Bureau promoting Chinese culture to rise from revamp

Three new bureaus could emerge when the government reorganization is given the green light in the new Legislative Council term that starts in January.

The government is seeking to split the Transport and Housing Bureau into two and create a cultural bureau that focuses on promoting Chinese culture as well as arts and tourism, sources said.

If the reorganization is passed, there will be 15 bureaus in the new government term from July 1.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will propose a number of long-term policies that may be carried out by the next government in her upcoming policy address, including a reshuffle of departments, sources said.

It is understood that Lam will come up with detailed plans at the end of the year or early 2022 and these are meant to be carried out by the next government. Lam did not mention whether the future housing bureau would be combined with the development bureau, sources said.

In order to sync with the central government’s 14th five-year plan to define Hong Kong as an exchange center for Chinese and foreign culture and arts, Lam is said to be planning a new arts and tourism bureau.

“The government will still need to work on the specific policy division of the new bureau,” sources said.

“But it is expected to take up cultural policy from the Home Affairs Bureau, the publishing, film and creative industries from the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, and the cultural conservation work from the Development Bureau.”

Sources added that attractions including the West Kowloon Cultural District and Hong Kong Palace Museum will all be under the new bureau.

The bureau will also be responsible for “telling good China stories.”

Under the current environment in which Beijing aims to promote traditional Chinese culture to Hong Kong youngsters, the new bureau will play an important role, sources said.

Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions’ lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen said the federation supports the government’s idea to set up a separate arts and tourism bureau.

Mak said on a radio program yesterday that Legco is more effective in passing bills now and the government could work quickly on the reshuffle.

If the government starts studying the restructuring now and draft the bill, it could be passed when the new Legco term starts in January.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chair Starry Lee Wai-king said she hopes the restructuring could be all sorted out before a new administration term starts next July.

The restructuring could be completed after the chief executive election and before the new leader takes up the helm so that the new government could carry out their work within the new structure, she said.

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