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Sun, Dec 16, 2001 - Page 2 News List

New Hakka group pledges to unify, not divide

ETHNIC CULTURES About 100 Hakka professionals yesterday formed a new group which the founders hope will give their people a voice and promote their culture

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The formation of the Hakka Forum (台灣客家論壇) is not meant to create ethnic division, but to help Hakka professionals contribute to Taiwanese society, said the head of the new group at its founding ceremony yesterday.

National Taiwan University pro-fessor Huang Der-yeh (黃達業) stressed that while the integration of ethnic groups in Taiwan is a becoming a major trend, the cultures of the individual groups should not be lost.

"The forum aims to give the Hakka people a voice and to promote Hakka culture by bringing elite Hakka professionals together," Huang said.

The group is made up of about 100 Hakka professionals.

Huang said the groups' goals include advising on public policy, holding academic seminars on Hakka culture, providing national medical services for the Hakka people and offering job information for Hakka students at the university.

The forum's founding committee said the group will focus on national science and economic development issues and on the promotion of Hakka culture within Taiwanese society.

They said the forum would not support specific political parties or politicians.

Politicians, CEOs, professors, physicians, attorneys and artists of Hakka origin attended the ceremony. DPP legislator-elect Lo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) read an address by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) congratulating the forum on its founding.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), whose Hakka origins are well known, also expressed his congratulations to the group in a written message.

Lee said that Hakkas comprise a very important ethnic group in Taiwan.

"As a minority group, the Hakka were oppressed in the past by the authoritarian regime. However, the Hakka spirit never weakened," Lee said in the message.

Among the guests at the ceremony were Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), TSU legislator-elect Eric Wu (吳東昇), KMT legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) and national policy advisor Lee A-ching (李阿青).

There are some four million people of Hakka descent living in Taiwan.

The Cabinet-level Hakka Commission (客家委員會) was established six months ago and plans for a Hakka Commission in the Taipei City Government are also in the works.

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