Cancellation of NTD Dance Competition Venue: The Inside Story

By Li Jing, Epoch Times
July 22, 2016 Updated: July 22, 2016

Hong Kong Government’s forced cancellation of the initial venue for the New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television’s Dance Competition, has some new developments.

According to a source close to the matter, after the news of leasing of Heung Yee Kuk Tower Theatre was released, Cheung Hok-ming, vice-chairman of Heung Yee Kuk (the New Territories statutory advisory body comprising representatives from each rural committee) chose to collaborate with the Leung Chun-ying administration and the Liaison Office, leading to the unilateral cancellation of the contract by Heung Yee Kuk Building Management Committee.

Cheryl Ng, spokesperson for the NTD’s dance competition, said they called Cheung Hok-ming’s assistant Ms Chu, on July 12, asking for an appointment. Chu replied that she needed to confirm with Cheung Hok-ming whether an appointment could be arranged, and she could not specify the waiting time because she has no regular communication with him. After repeatedly requesting for an answer, Chu asked her to call in a week.

Chu called NTD some days later to say, if it is about the dance competition, he [Cheung] cannot offer any help for he does not have a say in the matter, the Chairman is Kenneth Lau.

Cheryl Ng thinks that choosing Heung Yee Kuk Tower Theatre as the venue for the competition is very meaningful because Hong Kong New Territories is a place where Hong Kong indigenous traditions and culture have been preserved relatively well.

In addition, she said the spirit of the dance competition is in line with Xi Jinping’s renaissance and promotion of traditional Chinese culture. It will be a great event for the country and the communities.

Last month, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced the inclusion of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in its list of the tenth round of anti-graft inspections, Hong Kong Liaison Office will inevitably be subject to the investigation.  The way of handling this matter is contrary to Xi Jinping’s promotion of traditional Chinese culture, said Ng.

Cheung Hok-ming is a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong party (DAB). Currently he serves as a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong. He is also the chairman of Tai Po District Council. In 2004, Pang Hang Yin, the former Vice Chairman of Heung Yee Kuk, passed away unexpectedly, Cheung Hok-ming took over as Vice Chairman in charge of the rural affairs of Tai Po District. The same year, Cheung Hok-ming and another DAB member Tam Yiu-chung stood for election for the LegCo in the New Territories West constituency, both won the election. Cheung Hok-ming then became a member of the Legislative Council.

Cheung Hok-ming, and Li Kwok-ying from New Territories East constituency are the first New Territories local inhabitants elected to LegCo, together with Lau Wong-fat, Daniel Lam Wai-keung, the four are known as the rural-four of the Legislative Council.

In 2007, Cheung Hok-ming was appointed by Hong Kong SAR Government as a council member of Tai Po District and was elected Chairman of the Tai Po District Council. In 2012 he was selected as a member of the Executive Council, then he announced he would not participate in the 2012 Legislative Council elections. In March 2015, he was elected Chairman of the Tai Po Rural Committee. Council. He is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

On April 20, 2016, NTD Hong Kong leased Heung Yee Kuk Tower Theatre from Heung Yee Kuk Building Management Committee as the venue for a NTD Dance Competition, to be held on July 30. After signing the lease, NTD paid the full rent, and began to discuss details with Theatre’s technical personnel. Later NTD unexpectedly received notice from Heung Yee Kuk advising the forced cancellation of the booking due to Hong Kong Government commandeering the venue for its 6th session of the Legislative Council elections, Ng stated.  

Translated by Susan Wang.