LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 16/96-97
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/RC

LegCo Panel on Recreation & Culture

Minutes of Meeting
held on Thursday, 1 August 1996 at 10:45 a.m.
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling (Deputy Chairman/Chairman of meeting)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Members Absent :

    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP (Chairman)
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon SIN Chung-kai

Member Attending :

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Item II
Mrs Rita LAU
Acting Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Mr Raymond TAM
Principal Assistant Secretary (Culture)

Item III
Mrs Rita LAU
Acting Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Miss Eliza YAU
Principal Assistant Secretary (Broadcasting) (Acting)
Assistant Director of Telecommunications

Item IV
Mrs Rita LAU
Acting Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Mr Jonathan McKinley
Principal Assistant Secretary (Recreation and Sports)

Attendance by Invitation :

Item II
Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Mr Vincent CHOW, MBE
Mrs Katherine Hall
Executive Secretary

Item III
Cable TV
Mr Stephen T H NG
Chairman & Managing Director
Mr Garmen K Y CHAN
External Affairs Director

Staff in Attendance :

Mrs Justina LAM
Assistant Secretary General 2
Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
Mr Raymond LAM
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 6

As the Chairman was out of town, the Deputy Chairman took the chair of the meeting.

I. Change of name of Panel

2. Members agreed that, in line with the renaming of the Recreation and Culture Branch to Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch, the name of the Panel would be changed to LegCo Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport with effect from the next legislative session. (The Chinese name of the Branch ( ) remained the same.)

II. Funding of the Arts Development Council (ADC)

(Appendices I and II to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96)

Meeting with ADC

3. At the invitation of the Deputy Chairman, Mr Vincent CHOW presented the submission of ADC (Appendix I to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96). He stated that it was necessary for the Administration to take the lead for the private sector in providing funding support to the Council.

4. As regards the substantial difference between the funds requested by ADC for 1996/97 and 1997/98, Mr Vincent CHOW explained that more funds would have been budgeted for 1996/97. However, as the 5-year Plan of ADC was drawn up after the Resource Allocation Exercise (RAE) for 1996/97, funding requests in the 5-year Plan for 1996/97 had to be deferred to 1997/98 and 1998/99. This also resulted in a delay in the implementation of ADC’s 5-year Plan.

5. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Vincent CHOW stated that General Support Grants (GSG), totalling $46 million for 1995/96, took up a large portion of ADC’s expenditure. As a control measure, ADC had stopped accepting new requests for GSG and confined the annual adjustment of GSG to annual inflation. ADC would also carry out a full review of GSG.

6. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Vincent CHOW stated that ADC’s administration expenditure for 1995/96 was $8 million, while that for 1996/97 was estimated to be $15 million, including $5 million for office relocation. A total of 26 staff were now employed by ADC. The former Council for Performing Arts had a smaller staff strength because it was only responsible for performing art. ADC’s responsibility was expanded to include also literary art, visual art, film art, and an art information centre.

7. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Vincent CHOW undertook to provide information on funding for international cultural exchanges. He added that as resources were limited, it was necessary to maintain the right balance between funding for the development of local artists and international cultural exchanges.

8. Mrs Selina CHOW commented that as considerable annual subvention was allocated to ADC, it had a responsibility to ensure proper utilisation of the subvention. As requested by Mrs Chow, Mr Vincent CHOW undertook to provide a breakdown of ADC’s funding request for 1997/98.

9. As regards the exploitation of new funding support for ADC, Mr Vincent CHOW informed the meeting that the initial request by ADC had been made to the Hong Kong Jockey Club. As ADC had a shorter history than Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB), it was more difficult to attract funding support from the private sector. He urged the Administration to take the lead in seeking funding support for ADC.

10. As regards measures taken by ADC to ensure fairness in the allocation of grants for arts activities, Mr Vincent CHOW remarked that, except for matters relating to grants for individuals, all meetings of ADC were open to the public. Nine out of 22 members of ADC were nominated by the arts community for appointment by the Governor. Moreover, all ADC members were required to comply with the guidelines on declaration of interest. While the assessment of achievement in arts would inevitably involve subjective judgement, ADC would try its best to ensure fairness as far as possible. Results of all allocation of grants were publicised.

11. On Mr Andrew CHENG’s question regarding appeal mechanism for the allocation of grants to arts groups, Mr Vincent CHOW stated that in view of the large number of applications involved, an appeal mechanism was considered not practical.

12. Mr Andrew CHENG further suggested that ADC’s discussions relating to allocation of grants should be open to the public. Mr Vincent CHOW responded that as it involved assessment of individual achievement, the suggestion had to be carefully considered in consultation with the arts community.

Meeting with the Administration

13. Mrs Rita LAU informed members that when the ADC was established in 1994, it was allocated a seed grant of $130 million from which the ADC could draw on both the capital and the interest generated to cover the initial requirements of the ADC in providing funding support to new areas such as visual arts and literary arts. This was in addition to the recurrent subvention inherited from the then Council for Performing Arts which was adjusted annually according to inflation. The ADC had recently submitted a funding request with priorities to BCSB for the implementation of its 5-Year Strategic Plan. In accordance with the procedures and the timetable laid down for the Resource Allocation Exercise (RAE), SBCS would submit the ADC’s bid together with other bids under his portfolio to the central Government in August for consideration. However, given the tight budgetary guidelines, it might not be possible to meet the funding requirements of the ADC in full as it would have to compete with other priorities in the RAE. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Raymond TAM added that a rough indication of the 1997/98 allocation to ADC would be available by the end of 1996.

14. In response to Mr Howard YOUNG, Mrs Rita LAU stated that the Administration considered funding for arts and sports to be equally important.

15. As regards Mr Andrew CHENG’s question on whether the Administration would be able to fully meet ADC’s funding requests for 1997/98, Mrs Rita LAU reiterated that as ADC’s requests had to be considered in conjuction with others and within Government’s overall budget, it was difficult to envisage the final outcome at this point in time. Nevertheless, BCSB would try its best.

16. On the question of whether ADC was overstaffed, Mr Raymond TAM informed that the issue was being discussed at meetings of the Resource Management Board (RMB) of ADC. From BCSB’s point of view, there was still scope for ADC to better utilise its human resources. It would follow up the matter with the RMB.

17. As regards monitoring mechanism for ADC, Mrs Rita LAU stated that ADC was listed as a public body under the Prevention of Briberies Ordinance and the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints Ordinance. Apart from Government representation, respected and independent representatives from the arts community also sat on the ADC and its committees.

III. Broadcasting Policy : exclusive telecast right and the consumer’s right

(Appendices III-VI to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96)

Meeting with the Administration

18. Mrs Rita LAU presented the salient points of the Administration’s paper (Appendix V to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96) and highlighted the following points :

  1. It was important to differentiate between the public rights to information and the public choice and access to entertainment. For the former, the Administration was committed to ensure the right of access to information of public interest. For the latter, the Administration’s objective was to ensure the provision of the widest possible choice of high quality television (TV) services at affordable prices.
  2. The English Football Association Cup and the European Soccer Championship 1996 could not be regarded as events of public or national interest, as they were mainly of entertainment nature and did not involve the participation of any Hong Kong teams.
  3. There were legislation and licensing conditions in place to regulate television broadcasting services. It was however also important to ensure the independence of television broadcasters in making commercial decisions.
  4. As regards access of Cable TV into estates and buildings, the Telecommunications Authority (TA) had already granted Wharf Cable the right of access to common parts of private buildings. Cable TV was required to give sufficient notice to Owners Corporations (OCs) and obtain their agreement to any works to the exterior of a building. As OCs were accountable to individual owners for management of their building, individual owners could also liaise directly with their OCs. As regards interconnection problems between the cable television network and Satellite Master Antenna Television, the TA was empowered under the Telecommunications Ordinance to determine the terms and conditions of an interconnection. In the event of any dispute, the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) would mediate among the parties concerned. If mediation was unsuccessful, determination by the TA could be requested. To date, there had been two determinations by TA.
  5. OFTA had established mechanisms to handle complaints. Three complaints were being processed and one involved request for determination by TA.

Meeting with Cable TV

19. Mr Stephen NG presented the submission of Cable TV (Appendix VI to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96) and highlighted the following:

  1. Cable TV’s exclusive right of broadcasting the European Soccer Championship 1996 did not restrict other TV companies to announce the results of the games. The public’s right of access to information had therefore not been affected.
  2. Despite network construction problems mentioned in Cable TV’s submission, the Cable TV network now reached 1.2 million homes, far exceeding the coverage obligations under its licence. This meant that these families were cable-ready and residents could receive service within one week from the date of order. Cable TV planned to further extend the coverage to 1.35 million families by the end of 1996. The distribution of the 1.2 million families in different districts was as follows:


    Number of Cable-ready homes

    New Territories East


    New Territories South


    New Territories West


    New Territories North


    Kowloon East


    Kowloon Central


    Kowloon West


    Hong Kong East


    Hong Kong West


  3. Cable TV had taken the following steps to overcome the interconnection and access problems through :
    1. setting up a special engineering team to speed up transmission service to less accessible areas;
    2. working with OFTA to deal with in-building problems; and
    3. serving small apartment buildings and detached houses with Cable Express.
  4. Different installation time for different blocks of a housing estate was mainly due to the different degree of cooperation of various owners’ corporations.

Members’ views

20. Mr Andrew CHENG presented his paper (Appendix IV to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96) and stated that it was important to ensure right of access to information of public interest. He stated that with regard to Cable TV’s exclusive rights to broadcast the English Football Association Cup and the European Soccer Championship 1996, many people had complained of difficulty in seeking connection to Cable TV, even though they were prepared to pay for it. He further stated that in the United Kingdom, sports events or matters of national interest were not allowed to be broadcasted on pay TV. He suggested that the definition of public interest might be discussed further in the future. Mrs Rita LAU responded that the UK restrictions applied only to pay-per-view television, but not pay television.

21. Mrs Selina CHOW briefed Members on the salient points of her paper (Appendix III to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1940/95-96) and stated that government intervention on exclusive telecast rights should be kept to a minimum and confined to matters of national interest. She stated that Cable TV’s exclusive telecast right for the European Soccer Championship 1996 did not affect public interest. As some residents might not be aware that they were located in less accessible areas, she suggested Cable TV to explain the situation clearly to these people. Mr Stephen NG agreed to consider the suggestion.

IV. Any other business

A. Funding for sports development

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1950/95-96)

22. Mrs Selina CHOW presented the salient points of her paper (LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1950/95-96).

23. On the question of the Administration’s future policy on sports, Mrs Rita LAU stated that the Administration was still studying the Strategic Plan of SDB. The Administration would brief the Panel once there was any plan on the way forward.

24. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW’s question on the consultancy report regarding future funding of Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), Mr Jonathan McKinley stated that the consultancy report had been completed in June 1996. Discussions on the report were being held with the SDB, HKSI, and the Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong. Consultation with National Sports Associations would then start in late August/early September. While it was difficult to anticipate the time required for consulting the sports community, it was hoped that the consultation process would finish by the end of the year. To his knowledge, the Administration had committed in the 1995 Policy Address to help the HKSI to explore opportunities for its future financial stability.

25. Mr Andrew CHENG considered that the Administration should take the lead in providing incentives and rewards to athletes. Without such a leading role taken by the Administration, the recent influx of various types of rewards by the commercial sector to the Olympic Games gold medal winner Miss LEE Lai-shan would be an unhealthy phenomenon and could not provide a comprehensive policy on rewarding to our athletes. The Administration should formulate long-term sports policy and put more effort into fundamental sports training. In response, Mrs Rita LAU stated that before athletes departed for the Olympic Games, the SDB, through which the Administration’s funding for sports was provided, had already announced incentive schemes for medal winners, including a $500,000 award for gold medal winner. As regards the provision of funds for elite athletes or other training, it was more appropriate to await the outcome of the consultancy report.

26. Mrs Selina CHOW commented that besides the development of elite athletes, effort should also be put into promoting sports for the general public, as it was beneficial to people’s health.

27. The meeting ended at 1:30 p.m.

LegCo Secretariat
2 October 1996

Last Updated on 12 Aug, 1998