Hakka Congress Fosters Exchange

More than 2,000 Hakka representatives from 34 countries and regions are expected to attend the 16th World Hakka Congress in Longyan, Fujian Province, next month.

Among the 2,000 representatives, more than 1,500 are from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and abroad, the preparatory committee of the congress announced in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province last week.

The congress is scheduled to run November 17-22.

Hakkas are a part of the Han ethnic group. Since the Jin (265-420) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, many residents in the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys migrated to the boundaries of today's Fujian, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces. After thousands of years, Hakkas formed their own dialect and customs. Hakkas later migrated to many parts of China and other countries.

The theme of the congress, "Unity and Development," is designed to promote economic co-operation and cultural exchange among Hakkas both in and outside China and push forward China's peaceful reunification.

Longyan, located in the western part of Fujian Province, is the ancestral home of the world's Hakkas. The local government has invested more than 500 million yuan (US$60.2 million) in the congress.

According to statistics, there are 100 million Hakkas in the world, including 10 million in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Another 6 million live in 80 countries across the world.

The first World Hakka Congress was held in Hong Kong in September 1971. After nearly thirty years of development, the congress has become an important link among Hakkas. Many well-known figures, including Hong Kong entrepreneur Tsang Hing-Chi, have promised to attend the 16th congress.

(China Daily 10/23/2000)

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