LCQ7: Preserving the historical information and memorial facilities of the War of Resistance
In his speech delivered at the meeting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the State President emphasized that the Communist Party of China united and led its people to stride through the history of hundred-year struggle filled with surging tides and roaring waves, which recorded the unique and important contribution made by Hong Kong compatriots. In addition, the Chief Executive has pointed out that the Government will spare no effort in taking forward patriotism education, and tell China's story and Hong Kong's story well. There are views that the historical materials of the War of Resistance of Hong Kong are remarkably abundant and precious, recording the significant history that the country and Hong Kong stood united wholeheartedly to defend against foreign enemies, and a permanent memorial hall should therefore be established to preserve them. On the other hand, it is learnt that in the absence of standardized management, some of the anti-Japanese aggression memorial facilities already incorporated into the List of State Facilities and Sites Marking the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (the List) are left dilapidated and vandalized. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) given that the 2022 Policy Address has proposed to increase the number of museums under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to 19, whether the Government will designate one of the museums as the permanent memorial hall for the history of the Chinese and Hong Kong War of Resistance; if so, of the timetable; and
(2) of the measures in place to standardise the management of the state facilities and sites marking the war of resistance against Japanese aggression which were incorporated into the List?
With regard to the question from the Hon Chan Yung, upon consulting the relevant policy bureaux, our consolidated reply is as follows:
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government attaches great importance to promoting public understanding of the history of the War of Resistance Against Japan in Hong Kong. Over the years, the Government has been fostering the public's understanding of this important chapter of history and the contribution of the martyrs through different channels, including exhibitions and official memorial ceremonies.
Both the Hong Kong Museum of History (HKMH) and the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (HKMCD) under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department feature the history of the War of Resistance in their permanent exhibition galleries for long term display. Currently, both museums are updating their permanent exhibitions to further enhance their presentation of the part of history from the fall of Hong Kong to the eventual surrender of Japan, with enriched contents covering Japanese invasion of China, Japanese attack on Hong Kong, the Battle of Hong Kong, Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column (the Column), with a view to deepening the public's understanding towards this chapter of Hong Kong history. The HKMCD will reopen tentatively by the end of this year, and there will be displays on the subject in four of the galleries.
Apart from their permanent exhibitions, both museums stage thematic exhibitions relating to the war from time to time. Examples are "Military Relics in Hong Kong", "Escape from Hong Kong: The Road to Huizhou", "To the Last Man: Canadian Troops in the Battle of Hong Kong", "Anti-Japanese War Heroes: An Exhibition on the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column", "Pictorial Exhibition on the Nanjing Massacre", "Fighting as One: Reminders of the Eight Years' War of Resistance in Guangdong and Hong Kong", "Braving the Storm: Hong Kong under Japanese Occupation" and "Life Under the Japanese Occupation, 1941-45", etc. The museums also organise a wide range of activities including public lectures, study tours to military sites, workshops, travelling exhibitions and dramas, etc., for the enhanced promotion of the related history to the general public and schools. The museums will continue to introduce the related history to the public through exhibitions and activities.
The museums have attached great importance to the digitisation of information on museum collections. The website of the HKMH has provided relevant links to facilitate public search of selected museum collections, including the artefacts related to the War of Resistance and the Column. The museums also commission research on the history of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. For example, the HKMH has engaged experts and academics to conduct research projects on the topic. These projects include "Oral History Project on Reminiscence of the War Experience in Hong Kong", "Oral History Project on Former Members of the Hong Kong-Kowloon Brigade of the East River Column", etc. Some of the findings have been published in "The Defence of Hong Kong: Collected Essays on the Hong Kong-Kowloon Brigade of the East River Column".
The HKMH and the HKMCD will continue to organise thematic exhibitions from time to time to arouse public interest, with a view to promoting a better understanding of the War of Resistance, especially among the young generation, and educating the public to value and address this chapter of history. The museums will also continue to devote resources to study, collate, preserve, display and promote the historical records and collections relating to the War of Resistance in Hong Kong, while enabling the public to have a better understanding about the glorious history of the War of Resistance and let them take pride in being a member of the Chinese nation through exhibitions and activities.
Moreover, the Hong Kong Film Archive has curated the "Cine Memories of the War of National Resistance" programme on a regular basis since 2015 to present free screenings on the theme of the anti-Japanese war during the period before and after the dates commemorating the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese aggression each year. The purpose is to enhance the public's understanding of this significant historical event while they enjoy the films. In the period before and after the dates commemorating the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and expressing condolences to the victims in the War, Hong Kong Public Libraries have also planned to display books related to the War of Resistance to attract readers and facilitate their borrowing of the books, as well as to organise seminars on the topic.
The Home Affairs Department organises a ceremony on September 3 every year at the Hong Kong City Hall Memorial Garden to commemorate the Victory Day of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The ceremony aims to pay tribute to the martyrs and compatriots who sacrificed their lives during the war and promote patriotic education.
At present, the Cenotaph for Martyrs in Wu Kau Tang and the Memorial Monuments for Sai Kung Martyrs During World War II in Tsam Chuk Wan have been incorporated into the List of State Facilities and Sites Marking the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. As the reprovisioning of the Cenotaph for Martyrs in Wu Kau Tang was an initiative championed by the North District Council and was implemented under the District Minor Works (DMW) Programme, the North District Office, as in other DMW projects, is responsible for the general repair and maintenance of the monument. Meanwhile, the construction of the Memorial Monuments for Sai Kung Martyrs During World War II in Tsam Chuk Wan was self-financed by the rural residents in Sai Kung. Since its commissioning, the memorial park has been managed and maintained by the Sai Kung Rural Committee. Taking into consideration the overall situation of the rural areas and the special status of the memorial park, the Sai Kung District Office will assist in the general maintenance and cleaning of the park and seek assistance from professional departments where repair works are necessary, even though heritage conservation is not under the purview of the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau.
Looking forward, the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau will continue to work with other relevant government departments and adopt a multipronged approach to promote the history of the War of Resistance Against Japan, cultivate the public's sense of nationhood and patriotism, and deepen their patriotic sentiments.
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:40
Issued at HKT 14:40