President Tsai attends 2019 National Hakka Conference

To solicit 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 biennial 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 dedicated to implementing comprehensive policies on Hakka affairs. She added that the Hakka language has been recognized as one of the national languages since 2017, and that Taiwan Romantic Route 3 has not only become one of the must-visit tourist destinations for international travelers, but is also boosting 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 are being integrated into an international tourism program. Moreover, she revealed that the inaugural World Hakka Exposition will be held in the near future to facilitate more cross-cultural exchanges and promote Taiwan’s cultural diversity to the world.

At the conference, Minister Lee stated that, after Hakka became a national language, HAC is cooperating with schools to construct Hakka-friendly environments 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 government institutions, city halls, and township offices, added Lee.

To draft the first edition of the National Hakka Development Plan, HAC launched eight public forums on Hakka-related issues across Taiwan this August. Forum participants met 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. The gathered public opinions and feedback were then brought up at the Sept. 23 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. The development plan aims to raise the multiethnic consciousness of government sectors, boost the multicultural proficiency of public servants, and take the viewpoints of different ethnic groups into consideration during the policymaking process. Minority groups will no longer have to cater to the standards and values of the dominant group.