Gov’t supports creative industries: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Themed “Redefining Luxury”, the three-day International Design Furniture Fair Hong Kong brings together top-notch designers, architects, trade visitors and quality end users to explore and appreciate exquisite designs and heritage craftsmanship.

 

In the much-anticipated “Dialogue Speakers Series”, over 20 internationally renowned designers and architects will share with us their perception of luxury and beauty. There will also be precious exchanges on various important topics spanning from designing for small spaces to urban design and sustainability. It will no doubt inspire creativity and also aspire young talents to appreciate excellent designs.

 

Apart from the dialogue series, an enthralling mix of some of the best lifestyle designs, both local and from around the world, will also be displayed under one roof in the gallery showcases and design exhibitions. I am sure this will be an excellent dynamic platform for high-end design brands to interact with visitors and target customers, and to reinforce their identity and positioning in the Asian market.

 

Design is one of the fastest growing contributors to Hong Kong’s creative industries, generating over US$530 million to our economy a year, and attaining 15% annual growth over the past decade. Given its importance, the Government spares no effort in promoting Hong Kong as a regional design hub. We support worthwhile causes whenever we can and in the past three years, we have provided over US$38 million for projects that promote the development of design, ranging from the nurturing of talents, overseas promotion of local designers and encouragement of cross-disciplinary collaborations.

 

May I offer my sincere thanks to IDFFHK in staging the event and helping Hong Kong to enhance its prominent global position as a regional design hub in Asia. With the strong support from the design community, our design industry will no doubt continue to prosper and garnish global recognition.

 

We will not leave the design industry to do work on its own. The Government will adopt a very proactive stance in encouraging the further development of Hong Kong’s design industry and help to open up the Mainland market. I have been to several cities in the Mainland recently and I can assure you that most of the provincial leaders that I met speak very highly of Hong Kong’s design creativity. So there’s a huge market awaiting our designers to tap.

 

Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the International Design Furniture Fair Hong Kong opening ceremony on August 25.

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HK upholds judicial independence

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen

On August 17, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment concerning the application to review the sentences involving Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law. The Court of Appeal sentenced the defendants to immediate custodial sentence of six to eight months. The judgment has attracted extensive attention and discussions. Since the defendants have indicated an intention to appeal against the judgment, it is not appropriate to go into matters which may affect the intended appeal. However, since some of the comments display a lack of understanding of the basic facts of the case or our legal system, it is important that there should be an explanation of the different stages of the legal and judicial process.

 

The first stage is the prosecution stage. The defendants were prosecuted for offences involving unlawful assembly, which is defined in section 18(1) of the Public Order Ordinance as follows: “When three or more persons, assembled together, conduct themselves in a disorderly, intimidating, insulting or provocative manner intended or likely to cause any person reasonably to fear that the persons so assembled will commit a breach of the peace, or will by such conduct provoke other persons to commit a breach of the peace, they are an unlawful assembly”. Unlawful assembly is not concerned with the ideas (whether political or otherwise) that the persons who organised or participated in the assembly sought to advocate. Instead, it focuses on the manner in which the assembly was held. Accordingly, the defendants were not prosecuted for their political ideas.

 

The second stage is the trial stage. There can be no doubt that the defendants were convicted after a fair and open trial. The defendants were legally represented, and they had every opportunity to make such submissions as they saw fit. The defendants at one stage lodged appeals against their convictions. However, they subsequently abandoned their appeals. Thus, the defendants no longer take issue with their convictions.

 

The third stage is the review of sentence. The first review took place before the magistrate who convicted the defendants pursuant to section 104 of the Magistrates Ordinance. The second review took place before the Court of Appeal pursuant to section 81A of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. Such review can only be lodged if the sentence imposed by the trial judge “is not authorised by law, is wrong in principle or is manifestly excessive or manifestly inadequate”. All these grounds for review only concern legal issues. Political considerations do not come into play, whether at the stage when the prosecution lodged the review or when the Court of Appeal dealt with the application for review.

 

The hearing of the review was also an open and transparent one. All the submissions made by the prosecution were legal (as opposed to political) submissions. The defendants again were legally represented, and they had every opportunity to advance such submissions as they saw fit. If one reads the judgment (in particular, the leading judgment by Poon JA), the reasons leading to the conclusion that imprisonment is appropriate are legal reasons and not political reasons. Further, as is made crystal clear in paragraph 171 of the judgment, the defendants were convicted and sentenced not because they exercise their right of assembly, demonstration or freedom of speech; they were convicted and sentenced because they had overstepped the line allowed by the law and that they had committed serious unlawful act.

 

Hong Kong all along upholds judicial independence. The Hong Kong Judiciary is well-known for their independence and their top quality. It is regrettable that some of the comments (including some made by overseas media) sought to attack our Judiciary. As I have repeatedly said in the past, the public has a right to discuss judicial decisions, but no discussion should seek to undermine the integrity or impartiality of the Judiciary. As observed in an Australian decision: “The authority of the law rests on public confidence, and it is important for the stability of society that the confidence of the public should not be shaken by baseless attacks on the integrity or impartiality of courts or judges.” (Gallagher v Durack (1983) 152 CLR 238, at 243).

 

Some have queried the timing of the review applications, and alleged that there was ulterior motive behind them. The timing of the review applications before the magistrate and the Court of Appeal were regulated by the relevant statutes. In the present case, the prosecution lodged the review applications within the relevant time prescribed by the statutes. The only reason why it took almost a year for the Court of Appeal to hear the review application is because the Court of Appeal could not deal with the review of sentence until after the defendants’ appeals against convictions were disposed of (see section 81C(1) of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance). The defendants’ appeals against convictions were scheduled to be heard on May 22. It was only after the defendants abandoned their appeals against convictions on April 19 that the prosecution could proceed to fix a date for the hearing of the review of sentence, which eventually took place on August 9. In other words, the timing of these steps is not within the control of the prosecution, and any suggestion of ulterior motive on the part of the prosecution is simply groundless.

 

The law in Hong Kong protects the right to assembly, demonstration and freedom of speech. However, any exercise of such rights should be in a lawful manner (see para. 110-112 of the judgment). From the commencement of the prosecution up to the review of sentence by the Court of Appeal, the defendants were dealt with strictly in accordance with the law. The defendants were convicted and sentenced for their unlawful conduct, not for their political ideas. With these explanations, I hope the public and the international community will continue to respect our independent Judiciary and refrain from making baseless attacks.

 

This is an article by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen published in the newspapers on August 24.

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Preserving heritage amid change

Chief Executive Carrie Lam

This exhibition not only conveys the photographer’s keen creative eye and interest in his subject, it also captures a time when Hong Kong was entering a period of huge post-war transformation. Back in the 1950s, Hong Kong had a population of just over two million; the city was gaining a reputation as a manufacturing hub, and Cantonese opera was a popular source of family entertainment.

     

Fast-forward to the present day: Hong Kong is home to more than seven million people, over 90% of our GDP is derived from services and we are fully plugged in to the digital era. This year, we are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s reunification with China, the most significant transition in our city’s history.

     

Guided by the enduring principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has emerged as a global business and financial hub. We stand tall – alongside Singapore – as a leading international city in Asia.

     

Looking ahead, Hong Kong is poised for a new growth spurt. Massive cross-boundary infrastructure projects – including a huge bridge linking Hong Kong with the western part of Guangdong and an Express Rail Link that will connect Hong Kong with Mainland China’s high-speed rail network – will be completed within the next two years, creating new opportunities for progress. We are also devoting more space and resources for commercial, residential, sports and cultural development.

     

While embracing change, we also preserve our unique cultural heritage. Among other initiatives, a brand new Xiqu Centre for Chinese opera will open next year. The Xiqu Centre will be a key component of our large-scale West Kowloon Cultural District, which is opening in phases to promote various forms of arts and culture.

 

Events such as this exhibition also serve to nurture and preserve our collective memories. Born in Singapore and finding his creative calling in Hong Kong, Mr Lee, through his life and artwork, echoes the strong bonds between the people of Singapore and Hong Kong.

     

His photos from the 1950s Hong Kong convey the can-do spirit of people of all backgrounds who helped to build our city: the values of hard work, creativity and determination that we all share. I have had the privilege of meeting the late Mr Lee and reviewing the well-preserved negatives of his high-quality photos. His modesty and positive attitude have left a strong impression on me.

     

I am sure our friends in Singapore will enjoy this exhibition, and I hope that the images from a bygone era will inspire more people to visit Hong Kong to see first-hand the progress that our city is making.

     

Finally, I want to congratulate our Economic & Trade Office in Singapore and Mr Edward Stokes of the Photographic Heritage Foundation on staging this exhibition together. It is a fascinating and appropriate event on our programme of activities marking Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary.

     

I am confident that the close economic, creative and cultural bonds between Hong Kong and Singapore will help to foster even stronger friendship and collaboration between our two communities.

     

Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the opening reception of the photo exhibition “Lee Fook Chee – Son of Singapore, Photographer of Hong Kong” in Singapore on August 2.

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