The Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA) praised the legislature’s passage of the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法) on Tuesday as a milestone in preserving Hakka culture, but activists were more reserved on what impact the Act would have.
The Hakka Basic Act, proposed by the council last year, aims to preserve Hakka culture and encourage the use of the Hakka language in public affairs. The Act requires counties and cities with a population that is more than 10 percent Hakka to create an agency to manage Hakka affairs. It also requires a Hakka language test in certain national exams and requires public servants in townships and cities where more than one-third of the population is Hakka to pass the Hakka proficiency test.
The Act also stipulates that at public places like schools, hospitals, train stations and courts, public announcements must be made in Hakka along with other languages and Hakka translation services must be available.
In addition, the Act asks the government to create a “Hakka Day.”
“We Hakka are not asking for privileges — all the clauses in the Hakka Basic Act are positive and non-exclusive measures aimed at granting equal rights [for Hakka] but not at the expense of other ethnic groups” CHA Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) said in a statement. “Hence it’s a law that will protect the ethnic and cultural diversity in this country.”
“It’s a milestone in Hakka affairs, and draws a long-lasting blue print for the development of the Hakka people,” he said.
Some Hakka activists and academics were reserved about what impact the Act would have.
“Of course the Hakka Basic Act will have a positive effect [on the protection of Hakka culture], but the question is: ‘How big will the impact be?’” said Chiang Ming-hsiu (江明修), dean of the College of Hakka Studies at National Central University.
He said that the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government and the current Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government have done much to preserve Hakka culture, and that the Act still leaves most policy-making power in the hands of the government.
“So the main function of the law is to provide a legal basis on what the government is already doing,” Chiang said.
Lee Chiao (李喬), a long-time Hakka culture preservationist and writer, said that the intention behind the Hakka Basic Act is very good, “but the key will be how the law is turned into policies, how these policies are implemented and what exact measures the government has in mind.”
DPP Department of Hakka Affairs director Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮) criticized the Act as a “blank cartridge.”
“The law appears to be very good at first sight, but take a closer look and you find it’s actually empty inside,” Yiong told the Taipei Times by telephone. “Eighty percent of the contents can be implemented through executive measures, and thus there’s no need to go through all the trouble of making a new law for those.”
He said that, for instance, having public announcements in Hakka at public places such as train stations is a policy that has been in practice since the DPP was in power.
“A Hakka Basic Act should deal with something more fundamental, not some policy measures that can be done even without a law,” Yiong said.
While the antiparasitic drug ivermectin is being touted as a treatment for COVID-19 in many parts of the world, Taiwanese experts on Monday warned against regular use of the drug in COVID-19 treatment, citing a lack of solid evidence. “Following an experts’ meeting, we do not recommend regular use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 due to the lack of enough evidence,” said Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) expert advisory panel. A report in the American Journal of Therapeutics said that meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients had found large,
CLASSES HALTED: Cram schools have had to return tuition fees due to mandatory closures and might need to lay off half of their staff because of a lack of revenue The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the education sector, with some cram schools and tutoring centers saying they might soon be unable to pay their instructors due to the extension of a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. The heightened alert level means schools must remain closed, so cram schools and tutoring centers have had to return tuition fees, one cram school said. June is normally the peak season for recruiting new students at cram schools and tutoring centers, but this year many such schools might need to lay off half of their staff due to a lack of
A person who was on Friday reported as the first in Taiwan to die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine died of a heart attack, a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said yesterday. The deceased, whose sex and age were not disclosed, had coronary artery disease, which led to a fatal heart attack, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference, citing the autopsy report. It was the first death listed as a possible adverse event after receiving the AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination program on March 22. The
Taichung, Kaohsiung and Chiayi County are to adopt a COVID-19 vaccine administration method invented in a town in Japan to make the inoculation process easier for elderly people, the local governments said. Under the method, dubbed the “Umi-machi style,” seniors who go to get their jabs at designated venues remain seated while a team of medical staff move from one person to another to administer their shots. Umi, a town in Fukuoka Prefecture, conceived of the idea by observing Toyota’s vehicle assembly lines, which are renowned for being efficient. Taichung, which has about 36,000 people older than 85, would try to