Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hakka bill passes committee review

By Chen Yu-fu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A draft amendment to the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法) that would make the Hakka language a national language passed its first reading at the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday.

The draft amendment stipulates that Hakka should be the main language of communication in cities and townships where 50 percent or more of the population is of Hakka ethnicity.

According to the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), 39 townships are predominantly Hakka, while in 70 townships Hakka people make up at least one-third of the population.

Under the amendment, Hakka would be used as the main teaching language in preschool and throughout the 12-year compulsory education in areas deemed “vital to the development of Hakka culture.”

A minimum percentage of civil servants in such areas would be required to take Hakka language examinations, the proposal said, adding that those who pass would be praised and exam results would be considered when awarding promotions.

All levels of government should reward exceptional efforts toward promoting Hakka language and culture with recognition and awards, the draft said.

A government-funded “Hakka language research and development foundation” should be established and tasked with research, development, certification and promotion of the Hakka language nationwide, the proposal said, adding that the foundation should also establish an archive on the language and should cooperate with local governments.

The proposal also requires the establishment of a Hakka public broadcasting foundation, which would produce national radio and TV shows on Hakka affairs and other matters.

The government should offer subsidies to other broadcasters that create programs in the Hakka language or on Hakka culture, the draft said.

HAC Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) said the draft amendment passing its first reading would benefit the continuity of Hakka culture.

Making Hakka the main language of communication in key areas further highlights the government’s resolve to preserve the language, Lee said.

It would also ensure that people would need to speak Hakka when in Hakka villages, he said.

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