First Hakka Culture and Art Festival underway in Meizhou

Hakkas from around the world are gathering in the South-China city Meizhou to celebrate their common heritage. The Hakka Culture and Art Festival, the first of a planned series, will go on for a week, from November 22 to November 28. Art shows and trade fairs are some of the festive events.

There are about 70 to 80 million Hakkas in the world today, the majority of them living in South China and others living overseas in Southeast Asia and worldwide. The Hakkas can trace their origin back to the central plains of China, who over the centuries migrated southward. In the long historical process the Hakkas have maintained their own identities and demonstrated strong communal ties among themselves. Among well-known Hakkas are Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Republic of China; Soong Mei-ling, wife the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang kai-shek; Deng Xiaoping, former Chinese Communist leader; and Lee Kuan Yew, founding father of modern Singapore.

Meizhou, located in the western part of Guangdong Province, is known for a history of strong Hakka presence. In recent decades the local government has made considerable efforts to strengthen the city’s ties with overseas Hakka communities as a way to boost the economic in the region. Present at the festival’s opening ceremony held on November 23 were Zhu Xiaodan, Governor of Guangdong Province, and Wu Po-hsiung, Honorary Chairman of the Taiwan-based Nationalist Party of China.