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Hong Kong Arts Development Council’s response to the media and community concerns about its grant system

In light of recent media and community concerns about the grant system of Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), we would like to make the following response:

Established in 1995, Hong Kong Arts Development Council is a statutory body set up by the Government to support the broad development of the arts in Hong Kong. Its major roles include grant allocation, policy and planning, advocacy, promotion and development, and special projects.

Since 1999, HKADC’s assessment system is formulated on the basis of peer assessment. Arts experts, scholars, veteran artists and advisors from relevant art forms are invited to serve as examiners to assess grant applications. From a professional perspective, they assess each application from its development objectives, artistic contents to its professional standard to ensure the proper use of public funds. Procedures such as declaration of personal interests are also in place to minimise potential conflict of interests.

For all grants approved by HKADC including Year Grant, Project Grant and the like, the grantee’s organisation is required to sign an agreement with HKADC signifying acceptance and commitment to fulfill the grant’s requirements and conditions including compliance with the Laws of Hong Kong during the grant period. HKADC’s Year Grant applications are assessed in May every year with the grant disbursement commencing in July. HKADC sends letters of reminder from time to time to recipients of Year Grant about compliance with the Laws of Hong Kong as well as other terms and conditions in the agreement. The most recent issuance was in mid-January 2021. If the grantee violates the terms and conditions of the agreement in any way, like advocating independence of Hong Kong and overthrowing the Government, as deemed offending the current Laws of Hong Kong, HKADC may exercise its rights to postpone, adjust or suspend grant disbursement for the grant year. HKADC will discuss on arrangement of the upcoming 2021/22 Year Grant assessment.

HKADC respects the freedom of artistic expression. The views and opinions expressed by grantees in their activities or project contents do not represent the stance of HKADC. However, while a grantee enjoys the freedom of artistic expression and creation, he/she must also abide by the Laws of Hong Kong and assume responsibilities for creation and expression by the individual concerned and his/her organisation.