Creating Hakka cultural regions, pushing for legislation of a Hakka basic law and promoting Hakka tourism are some of the policies the Council for Hakka Affairs plans to highlight, new council chairman Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) said yesterday.
Huang talked about policy proposals he had in mind during an inaugural reception with reporters.
“Nearly seven years after the council was created, we’re running into some difficulties because there’s no law that covers Hakka affairs,” Huang told reporters. “We need a Hakka basic law to provide a legal basis.”
Creating Hakka cultural regions is one of the policy objectives that may be difficult to achieve without this, Huang said.
One of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign promises was that townships with more than a 40 percent Hakka population would be designated as Hakka cultural regions in which the use of Hakka language in the public arena would be promoted, while the central government would also provide funding for the preservation of Hakka culture in these regions.
At the moment, preserving local Hakka culture is mainly a local government task.
Huang declined to give a clear timetable for the legislation.
“I really can’t lay out a clear timetable, since it’s up to the Legislative Yuan,” he said. “All I can say is that the council has already begun drafting the bill.”
Promoting Hakka tourism is another major task for the council under his leadership, Huang said.
“The Tung Blossom Festival that we have right now is very successful,” he said, adding that the revenue generated by the approximately month-long festivities in Miaoli County was more than the combined revenue of the rest of the year.
Huang therefore decided not only to continue the popular festival, but to expand it and to create more tourism events related to Hakka culture.
“We will, for example, create tour packages that include other tourism-related businesses in surrounding areas, or design tours for Chinese and other foreign tourists,” Huang said.
Meanwhile, Huang said that he was also planning to pick 12 traditional Hakka festivities “so that we can feature one traditional Hakka festival for each month of the year.”
Huang was also asked to comment on criticism from Hakka groups and activists that he has never been very active in Hakka affairs.
“I have to admit that I wasn’t too active in Hakka affairs in the past,” he said.
“But I’ve worked in media organizations and am familiar with marketing — I think that’s exactly what’s needed to promote Hakka culture.”