Legislative Council Meeting Members’Motions:Formulating policy & blueprint on arts & culture for next 5 years

Formulating policy & blueprint on arts & culture for next 5 years

MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese): Deputy President, I thank Mr Vincent CHENG for proposing this motion and the six Members for their amendments to urge the Government, on the existing basis and by drawing reference from the experience of the Mainland and places outside Hong Kong and leveraging the unique advantage of Hong Kong as a place where Eastern and Western cultures meet, to formulate policy measures and a development blueprint on arts and culture for the next five years, in order to further enhance the knowledge of Hong Kong people about Chinese culture and upgrade the cultural appeal of Hong Kong.

The Dedicated Chapter on Hong Kong and Macao in the 14th Five-Year Plan explicitly supports the development of Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. In last year’s Policy Address, Chief Executive Carrie LAM pointed out that the Government would seize upon this unique creative atmosphere to position Hong Kong as Asia’s city of culture and creativity, and work on five directions to realize Hong Kong’s new cultural positioning.

Over the past two years, Hong Kong’s economy has suffered a serious setback due to the epidemic. While active investment promotion after the epidemic may indeed bring back some tourists and economic activities, the appeal of arts and culture is also an important factor in bringing international visitors back to Hong Kong. For this reason, when introducing targeted measures to facilitate expeditious economic recovery after the epidemic, the Government must also take into account the appeal of arts and culture.

Years ago, the Government already turned a prime waterfront site of 40 hectares into an integrated arts and cultural hub with world-class facilities. Yesterday, the Legislative Council conducted a visit to the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District, a facility to be completed in three phases since 2016, including the museum we visited. In East Kowloon from where Mr TANG Ka-piu comes, the East Kowloon Cultural Centre is also under construction and is expected to be commissioned in 2023.

Meanwhile, at present, there are 16 performing venues of different sizes, 14 public museums, the Hong Kong Film Archive, two heritage centres, the Art Promotion Office, etc. in Hong Kong. Last year, the Government’s total expenditure on venue support for arts activities, funding support to arts groups, and arts education and promotion was $5.7 billion, excluding the capital works expenditure for these facilities.

It is thus evident that over the years, the SAR Government has been supporting the infrastructure and development of arts and culture in Hong Kong through the construction and operation of various cultural venues, as well as continuous increase in recurrent expenditure. Now there is already a considerable solid foundation. However, in the next five years, the new-term Government should gradually change its role in culture and arts from a “manager” to a “facilitator”. Like the new Chief Executive said, it should adopt a result-oriented approach, strengthen the implementation of policy initiatives, and use all measures properly and flexibly. Only by doing so can Hong Kong genuinely develop into a city of cultural vibrancy in Asia.

Apart from the specific measures proposed in the motion, I strongly support Mr Vincent CHENG’s earlier remark that the Government should change the way it subsidizes the local cultural industry by directly subsidizing the public to buy tickets and participate in local cultural and arts activities with something like consumption vouchers. Not only can it enhance people’s interest in appreciating arts and culture, but also promote the sustainability of the local arts and cultural industry.

Apart from encouraging public participation in arts and cultural activities, it is also necessary to broaden the contact and deepen the cooperation between the sector and other sectors in society. Being a “facilitator”, the Government can build a more effective platform for cooperation and exchange to connect the arts and cultural sector with other sectors in society. For example, if a school wishes to organize arts and cultural activities or interest classes, or if a shopping mall wishes to incorporate elements of local cultural features into its promotional activities, they may look for suitable arts and cultural groups or practitioners through a unified platform. The Government may provide funding support for these activities to help create more cross-disciplinary collaborations between arts and culture, depending on the actual needs.

Besides, I support the integration of local culture with technology to foster digitalization of the cultural industry. The technological convenience and upgraded means brought by digital transformation can enhance and stimulate the creative and innovative power of the cultural industry, thereby driving the industry towards quality development, better satisfying the growing spiritual and cultural needs of the public, and gearing towards more diversified and innovative development.

Deputy President, I will support the original motion and all the amendments. I so submit.