Transcript of remarks by CS at press conference in Beijing on Hong Kong Palace Museum (with photo/video)
Reporter: In the past hour, I was just reading some of the social media comments and a lot of people were very shocked about the sudden announcement of having, you know, an icon of Beijing's heritage being installed in the heart of Hong Kong. So can you briefly tell us why you did not see the need for any kind of public consultation before this announcement? And when it is scheduled to be completed in 2022, do you have any plan to inaugurate the opening as Hong Kong's Chief Executive at this stage? Thank you very much.
Chief Secretary for Administration: Well, thank you very much for the question. I would have thought that many Hong Kong people should be very excited about this project, the Hong Kong Palace Museum. As I have explained, in recent years Hong Kong is really pressing ahead to become a cultural metropolis. We have been investing in hardware and software, in talents' nurturing, and also in building the audience; so to have the Hong Kong Palace Museum actually complements all the things that we have been doing. And it also builds on the very strong and solid co-operation that we have had with the Palace Museum over these years. You will recall that every time we have a blockbuster exhibition of the Palace Museum treasures in Hong Kong, it was very well received by the people of Hong Kong. So, to have venue which will provide prominent display and exhibition of the Palace Museum treasures, I'm sure it will be very much welcomed by the people of Hong Kong.
Reporter: Can you explain the rationale behind not seeking funding approval from LegCo? Is it because the Government wants to bypass LegCo, and that's why it seeks funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club? And in what way do you think the Palace Museum project can, you know, complement the WKCD? Thank you.
Chief Secretary of Administration: Well, on the second question, I have already elaborated on the four respective purposes of having the Hong Kong Palace Museum in Hong Kong. First, it will of course complement and enrich the content of this major cultural district in Hong Kong, because of the many cultural facilities in the West Kowloon Cultural District. As far as visual arts is concerned, we only have the M+ museum, and also a small-scale M+ Pavilion. But now we'll have a second museum, which is the Palace Museum. The complementarity is very obvious, because one is contemporary art, one is ancient art pieces. Also, culture is not just art for appreciation - it also contributes to Hong Kong's economy. That's why I have given you the figure that in the last five years, on an annual basis, this particular sector has been growing at a rate of 11.6 per cent, and its total contribution to Hong Kong's gross domestic product is now 5 per cent, which is as much as tourism. With that potential, we should have the Hong Kong Palace Museum - it actually serves Hong Kong's purposes very well.
As far as funding is concerned, you have seen from my presentation that the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has been supporting collaborations between Hong Kong SAR Government and the Palace Museum on all the Palace Museum exhibitions brought to Hong Kong over the yeas. And next year is Hong Kong celebrating the 20th anniversary. So it came to my mind that, at the 10th anniversary celebration, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust devoted a huge sum of money to revitalise the Central Police Station complex. So, for the 20th anniversary, the idea came up that perhaps the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust would like to give another major gift to the people of Hong Kong. When approached, the Chairman and the Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club were very, very supportive of this idea. So, if the money is forthcoming from the Charities Trust, then of course we are very happy to receive that major donation and get the project off the ground. There is no question of what you described as bypassing the Legislative Council. I think where government funds are needed for the Government to discharge our responsibility and carry out certain policy initiatives, we will continue to work with the Legislative Council. But this project is unique. We have the Central Government's support to celebrate the 20th anniversary, we have the full support of the Palace Museum to lend us the treasures, and we have the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to give us the money, so it is a very unique project in all respects that gives me the confidence that we should be able to deliver this project successfully and timely according to our schedule.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, December 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 23:18
Issued at HKT 23:18