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Mainland-HK arts cooperation to reach new heights

By GANG WEN in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-22 08:58

Figures from Hong Kong's arts and culture industry join the discussion panel at the Summit on the Development of a Chinese and Foreign Cultural and Arts Exchange Center in Hong Kong on Wednesday. CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY

Cooperation between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland in arts and culture will reach new heights, with a series of supporting measures expected to be put in place soon to consolidate the city's efforts to become an arts and culture hub forming a bridge between China and the rest of the world, sector heavyweights said on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told a high-level forum in Hong Kong on promoting the city's role as a hub for arts and cultural exchanges that Hong Kong had been presented with huge advantages in its new role, which was outlined in the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) released in March.

The plan supports the city in developing into a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, in addition to maintaining its traditional regional leadership in finance, trade and aviation.

Lam said to achieve that goal, it is necessary to enhance Hong Kong people's national identity, especially that of the young, and their appreciation of traditional Chinese culture.

While forging cultural links with the world, Lam said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the cultural sector should continue to maintain close bonds with the mainland, attracting more art exchanges of different kinds to the city and showcasing Chinese culture to the world.

Lam said she was optimistic about the future development of the city's arts and culture industry as she believed a large number of related events will happen in Hong Kong in the next few years at the world-class platforms in the city's West Kowloon Cultural District, where a number of top museums, art galleries and theaters are under construction.

Zhang Xu, vice-minister of culture and tourism, told the forum a range of supporting policies are being considered to enhance cross-border cultural ties, including incorporating Hong Kong artists and cultural practitioners into the mainland's professional qualification assessment systems and encouraging excellent institutions in charge of grading examinations on the mainland to cooperate with institutions in Hong Kong on training and holding examinations.

The Council of the China National Arts Fund has opened up its 2022 fund to applications from Hong Kong and Macao.

Zhang said such measures are "good news" for the city's arts and culture sector and will help to boost mainland-Hong Kong collaboration and integration in the arts.

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, a member of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, said, "the broader platform will give Hong Kong people more opportunities to make use of their strengths, further integrate in national art projects, and even participate in more world-class programs."

Lu Xinning, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, suggested the city further enhance its cultural competence, instead of only serving as a middleman in cultural trade.

Given the city had nurtured a number of influential Sinologists, directors and novelists, Lu encouraged arts practitioners to pass on the tradition and draw spirit from the nation's rich history and culture, so as to further enhance the charm of Hong Kong culture.

Ma Fung-kwok, a Hong Kong lawmaker representing the sports, performing arts, culture and publication constituency and chairman of the China Literary and Arts Circles Hong Kong Member Association, said the city should strengthen cooperation and exchanges with other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Yao Jue, founder and artistic director of the Hong Kong String Orchestra, said she was confident of the orchestra's role in cultural exchanges as its world tours, featuring colorful national and Hong Kong elements, have been well received by audiences worldwide.

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