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Tung calls in media experts

Irene Yau, who headed the information department of Chris Patten's Hong Kong administration until yesterday, will start work today sorting out the rather chaotic media relations of Tung Chee-hwa, who will head Hong Kong's first post-colonial government.

Announcing the appointment yesterday, Mr Tung said that Mrs Yau would be of "immense value" to his office, which has become notorious for its unresponsive media relations.

Mrs Yau, a veteran government media official who has good relations with the media, will head a new team that largely consists of other former government information officers. She was due to retire, but has been pressed back into service.

Mr Tung has made it clear that he intends to focus most of his media effort on the local press. But he broke the ice with the foreign media by giving an interview to CNN television. Foreign reporters requesting interviews have been asked to submit any articles written about the new chief executive for vetting.

As well as appointing Mrs Yau, Mr Tung has managed to second Michael Suen, the Secretary for Home Affairs, to oversee policy co-ordination. Mr Patten originally refused to allow his policy secretaries to be seconded, but has relented in the face of the overwhelming pressure from civil servants who want to join the new order.