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LCQ15: Promoting Confucian ideology and values
     Following is a question by the Hon Ma Fung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):
     At present, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism are the major religions in Hong Kong. Confucianism advocates the teachings and ideology of Confucius. The Chief Executive said in 2014 that Confucius, being referred to as "the model teacher for ten thousand ages", had far-reaching influence upon Chinese history and society, and it was worth the efforts to disseminate and promote the five virtues of "benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and integrity" advocated by Confucius, which were the core values of the Chinese nation. The Government has endorsed the third Sunday of September as "Confucian Day" since 2014. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) given that a Confucian leader has proposed to make "Confucian Day" an additional general holiday each year, to be offset by deleting "Easter Monday" so as to make the total number of days of general holidays each year unchanged, and it is learnt that such proposal is supported by the leaders of the other five major religions, whether the authorities will consider such proposal and conduct a public consultation exercise accordingly, so as to collect public views and seek a consensus in society in this respect; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(2) of the measures in place to promote Confucian ideology and values?
     After consulting the Home Affairs Bureau, my reply to the question raised by the Hon Ma Fung-kwok is as follows:
(1) General holidays are specified in the Schedule to the General Holidays Ordinance (GHO) (Cap. 149). The existing arrangements have been formulated after years of extensive consultation. Any proposed amendment to the GHO would have significant implications for different quarters in the community. There must be broad-based support and clear consensus of the community before it can be pursued. Since there is yet to be a broad demand for designating "Confucian Day" as a general holiday to be offset by deleting "Easter Monday" in the community, we need to handle the matter carefully.
(2) The Government respects the freedom of beliefs and welcomes different religious bodies to organise memorial and celebration activities during respective religious festivals.
     The teachings of Confucianism have been the core values in Chinese society. Every year, Confucian bodies in Hong Kong organise celebration activities for the birthday of Confucius such as ceremonies to worship Confucius and music recitals for citizens to learn about the thoughts of Confucius and the culture of Confucianism. The Government also supports Confucian bodies to designate, since 2014, the third Sunday of September as "Confucian Day" to mark the birthday of Confucius and spread the Confucianism culture.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:30
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