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LCQ16: Chinese Temples Ordinance

     Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (January 18):


     It has been reported by the media earlier that at least 17 private columbaria which were operated in the name of temples had not been registered with the Government as Chinese temples in accordance with the requirement under the Chinese Temples Ordinance (Cap. 153) (the Ordinance). According to the reply made by the Secretary for Home Affairs to my written question at the Legislative Council meeting on December 8, 2010, the authorities would review the Ordinance from time to time to ensure that it could meet the present-day needs of the community. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that under section 5 of the Ordinance, any Chinese temple shall be registered with the Government, of the number of newly registered Chinese temples in the past 10 years; and the number of registered Chinese temples at present;

(b) apart from temples which are directly administered by the Chinese Temples Committee or those administered with its entrustment, whether the Government seeks financial statements or operating accounts from the various registered Chinese temples on a regular basis; if it does, of the operating income and expenditure as well as surpluses recorded by the various registered Chinese temples in each of the past five years; if no such accounts were sought, the reasons for that;

(c) whether the Government had received any complaint in the past five years about temples being operated without registration under the Ordinance; if it had, of the number of complaints and details of the follow-up work;

(d) whether the Government had taken law enforcement actions in accordance with the Ordinance in the past five years against temples which were not registered under the Ordinance; if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(e) whether the Government will investigate, take law enforcement actions against and ban at least the 17 temples disclosed by the media; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(f) given that the authorities indicated in the past that they would review the Ordinance, whether the authorities consider that it is now the appropriate time to review the Ordinance; if so, whether the authorities have formulated the work-plan and timetable for the review; if not, of the reasons for that?



(a) In the past ten years, four Chinese temples were newly registered under the Chinese Temples Ordinance (Cap. 153) (CTO). Currently, there are a total of 346 registered Chinese temples.

(b) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region respects the autonomy of religious organisations. It is not the intention of the Chinese Temples Committee (the Committee) to monitor the operation of Chinese temples other than those directly administered by the Committee or managed by delegated organisations.

(c) and (d) In the past five years, the Home Affairs Bureau and the Committee received a total of 18 cases relating to suspected operations of temple without registration under the CTO.

     As the CTO was enacted in 1928 according to the needs at that time, the social circumstances have changed nowadays. The Committee has not applied the provisions under CTO to take actions against those temples operating without registration under the CTO in the past five years. Any possible violation(s) against other Ordinance(s) by those temples will be followed up by the relevant Government department(s).

(e) and (f) The Administration is currently reviewing the CTO. It is estimated that the review will be concluded by the end of 2012. The Administration will decide on the way forward after the review is concluded.

Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 11:23


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