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Speech by SCST at Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2022 Hybrid Ministerial Panel (English only) (with video)
  Following is the speech by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, at the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2022 Hybrid Ministerial Panel today (December 14):
Honourable ministers, heads of delegations, Consul Generals, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
  Good afternoon. May I take this opportunity to welcome you all once again to the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum (ACCF) 2022, especially for those who attended the Forum for the first time. 
  The ACCF 2022 witnesses quite some fundamental transformation of Hong Kong in the arts and cultural development since the Forum was last held here in 2019. This is so because our country has indicated clear support for Hong Kong to develop into an East‑meets‑West centre for international cultural exchange. This is not only a clear recognition of Hong Kong's unique position as a cultural crossroad cosmopolitan city and the vibrant arts and cultural development over the years, but also spells even greater opportunities in the arts and cultural sectors in the years to come.  
  In line with this fundamental articulation of Hong Kong's arts and cultural positioning, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has also made an important reorganisation ourselves this year by creating the new Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau to spearhead the charge of realising this new positioning of Hong Kong. This new dedicated policy bureau amalgamates policy responsibilities of arts, culture, creative industries as well as sports and tourism under one roof to achieve bigger synergy. The new set-up underscores the importance we attach to arts and culture as enrichment to people's lives, as new economic drivers as well as leverage to help foster stronger people-to-people ties across cultures for the betterment of the world.
  Building on the strong foundation of previous policies for the development of cultural and creative industries, our Chief Executive has unveiled in his first Policy Address a series of new measures to take the development of arts, culture and creative industries to a new height. The key aims are to provide even better opportunity for training arts and creative talents, for showcasing their creative productions and expand their reaches both locally and outside of Hong Kong. Ultimately, we hope to create a vibrant and healthy ecology for the arts, culture and creative sectors to thrive.
  To achieve the goals above, I would like to highlight a few key areas of work that we are and will be focusing in, which will also be relevant in the context of strengthening cultural exchanges in Asia. 
  Firstly, we would continue to strive to develop world-class cultural facilities. Such facilities will not just be the stages for local talents, but welcoming platforms for distinguished artists and art groups from other parts of Asia too. For instance, Hong Kong has been embarking on one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world - the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). In 2019, the District opened its Xiqu Centre on Chinese opera, which is one of the very few contemporary examples of a purpose-built venue for xiqu anywhere in the world. In 2021, the District opened the M+ contemporary art museum, which is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. In 2022, it opened the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which is a unique collaborative project between the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and the Palace Museum in Beijing. The Hong Kong Palace Museum aspires to become one of the world's leading cultural institutions that embraces new curatorial approaches by offering a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision, presenting the finest objects from the Palace Museum in Beijing and other important cultural institutions around the world. The District is still developing. I am sure if you will be coming to the future editions of the ACCF, you will be seeing the District adding more world-class facilities, making it one of the best places in the world to host art talents around the globe. 
  The WKCD is but one such facility Hong Kong is building. In fact, to cope with the long term needs of our arts and cultural development, we have rolled out a 10-year development blueprint for improving and expanding existing cultural facilities, as well as building new performance venues, museums and public libraries. Upon completion of the blueprint, Hong Kong will see an almost 30 per cent increase in the number of museums and a 50 per cent increase in the number of seats of performance venues. 
  Through the establishment of such cultural facilities, Hong Kong can sizably increase the opportunities for art talents, local and from outside of Hong Kong, to showcase themselves. This is of particular relevance to our friends across Asia that, given Hong Kong's position as an international cosmopolitan city, our world-class cultural facilities will be one of the best places for art talents in Asia to showcase themselves to the world. 
  To be in keeping with our positioning as an East‑meets‑West centre for international cultural exchange, Hong Kong is committed to further enhancing the arts and cultural offerings in Hong Kong. We will encourage more large-scale arts and cultural events, be they exhibitions or performances, to treat Hong Kong as their home. We will therefore set up the Mega Arts and Cultural Events Fund to provide the necessary financial assistance to such large-scale arts and cultural events to come to Hong Kong.      
  Hong Kong is already home to a number of important platforms for the arts, cultural and creative industries, including the globally acclaimed Art Basel for visual arts, the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market for the TV and film industries, as well as the just-completed Business of Design Week for the international design sector. To further complete the ecosystem and provide the necessary platforms for the performing arts talents both local or from outside of Hong Kong to go global, we will organise the first Hong Kong Performing Arts Market in 2024. This will serve as an important platform for performing arts groups not just for showcasing but also exploring business and other collaboration opportunities with interested parties worldwide. I look forward to welcoming talented artists and art groups from your countries to come and join this exciting and worthwhile venture in the future.  
  In this connection, I must make a mention of the future economic powerhouse in the making, the Greater Bay Area, or GBA in short, which comprises Hong Kong, Macao and nine other cities in our neighbouring Guangdong Province, including Shenzhen and Guangzhou. With a total population of over 70 million with one of the world's top international financial centres, innovation and technology hubs, manufacturing centres as well as tourist destinations, the GBA will not just be merely a business enclave, but also an important arts and culture player in Asia. Hong Kong will organise the Greater Bay Area Culture and Arts Festival in 2024. Meanwhile, Hong Kong will also arrange for more cultural exchanges within the GBA. 
  Hong Kong's pop culture needs no introduction. Our kung fu icons, Chinese martial art and police action films, Cantopop music etc have been our signatures for decades. Starting next year, Hong Kong will organise her first annual Pop Culture Festival. We are also planning to establish a pop culture centre in the long run as an important cultural icon and tourist attraction.
  As part of the pop culture development, we have also drawn up new plans to facilitate Hong Kong's film and TV industries to reach out to Asia. We have rolled out different funding schemes to encourage co-production of film projects by filmmakers from Hong Kong and Asian countries. We have also rolled out another funding scheme to encourage productions of good content for international streaming platforms. Similarly, we will be supporting TV stations in Hong Kong to co-produce variety entertainment shows with TV stations in the Mainland and Asian countries. These are important collaborations between Hong Kong and our friends across Asia, and I look forward to successful projects getting off the ground early.  
  Arts and cultural developments depend on the availability of talents. We have therefore invited the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, which is among the top 10 in the world and the only in Asia in the Performing Arts category of QS World University Rankings, to plan for building another campus in Hong Kong. With that expansion, the Academy will be able to receive even more non-Hong Kong students who aspire to receive top-notch training in performing arts. I am sure this will also benefit many from other Asian countries. 
  Looking forward, it is an exciting time ahead for Hong Kong. I am confident that Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene will flourish even better, and that Hong Kong will be an even better place for welcoming artists and art groups from other parts of Asia. Once again, my heartfelt gratitude for your continued support to the ACCF. Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:23
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Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2022 - Hybrid Ministerial Panel - Speech of the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung