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Visit of Buddy Bears promotes peace, tolerance and public art

More than 120 colourful big Buddy Bears from Berlin, Germany, will soon be saying hello to Hong Kong.

The bears are on a world tour and will meet Hong Kong people in May at the United Buddy Bears Exhibition at the Central Lawn of Victoria Park.

Organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and assisted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Tourism Commission and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Hong Kong, the exhibition will be held from 8am to 10pm daily from May 16 to June 27. Admission is free.

A government spokesman said today (March 26) the exhibition aimed to promote love, peace, solidarity and public art.

"The idea of bringing the Buddy Bears to Hong Kong was initiated by international superstar Mr Jackie Chan, also founder of the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation," the spokesman said.

When he was filming in Germany, he was so fascinated by the enchanting Buddy Bears on the streets that he made a special visit to the Buddy Bear workshop of creators Dr Klaus Herlitz and his wife, Eva.

When the movie star learnt that the Buddy Bears carried the message of global peace and tolerance, he wanted to bring the exhibition to Hong Kong, and raised the proposal with the Hong Kong Government.

In the summer and autumn of 2002, more than 120 Buddy Bears were first displayed in Berlin and the exhibition soon became a signature event, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors.

Designed by renowned artists of different countries, each design carries special meaning. In the exhibitions around the world, Buddy Bears are all hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to deliver the message of solidarity, tolerance and understanding among nations.

On completion of the world tour, these Buddy Bears will be sold by auction in Berlin. Money raised will be donated to the United Nations Children's Fund.

One of the aims of the Buddy Bears' trip to Hong Kong is to help raise funds for three charitable organisations - the United Nations Children's Fund, the Community Chest of Hong Kong and the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.

The spokesman explained that the display of these artistic Buddy Bears in Victoria Park would also help foster public art in Hong Kong, showing the public how art can be incorporated into daily life.

People will be able to see for themselves the tremendous potential of public space in promoting creative culture and art. They will also realise the effectiveness of involving both the artist and the public in enhancing the cultural aspect of life.

Apart from displaying the Buddy Bears, the exhibition will hold a variety of related activities during the show period, including Buddy Bear Design Competition, Story Book Design Competition, Clay Bear Workshop, Bear Puppet Workshop, Buddy Bear Story Telling, Bear-Go-Round Workshop and Exhibition on Works featuring United Buddy Bears prize presentation ceremony. Souvenirs will be on sale at the showground.

For enquiries and further information, members of the public can call 2414 5555 or visit the following websites:

A press conference was held today to announce details of the exhibition. Attending the press conference were the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong; the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Pamela Tan; Founding Member of the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, Mr Raymond Chow; the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Ms Clara Chong; the Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Dr Heinrich Wilhelm Beuth; the Chairman of the Hong Kong Committee for the United Nations Children's Fund, Dr Robert Fung; the Campaign Committee co-chairman of the Community Chest of Hong Kong, Mr Lawrence Yu; and the Founder of the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, Mr Jackie Chan.

Ends/Friday, March 26, 2004
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