'Award-winning poems must comply with law' - RTHK
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'Award-winning poems must comply with law'

2022-10-27 HKT 13:50
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  • Kevin Yeung said the Leisure and Cultural Services Department considers all factors when discussing awards. File photo: RTHK
    Kevin Yeung said the Leisure and Cultural Services Department considers all factors when discussing awards. File photo: RTHK
The Secretary for Culture, Kevin Yeung, said on Thursday that one possible reason that an award was not presented at a government literature competition was because the three works being considered didn't comply with the law.

No prize was awarded in the poetry section of the 16th Biennial Chinese Literature Awards, organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

Well-known essayist Lung Ying-tai and actress Brigitte Lin were among the winners in other sections.

Yeung said that as the organiser, the department had to ensure that its events and anything it promotes are legal, reach certain academic levels and match the moral standards of society.

He said that decisions on awards are made after considering all these factors.

"The final decision is that, when the LCSD, as a government department, recommends, promotes or rewards a certain piece, it has to match its principles and the society's moral standards and comply with the law," Yeung told a Commercial Radio programme.

He said awards may not necessarily be given out every time, noting that if the criteria are not met in a particular year no prize would be given.

Yeung declined to discuss reports that a panel of judges had put forward three poems for the prize, only for the department to find them unsuitable. The minister said it would be unfair to discuss publicly the work of an individual author or what the judges think of it.

The minister was also asked why three poetry books were pulled from the shelves of public libraries and whether national security was a consideration. He said books may be removed because they do not comply with the law or because they don't meet the LCSD's standards.

"We don't discuss individual cases. Frankly, if it involves issues to do with national security, naturally, law enforcement agencies would act according to the law," the minister said.

He said in theory, if art creators are patriotic, they wouldn't create something that would endanger the nation or incite readers to do so. Yeung said creators shouldn't be too worried so long as they have the correct understanding of national identity and love the country.

'Award-winning poems must comply with law'