Political Appointments System In Hong Kong
The Political Appointments System is a scheme introduced in 2008 by the Hong Kong Government to reinforce its ministerial team by superseding the Principal Officials Accountability System and inserting two layers of politically appointed officials below the secretaries, who are political appointees. These appointees reports only to the secretaries, but not the permanent secretaries, the highest-ranking civil servants. The appointment of undersecretaries and political assistants is an extension of the previous RPAS that was initially confined to principal officials. Prior to the introduction, there were 14 political appointees—3 Secretaries of Departments and 11 Directors of Bureaux.
The 24 newly created non-civil-service positions under this system comprise 11 undersecretaries and 13 political assistants. All the posts were created, ostensibly to work closely with bureau secretaries and top civil servants to implement the Chief Executive's policy blueprint and agenda in an executive-led government. Eight new undersecretaries were named on 20 May, and nine political assistant appointments were announced on 22 May 2008.
There was widespread criticism of four aspects of the appointments: the nationality, salary, experience of appointees, and the transparency of the recruitment process. The government admitted that "the announcements were poorly handled". Donald Tsang was forced to make a grudging apology. The public furore led Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to refer to "the recent difficulties", and to urge Tsang to "govern sensibly and reasonably".
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... the criteria for choosing and justification for making each appointment, and for determining their remuneration ... to the things that are important to the people of Hong Kong, especially the livelihood issues," Tsang said ... this whole affair smacks too much of the cronyism which Hong Kong people most fear, not least because it is a precursor of corruption ...
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