For information

LegCo Panel on
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

Policy on Promotion of Cultural Exchange Activities


This paper keeps members informed about the policy of both Government and the two Provisional Municipal Councils on the promotion of cultural exchanges, particularly between Hong Kong and the Mainland.


2. Government supports the promotion and development of the arts in Hong Kong, including the promotion of cultural exchanges. It provides funding to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), a statutory body established in June 1995, for this purpose. It is part of the functions and objectives of the HKADC to communicate, collaborate and facilitate cultural exchanges with overseas bodies in the development of the arts, in order to secure the benefit of relevant experience from abroad.

3. Over the past two and a half years, the HKADC has provided significant funding support to a number of professional and budding arts organisations for taking part in international cultural exchange activities. These activities have helped to enhance the artistic standards of Hong Kong artists and promote the appreciation of Hong Kong arts by the international community. In 1996/97, the HKADC spent some $1.59 million supporting local artists/arts organisations to participate in 20 cultural exchange activities. This figure rose to some $2.46 million in 1997/98 (up to 31 December 97) and the number of cultural exchanges activities so supported increased to 21. Many of these activities involved the participation of Mainland artists.

4. In addition to the HKADC, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (the Academy), a fully subvented body established in 1984 for the training and education of professional performing artists, also undertakes extensive cultural exchange activities. Since its inception, the Academy has consistently adopted an international outlook to reflect the cultural diversity of Hong Kong. To this end, the Academy has actively sought to develop and maintain a full programme of exchange activities in all its disciplines for the interface and cross-cultural development of eastern and western performing arts.

5. Over the years, the Academy has established a close link with overseas performing arts institutions, including those in the Mainland. These linkages exist in various forms such as exchange programmes for staff and students, overseas performance visits by students of the Academy and reciprocal visits by students of major conservatories to the Academy. These exchange activities have not only helped to enrich the cultural profile of Hong Kong but have also enabled the Academy to become a renowned performing arts institution in the Asia Pacific Region.

Provisional Municipal Councils

6. The two Provisional Municipal Councils are also involved in promoting cultural exchange activities. As independent statutory bodies, they are empowered to formulate their own polices and the Government has no power to intervene. Based on information received from the two municipal services departments, the following paragraphs set out the role and policy of the two Councils in the promotion of cultural exchanges.

(I) Provisional Urban Council (PUC)

7. The Provisional Urban Council plays an active role in supporting international cultural exchanges as follows :

  1. It stages international arts festivals such as the biennial Festival of Asian Arts, the International Arts Carnival and the International Film Festival. These festivals aim at promoting different art forms as well as cultural exchanges amongst artists from the participating countries. Besides performances or film shows, lectures, seminars and workshops are organised during the Festivals to provide a platform for experience sharing;

  2. It invites visiting artists or performing groups to give performances, lectures or workshops in Hong Kong on a year round basis. Guest artists are also invited from time to time to collaborate with local artists and performing groups;

  3. It finances overseas tours of its own performing companies, such as the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Dance Company and the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre;

  4. It selectively supports local performing groups in their overseas tours by presenting their pre-tour or post-tour performances, thereby offsetting part of the production costs of their overseas production;

  5. Moreover, it provides funding support to major local arts organisations such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra which have a strong advocacy of promoting cultural exchanges between local and overseas artists. The PUC is also a long-term partner with the Kagoshima Prefectural Government in organising the Hong Kong - Kagoshima Cultural Exchange Programme with each city playing host to the presentation of guest performing groups; and

  6. On the literary and visual arts front, the PUC sponsors various activities to promote the respective artforms and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and overseas artists. These include the mounting of large scale exhibitions at the Museum of Art featuring works from the Mainland and overseas, the organization of a Literature Festival with the participation of Mainland and overseas scholars and writers.

(II) Provisional Regional Council (ProRC)

8. The ProRC is also active in supporting cultural exchanges. Although the Council does not have any on-going international arts or cultural exchange programmes with any country or overseas organisation other than those participated by the Music Office, the Council frequently participates in overseas cultural activities in response to invitation.

9. International artists feature as highlights in the Council's year-round cultural programmes such as the annual International Children's Art Festival, the biennial Regional Council Festival, the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Regional Council as well as the Council's collaboration with the Hong Kong Arts Festival. About 20% of the 600 programmes presented annually by the ProRC involve visiting artists. Through these programmes, specific aspects of culture are introduced to the local audience. Selected programmes also provide a forum for visiting artists to meet local performers and exchange their experience in workshops and informal discussions.

10. In recent years, the ProRC has made a conscious decision to enhance efforts in introducing aspects of Chinese culture to the Hong Kong public, and these activities include:-

  1. Mass entertainment and participatory events in the biennial Regional Council Festival, including the Lantern Carnivals, Ice Sculpture Exhibitions and Kite-flying Festivals;

  2. Performing arts events - a Chinese theme festival is organized on a biennial basis featuring different aspects of Chinese performing arts. Past Festivals include the Chinese Folk Art Festival, the Silk Road Festival and the Chinese Ethnic Arts Festival. On a year-round basis, mini-series on Chinese performing arts e.g. instrumental virtuosi and folk orchestras have been organised; and

  3. Like the PUC, the ProRC has maintained a cordial working relationship with major museums and libraries in the Mainland. Through mutual co-operation, major museum exhibitions such as 'History through Chinese Stamps', 'Empress Dowager Cixi: Her Art of Living', 'Life on the Saddle' and 'Daily Life of Aristocrats in Tang China' and a Library exhibition on the 'Evolution of Books' have been organized.

11. The Music Office, which is under the joint management of the two Municipal Councils also has a cultural exchange programme. The Councils send at least one of the Music Office's youth orchestras, bands or choirs on overseas tours annually. The Office also receives overseas youth music groups in community concerts and music exchange activities and arranges for local young musicians to participate in overseas music camps.

12. In addition, the ProRC also provides support to some local performing arts groups planning an overseas tour by presenting their pre-tour or post-tour performances as a means of support.

Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau
January 1998