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LCQ20: Promoting traditional Chinese culture
     Following is a question by the Hon Yim Kong and a written reply by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (November 30):
     There are views pointing out that wider promotion of traditional Chinese culture is an important means to strengthen patriotism education and promote the return of people's heart to the motherland. Regularly organising large-scale traditional Chinese cultural activities (e.g. Jing Opera Week, Yue Opera Week and Yu Opera Week), encouraging and subsidising various types of cultural and arts organisations from the Mainland to come to perform in Hong Kong or establish permanent shows in Hong Kong, as well as strengthening cultural and arts exchanges between the Mainland and Hong Kong, can all help enhance Hong Kong people's (especially young people's) awareness of traditional Chinese culture and their understanding of the local customs of various Mainland regions, thereby reinforcing Hong Kong people's patriotic sentiments and enabling them to integrate with the motherland. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has plans to regularise traditional cultural performances held in the past, such as Chinese theatre performances, and regularly organise activities for promoting traditional Chinese culture (e.g. setting up a Traditional Chinese Culture Month);
(2) whether the Government will consider inviting and subsidising more Mainland cultural groups to come to perform in Hong Kong, so as to comprehensively promote traditional Chinese culture; and
(3) whether it will consider subsidising local organisations to invite some Mainland cultural groups with commercial performance value to come to perform in Hong Kong, and subsidising members of the public to purchase tickets for such performances at concessionary prices, thereby strengthening cultural exchanges between the Mainland and Hong Kong, as well as enhancing public understanding of the nation?
     The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) promote Chinese history and culture to the public and the youth to advance their appreciation of Chinese culture, deepen their understanding of the country as well as enhance their national identity through multiple channels. These include organising various types of traditional Chinese cultural activities and strengthening the exchanges between the Mainland and local arts groups and artists. Different museums, such as the Hong Kong Palace Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History, also play a role in deepening public's knowledge of the long history of Chinese culture through showcasing the priceless treasures from China.
     My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:
(1) Since 2010, the LCSD has been organising the Chinese Opera Festival (COF) during June to August every year to invite top-notch Chinese opera troupes and artists from the Mainland to perform in Hong Kong. COF presents popular mainstream genres such as local Cantonese Opera, Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, Yue Opera, as well as a selection of distinctive operas from various regions. COF has become a regular annual event of the LCSD which provides a platform for showcase and exchanges for local and many Mainland audiences to appreciate Chinese opera from different regions.
     The LCSD also organises a number of regular schemes at schools and the community level to promote traditional Chinese culture and arts. These include the School Culture Day Scheme and the Arts Experience Scheme for Senior Secondary Students which offer students not only performances related to traditional Chinese culture and arts but also a variety of guidance activities to foster their interests in arts and culture. The School Performing Arts in Practice Scheme also provides students with training in performing arts as a means to deepen their knowledge in traditional Chinese culture.
     At the community level, the LCSD organises the Community Cultural Ambassador Scheme every year. The activities include free Chinese opera and Chinese music programmes for members of the public. The Community Arts Scheme has also been implemented since 2021-22 in all 18 districts across the territory. Amongst others, the Cantonese Opera and Shadow Puppetry for Youngsters Scheme in Sai Kung and Tuen Mun covers training courses, taster workshops and stage performances of Cantonese opera and traditional shadow puppetry. These regular activities are our continued efforts to foster and enhance public's understanding and interest of traditional Chinese arts in the community.
     In addition, the Government set up the Cantonese Opera Development Fund (CODF) in 2005 to support projects and activities relating to preservation, promotion and development of Cantonese opera. CODF provides funding support to projects including performances of traditional plays and new creation plays, cultural exchanges, arts education and community activities, children/youth training and performances, professional training, research and publication projects, to facilitate development of Cantonese opera through multi-pronged approach for preserving and enhancing this very representative traditional culture in Hong Kong.
(2) When organising various arts festivals (e.g. COF, International Arts Carnival and New Vision Arts Festival), the LCSD will invite suitable arts groups from the Mainland to perform in Hong Kong, taking into account the themes of the arts festivals. The LCSD will also arrange high quality performing arts groups from the Mainland (such as orchestras, acrobatic troupes, theatre groups or dance groups, etc.) to perform in Hong Kong according to the programme themes and the touring schedules of the arts groups.
     The LCSD also plans to continue with the collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the country to arrange Mainland arts groups to perform at the annual Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals when the pandemic subsides. Craftsmen from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will be invited to showcase their artistry to the public and demonstrate the rich variety of China's ethnic styles and traditional culture.
     Looking forward, the LCSD will organise the Greater Bay Area Culture and Arts Festival in Hong Kong in 2024. Through consolidating prime arts and culture resources of the three places, and collaboration of the three places, a number of preeminent programmes including those presented by arts groups in the Greater Bay Area will be presented in Hong Kong.
(3) The Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, funded by the LCSD, has been inviting a number of local, overseas and Mainland arts groups with high artistic standards to perform in Hong Kong at the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival.
     In addition, the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, which supports the development of local arts groups, can subsidise them in inviting Mainland and overseas arts groups or artists to Hong Kong to co-produce shows for cultural exchanges. Some arts groups also organise arts festivals of different art forms, such as music and drama, in which overseas and Mainland arts groups and artists can be invited to participate.
     Most of the aforementioned programmes offer concessionary ticket schemes, such as discount tickets for students, senior citizens, and the disabled, so as to allow traditional Chinese cultural programmes to be more accessible to the public and enhance their understanding of the country, while strengthening the cultural exchange between the Mainland and Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:15
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