Amid worries he will push for controversial national security legislation to go on the books, the new director of Beijing's liaison office, Zhang Xiaoming, says he will support the SAR government in line with the law.
The pledge came in a written statement yesterday, with Zhang saying Beijing continues to back the principle of one country, two systems.
Zhang, who was at the liaison office in Western a day after his new posting was announced, is more experienced in SAR matters than his predecessors, having worked in the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office for 26 years. Among his jobs there was the post of deputy director.
Zhang recently wrote an article claiming "external forces" meddled in elections here and called on the SAR to pass the security law required under Article 23 of the Basic Law.
Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Civic Party, noted his arrival by hoping he "learns in a humble manner" that Hong Kong people cherish rights and freedom.
If Zhang only emphasizes Beijing powers, he added, the one country, two systems approach will be undermined.
And Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan fears Zhang will indeed push for national security legislation.
Meanwhile, Zhang predecessor Peng Qinghua said in an open letter that unity makes the SAR resilient in the face of challenges.
Peng, in the liaison office for nine years, becomes Guangxi party secretary.