South Taiwan’s Hakka Strongholds (Part One)

The News Lens
Date: 2017/02/08
By: Steven Crook

Taiwan’s southern half is a stronghold of Taiwanese Holo culture, and it’s where you will find the ancient former capital, Tainan, as well as Kaohsiung. At the same time, the south has intriguing pockets of Hakka culture and tradition waiting to be explored.

The Hakka are Taiwan’s largest ethnic minority. For the last several decades, Taiwan’s demographics have looked like this: The majority is descended from Chinese settlers who came from the Fujian province in China between 150 and 400 years ago. Fewer than one in forty is of indigenous Austronesian origin. Around one in eight is regarded as a “mainlander” or the offspring of “mainlanders” – but this is a grab-all category for those whose families arrived after World War II. Among them are Muslims from China’s far west, ethnic Mongolians, and others who have very little in common with each other. Up to one in six, it’s said, is Hakka.

The Hakka are Han Chinese. They emerged as a distinct sub-ethnic group, speaking their own language and following their own customs, as they moved en masse from central China to the south in a series of migrations between 1,600 and 400 years ago. Because they have sometimes faced persecution and had to relocate often, some historians have dubbed them “China’s Jews.” And like Jews, they’re regarded as frugal hard workers and excellent students.    [FULL  STORY]

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