President Tsai attends 2019 National Hakka Conference

To incorporate opinions from members of Hakka communities and promote Hakka culture, the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) hosted the 2019 National Hakka Conference and Hakka Contribution Awards Ceremony in Taipei on Sept. 23. The event was attended by President Tsai Ing-wen, HAC Minister Lee Yung-de, as well as over 450 representatives from various fields.

In her statement, President Tsai said Taiwan is provided with coherent policies on Hakka matters. She added that since 2017 the Hakka language has been recognized as one of the national languages, and that “Taiwan Romantic Route 3” becomes one of the must-visit tourist destinations for international travelers and it boosts the local economic growth in northern Taiwan.

Tsai further noted that, through HAC’s promotion of Liudui areas in southern Taiwan and Provincial Highway 9 in eastern Taiwan, Hakka settlements across the country can be integrated into an international tourism program. Moreover, she mentioned that the inaugural World Hakka Exposition will be held in the future so that more cross-cultural exchanges will occur and Taiwan’s cultural diversity will amaze the world.

At the conference, Minister Lee stated that, after Hakka becomes the national language, HAC cooperates with schools to continuously construct friendly Hakka-speaking environments in the hope to encourage people to speak the Hakka language in the public sphere. 

Lee also noted that councilors whose mother tongue is Hakka had never used their language in council chambers before. However, after the implementation of the Hakka Basic Act, the Hakka language can now be freely and proudly spoken in public spaces such as local government institutions like city halls and township offices, added Lee.

To draft the first edition of the National Hakka Development Plan, HAC launched eight forums on Hakka-related issues across Taiwan this August. Those who care about Hakka affairs participated in the forum and discussed with each other, offering constructive suggestions about the development of the Hakka language and culture to shape future policies in the next four years. Public opinions were gathered and brought up at the conference.

Four issues were further discussed at the conference, including promoting the Hakka language, deepening the sense of Hakka history, revitalizing Hakka settlements, and connecting global Hakka networks. To mainstream ethnicities, the development plan aims to raise the ethnic consciousness in the government sector, achieve officials’ multicultural competence, and take perspectives from different ethnic groups into consideration when the government is making policies. Minority groups don’t have to cater to the standards and values of the dominant group anymore.