Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2)2574/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/HA

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs

Minutes of special meeting

held on Tuesday, 18 May 1999 at 10:45 am

in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

Hon CHOY So-yuk (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

Members Absent :

Hon Albert HO Chun-yan (Deputy Chairman)
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Christine LOH
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Member Attending :

Hon Fred LI Wah-ming

Public Officers Attending :

Items I and II

Mr Arthur NG
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 3

Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 5

Mr NGAI Wing-chit
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (Culture)

Attendance by Invitation :

Item I

Mr Albert LAM
Consultant to the Home Affairs Bureau

Item II

Hong Kong Arts Development Council

Mr Vincent CHOW, JP

Mr Darwin CHEN

Hong Kong Sports Development Board

Mr Billy KONG MH

Board Member

Prof Frank FU
Board Member

Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China

Mr PANG Chung

Hong Kong, China Rowing Association

Mr Robert WILSON

Democratic Party

Mr KWONG Kwok-chuen

Mr WU Chi-wai

Urban Council & Regional Council Music Office Parents

Mrs WU CHUI Wing-ling

Mrs NG CHEUNG Siu-ming

Mr Timothy YUEN,
Founder/Chairman of Headland Art-co-operative Society

Ms Lingki CHAU
Director of Hong Kong Artists' Guild,
Founder of Headland Art-co-operative Society

Museum of Site

Mr Andrew LAM
Curatorial Director of Museum of Site

Mr James WONG
Guest Curator

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Miss Flora TAI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Opening remarks

1. The Chairman said that the special meeting was convened to discuss the Consultancy Report on the Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sports Services (the Consultancy Report) with the Consultant and the Administration, and to receive views from concerned organizations which had made written submissions to the Panel. The Chairman also informed members that the Panel had placed advertisements in newspapers inviting submissions on the Consultancy Report, and eleven written submission had been received so far.

II. Meeting with the Consultant and the Administration

2. The Chairman welcomed Mr Albert LAM, Consultant for the Study on the Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sports Services (the Consultant) and representatives of the Administration to the meeting. Discussion among Panel members, the Consultant and the Administration is summarized in paragraphs 3 - 14.

The cultural policy

3. The Chairman said that there were comments that the Consultancy Report appeared to have confined the scope of "culture" to arts and music only, and she asked whether the Consultant had in mind a definition of "culture". The Consultant responded that "culture" was a very broad term, covering a spectrum of activities including arts, music, opera and performing art etc. From a broader perspective, "culture" also covered heritage, archaeology and spiritual civilization. It was therefore very difficult to give a definition to "culture" in view of its wide scope. As far as the Consultancy Report was concerned, it only focused on those culture and arts services currently delivered by the two Provisional Municipal Councils (PMCs), for the purpose of recommending a new structure for the delivery of these services upon the dissolution of PMCs. The Consultant added that in devising the new institutional framework, he had in mind the preservation of artistic freedom and diversity of cultural development as the fundamental principles for ensuring uninhibited and continuing development of arts and culture.

4. The Chairman was of the view that "culture" had an impact on almost all aspects of life including education, language, economy and media, therefore it should not be limited to only those cultural and arts services delivered by PMCs. The Consultant responded that he must confine his study within the scope set by the Administration, and he was only asked to recommend a new structure for the provision and management of the existing culture, arts, recreation and sports services from 1 January 2000. As formulation of an overall cultural policy covered a much wider scope, it was not plausible to devise one in a few months' time.

5. Mr CHENG Kai-nam commented that the Consultancy Report only provided an institutional framework without the backing of a philosophy or forward-looking "cultural policy". In this connection, he asked whether the Administration had distinguished the provision of recreational facilities from the development of culture and sport. While the former only required the provision of venues and facilities, strategic and systematic planning would be necessary for the promotion and development of culture and sport. Mr CHENG was disappointed that the Administration did not have a vision or positive proposals for the future development of culture and sport in connection with its proposal to abolish PMCs. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 3 (DS for HA 3) responded that at the special meeting of the Panel on Home Affairs on 29 March 1999, Secretary for Home Affairs had explained that the Administration aimed to have a forward-looking cultural policy based on two principles: respect for freedom of expression, creativity and pluralistic development of arts, and reduction of Government's direct involvement. The Administration hoped to develop partnership with the arts and sport community under the new structure in promoting diversity and creativity in their development. The proposed Culture and Heritage Commission (the Commission), with representatives drawn from various sectors, would adopt a macro-perspective in advising Government on the future development of culture and arts and on the formulation of an overall cultural policy. The Administration had noted that there were concerns on how education and economic development would interface with culture and sport, and these issues would be examined in detail at a later stage.

6. Mr CHENG Kai-nam asked whether the Consultant considered a distinction should be made between elite training and recreational activities for the community, as this would have impact on the planning and allocation of resources and venues under the new structure. The Consultant replied that the future Commission would advise Government on the broad funding priorities for culture and the arts, and Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) would be tasked with the responsibility to decide the allocation of resources for sports and recreation. At present, Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB) was responsible for elite training, while PMCs organized sport training programmes for the community with coaches provided by the National Sports Associations (NSAs).

7. Mr Timothy FOK also commented that the Consultancy Report was too general and the sports community was very concerned about the future mechanism for allocation of resources which involved some $2 billion annual expenditure according to the budgets of PMCs.

Scope and timetable of the consultancy study

8. In response to Ms Cyd HO's enquiry about the terms of reference of the consultancy study, the Consultant drew members' attention to paragraph 1.02 in his Report. Ms Cyd HO asked whether the Administration had instructed the Consultant to limit his study to existing services provided by PMCs, despite strong views expressed by many sectors of the community urging for an overall policy review of the cultural, arts, recreational and sports services. The Consultant clarified that the Administration had not instructed him to limit his study to the existing functions of PMCs and he was not tasked to abolish the two PMCs.

9. Referring to the Consultant's earlier remarks, Ms Cyd HO sought clarification from the Consultant as to whether he was given sufficient time to conduct the study as his report did not provide concrete proposals for implementing the new structure. The Consultant replied that he was given adequate time, i.e. three months, to complete the study within his terms of reference.

10. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG asked and the Consultant responded that he had completed his consultancy contract with the Administration three months ago.

Scope and nature of consultation

11. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG queried why the Consultant had only met and discussed with some 20 organizations and individuals on the subject and whether he was allowed sufficient time for the study. The Consultant responded that he had met major representative organizations in the fields of culture, arts and sports. In addition, he had personally attended five major open forums organized by HAB. The Consultant considered the scope of consultation adequate for the purpose of his study within the available time. Mr CHEUNG disagreed with the Consultant, pointing out that there were about 1200 organizations in the relevant functional constituency and that the Consultant had not met any organization in the dance, film and drama sectors. The Consultant responded that many culture and arts organizations were represented on or connected with Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) and Hong Kong Arts Centre which he had consulted. He had also examined written submissions from some of these bodies. He explained that sometimes he had to rely on written submissions in view of the time limit. In this regard, Ms Cyd HO said that the Consultant had contradicted his earlier statement on the adequacy of time to complete the Consultancy Report. She requested the Consultant to give a definite answer at a future meeting of the Panel. Consultant

12. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG said that the Consultant had declined invitations to attend meetings of the Provisional Urban Council (PUC). Referring to the list of organizations met by the Consultant in Appendix I of the Report, Mr CHEUNG said that he had sought clarification from individual PUC members who had met the Consultant that their personal views relayed to the Consultant did not represent PUC. Moreover, PUC had not, formally or informally, met the Consultant as an organization about his study. He therefore asked the Consultant to clarify that PUC should not have been included as one of the "organizations" met by the Consultant. Referring to Mr CHEUNG's comments, the Consultant clarified that PUC had not invited him for a meeting shortly before the release of his Report. He further explained that he had met organizations and individuals either formally or informally, and they were all grouped together in Appendix I of the Consultancy Report. His meeting with PUC members was an informal one. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG pointed out that separate lists of meetings with organizations and individuals were appended to the Report, and that PUC had not met the Consultant as an organization even on an informal basis. As such, he requested the Consultant to clarify the matter, and to provide separate lists for formal and informal meetings with organizations and individuals. Mr CHEUNG further remarked that the Consultant should not decline PUC's invitation on the basis that the invitation was extended after the release of the Consultancy Report, since the Consultant also accepted the invitation of the Legislative Council to attend this meeting.Consultant

13. With regard to Mr CHEUNG's query that the Consultancy Report was based on limited consultation excluding the major service providers (PMCs), the Consultant said that HAB officials had attended relevant PMC meetings and relayed PMCs' views to him. He had also made reference to the relevant minutes of meetings and press reports on the subject. He was therefore fully acquainted with the views of PMCs. The Consultant added that he had served in Urban Services Department for eight years altogether and was familiar with the operation of the municipal councils and their executive departments.

Culture and Heritage Commission

14. Ms Cyd HO expressed concern that as the proposed Culture and Heritage Commission would be a non-statutory advisory body, it would have no powers or influence over the policy bureaux and government departments in implementing its recommendations. She stressed that there must be an elected body to monitor the provision of services provided by Government. The Consultant pointed out that many major advisory bodies such as the Transport Advisory Committee and the Board of Education were also non-statutory, and they had great influence in shaping Government policies. He added that non-statutory bodies had the merit of having more flexibility in determining their scope and method of work. Nevertheless, he would not rule out the possibility that the Commission could become a statutory body if considered necessary at a later stage. He said that the status and functions of the Commission would be a matter for the Commission to decide, when all stakeholders and the community had a better idea of the role and operation of the Commission after a period of implementation. Ms HO maintained her view that the Administration was reckless in not giving careful consideration to the functions and powers of the new framework before recommending abolition of the existing structure, unless the Administration's only objective was to centralize the powers of PMCs in the hands of Government.

Cultural and leisure services

15. Referring to Chapter 10 of the Consultancy Report, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG queried on what basis the Consultant drew a conclusion that there was overlapping between the theme and contents of "festivals" and "carnivals" organized by the two municipal councils when recommending discontinuation of the small-scale free outdoor entertainment programmes. The Consultant replied that his recommendations were based on information provided by the executive departments of PMCs which showed that these programmes did not provide value for money. He only outlined a broad direction in his report and recommended the new Department of Culture and Leisure Services to review the value of these programmes.

16. The Chairman thanked the Consultant for attending the meeting and requested his attendance at a future meeting of the Panel to respond to views expressed by members and deputations.

III. Meeting with deputations

Hong Kong Arts Development Council
[Paper No. CB(2)2016/98-99]

17. At the invitation of the Chairman, HKADC Chairman briefed members on the written submission. With regard to HKADC's "nomination/election" system to select representatives of arts groups representatives (Paragraphs 3.05 and 3.06 of the Consultancy Report), Council members of HKADC had taken a vote on the three improvement proposals drawn up by HAB on the basis of the Consultant's recommendations. The voting result of HKADC was as follows:

  1. HKADC supported broadening the electorate base of HKADC and requested HAB to review the eligibility of voters;

  2. despite divided views expressed by some members, the majority of Council members of HKADC supported in principle the proposal to allow an eligible voter to elect the representatives of all the arts interests instead of just the art interest to which the voter belonged; and

  3. HKADC supported limiting eligible voters to those with at least one year membership.

18. Concerning the Consultant's comment that Council members of HKADC had devoted an inordinate amount of time during meetings to examine and debate funding applications, HKADC Chairman informed members that HKADC had implemented an assessor system from 1 January 1999 for consideration of funding applications. The assistance of the Independent Commission Against Corruption had also been sought to refine the system. The new system, which was fair and could avoid possible conflict of interest, had enabled Council members to devote more meeting time for discussion of arts policy or development issues. The new system would be reviewed after six months to see what improvements would be required under the new structure. HKADC had also proposed that the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department should be responsible for the allocation of resources to, and monitoring of, organizations receiving regular "three-year grants".

19. HKADC Chairman said that the future Culture and Heritage Commission should be a temporary body of two years mainly for devising a long-term structure for the arts and culture. HKADC would put forward nominations for membership of the Commission. Apart from co-ordinating efforts of the arts community and other stakeholders in formulating an overall cultural policy, the Commission should attach sufficient importance to international cultural exchanges which had great impact on Hong Kong's international status. HKADC Chairman added that the Consultancy Report had not discussed in depth the roles or delineation of responsibilities between the Commission and HKADC, pointing out that HKADC also had a statutory responsibility to advise Government on arts policy.

Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB)
[Paper No. CB(2)1850/98-99(09)]

20. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB highlighted the salient points in the written submission. He said that HKSDB generally supported the recommendations of the Consultancy Report which did not propose changes to the role of HKSDB. HKSDB was pleased with the Consultant's recognition that HKSDB had discharged its statutory responsibilities effectively. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB stressed the importance of having a uniform policy for allocation of resources and venues, and the need for direct and open communication among Government, HKSDB and other sports organizations. HKSDB also requested the Administration to clarify which party, HKSDB or the policy bureau, would take the lead in formulating the Strategic Sports Development Plan.Admin

21. Mr MA Fung-kwok asked how HKSDB would perceive its future role in sports development. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB responded that since its establishment in 1990, HKSDB had been tasked with statutory responsibilities to promote sports development in Hong Kong. As regards the formulation of sports development strategic policy, either HKSDB or the Administration was capable of taking the lead, so long as there was an uniform policy and no overlapping of structure and duplication of funding mechanism. In this regard, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG asked about the views of HKSDB on the proposal of centralizing the policy-making powers relating to culture and sports by one municipal council. He asked whether a centralized structure could help resolve the differences in opinions concerning the structure and functions of HKSDB and SF&OC. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB responded that given a unified set of objectives and strategies, different stakeholders could work together under any structure. He added that HKSDB comprised representatives of different stakeholders of the sports community, and had always emphasized the importance of open and direct communication among stakeholders in sports.

Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC)
[Paper Nos. CB(2)1981/98-99 and CB(2)2042/98-99(01)]

22. Members noted the written submission of SF&OC. Secretary General of SF&OC made some additional points as set out in his speaking note which was subsequently issued to members vide Paper No. CB(2)2042/98-99(01). He also reported the developments of SF&OC since the completion of the Consultancy Report in February 1999.

23. Mr Timothy FOK shared the views of Vice-Chairman of HKSDB concerning the importance of open and direct communication. He stressed the importance of putting in place a fair and effective system for the allocation of resources in the interest of NSAs, and he hoped the Administration would put forward more concrete proposals in this respect. Mr FOK added that the Administration should give clear indication on the future direction of privatization where it affected the provision of venues and sports development. There should also be rationalization of the delineation of responsibilities between the Administration and the two major sports bodies, HKSDC and SF&OC. He said that SF&OC would maintain its existing role and continue to participate in promoting sports development under the new structure.Admin

Hong Kong, China Rowing Association
[Paper Nos. CB(2)2042/98-99(02) and CB(2)2042/98-99(02)]

24. Members noted the written submission of the Association. President of the Association also made some additional points as set out in his speaking note which was subsequently issued to members vide Paper No. CB(2)2042/98-99(02). He emphasized the importance of giving HKSDB full authority to determine the policy for sports relating to usage of public sports facilities. He pointed out that in many leading countries, sports development policies were co-ordinated by quasi-government organizations similar to HKSDB. He said that the Association did not support the Consultant's recommendation of bisecting sports horizontally by confining the role of the HKSDB to elite sports and leaving community sports to a government department. He pointed out that it would put NSAs in the same difficult position as before because they would still need to deal with two un-coordinated bodies regarding usage of venues and facilities.

25. Responding to Mr MA Fung-kwok's question about the role of HKSDB, President of the Association stressed that, in view of the detrimental effect to sports development arising from the division of responsibilities in policy-making and control of public sports facilities, HKSDB should be given consolidated policy-making powers for sports development.

Democratic Party (DP)
[Paper No. CB(2)1850/98-99(03)]

26. DP representatives briefed members on the written submission. They urged the Government not to strangle the chances for public participation in formulating public policies. They were of the view that the "one council, one department" proposal of PMCs and DP could best achieve the objectives of a streamlined structure, enhancing accountability and democracy. DP representatives said that the Consultancy Report had failed to address the problems of the existing structure in the delivery of culture, the arts, recreation and sports services. DP representatives considered that the future Commission could not be compared with PMCs in terms of representativeness as the Commission would be a non-statutory body with only 17 members, and it would have great difficulties in holding the Administration accountable for the services provided. DP representatives stressed that the Administration should conduct a second-round consultation on the Consultancy Report so that the public could express their views on the new structure for culture, the arts, recreation and sports services.

Urban Council & Regional Council Music Office Parents Association
[Paper No. CB(2)1850/98-99(08)]

27. Chairman of the Parents Association expressed dissatisfaction that the Administration had not consulted the Parents Association on the proposed transfer of the Music Office to the Academy of Performing Arts. They were concerned that the latter's role was more on development of professional artists rather than music education in the community. The Parents Association would prefer status quo and if a change was necessary, the Administration should consider other alternatives such as retaining Music Office under a government department (Education Department or the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department). Another option was to make Music Office an independent government-funded body, under the supervision of HAB or a committee comprising government officials and representatives from the community. Chairman of the Parents Association urged the Administration to consult the affected parties including the Parents Association, music instructors, students and other sectors of the community on the proposed structure and arrangements including venues and fees, and the future direction of music education in the community.

Mr Timothy YUEN/Ms Lingki CHAU
[Paper No. CB(2)1850/98-99(04)]

28. Mr Timothy YUEN briefed members on the written submission. Mr YUEN and Ms CHAU considered that apart from providing entertainment and enhancing spiritual civilization, arts and culture could be developed into an industry to promote economic development. They also urged the Administration to review the position of Hong Kong arts and culture after the re-unification. They were opposed to the proposal that the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department, being a government department, should be responsible for all matters relating to culture and arts, as the new structure would not bring any improvement in public accountability or checks and balances. A three-tier structure for culture and arts encouraging participation of local arts groups was therefore proposed, as detailed in their written submission. Mr YUEN also pointed out that corporatization was not a panacea to enhance quality of service, having regard to the fact that a finance-oriented strategy might not be compatible with considerations such as social responsibility and public interest.

Museum of Site (MOST)
[Paper No. CB(2)1902/98-99(01)]

29. Representatives of MOST briefed members on the written submission.
They stressed the importance of professionalism in the development of arts and culture. MOST was opposed to the proposal of "one council, one department" on the grounds that full-time participation of professionals was more important than merely having elected members. They suggested that the Administration should consider setting up a statutory Cultural Services Council in the long term and include elected members in its composition. They said that MOST supported the Consultant's recommendation to shelve the project of the Museum of Contemporary Art pending an overall review by museum experts of international renown. They stressed that participation of local experts and public consultation was also important. With regard to the future of Music Office, representatives of MOST said that the Administration could consider corporatizing Music Office and expand its services to cover other areas of arts.

30. The Chairman thanked representatives of the deputations for giving their views to the Panel. The Chairman also requested the Administration and the Consultant to provide a written response to the written submissions and views expressed in the meeting.Admin

IV. Date of next meeting

31. On following up the views of deputations, some members considered that the Panel should further discuss with the Administration and the Consultant at a future meeting. The Chairman suggested and members agreed to follow up the issue at the next regular Panel meeting scheduled for Monday, 14 June 1999 at 4:30 pm, and the Consultant and the Administration would be invited to the meeting.

32. The Chairman reminded members that the Panel would meet other deputations including members of PMCs on the Consultancy Report at the special meeting scheduled for 20 May 1999.

(Post-meeting note : With the concurrence of the Chairman, the special meeting on 20 May 1999 has been re-scheduled to 27 May 1999.)

33. The meeting ended at 1:00 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
15 July 1999