ANSON CHAN retired as the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in 2001, after nearly forty years of service. As Chief Secretary, she headed the 190,000-strong civil service. She was the first woman and the first Chinese to hold the second-highest governmental position in Hong Kong. During her career in the public service she was responsible, amongst other things, for development of Hong Kong’s economic infrastructure including the planning and construction of Hong Kong’s new international airport, which opened in July 1998, port expansion and deregulation of the telecommunications market.
For the past ten years, Mrs. Chan has played a prominent role in the campaign for full universal suffrage for election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and all members of the Legislature. In December 2007 she stood as a candidate in a by-election for a seat in the Legislative Council and won by a convincing margin. Mrs. Chan is well known for her stand on transparent and accountable government, on democracy and on safeguarding the rights and freedoms enshrined in the “one country, two systems” concept that applies to Hong Kong. She is the Convenor of Hong Kong 2020, a small think tank concerned with democracy and governance issues and a founding director of Project Citizens Foundation Ltd. This Foundation promotes civic awareness and participation and educates the public, particularly the younger generation, on the need to protect Hong Kong’s core values, rule of law and basic rights and freedoms under “one country, two systems”.
In addition to holding a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English and English Literature from the University of Hong Kong, she has been awarded 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.
She is a recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal: the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s highest honour and is an honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, an honour conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Mrs. Chan also holds the title of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion d’Honneur, an honour conferred by the President of France.