes be deleted. Internal governmental disciplinary process fined Rowse for misconduct, but a High Court judge quashed the government ruling on 4 July 2008. Political commentator Frank Ching pointed to the huge credibility gap of the government. He noted that Tang's attempt to shift political responsibility from himself, as the minister responsible, to a senior civil servant, was a travesty of justice for Rowse, and went against the Accountability System.
On 6 March 2010 Tang attended a Youth Summit in Chai Wan organised by the Home Affairs Bureau. A 31-year-old jobless man threw a shoe at Tang and it landed on the stage metres away from him. The man was dragged away by police. The man said he was unemployed after getting fired by a computer company, and the government policies were not helping him. He said he was not a "post-80s" teen, but supported the highspeed rail protest connecting HK to Guangdong. A protester said that the topics discussed in the summit are not those that any young person would be interested in.
On 15 January 2011 Tang attended a Roundtable Institute and gave a speech that targeted the Hong Kong post-80s generation with some controversial comments. He said the young generations need to take responsibilities, and he cautioned them for slamming others because of opposing views. Then he stressed the need to compromise and simplify complicated issues. He further said young people should not close the door and act like emperors. That he doesn't want to see politics lead to a bloodshed, leading to a road of no return and end up like a fatal car crash.
On 21 January Leung Kwok-hung led a group of protesters to a public forum with a toy model car. He then smashed the car in front of Henry Tang to represent a fatal car crash. On 30 January 2011 eight youth groups including Hong Kong Federation of Students marched to New World Development, Li Ka Shing's Cheung Kong Holdings in Central and accused the government of colluding with businesses in maximising profits while squeezing the poor. The students criticised Tang and the government for policies that benefit the upper class only like no real estate tax duty, reduction of wine and profit tax. The students said the whole HK is at the mercy of real estate developers.
On 4 October 2011, in the midst of rumours about his extra-marital affair with Shirley Yuen, his administrative assistant when he was finance secretary of Hong Kong, Henry Tang issued a statement, in which he admitted that he had made a mistake in his romantic life in the past and he deeply regretted it. He said that his wife had forgiven him. His wife said in the statement that there had been difficult times in their relationship and that he has faults, but that she also appreciated his strengths. She acknowledged him as her 'best partner'. National People's Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan said on 7 October 2011 that she didn't know about Mr Tang's now widely publicised infidelity when she offered her support and she refused to rule herself out of standing in the following year's Chief Executive election, though she did not in fact stand.
In February 2012, several Chinese newspapers reported Henry Tang might have had a relationship with Esther Lam, the daughter of Heung Yee Kuk vice-chairman Daniel Lam Wai-keung. Emails supposedly exchanged by the two of them and a picture showing them shoulder against shoulder have been published. Tang denied the reports claiming "we are only casual acquaintances".
Henry Tang is commonly believed to have attended Graduate School at Yale University and to have obtained a Master's degree in Sociology. These were credentials submitted to then HK governor David Wilson in 1991–1992. So far there is no evidence that he did obtain that degree.
Since 13 February 2012, three major Hong Kong presses were reporting the unauthorised building works of Tang's two adjoined residences at York Road, Kowloon Tong. On 16 February 2012 during the inspection by the officials of the Buildings Department, revealing over 2200-square-foot (11 m by 19 m) basement which was not documented in the approved floor plan, Tang admitted at a press conference that he was aware of the construction of an illegal basement at his family house and said that it was his wife's idea. The admission follows several denials, and has provoked widespread criticism "He has lost almost all his credibility, he lied every day," said Ma Ngok, a political sciences professor at the University of Hong Kong to AFP.
The scandal has prompted some of Tang's potential supporters of the 2012 Hong Kong Chief Executive election to review their position. One former supporter said that it was 'unbearable' for Tang to throw the blame onto his wife.
as Secretary for Commerce and Industry
|Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology
as Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting
|Financial Secretary of Hong Kong
|Chief Executive of Hong Kong
25 May 2005 – 21 June 2005
|Chief Secretary for Administration
|Legislative Council of Hong Kong|
|New seat||Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Import and Export constituency
|Replaced by Provisional Legislative Council|
|Order of precedence|
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
|Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal