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China backs Margaret Chan as WHO chief: official
2006-07-28 06:42:04 Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese official said on Friday that the central government endorses Margaret Chan from Hong Kong in her bid to become Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The central government believes the election is very important," said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai.

China announced on Tuesday it will recommend Margaret Chan in the election for WHO Director-General.

Chan, who currently serves as WHO Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases, is now in Beijing to hold discussions with officials, according to a statement posted on Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

The election for new director-general will be held in November this year.

"We believe Margaret Chan would help the organization play a more active role in the health sector on the world stage if she were elected WHO Director-General," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

A resume posted on the WHO website said that Chan obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978 and was appointed Director of Health in 1994.

During her nine-year tenure as Hong Kong's health director, Chan built up the core competencies of Hong Kong's public health, particularly, in its ability to combat emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases.

In 2003, Chan joined the WHO and worked as WHO's Director of the Department of Protection of the Human Environment.

In June 2005, she was appointed Director of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response as well as Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza, a job that has put her on the front line in the struggle against bird flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The WHO Executive Board decided in May on a November timetable for electing a new director-general for the organization. The election follows the sudden death of WHO's former Director-General. Dr LEE Jong-wook, who passed away on 22 May. Leewas from the Republic of Korea. Enditem

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