Following is a question by the Hon Paul Chan Mo-po and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (January 26):
The Hong Kong SAR Government participated respectively in the 60th National Anniversary float parade held in Beijing in 2009 and the exhibitions in the World Exposition 2010 Shanghai China ("Shanghai Expo"). However, the float entitled "Blooming Bauhinia" that participated in the parade was criticised at that time as resembling a "paper offering", while the Hong Kong Pavilion in the Shanghai Expo was even said to be featureless. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it has, when participating in the two aforesaid national events, deployed staff before, during and after the events to conduct opinion surveys among participants on site, including those from the Mainland and Hong Kong; if it has, of the details, and the discrepancies between the survey outcome and the public comments at that time; if not, the reasons for that, and whether it will consider conducting opinion surveys during its participation in major national events in future so that more comprehensive and fair comments on the participation of the authorities in such events can be obtained;
(b) whether the government departments responsible for the coordination have conducted thorough review and make enhancement recommendations after Hong Kong's participation in the two aforesaid national events; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that, and whether they will consider conducting thorough review in future; and
(c) given that the report on the work of the Office of the Government of the HKSAR in Beijing presented to this Council in 2010 merely accounted for Hong Kong's participation in the activities to celebrate the 60th National Anniversary in a few short paragraphs, why the report did not review the effectiveness of the participation in the event?
As an integral part of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has been in support of and participated in national events such as the float parade in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC (float parade) and the World Exposition 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo). In view of the different nature and theme of the events, the planning of and areas involved in the participation in a major event vary. The HKSAR Government has endeavoured to coordinate, as appropriate, participation from different sectors of the community to garner the best input and to collect opinions through various channels with a view to yielding the best results.
As regards the three parts of the question, our reply is as follows:
(a) and (b) In relation to the float parade, the design and the production of all floats for the parade had to comply with a host of regulations and requirements set by the national organising authorities, and were subject to assessment and approval by relevant authorities and experts in the Mainland.
The HKSAR float was designed and produced by a professional design company selected through a quotation exercise. As required by the organising authorities, all participating parties had to keep the design and content of their floats in the strictest confidence. This requirement precluded any form of public opinion survey as far as the design and content of the HKSAR float were concerned.
There was extensive coverage by the HKSAR and the Mainland media on the float parade. The coverage included a wide range of views. The HKSAR Government will take these views into account when participating in similar activities in future.
Community involvement was a significant feature of the HKSAR's participation in the Shanghai Expo. The HKSAR Government organised a Concept Design Competition for the Hong Kong Pavilion in as early as 2008 and the overall design of the Hong Kong Pavilion was subsequently based on the winning entry. Having consulted the local creative industries, the HKSAR Government submitted an application for the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) Exhibition to the Shanghai Expo organisers in early 2008. The HKSAR's application was assessed by an international selection committee and was approved as one of the selected cases for exhibition. During the planning period, the HKSAR Government reported to this Council on several occasions the concepts of the HKSAR's participation, including the theme of the Hong Kong Pavilion and the contents of the Hong Kong UBPA Exhibition, as well as overall progress of the preparation.
With the support and participation of the creative industries sector, the performing arts sector and professional sectors such as information technology, legal and financial services, the HKSAR staged a series of cultural events and promotional activities during the Shanghai Expo period. Among them are 34 cultural and performing arts programmes, involving 100 performances which were staged outside the Expo Park and attracted an average of over 90 per cent attendance and a total audience of 17,000 people. The two visual arts exhibitions held in the Shanghai Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, received some 40,000 visitors. As regards the promotional activities, we co-organised with the Hong Kong creative industry sector in Shanghai the "Hong Kong: Creative Ecologies" exhibition and the "Hong Kong Ani-Com Carnival", which received patronage of some 100,000 and over 500,000 respectively. The former showcased Hong Kong's creative talent and the local creative industries' global influence and the latter presented the history and the development of Hong Kong's comics and animation industry. These events and activities attracted extensive coverage in the HKSAR and the Mainland media, including over 1,800 and over 1,300 reports generated respectively. These reports were generally positive and were conducive to promoting HKSAR's unique lifestyle and achievements.
During the Shanghai Expo period, the Hong Kong Pavilion and Hong Kong UBPA Exhibition received over 3.3 million visitors. According to the results of our daily sampling survey, around 90 per cent of the visitors found the exhibition content interesting and were satisfied with the exhibition. Having regard to the opinions collected and actual situation, we also took immediate improvement measures such as adjusting the indoor temperature of the Hong Kong Pavilion according to the weather condition; installing cooling fans at the queuing area and the roof of the Hong Kong Pavilion; and setting up outdoor sun canopies, etc.
(c) We believe the report mentioned in part (c) of the question refers to the information paper submitted by the Office of the Government of the HKSAR in Beijing (the Beijing Office) to the Panel on Commerce and Industry of this Council in June 2010. As with the practices of the other overseas and Mainland Offices of the HKSAR Government, the Beijing Office submits an annual report every June to report on the major work done. The major work of the Beijing Office during the period from June 2009 to May 2010 includes assisting in the preparation of the celebration activities of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC. The review on the effectiveness of the participation in the event has been explained in the above paragraphs.
Ends/Wednesday, January 26, 2011