Beijing official discusses exchanges that could help West Kowloon development Mainland museums and cultural institutions would be encouraged to support the West Kowloon project, the minister of culture said yesterday. Sun Jiazheng , who arrived in Hong Kong yesterday for tomorrow's Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2004, also said the mainland could benefit from the management and marketing experience of Hong Kong and Macau. Mr Sun is leading a delegation of cultural policy officials from more than 20 provinces to Hong Kong. Apart from meeting local officials and arts groups yesterday, the delegation will also have a closed-door meeting with officials from eight Asian countries on regional cultural co-operation today. Mr Sun said he had kept track of the development of the West Kowloon cultural hub. 'Mainland museums and cultural institutions would support this project, another symbol of Chinese culture,' he said. Mr Sun said the mainland was just as willing to invest heavily in cultural facilities. 'Some of the projects [implemented] include the National Museum and the National Grand Theatre in Beijing. About 9 billion yuan has been spent [on these facilities] since 1998,' he said. Mr Sun said their approach was to be market-oriented and encourage private investment in cultural facilities. The mainland would also step up its cultural promotion worldwide through programmes such as the Year of China in France. 'Foreigners have often equalised Hong Kong culture with Chinese culture because they learnt it through Hong Kong cinema. We have to let foreigners know what Chinese people are thinking,' he said. The chairman of the Arts Development Council, Darwin Chen Tat-man, said he had discussed the West Kowloon project with Mr Sun, adding that more exhibitions on Chinese culture could lure mainland tourists to Hong Kong. 'Now, a lot of mainland artists want to exhibit in Hong Kong but they have to wait two to three years because our facilities are limited. More Chinese shows can also offer night entertainment for tourists.' He also suggested that a Hong Kong Cultural Week be organised at least once a year in a mainland city. The event, which showcases local arts and culture, was first held in Shanghai earlier this year. The three-day Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum at the Academy for Performing Arts is being organised by the Home Affairs Bureau for the second year. The goal is to encourage cultural exchanges among Asian countries.