Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (March 11):
It has been reported that the Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre (Shaolin Centre), which had once been very prosperous and attracted many lovers of martial arts and tourists from around the world to enrol and visit, lost its attraction before the Chinese New Year due to management problems. All the Shaolin monks who taught martial arts there have left, all martial arts classes have been suspended, and even the special vegetarian meal services which are very popular with tourists have nearly stopped. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) given that the Home Affairs Bureau's aim of supporting the development of the Shaolin Centre in Tai O a few years ago was to promote the culture and spirit of Chinese traditional Shaolin martial arts, and make it blend with the natural scenery of Tai O to become a unique tourist attraction, whether the authorities have kept in view and followed up the management and operation of the Shaolin Centre since its opening in 2006; if so, of the situation in this regard; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) whether the authorities will provide assistance to enable the Shaolin Centre to restore smooth operation, so as to continue to promote martial arts as well as foster the tourism and economy of Tai O; and
(c) given that it has been reported that the Hong Kong Shaolin Temple is applying to the Government for allocation of a 50 000-square-metre site for the construction of a temple and a Shaolin park, which are of a scale comparable to the Shaolin Temple in Songshan, Henan Province, so as to provide opportunities for people to learn martial arts and practise meditation in Hong Kong, whether the authorities will equally support this plan actively in order to promote Shaolin martial art culture; if so, how they ensure the smooth implementation of the plan and prevent the recurrence of circumstances similar to the near paralysis of the operation of the Shaolin Centre?
The Administration's reply to the respective parts of the question is set out below:
(a) & (b) Since the Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre (the Centre) commenced to operate in 2006, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has maintained liaison with its operator, the Hong Kong Culture Association Limited (HKCAL). HKCAL has already publicly clarified that the allegations that the Centre is no longer in operation as reported by the media are not true; and
(c) If an organisation requires land to build facilities for government, institution or community uses, including religious use, the Government would provide assistance based on the actual situation of each case. With regard to the Hong Kong Shaolin Temple's application for land to construct a temple, the Home Affairs Bureau is studying the proposal in detail and has requested the Hong Kong Shaolin Temple to provide further information on relevant issues. If the information provided by the applicant indicates that the project possesses the necessary conditions for further deliberation, the Planning Department would conduct a site search. Based on the result of the site search, Hong Kong Shaolin Temple may apply to the Lands Department (LandsD) for granting of land. LandsD would consult relevant policy bureaux and departments in processing the application. If the application is approved, the lease conditions would stipulate the specific uses of the site concerned and include the clauses on "commence to operate" and "cessation and diminution of user" to ensure that the land granted would be put to appropriate use.
Ends/Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 12:06