The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) said on Wednesday it may cancel grants made to artists who advocate Hong Kong independence, after a state-run newspaper accused the statutory body of handing out millions of dollars to ‘yellow’ filmmakers who make movies glorifying what it described as ‘black violence’.
The Ta Kung Pao newspaper had accused the body of supplying some HK$15 million over the past three years to groups that produce work which it says may be in violation of the national security law.
In a statement, the HKADC noted “recent media and community concerns” about its grant system, stressing that all individuals and organisations that receive funding are required to agree to various conditions – including full compliance with Hong Kong law during the grant period.
“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,” it said.
The council added that it will further discuss its upcoming grants for 2021/22, which are usually assessed in May, with the funds to be dispersed starting in July.
It added that “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.”
Also on Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam had said the authorities will be "on full alert" to make sure museum exhibitions in Hong Kong don't undermine national security, after New People’s Party lawmaker Eunice Yung said an artwork to be shown at the M+ museum invokes 'hatred' against China.
Yung had said a piece by mainland artist Ai Wei Wei showing him holding up his third finger to Tiananmen Square clearly crosses a line, and should be removed.
A screening of "Inside the Red Brick Wall" – an award-winning documentary on the standoff between police and protesters at Polytechnic University in November 2019, was cancelled on Monday hours before its first scheduled commercial screening, following days of criticism from another pro-Beijing paper, the Wen Wei Po.
Arts body 'may scrap funding for law-breakers'
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