Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday said that having an ancestry with a rich culture and glorious history was something to be proud of, while defending remarks he made during a meeting with Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on Thursday.
During his meeting with Xi, Wu mentioned that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should work to “promote nationalistic recognition because we cannot choose our ancestors,” a comment that had met with great opposition from some in Taiwan.
Wu said aspects of blood, culture, religion and one’s ancestral roots cannot be chosen, adding that by blood, he is Taiwanese Hakka, but by race, he is also Chinese.
Speaking yesterday at this year’s Hakka Contributions Awards, Wu said that he knew his comments would be controversial, but it was one’s luck and pride to have ancestors that are cultured and had a glorious history.
“It is important to understand where one originated,” Wu said, pointing to the Worldwide Hakka Reunions as an example.
The first reunion was held in the 1970s through a joint Taiwan-Hong Kong effort and it was decided that the headquarters of the meeting should be established in Taipei. The reunion — usually on a biannual basis — is an effort to gather all Hakka across the world in one spot for a great reunion.
Wu said that Hakka reunions in China should recognize that the first such reunion was held in Taiwan and respect the origins of the event.
Wu spoke of his recent visit to China to attend the 26th reunion, adding that while it was hosted on a grand scale — which Taiwan could not match — Taiwan had its own methods of holding the reunions.
The government has specific budgets allocated for the Hakka Affairs Council to promote Hakka culture and events around the year in Taiwan, as well as legal backup in the form of the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法), Wu said, adding that this was something China lacked.