Speech by CS at 46th Hong Kong Arts Festival Finale Ceremony
Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at a toasting ceremony for the 46th Hong Kong Arts Festival Finale Ceremony at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre this evening (March 24):
Professor Lo (Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Limited, Professor Lo King-man), Mr Cheung (Executive Director, Charities and Community of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Cheung Leong), Ms Gao (Chairman and Executive Director of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited, Ms Gao Ming), Tisa (Executive Director of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Limited, Ms Tisa Ho), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It is a pity that I have missed the superb performance of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian National Male Choir given my prior official engagements, but I am glad to have a glimpse of the highlights just now. First of all, my warmest congratulations on another resounding success of the 46th Hong Kong Arts Festival Finale!
Over the past 45 years, the Festival has contributed greatly to Hong Kong's cultural life with a broad array of excellent programmes and performances. This year, the Festival has presented a total of 130 performances, including 15 world premieres and 13 Asian premieres, along with about 470 PLUS and educational activities. These performances and activities were well received with an attendance of over 300 000 people and over 92 per cent of the tickets sold. More than 1 700 international and local artists with passion, energy and strength have participated in the Festival, making it a truly inspirational and fruitful month for all art lovers in Hong Kong and from overseas.
Speaking of arts promotion, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has spared no effort in creating an environment conducive to arts and cultural development. The much-anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District is now taking shape and will be developed into a world-class integrated arts, cultural and entertainment area befitting Hong Kong's status as an international arts and cultural metropolis. Major facilities of the Cultural District to be commissioned in the next few years include the Xiqu Centre, the M+ museum, the Lyric Theatre Complex, the Freespace, the Art Park and the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
Alongside an upgrade of the architectural hardware, we are committed to creating more opportunities for young artists, building audiences and enriching people's cultural life. To this end, the lastest Budget has proposed that additional resources be provided to arts groups of different sizes. I am glad to see that Hong Kong Arts Festival Society will also be a beneficiary with a total of $40 million in additional funding for five years to enable it to continue to present exciting programmes to everyone.
That said, our effort alone is certainly not enough. We have to count on your support. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the participating arts and cultural organisations, as well as the audience and benefactors who are crucial to making this Festival a success. My special thanks go to the sponsors and patrons for their generous contribution, especially the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for its unqualified support over the years and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited for generously sponsoring tonight's performance.
Now, please allow me to say a few words in Cantonese.
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