LCQ3: Enhancing Hong Kong's international image through postage stamps
There are views that postage stamps are the name cards of a country or region, as demonstrated in the Ukrainian authorities' recent issuance of a set of military-themed postage stamps of which more than 5 million sets have been hotly sold worldwide. In view of this, the Hongkong Post (HKP) should take on a new mission of the new era, and present a good narrative about Hong Kong through the stamps it issues, thereby enhancing Hong Kong's international image. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the stamps issued by the HKP in the past five years (set out by the themes of such stamps), and an illustration of the popularity of such stamps by their sales volume as an indicator;
(2) whether the HKP will, in view of the changes of time, step up its public engagement efforts in respect of the theme selection and design of stamps; and
(3) whether the HKP will, by making reference to the relevant advanced experience of the motherland and other countries, make bolder and more beneficial new attempts in respect of the theme selection and design of stamps, in an effort to publicise through the stamps Hong Kong's economic achievements and development opportunities, thereby enhancing Hong Kong's international image; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Stamps has a long history of development. Although the public regard stamps as just designs that come in different sizes of squares, stamps actually reflect the many facets of the places of issue in terms of their history, culture, livelihood, economy and society despite the limits of their size. Since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Hongkong Post (HKP) has continuously released stamp series to pro-actively promote the successful implementation of "one country, two systems" and publicise Hong Kong’s integration into the overall development of the Country which brings about new opportunities; and to present a good narrative about Hong Kong and enhance Hong Kong's international image.
My reply regarding the three sub-questions raised by Hon Ng, having consulted the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau which oversees postal policy, and the HKP, is as follows:
(1) The special/commemorative stamps issued by the HKP in the recent five years (2018-2022) can be grouped under eight categories according to their themes, namely, (i) Lunar New Year special stamps; (ii) major events of the year; (iii) series related to the Country; (iv) joint issue with China Post and the Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau; (v) government services; (vi) children stamps; (vii) other themes and (viii) "Heartwarming" stamps.
As regards the above categories, the HKP has issued 67 sets of stamps in recent five years in total, including:
- five sets of stamps under (i) Lunar New Year;
- 13 sets of stamps under (ii) major events of the year, including "The 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" and "The 25th Anniversary of the Stationing of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong";
- ten sets of stamps under (iii) series related to the Country, including our motherland's history of development, World Heritage in China Series, etc.;
- one set of stamps on "Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge" under (iv) issued jointly with the China Post and the Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau;
- five sets of stamps under (v) government services, including "Our Police Force";
- two sets of stamps under (vi) Children Stamps;
- 30 sets of stamps under (vii) other topics covering culture, arts and traditions; and
- one set of (viii) "Heartwarming" stamps.
The sales of individual sets of stamps are affected by different factors such as the themes, the types of stamp products issued, and the face values. Amongst the more popular stamp categories, the sales volume of Lunar New Year stamps (category (i)) generally amounts to 20 to 30 million dollars; the sales volume of the series related to the Country (category (iii)) generally amounts to six million dollars. As regards individual popular themes, the sales volumn of "The 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China" reached 12 million dollars. The sales volumes of other themes (category (vii)) generally amounts to six million dollars, where is individual popular stamp themes related to classic characters or novels such as "Bruce Lee's Legacy in the World of Martial Arts" and "Characters in Jin Yong's Novels" reached 25 million and 41 million dollars respectively.
(2) The HKP has been encouraging different public sectors and the public to participate in the stamp themes and designs. They are welcomed to submit proposals on stamp themes. Besides, the HKP also seeks ideas and supportives on stamp themes from government bureaux/departments, local organisations, statutory bodies and institutions, universities and schools, etc.
In the recent five years, the HKP received about 60 to 70 suggestions on stamp themes on average per year, of which around 20 suggestions were submitted by members of the public. The Stamp Advisory Committee adopted a number of stamp themes suggested by members of the public, for example, the "Chess Games Delight" under category (vi) children stamps and "Characters in Jin Yong's Novels" and "Old Master Q" under category (vii) other themes.
To step up public participation in stamp designs, the HKP regularly organised stamp design competitions. In addition, since 2000 and just before the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019, the HKP had been organising, with the Education Bureau as the co-organiser, annually the Inter-School Stamp Exhibits Competition, as well as workshops on making stamp exhibits with various local philatelic societies with a view to fostering interest of the public on philately.
(3) In recent years, the HKP has issued stamps under a wide variety of themes to showcase the various characteristics and development of Hong Kong, which include the following:
(i) since the return of Hong Kong to our motherland, the HKP has issued a set of stamps on the series every five years to showcase the diversified development of Hong Kong since its return to the motherland, for example, "The 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" commemorative stamps to be issued on July 1 this year;
(ii) to publicise the commissioning of large-scale infrastructure projects, the HKP issued "Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge" stamps series to commemorate its commissioning;
(iii) to showcase the advantages for the development of Hong Kong under the "one country, two systems" and our motherland’s support, the HKP has released a special stamp issue depicting "Hong Kong · International Legal Hub" to signify the establishment of the legal hub. On June 30 this year, the special stamps under the theme of "Hong Kong Palace Museum" will be issued to showcase the precious collections from the Palace Museum and promote the study and appreciation of the Country's arts and culture by members of the public; and
(iv) to promote the new development opportunities brought by Hong Kong's proactive integration into the overall national development, the HKP has issued "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" special stamps and "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development" special stamps, featuring the strategic functions of Hong Kong on taking forward the development of the Greater Bay Area and the 3rd anniversary of the publication of the Outline Development Plan of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Looking forward, the HKP will, through the release of stamps on various themes, continue to make proactive efforts to promote Hong Kong's integration into the Country's development and demonstrate the great advantages it has in leveraging the support of the Country while engaging the world at large.
Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:55
Issued at HKT 15:55