Chief Executive John Lee and his top ministers on Thursday paid tribute to the late former president Jiang Zemin at the central government's liaison office in Western.
Former CEs CY Leung and Carrie Lam, executive councillors and legislators were also at the mourning hall set up at the liaison office to pay their respects.
They bowed to a portrait of Jiang and left after a brief stay.
Above Jiang’s photo hung a banner that wrote, “We mourn Comrade Jiang Zemin in great grief”.
After paying homage to the late former state leader, National People’s Congress Standing Committee member Tam Yiu-chung told reporters he came to the mourning hall with a heavy heart.
“President Jiang Zemin had been very caring and supportive of Hong Kong. He attended the ceremony in 1997 marking Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule and made a speech that encouraged many of us,” he said.
“We will always remember his great contribution to the nation and the care and help he offered for Hong Kong. Like President Xi said, we will carry on with his legacy, we will unite different sectors in Hong Kong to contribute to the rejuvenation of the nation,” said Tam.
Outside the liaison office, a long queue of people waited to lay down flowers to express their condolences.
A young student told RTHK that he was grateful for Jiang’s efforts in developing the country's economy.
“I think he is a great leader. He made huge economic progress in China which benefited our generation and gave us the opportunities to see the world,” he said.
“It was the good old age for China," another mourner said. “It was in his term the socialist market economy was built. The market economy is a basic foundation for democracy. Without that, we can no longer pursue a progressive China.”
A woman spoke about Jiang's strong support for the SAR.
“During the financial crisis, he showed great support to Hong Kong society and stood behind all of the people in Hong Kong… especially the economy,” she said.