Introduction


Mission

  • The Hakka Affairs Council, officially established January 1, 2012, is a new agency resulting from the Executive Yuan’s structural reorganization. Its predecessor was the Council for Hakka Affairs, Executive Yuan, founded on June 14, 2001. The council is the only central authority responsible for Hakka affairs in the world, and its mission is to revitalize Hakka language and culture, build a unifying Hakka identity full of happiness, confidence and dignity, and become a global center for Hakka cultural research and exchange.

Founding and Growth

  • Since its inception, the council has actively promoted and become a leader in Hakka affairs, helping to cement the Hakka in Taiwan’s multiethnic cultural scene. The council’s budget rose by more than 20% annually for three straight years (2009-2011) even during a period of governmental financial difficulties.

National Hakka Population Survey

  • According to the council’s 2010 to 2011 National Hakka Population Survey, there are a total of 4.2 million Hakka, as defined by the Hakka Basic Law, residing in Taiwan. Hakka make up roughly 18% of Taiwan’s population, mostly residing in the Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Hualien and Taitung areas. In 69 of these townships, more than one-third of the population are Hakka. According to Article 6 of the Hakka Basic Law, the council proclaimed these 69 townships (which include towns, cities and districts) to be Key Hakka Culture Development Areas in an effort to strengthen the further development of Hakka language, culture and cultural industries within the said regions.

Promoting Hakka Language Revival

  • An old Hakka saying goes, “sell your ancestors’ land rather than forget your ancestors’ language.” It is an example of the Hakka’s deep attachment to their language. In order to promote the recovery and sustainable growth of the Hakka language, the council has set out eight main areas of action: promoting the Hakka language teachers program and the Hakka Families program, offering Hakka language ability certification, encouraging the establishment of Hakka language life schools, setting up a Hakka e-Learning Center, publishing Hakka language learning materials, producing and broadcasting quality Hakka learning programs, and establishing an approachable environment for the Hakka language. This is combined with a system of scholarships designed to encourage students to actively participate and pass Hakka language certification exams. The combined efforts of families, schools, communities and public organizations will help accelerate the revival of the Hakka language and ensure its passage down to the next generation.

Promoting innovation and development of Hakka literature and art; presenting the beauty of traditional Hakka festivals to the public

  • The council has continued to encourage and foster the innovation and development of Hakka literature and art. Since 2009, the council has organized the Twelve Major Festivals of Hakka Villages, roughly one for each month. This calendar of celebrations brings together various elements of traditional Hakka culture including the Liudui Carnival (March), Hakka Tung Blossom Festival (April), traditional winter harvest Hakka opera (December; performed at the beginning of winter to signal the end of the farming year) and other Hakka folk celebrations. This support ensures the growth and evolution of traditional performing art troupes so cultural treasures such as Hakka opera are passed on and drive the local economy in Hakka villages.

Constructing a platform of Hakka knowledge and promoting a survey of Hakka village cultural resources

  • Hakka studies is an emerging academic field. The council is promoting a comprehensive foundation for academic research, establishing a number of institutes of Hakka studies and research centers to increase the number of people with knowledge regarding the Hakka. Grants and support for related research and master’s theses expand the base of Hakka research resources and help build a solid foundation for Hakka studies, turning Taiwan into a center for global academic Hakka research.

    Culture is the accumulation of daily life, and the civic culture hidden in every corner of Hakka villages is their most precious asset. The council survey covers townships (towns, cities and districts) by entrusting local communities to participate in the effort. The council promotes surveys of local cultural resources and has established the Digital Taiwan Hakka Villages (http://archives.hakka.gov.tw), using digitized collections to systematically build a database of Hakka villages and enriching Taiwan’s multiculturalism.

Constructing a platform of Hakka knowledge and promoting a survey of Hakka village cultural resources

  • Hakka studies is an emerging academic field. The council is promoting a comprehensive foundation for academic research, establishing a number of institutes of Hakka studies and research centers to increase the number of people with knowledge regarding the Hakka. Grants and support for related research and master’s theses expand the base of Hakka research resources and help build a solid foundation for Hakka studies, turning Taiwan into a center for global academic Hakka research.

    Culture is the accumulation of daily life, and the civic culture hidden in every corner of Hakka villages is their most precious asset. The council survey covers townships (towns, cities and districts) by entrusting local communities to participate in the effort. The council promotes surveys of local cultural resources and has established the Digital Taiwan Hakka Villages (http://archives.hakka.gov.tw), using digitized collections to systematically build a database of Hakka villages and enriching Taiwan’s multiculturalism.

Drafting the Hakka Basic Law and convening the National Hakka Conference

  • In the past, there was no legal basis on which to promote Hakka affairs and many projects never made it out of development. Therefore, beginning June 2008 the council began promotion of the Hakka Basic Law. The law was passed by the Executive Yuan on October 22, 2009 and sent to the Legislative Yuan for review eight days later on October 30; it was then passed after the third reading on January 5, 2010. The law was put into force on January 27, 2010 with Presidential Order 09900017991 and is an important milestone for Taiwan’s multiethnic cultures. Even more importantly, the law establishes a legal basis for the pursuit of Hakka affairs.

    The council convened the first National Hakka Conference in September 2009, bringing together Hakka representatives from various fields as well as government representatives to discuss and coordinate various Hakka affairs. The conclusions are then relayed to the relevant departments, county and city governments and key Hakka culture development areas in order to promote and track implementation of policies. This aids in the establishment of a platform for communication and integration between central and local governments.

Preserving traditional Hakka settlements; establishing northern and southern Hakka cultural parks

  • The council advised local governments to promote plans for Hakka cultural parks in both northern and southern Taiwan to preserve traditional Hakka settlements, create and maintain a Hakka cultural environment, and provide the public with more opportunities to come into contact with Hakka culture.

    The Liudui Hakka Culture Park is located in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township and acts as a window into cultural displays, local industries and sightseeing. Miaoli Hakka Culture Park is located Tongluo Township, Miaoli County, and is a platform for the public to get acquainted with Hakka culture and knowledge. The park integrates local resources, driving local tourism industries and promoting economic development.

Strengthen the media’s ability to disseminate information, maintain the right to be heard and market the new Hakka

  • The media is one of the most important channels for modern citizens to make their voice heard and is extremely influential in the formation of cultural images. The Hakka have long been ignored in media markets dominated by commerce, therefore the council is actively promoting Hakka presence in the media. The first Hakka TV channel was established in 2003 and the first Hakka epic Blue Brave: The Legend of Formosa in 1895 was released in 2008. The Hakka idol television drama Love Keeps Going started airing in 2011 and the first Hakka language cartoon Cool 3 has distinct Hakka elements, familiarizing audiences with Hakka culture and people.

    Many television and radio programs have been produced thanks to commissions and subsidies over the years. An online video platform has also been created and its digital collection promoted by the council, which is aggressively promoting the production of Hakka radio and television programs in recent years to maintain Hakka rights to media access. At the same time, various programs were widely publicized through electronic means, print, internet, and even in international markets in order to promote harmony and communication between different ethnic groups, foster a multicultural outlook, enable more people to have a better understanding of Hakka culture, and enhance acceptance of Hakka identity. All of these efforts help shape a new image of the Hakka and showcase the innovative strength of Hakka independence.

Guiding industrial innovation and improvement to create charming Hakka villages

  • Aesthetic- and experience-based economies are the leading development trends of contemporary cultural industry. Therefore, with a forward-looking perspective and willingness to assist local economies the council has promoted local Hakka villages. Traditional Hakka culture is rediscovered through slow food, slow travel and slow living, building cultural confidence and increasing industrial competitiveness. This creates local employment opportunities, celebrates the Hakka life style and maps out a development blueprint for Hakka cultural life and industries.

    In recent years the council has committed itself to fostering a younger generation of industrial personnel by increasing the market competitiveness of industries with Hakka characteristics through the establishment of brand image and integrated marketing. Efforts also include improving the facilities of cultural industries, designing in-depth cultural tourism and creating Hakka cultural industrial and economic corridors to revive Hakka village industries. In the future, the council will continue to integrate Hakka village resources and local networks to explore local Hakka culture, increase the value of Hakka specialty products and drive Hakka tourism. This encourages the younger generation of Hakka to return to the country for employment and to start businesses, using the twin strategies of industrialization of culture and culturalization of industries to lead industrial development and create happy and charming Hakka villages.

Promoting cooperation and exchanges at home and abroad, linking together for an international Hakka and building a global Hakka Cultural Exchange Center

  • The council is the world’s only central authority responsible for Hakka affairs, playing a key and trendsetting role in the preservation, inheritance and promotion of Hakka culture. The council promotes Hakka affairs both at home and abroad by maintaining contacts with overseas Hakka networks, attending Hakka events, participating in conferences and visiting Hakka communities overseas in order to strengthen cooperation and exchange and deepen common identity. The organization of global Hakka meetings, overseas Hakka cultural tours and other events helps strengthen the connection between Hakka in Taiwan and throughout the world, thereby improving the recognition, cohesion and visibility of both Taiwan and the Hakka. This will gradual solidify Taiwan as a global center for Hakka cultural research and exchange.