Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday encouraged Hakka people to let their voice be heard by harnessing the power of social media.
Wu, who is of Hakka descent, made the call at the national Hakka cultural and economic summit, which was held by the Cross-Strait Hakka Cultural and Economic Association at Taipei’s Hakka Cultural Park.
Hakka Affairs Council Deputy Minister Lee Chao-ming (李朝明), national policy advisor to the president Huang Chao-sung (黃肇松) and China Review News editor-in-chief and director Guo Wei-feng (郭偉峰) were among the summit attendees.
“While a number of universities nationwide have set up colleges of Hakka studies or introduced Hakka-related subjects to their curricula, cross-strait academic institutions need to engage in more Hakka research exchanges,” Wu said in a speech to the forum.
In the meantime, Hakka people should also endeavor to let their voices be heard through social media, Wu said.
Calling for fairer media coverage of the ethnic group, Huang, the former chairman of the Central News Agency, said what matters the most to Hakka people are the sustainability of their culture and the revitalization of their language.
“Without the Hakka language, Hakka culture would not exist. Without the Hakka culture, there would be no Hakkas at all,” Huang said, adding that Hakka culture faces great challenges from the country’s mainstream culture.
The Hakka ethnic group, which accounts for between 15 percent and 20 percent of the nation’s total population, could be at risk of losing its roots if people fail to protect their culture, Huang said.
“If we don’t act now, the number of people speaking the Hakka language could be no more than 5 percent of the country’s population in 30 to 40 years. If this pace of deterioration continues, the language could die out and the ethnic group disappear in 100 years,” Huang said, urging all concerned parties to act before it is too late.