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Draft amendment of Hakka Basic Act passes preliminary review

2017/11/30 23:48:38

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) A draft bill for the amendment of the Hakka Basic Act, which is aimed at preserving the language and culture of Taiwan's Hakka ethnic group, passed a preliminary review by the Legislative Yuan's Internal Administration Committee on Thursday.

According to the amendment, in areas in Taiwan where more than a third of the population is Hakka, the Hakka dialect should be one of the lingua francas and the area will be defined as a key Hakka development area by the Hakka Affairs Council, meaning language preservation, culture and cultural industry should be strengthened in that area.

After the amended act is put into effect, in areas where the Hakka community constitutes more than half of the population, then the dialect will become the main lingua franca.

Hakka Affairs Council chief Lee Yung-te (李永得) said this is a way for a language that has fewer speakers than the national language (Mandarin) to survive.

According to the amendment, the Hakka Affairs Council also should consider the development of Hakka issues in the communities and around the country and gather opinions at Hakka meetings around the country in order to propose a plan for national Hakka development every four years. The plan will serve as a basis for administrating Hakka affairs for governments at all levels.

The council should also regularly hold national Hakka meetings, research, coordination and promotion for Hakka affairs, while a comprehensive review of national Hakka policies and related laws should be held every three years, according to the amendment.

Effective promoters of the Hakka dialect should be awarded by governments at all levels and public servants serving in key Hakka development areas should be certified in the Hakka dialect, according to the amendment.

Those who have achieved a certification in the Hakka dialect should be awarded and that should be an indicator for promotion while relevant laws and regulations can be allowed to also cover offices that are responsible for Hakka affairs across the central and local government, according to the amendment.

The government should establish a Hakka dialect database and a foundation for a research and promotion center of the Hakka dialect to conduct research, certify and promote the dialect, according to the amendment.

The government should also advise the schools in the key Hakka development areas to implement a plan to make Hakka a language of instruction while awarding Hakka academia and related research, to encourage tertiary level institutions to establish Hakka related departments and programs that offer degrees, according to the amendment.

(By Chen Chun-hua and William Yen)