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LCQ1: Developing into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange
     Following is a question by the Hon Kenneth Fok and a reply by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (October 26):
     The National 14th Five-Year Plan has expressed clear support for Hong Kong to develop into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. To tie in with the Plan, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will formulate a long-term development blueprint on arts and culture andconsider, upon drawing reference from the practice of the Korea Creative Content Agency, setting up a statutory body dedicated to the management and co-ordination of arts and cultural policies, so as to actively take forward the development of the industries and integrate the industries with highly efficient markets, thereby promoting Chinese culture overseas;
(2) as there are views that there is a shortage of talents in Hong Kong's arts industry, and the Government should adopt a twin-track measure for nurturing local talents on the one hand, and reviewing the schemes for importing relevant talents from outside Hong Kong on the other, of the Government's short, medium and long-term measures in place to attract outstanding Mainland and overseas talents in the arts industry to come to Hong Kong; and
(3) as there are views that the popularisation of culture is the foundation for establishing a cultural hub, whether the Government will consider increasing the number of courses on experiencing and appreciating arts and culture in primary and secondary schools, and setting standard learning hours and enhancing teachers' qualifications for such courses; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     The National 14th Five-Year Plan has expressed clear support for Hong Kong to develop into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. This has not only manifested our Country's expectation of Hong Kong, but also given full recognition to the flourishing and diverse growth of arts, culture and creative industries in Hong Kong over the past years and provided the sector with continuous development opportunities.
     The Government has been committed to developing arts, culture and creative industries and has formulated clear policies for that. At the same time, the Government has formulated strategic directions for and provided substantial funding to support the development of Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. In 2022-23, the Government's recurrent expenditure on arts and cultural development exceeds $5.9 billion, representing an almost 40 per cent increase over the $4.3 billion in 2017-18. My reply to the three parts of the question raised by the Hon Kenneth Fok is as follows:
(1) As I have just mentioned, the Government has all along had clear policies as well as supporting measures and resources in place for the development of the arts, culture and creative industries. In 2009, the Government set up Create Hong Kong to provide dedicated support to promote the eight major creative industries in Hong Kong, including film, digital entertainment, advertising, publishing and printing industries, etc. There are both similarities and differences between the areas of work of Create Hong Kong and the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) mentioned in the question. For example, Create Hong Kong is responsible for supporting both the film and television industries while the work of the KOCCA does not cover the film industry. As interactive exchanges and learning with other jurisdictions are essential for the development of the arts, culture and creative industries, the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau recently sent delegates to Korea for in-person exchanges with different arts and culture organisations (including KOCCA) in September this year. We will continue to tap into the experience of both sides in the development of arts, culture and creative industries, connect with the industries and promote their development.
     The Government has strived to create a comprehensive ecosystem for the arts, culture and creative industries. Hong Kong is the home base of a number of globally acclaimed business platforms for arts, culture and creative industries, including some famous global visual arts exhibitions as well as the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market which provides the film industry with business opportunities. Furthermore, we will organise the first Hong Kong Performing Arts Market in 2024 which will serve as an important platform for performing arts groups and practitioners to find business or collaboration opportunities and foster more favourable conditions for industry building.
     As announced in the Policy Address, I will establish the Culture Commission to offer advice and recommendations on ways to enhance the policies on the development of arts, culture and creative industries, and to assist in formulating a Blueprint for Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Development so as to refine our policy on and create the ecosystem for the industries.
(2) Talents have always been a crucial element in the development of arts, culture and creative industries. Apart from nurturing talents to provide opportunities and career pathways for young people aspiring to join the arts, culture and creative industries, we have to, at the same time, attract talents and draw together talents of different cultural backgrounds to provide a fertile training ground for further elevating the standard of arts, culture and creative industries.
     On nurturing talents, it is promulgated in this years Policy Address that the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts should examine its positioning and role in nurturing arts and cultural talents in Hong Kong and even the Greater Bay Area in the long run and consider establishing another campus in the Northern Metropolis and raising the proportion of non-local students.  The Policy Address also announced the provision of funding support for emerging arts groups and artists that have never received public subsidies, as well as the implementation of a new programme to sponsor graduates to undertake internships in the West Kowloon Cultural District and arts groups, so as to facilitate their entry to the industries after graduation.
     As regards attracting overseas talents, creative industries and performing arts professionals around the world are eligible for immigration facilitation under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS). Furthermore, under the Pilot Scheme on Immigration Facilitation for Visitors Participating in Short-term Activities in Designated Sectors implemented since June 2022, immigration facilitation will be provided to short-term visitors participating in arts and cultural activities organised by authorised host organisations in Hong Kong through waiving the requirement to apply for employment visas/entry permits, thereby attracting more high-calibre arts talents from overseas to Hong Kong.
     The initiatives to "compete for talents" as proposed in the Policy Address this year, which include relaxing the stay arrangements under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates; suspend the annual quota under QMAS; and establish the Talents Service Unit, will further attract and facilitate talents in arts, culture and creative industries to work in Hong Kong.
(3) Arts Education is an integral part of primary and secondary school curriculum and is one of the eight Key Learning Areas. The current curriculum guides stipulate the learning time for Arts Education and that schools should, for instance, allocate 10 to 15 per cent and 8 to 10 per cent of the total lesson time to Arts Education at the primary and junior secondary levels respectively. Schools can also flexibly allocate a certain percentage of the total lesson time. Music and Visual Arts, which include learning elements of experiencing and appreciating arts and culture, are generally offered as subjects in primary and secondary schools.
     Schools generally provide students with exposure to other art forms, such as drama, media arts and dance, outside classroom through life-wide learning to organically integrate learning and teaching activities within and beyond lessons. Many schools arrange students to visit exhibitions and museums, attend arts performances, and participate in orchestras, inter-school competitions and community arts activities, etc. Besides, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and arts organisations often organise cultural and arts educational programmes and activities.
     Regarding teacher training, the Education Bureau has been maintaining close contact with teacher education universities to review the provision of subjects and intake places according to the needs of the society. Furthermore, teacher education universities would also update the content of their programmes so as to meet the needs for continuous development of society and education. Thank you President.
Ends/Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:25
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