John Tsang Chun-wah
Tsang at the Financial Times 125th Anniversary Party in Hong Kong in 2013
|Financial Secretary of Hong Kong|
1 July 2007
|Chief Executive||Donald Tsang
|Preceded by||Henry Tang|
|Secretary for Development
12 July 2012 – 29 July 2012
|Preceded by||Mak Chai-kwong|
|Succeeded by||Paul Chan|
|Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology|
4 August 2003 – 24 January 2006
|Preceded by||Henry Tang|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Wong|
21 April 1951 |
British Hong Kong
|Alma mater||MIT School of Architecture and Planning
Boston State College
John Tsang Chun-wah, GBM, JP (Chinese: 曾俊華; 21 April 1951) is the current Financial Secretary of Hong Kong. His responsibility is to assist the Chief Executive of Hong Kong in overseeing policy formulation and implementation in financial, monetary, economic, trade and employment matters. He exercises control over the Exchange Fund, with the assistance of the Monetary Authority. He is a member of the Executive Council. In an annual budget speech, he outlines the move to any appropriation bill.
Early life and education
Tsang's great grandfather was from Taishan, Guangzhou. He made his fortune as a Chinese labour worked in San Francisco. His grandfather was a well-off Chinese physician-turned-businessman. His father, Tsang Chuek-ho, was the eldest children of eight. Graduated from normal schools, Tsang Chuek-ho and his wife planned to move to the United States, where his sister was living, through Hong Kong in the 1940s. While waiting for the immigration process, the family settled in Hong Kong and had four children. John Tsang, the eldest child, was born in Hong Kong on 21 April 1951.
Tsang, a Roman Catholic, was a secondary school student at La Salle College in Hong Kong. In 1965 when he was 13, Tsang and his family moved to the United States. He first resided on the 8th Street in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City. He was enrolled to the Stuyvesant High School in the following year, from which he graduated in 1969. Eric Holder, the first African-American Attorney General of the United States, is his classmate.
He then studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a master's degree in bilingual education from Boston State College and a MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Through his teens and twenties, Tsang lived in the United States. In November 1982 he returned to Hong Kong after working with Boston Public School and joined the civil service, reportedly at the suggestion of Donald Tsang, with whom he became friends when they were at Harvard together. His first position was a two-year stint as Assistant District Officer for Shatin. He went on to positions in the former Finance Branch, Monetary Affairs Branch and the former Trade Department. From 1987 to 1992, he was first Administrative Assistant to then Financial Secretary, Sir Piers Jacobs.
He was Assistant Director-General of Trade from 1992 to 1995 and Private Secretary to the former Governor, Chris Patten, from March 1995 to June 1997. In July 1997, Tsang was appointed Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London. In 1999 he returned from London and assumed the office of Commissioner of Customs and Excise. Before the Principal Officials Accountability System was introduced in July 2002, Tsang was Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands from 2001 to 2002.
From August 2003 Tsang was Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology. In this role he was also Chair of the Sixth Ministerial Conference (MC6) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December 2005. For his outstanding performance in the WTO, he even earned praise from Chinese president Hu Jintao.
In 2009, Tsang suffered a health scare on his return from a G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. On 27 September he was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital with a coronary artery blockage and underwent an angioplasty operation. He recovered and was discharged from hospital on 3 October, assuring the media that the operation would not affect his work.
In 1998 and 1999 Donald Tsang, representing the Hong Kong government, met with Richard Li, chairman of Pacific Century Group regarding the Cyberport construction project. On 2 March 1999 both signed a document that said PCG would occupy 20–50% of the total office space within the first five years of Cyberport. Under a "take-up guarantee", PCG was required to pay the 50% rent if not enough tenants showed up. In exchange, PCG would be allowed to occupy as much as 50% of the government-owned IT infrastructure.
In 2000 the take-up was suddenly dropped by the government. (Cyberport struggled to attract tenants, and was becoming unpopular with the dot-com bubble problem.) Democratic Party member Lee Wing-tat demanded that records of meetings between Donald Tsang and Richard Li should be revealed to show PCG was not colluded with the government. John Tsang strongly defended Donald Tsang to not reveal anything.
2011 budget demonstration
On 23 February 2011, John Tsang delivered the annual 2011–2012 HK Budget summary. The HK government was under pressure to give some of the money back to the community. After trying to move the surplus into a Mandatory Provident Fund, citizens began complaining. About 10,000 protesters showed up at Central to demonstrate. The mismanagement of the funds opened a number of controversies.
In January 2011 HK government's IT chief information officer Jeremy Godfrey stepped down from his job for "personal reasons". On 10, May 2011 in a letter to the Legislative Council, he said those personal reasons were not real, and that the real reason he quit was related to Elizabeth Tse (謝曼怡) and John Tsang. It turns out there were arguments over the implementation of the Internet Learning Support Program (ILSP). It was revealed that Tse and Tsang forced the HK$220 million contract to be awarded to a company called iProA. The company turned out to be founded by Elizabeth Quat, a member of the pro-Beijing DAB. Tsang responded that the accusations were ridiculous and absurd. Godfrey has since stated that Quat herself had nothing to do with the ILSP controversy, but said the IT decision was politicised.
- Gov.hk. "Gov.hk." Member of executive council. Retrieved on 27 March 2011.
- Tsang, John (10 April 2016). "奇遇". Financial Secretary's Office.
- "Mr John Tsang Chun-wah, GBM, JP, Financial Secretary". GovHK. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department – Issue 6 (1999 June)". Customs.gov.hk. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "John Tsang will get WTO reward with new posting". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Civil Service Newsletter Issue 60". Csb.gov.hk. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "Three HK officials named to new posts". English.gov.cn. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "Statement by Government Spokesman Issued at HKT 01:11". Press Releases. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- "John Tsang recovers, leaves hospital". news.gov.hk. Information Services Department, HKSAR. 3 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- 財政司司長會見傳媒談話內容（只有中文）（附短片）. 香港特區政府新聞公報 (in Chinese). 3 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- "SAR firm on Cyberport deal secrecy – Metro Section". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Legco.gov.hk. "Legco.gov.hk." Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting. Retrieved on 27 March 2011.
- Legco.gov.hk. "Legco.gov.hk." Legco finance committee to scrutinize the 2011–12 budget next week. Retrieved on 27 March 2011.
- "HK Citizens Protest Against Government's $6000 Giveaway | AX3 | Global Asian Lifestyle + Pop Culture Webzine". Ax3battery.com. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "Former top official warned in net row". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Whistle-blower tells of HK$220m deal pressure". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Godfrey, Jeremy. "ILSP selection: No complaint about Elizabeth Quat". Ilsp.blogspot.com. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Mr John Tsang Chun-wah, JP, Financial Secretary – official biography
- Financial Secretary's office
- Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau home page
- Financial Secretary's blog
|Secretary for Planning and Lands
as Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands
|Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology
|Financial Secretary of Hong Kong
|Director of the Chief Executive's Office
|Commissioner of Customs and Excise
|Order of precedence|
Chief Secretary for Administration
|Hong Kong order of precedence
Financial Secretary of Hong Kong
Secretary for Justice