China supports Margaret Chan's candidacy for WHO general
Updated: 2006-09-18 18:58

BEIJING -- China reiterated its full backing for Margaret Chan's candidacy for the position of director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) here Monday, adding the preparatory work is well under way.

State councilor Tang Jiaxuan told Chan the central government attached great importance to her bid and fully supported her candidacy.

Chan currently serves as WHO assistant director-general for communicable diseases. The election for director-general will take place in November this year.

Tang said the government believed Chan was fully competent for the position with her outstanding talents and rich experience.

At present, the preparatory work was going well and quite efficiently, Tang said, expressing his hope Chan would make persistent efforts for final success.

Chan said she would prepare well for the election campaign, vowing to do her utmost to make greater a contribution to world health development if she succeeded.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also met with Margaret Chan on Sunday and expressed his hope that she would make persistent efforts based on the preparatory work and successfully run for the top WHO position.

Li said the WHO undertook responsibility for safeguarding health around the world, and the government actively supported Chan's bid.

In 1994, Dr. Chan was appointed as the first female Director of Health in Hong Kong and gained experience in combating infectious diseases like avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

In 2003, she joined the WHO as 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.

Thirteen candidates are in the running and the winner will replace Lee Jong-Wook of South Korea, who died suddenly in May.