LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 523/96-97
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/BCS

LegCo Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

Minutes of the Meeting
held on Thursday, 24 October 1996 at 10:45 a.m.
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling (Chairman)
    Hon MOK Ying-fan (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Members Absent :

    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Benjamin TANG
Deputy Secretary (Culture and Sport)
Mr Vincent TANG
Acting Principal Assistant Secretary (Culture)

Item III
Ms Salina YAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Trade and Industry
Chief Superintendent (Control Points)

Attendance by Invitation :

Item III
Arts of Asia Publications Ltd
Mrs Tuyet Nguyet Markbreiter
Publisher and Editor

Item IV
Urban Council
Mrs Barbara LUK
Assistant Director (Museums & Libraries)

Urban Services Department
Mr Gerald TSANG
Chief Curator
Hong Kong Museum of Art

Urban Services Department
Regional Council
Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan
Regional Council
Miss CHOI Suk-kuen
Assistant Director (Culture and Entertainment)

Regional Services Department
Hong Kong Arts Development Council

Mr Vincent CHOW, OBE
Council Chairman
Mrs Katherine Hall

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Mr Colin CHUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2


I. Confirmation of minutes of meetings and matters arising

(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2) 131 and 132/96-97)

The minutes of meetings held on 17 September and 3 October 1996 were confirmed.

II. Date and items for discussion for next meeting

(LegCo Paper No CB(2) 196/96-97(01))

2. Members agreed that the next meeting to be held on Monday, 2 December 1996 at 2:30 p.m. would be devoted to "Policy on and funding for sports development (with special focus on fundamental training for the general public and specialised training for elite athletes)". Representatives of the Administration, the two Municipal Councils, Hong Kong Sports Development Board and Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong would be invited to the meeting.

III. Treatment of antiques from China before and after 1997

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 196/96-97(02) - (04))

Present import and export control of relics

3. Referring to para. 2 of the Administration’s paper at LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 196/96-97(02), Mr Y K POON pointed out that the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60) applied to goods rather than personal belongings. The Customs and Excise Department did not forbid personal belongings, including relics, which were not prohibited articles to be brought into or carried out of Hong Kong. Ms Salina YAN added that people seeking to bring relics from China to Hong Kong had to comply with the Chinese laws governing export of cultural relics.

Position after the change of sovereignty on 1 July 1997

Sotheby’s written statement

4. The Chairman reported that Christies and Sotheby’s as suggested by Mrs Elizabeth WONG, who proposed the agenda item, had been approached but were unable to attend the meeting. Sotheby’s had sent in a brief written statement at LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 196/96-97(04) urging the government and relevant authorities to provide an early clarification on the issue of treatment of antiques from Hong Kong after 1997.

5. As Sotheby’s had not provided details on what "clarification on the issue of treatment of antiques from Hong Kong after 1997" it would like to seek, Mr Albert CHAN wondered whether Sotheby’s concern had already been addressed in the Administration’s paper. He therefore requested the Administration to sort out the matter with Sotheby’s and revert to the Panel if necessary.


Collectors’ concerns

6. As requested by Mr MOK Ying-fan, Ms Salina YAN undertook to undestand more collectors’ concerns raised in the television programme "97 Magazine" broadcast on 22 October 1996. Mr Benjamin TANG stressed that the Chinese Authority on its own initiative had given assurances as stated at para. 6 of the Administration’s paper, i.e. under the "One Country Two Systems" model, the policy on and implementation of heritage preservation work in Hong Kong would continue to be determined and carried out by the future Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese Government had no intention to extend their laws and regulations on heritage preservation to Hong Kong. The Administration would relay the assurances to the Arts Development Council (ADC) and address any further doubts or concerns on the issue.


Official record on Chinese Authority’s assurances

7. The Chairman enquired if there was any official record, such as minutes of meeting, on the assurances stated at para. 6 of the Administration’s paper. Mr Benjamin TANG replied that there was no such official record but, if need be, would consider liaising with the Chinese Authority on issuing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the matter. However, he considered the MOU unnecessary as the Administration and the Chinese Authority had reached consensus at the working level on the treatment of relics from China after June 1997.

8. The Chairman considered that the MOU, being an official record of the Chinese Authority and the Hong Kong Government, would remove the uncertainty and concern that the Chinese laws governing cultural relics would be extended to Hong Kong.

9. Mr Albert CHAN opined that there was no need for the MOU. As explained in para. 5 of the Administration’s paper, the import and export of relics after June 1997 was a matter within Hong Kong’s autonomy. Request for the MOU would mean invitation of intervention in Hong Kong affairs by the Chinese Government.

10. Mr NGAN Kam-chuen also did not consider the MOU necessary because, according to the Basic Law, personal property including relics was protected and Chinese laws governing cultural relics were not extended to Hong Kong.

11. Mrs Tuyet Nguyet Markbreiter stated that, during her visit to Shanghai in October 1996, she understood from the Chinese officials she met that the Chinese laws on cultural relics might be extended to Hong Kong after June 1997. She therefore requested the Administration to liaise with the Chinese Authority to clarify the discrepancy.

12. Mr Albert CHAN considered that such discrepancy should be explained by the Chinese Government rather than the Hong Kong Government whose position was clearly stated in its paper.

13. Mr MOK Ying-fan opined that the Administration should issue an official statement or call a press conference to address concerns on the matter.

14. Mr Benjamin TANG reiterated the assurances at para. 6 of the Administration’s paper. He would provide Mrs Markbreiter with a copy of the press release on the Antiquities Advisory Board’s visit to Beijing in September 1996 during which the assurances were given by the Chinese Authority. The Administration would also publicise such assurances through appropriate channels and welcome the press to report on the Panel’s discussion at the meeting.


(Post-meeting note : The Administration sent Mrs Markbreiter a copy of the press release on 25 October 1996 vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2)323/96-97.)

IV. Provision of venues for the promotion of local visual arts

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 196/96-97(05) - (08))

Provision of venues in public places for promoting local visual arts

15. Mr Benjamin TANG stated that the Administration fully supported the development of local visual arts but there were practical difficulties in the display of works of art in government buildings. Nevertheless, applications for such display would be considered by the Government Property Agency.

16. Mr Albert CHAN considered that, in addition to display in the Municipal Councils’ selected venues, local works of art should be exhibited in places where people gathered. In this connection, the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (BCS) Branch should play a more active role in seeking support from the Government Property Agency and public bodies like the Airport Authority, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (submission from the KCRC at LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 196/96-97(08) was tabled at the meeting) and Mass Transit Railway Corporation on the provision of venues in their properties for the promotion of local visual arts. Mr MOK Ying-fan opined that the Administration should take the lead and formulate a policy to designate spaces in government properties for the display of works of art.

17. Mr Benjamin TANG responded that the BCS Branch was in support of providing venues in public places for the display of local visual arts and would consider members’ proposal in consultation with relevant government branches and the ADC. He undertook to revert to the Panel in four months’ time. Mr Vincent CHOW stated that, whilst the Administration was responsible for formulating a policy on the matter, the ADC would be happy to offer advice on installation and selection of artworks and assistance in liaison with local artists.


18. In reply to Mr NGAN Kam-chuen’s enquiry, Mr Vincent CHOW pointed out that the ADC did not keep a collection of works of art for display. It would continue to assist local visual arts practitioners in the display of their artworks but there were difficulties in seeking exhibition venues in public places. In this connection, members agreed to write to the Airport Authority, Housing Authority, Housing Society, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Land Development Corporation, Mass Transit Railway Corporation and Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong urging their support in providing more spaces in their properties for the display of visual arts by local artists.

(Post-meeting note : The Chairman had written to the seven organisations on 6 November 1996. The Land Development Corporation responded that they were prepared to provide space at Western Market for the display of visual arts by local artists.)


19. Members opined that local works of art should be displayed in the new airport and new Extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Mr Benjamin TANG stated that the Airport Authority had invited local artists to give advice on exhibition of works of art in the new airport. He would convey members’ views to the Trade and Industry Branch which was responsible for the construction project of the new Extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Acquisition of local works of art

20. Mrs Barbara LUK stated that the Urban Council Museums Select Committee had agreed to recommend to the Urban Council the setting aside of funds from the capital costs of appropriate new projects for the commissioning of works by local artists for display in the new facilities. The exact amount and the appropriate projects would be decided by the Museums and Finance Select Committees. Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan pointed out that the Regional Council Capital Works Select Committee had, in July 1996, approved in principle the earmarking of 1% of the capital costs for certain RC capital works projects for similar purpose. Details of the idea had yet to be worked out.

21. In reply to the enquiry whether the Administration had similar arrangements of earmarking funds for acquisition of local works of art, Mr Benjamin TANG stated that there was no policy on such arrangements at present. The BCS Branch would, in consultation with relevant government branches and the ADC, consider formulating such a policy in future capital works projects for government buildings whereby a certain percentage of funds would be set aside for acquiring local artworks. The BCS Branch would also examine the proposal to allocate more spaces for the display of artworks, particularly those by local artists, in existing government buildings. He aimed to revert to the Panel in February 1997.


22. The meeting ended at 12:20 p.m..

LegCo Secretariat
26 November 1996

Last Updated on 12 Aug, 1998