From the Commissioner

The Hong Kong and Economic Trade Office has been known for being very active in promoting bilateral economic and trade relations with the United States.

Beyond our considerable commercial links is a profound cultural connection rooted in Hong Kong’s cinematic tradition.

Ever since Bruce Lee’s breakout performance in the U.S., Hong Kong’s innovative directors, actors and cinematographers have enjoyed global recognition – and lasting influence.

Hong Kong’s latest cinematic offerings, including a couple of classics, will be featured at our 19th Annual “Made in Hong Kong” Film Festival starting July 18 at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art.

Hong Kong’s film industry represents one aspect of our city’s unique artistic and cultural landscape.  With our tradition of openness and freedom of expression, we aim to nurture an environment that fosters creativity.

To meet the infrastructural needs of our arts community, we are developing a 100-acre cultural arts hub known as the West Kowloon Cultural District.  Situated along our prominent waterfront, the district will be home to a cluster of museums, concert halls, theaters, and green open space.

The US$3 billion development is the largest cultural project in Hong Kong to date and illustrates the priority we accord to cultivating the city’s arts and creative content and encouraging international cultural exchange.

You did not have to travel to Hong Kong to experience the richness of our cultural and artistic capacity.  At this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a towering bamboo flower plaque, or fa paai, was on prominent display along the National Mall.

One of the largest structures ever constructed for the Folklife Festival, the decorative flower plaque was built by craftsmen from Hong Kong’s Wing Kei Flower Store with support from the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and the Information Services Department.

We were honored to have on-hand the designer of the iconic structure, Hong Kong artist Danny Yung of Zuni Icosahedron, who oversaw its construction.

The flower plaque proved to be the visual anchor of the Folklife Festival and one of its most photographed structures – helping elevate Hong Kong’s cultural profile in the nation’s capital.

On the political front, following a five-month public consultation, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Mr. CY Leung, submitted a report to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on July 15 inviting its decision on whether amendments should be made to the method for selecting the Chief Executive.  In light of the consultation results, the Chief Executive has come to the view that Hong Kong people generally hope universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election can be implemented in 2017.

Although most people in Hong Kong earnestly embrace this opportunity, the road ahead remains bumpy given the sharp divergence in opinions on how this big step in our democratic development should be taken.  The government will continue to engage Legislative Council members, political parties and various stakeholders in Hong Kong and hopes to be able to forge a consensus on the way ahead.

I am sure our friends in the U.S. will continue to watch with interest Hong Kong’s democratic development.  We are determined to move our political system forward so that some five million eligible voters can go to the polling stations to elect Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive in 2017.  However, we do not underestimate the tremendous difficulties of this exercise and the divisions that it may create to our community.

Clement Leung

Hong Kong Commissioner, USA

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