Artist Chow Chun-fai says Hong Kong's Arts Development Council has lost credibility
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Liverpool Biennial exhibiting artist Chow Chun-fai, who lost a bid for the culture sector seat in the Legislative Council election, said the Arts Development Council lost its credibility when it voted for a candidate who was not supported by the arts community.
The council, able to cast one vote, revealed that 13 of its 22 members decided to support its former chairman Ma Fung-kwok in the Legco race - despite 141 members of the arts community officially asking the council to vote for Chow.
In response to a query from the Factory Artist Concern Group, which is chaired by Chow, the council said that as of September 6, three days before the Legco election, it received 141 letters from the culture sector urging it to vote for Chow.
It also received three blank ballots in the exercise initiated by the culture sector. But no one favoured Ma or the other candidate, solicitor Jimmy Siu See-kong.
In the actual Legco election on September 9, however, the council decided to go for Ma.
"We think that council members should consult their voters when making decisions, but apparently that didn't seem to be required," Chow said.
Many in the arts community have the right to elect members of the council. But only nine out of 22 Arts Development Council members were voted for by the arts sector.
The council revealed that 13 council members favoured Ma, while four picked Chow and none for Siu. Five were blank votes.
Ma was declared the winner of the sports, performing arts, culture and publication functional constituency with 1,106 votes. Chow got 477 votes and Siu 109.
Chow said although he lost the race he did not feel that he was a big victim. But he said the events showed how ridiculous the system was and that it damaged the credibility of the council.
Chow said that because the council was partially elected by the arts and culture community, public opinion did not play a role in the council's decision-making, whether it was about the election or funding for major events.
"There's no way to make a fair decision," he said.