Anson Chan

Anson Chan The Honourable Anson Chan retired in early 2001 as the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government after nearly forty years' service. As Chief Secretary, she headed the 190,000-strong civil service and was the principal adviser to Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Mr. Tung Chee Hwa. After the Chief Executive, she was the most senior government official in the HKSAR. She advised the Chief Executive on all policy matters and deputised for him during his absence.

Mrs. Chan's appointment as Chief Secretary in November, 1993 was especially significant for two reasons - she was the first woman and the first Chinese to hold the post after 150 years of British predecessors. She retained her role and position after Hong Kong's reunification with China on July 1, 1997 and made a significant contribution to stability and continuity in the early years after the handover.

Mrs. Chan has held many senior positions dealing with finance, the economy, commerce, industry, the civil service, and social services. From 1987 to 1993, she was the Secretary for Economic Services, a key cabinet-level post, in which she oversaw the development of Hong Kong's physical infrastructure, including major port expansion, the construction of a new international airport and its associated road, rail, bridge, housing, and commercial components; the liberalisation of the telecommunications market, as well as having policy oversight of tourism, energy supply, and public utilities.

Mrs. Chan was born in Shanghai in 1940 and moved with her family to Hong Kong in 1948. She graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and English Literature. She holds Honorary Degrees from Hong Kong University, Liverpool University, Tufts University in Massachusetts, the Open University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Sheffield, an Honorary Professorship at Jiao Tong University, Shanghai and an Honorary Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.

Mrs. Chan was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992. In July 1999 she was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the HKSAR's highest honour in recognition of her life-long and dedicated service for the well-being of Hong Kong, and her outstanding contribution to Hong Kong's smooth transition. In September 2002, she was appointed an unofficial Justice of the Peace. She was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be an honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George in November, 2002 in recognition of her service in the Hong Kong Government before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.