Minister, local government leaders exchange ideas on Hakka affairs

The Local Hakka Affairs Conference for the Second Half of 2018, held on Sept. 26 at the Taipei-based Hakka Music and Theater Center, has brought together roughly 200 local government representatives and leaders to discuss issues on Hakka affairs. 

Since 2017, the Hakka Affairs Council has invited sectors responsible for Hakka affairs from Taipei and New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Taichung City, Kaohsiung City, Tainan City, Pingtung County, and Hualien County to co-organize the conference half-yearly for reviewing and exchanging ideas on policies related to Hakka affairs.

At the beginning of the conference, Minister Lee Yung-de of the Hakka Affairs Council presented a special certificate to lawmaker Chiang Cji-an (蔣絜安) to affirm her contribution to promoting Hakka culture and language when she served as the director of the Department of Hakka Affairs of Taoyuan City Government.  

During the conference, Director Sun Yu-ching (孫于卿) of the Department of Culture and Education of Hakka Affairs Council explained policies related to Hakka affairs, including result of Hakka language education and the future prospect.

Following Director Sun, Tseng Nien-yu (曾年有), Director of the Taipei Hakka Affairs Commission, shared the achievements of policies implemented for promoting Hakka language and culture in Taipei so far.

Representatives from public sectors across Taiwan also made several proposals, such as adding speaking test to the Hakka language proficiency test for illiterate elders, update the database of Hakka talents, provide care for Hakka elders, offer guidance to schools for establishing Hakka language societies, build up Hakka language-friendly environment, and encourage schools and organizations to open more Hakka lessons in Taipei City.

This year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced that the amended Hakka Basic Act has listed the Hakka language as one of the official languages on Jan. 31. The law also lists towns, cities, and districts where Hakka population is over one third of the region’s population as key development areas for Hakka culture, marking a new chapter for the Hakka in Taiwan, pointed out Minister Lee at the conference.

According to the amended Hakka Basic Act, civil servants in the key development areas for Hakka culture will provide Hakka services to create accessible language environment for the Hakka language users for communication needs, added Minister Lee.