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LCQ3: Development of arts and culture in Hong Kong
     ​Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):
     There are views pointing out that the development of arts and culture in Hong Kong needs to be repositioned, while the targets of core cultural exchange should be shifted from the West to the whole world, a globally oriented platform for cultural exchange should be built as well. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) in respect of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the countries along the Belt and Road, whether the Government has formulated related cultural policies to help Chinese culture to "go global" and to "bring in" the arts and cultural essence of different places; if so, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that; and
(2) as there are views that the arts and cultural development of Hong Kong focuses on the funding support for arts groups as well as hardware such as infrastructure, venues and technology, etc., whether the Government will step up the promotion of cultural sophistication so as to enhance cultural soft power; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     The consolidated reply to the questions raised by the Hon Andrew Lam is as follows:

     In General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speech at the 20th National Congress, he emphasised the importance of promoting cultural confidence and strength, building a country with a strong socialist culture, continuously growing China's cultural soft power and the appeal of Chinese culture, telling the good stories of China, making China's voice heard, as well as presenting a China that is credible, appealing and respectable. The National 14th Five-Year Plan showed clear support towards Hong Kong developing into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has formulated clear policies on the development of cultural and creative industries, and strategic directions for developing Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange with a view to giving play to the advantage of Hong Kong as a city where East meets West and a melting pot of Chinese and Western cultures. The strategic directions include (1) developing world-class cultural facilities and a pluralistic cultural environment; (2) enhancing cultural exchange and co-operation with the Mainland, and strengthening our connections with overseas arts and cultural organisations; (3) leveraging technology; and (4) nurturing talent.

     To enhance exchange and co-operation with overseas counterparts, the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau (CSTB) held the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum in December 2022. Participating cultural minsters and senior officials of Asian countries exchanged views on and shared experience in deepening cultural co-operation. The forum facilitated Hong Kong in unleashing our role as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange, making Hong Kong a cultural hub connecting our country with the world.

     In March 2023, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will stage the Museum Summit which will provide a platform for the exchange and interflow of expert experience and innovative ideas on the latest developments and transformations of museums across the world. To showcase the cultural essence of various places in Asia, the LCSD regularly organises the "Asian Ethnic Cultural Performances". Consulates-General of various countries in Hong Kong, including Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and "Belt and Road" countries, are invited to participate in the event to bring together the culture essence of various places and strengthen integration of residents of different nationalities. The LCSD also, from time to time, invites various arts groups/artists from overseas to perform in Hong Kong, and commissions new works in collaboration with arts festivals abroad with a view to fostering exchange and co-operation between local and overseas artists. There include arts groups /artists from "Belt and Road" countries such as Russia, Greece, Austria and Singapore. In addition, the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), being one of the world's largest cultural infrastructure projects, blends the local and international cultures, connects the traditional and contemporary elements, and showcases the unique identity of Hong Kong as a metropolis where East meets West. The WKCD will continue to expand its collaboration with cultural and museum institutions in the Mainland and elsewhere, contributing to the development of Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange.

     To promote Chinese culture and Hong Kong's arts and cultural achievements to overseas communities (including ASEAN member states and "Belt and Road" countries), the CSTB sets aside dedicated funding each year for the Economic and Trade Offices in the Mainland and overseas to support arts groups/artists from Hong Kong to stage arts and cultural activities outside Hong Kong.  The 2022-23 Budget has allocated $42 million for organising the first Hong Kong Performing Arts Expo in the second half of 2024 to facilitate exchange among the Mainland, overseas and local arts and cultural sector, expand the trading market of performing arts programmes, and explore new opportunities for arts groups and arts practitioners from the Mainland and Hong Kong. Separately, the 2022 Policy Address has put forth new initiatives to promote Hong Kong's pop culture, including measures to encourage cultural exchange and co-operation with various places in Asia. For example, we will support the co-production of television variety programmes by local television stations and their counterparts in the Mainland and Asia to promote the unique pop culture of Hong Kong to audience of various places and nurturing talents in the sectors concerned. Besides, we have launched the Hong Kong-Asian Film Collaboration Funding Scheme under Film Development Fund to subsidise film projects co-produced by filmmakers between Hong Kong and Asian countries that are rich in Hong Kong and Asian culture, and with a view to taking Hong Kong films to go global. The Government has all along through CreateSmart Initiative, Film Development Fund and other funding provisions, supported activities that promote Hong Kong's creative industries in various places (in particular in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and "Belt and Road" countries/regions), such as "Ear Up Music Global 2022/23", "Hong Kong Art Toy Story Exhibition, Thailand Chapter", a number of architectural exhibitions organised in GBA and outside Hong Kong, and "Soaring Creativity - Hong Kong Pavilion" at the "Bologna Children's Book Fair" held in Italy.

     Nurture of talents is crucial to promoting cultural development and enhancing our cultural soft power. The 2022 Policy Address has set out new initiatives to strengthen the training of arts and cultural talents, including the launching of various arts and cultural internship programmes and subsidising graduates from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) or other tertiary institutions majoring in arts and cultural related programmes to undertake internships in arts groups and the WKCD, with the objective of helping them join the sector upon graduation. Also, the Government provides funding support for budding arts groups and artists who have graduated from tertiary institutions within the past five years and have not received subsidies previously in particular to provide them with more opportunities. The HKAPA will also examine its positioning and role in nurturing arts and cultural talents in the GBA in the long run, as well as consider the feasibility of establishing another campus and a hostel in the Northern Metropolis and raising the proportion of non-local students, thereby providing impetus for the development of arts and culture in the GBA, including Hong Kong. In addition, through the Design Incubation Programme and Fashion Incubation Programme under the CreateSmart Initiative, the Government aims to nurture outstanding local design-entrepreneurs, fashion talent and brands by offering financial assistance and incubation services to help these start-ups build up business network, publicise products and conduct marketing promotions.

     The Government will continue to promote the development of arts, culture and creative industries, enhance our cultural soft power and influence, thereby contributing to the realisation of Hong Kong as an East-meets-West Centre for international cultural exchange. In support of the overall national development strategies, we will continue to tell the good stories of China and Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:30
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