Palace Museum milestone as finest treasures await

Top News | Michael Shum 19 Nov 2020

Some 160 pieces of national treasures will be among the 800 exhibits from The Palace Museum in Beijing on display at the Hong Kong Palace Museum when it opens in 2022.

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority announced yesterday the completion of the building structure of the local museum, which is expected to attract 1.5 to two million visitors a year.

"The completion of the museum's structure marks a crucial moment in the countdown to its planned opening in mid-2022," said Louis Ng Chi-wa, director of Hong Kong Palace Museum.

Inspecting its progress at the construction site yesterday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said: "With its great vision and mission, the Hong Kong Palace Museum is dedicated to promoting the study and appreciation of Chinese art and culture and advancing dialogue among world civilizations and cultures."

"Backed by the motherland, rooted in Hong Kong and imbued with a global vision, the Hong Kong Palace Museum, in collaboration with The Palace Museum in Beijing, is set to become a new platform for promoting Chinese culture internationally."

"We have finalized the list of exhibits with The Palace Museum, and our curatorial team has selected about 800 items for the opening exhibitions," Chan said.

"All the pieces are the finest objects, most of them will be exhibited in Hong Kong for the first time, while some have never been displayed before."

He added: "I would like to express our gratitude to The Palace Museum for their huge support."

The government also announced that Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee will be acting chief executive of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority for six months starting next month.

A government spokesman said: "The government arranged the secondment in response to the request of the authority's board while the authority would commence an open recruitment globally to identify a new CEO."

This came after the announcement that Duncan Pescod will step down as CEO of the multibillion-dollar cultural hub on November 28 - nine months before his second three-year contract ends.

Henry Tang Ying-yen, chairman of the authority board, said the authority has already started the global search for its new chief and needs someone on secondment from the government in the meantime.

Tang brushed off claims that having a civil servant as head of the authority will introduce bureaucracy and limit freedom of art.

"I believe that no matter which post government officials take up, they will continue to execute what the position holder is supposed to do," he said.

Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said: "Fung is a seasoned administrative officer with proven leadership and management skills, as well as profound experience in the policy making and administration of arts and cultural matters."

"I have every confidence that she will continue to serve the community with dedication and professionalism during her secondment to the WKCDA."

Fung was previously director of information services, director of leisure and cultural services and permanent secretary for home affairs and has served as head of the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office since April 2018.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

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