China ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2004. The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region agreed that the Convention should apply to Hong Kong with effect from December 2004.

With the enforcement of the Convention in April 2006, an Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit was set up in the same year under the establishment of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum to undertake necessary work in compliance with the Convention.


In May 2015, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department upgraded Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO) to heighten its endeavours on the identification, documentation, research, preservation, promotion and transmission of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). The main duties of ICHO are:

  1. to identify, record, document and research on Hong Kong's ICH items;
  2. to preserve and collate the records and information of the territory-wide survey on ICH in Hong Kong and the ICH inventory of Hong Kong, as well as to establish a database of the inventory items;
  3. to conduct in-depth research on the items listed on the ICH inventory for drawing up the representative list of ICH of Hong Kong;
  4. to enhance the public's understanding and awareness of ICH through educational and promotional activities, including exhibitions, lectures, seminars, ICH bearers' demonstrations, workshops, in-depth research and publications, etc.;
  5. to implement the ICH Funding Scheme for engaging the community in safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage; and
  6. to provide secretariat support for the Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee.