The Hakkas who Love their Motherland and Hometowns

The Hakkas refer to the Han people of the Huanghe River valley moving to the south, and the nationality is a stable branch of the Han nationality with distinct characteristics.

“The Hakkas” in the Guangdong dialect is called “Ha Ka” (Hakka), meaning “the guest” or “the customer”. At first, the name is used to distinguish the Hakkas with the local indigenous inhabitants.

The Hakkas take shape after five great migrations. The first migration happened from the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Jin Dynasty and the Southern and Northern Dynasties, when a large number of people livng in Central Plains crossed the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, and moved to Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi provinces, to avoid the chaos caused by the war or alien race’s invasion. A second migration was after the Huangchao peasants uprising in the late years of the Tang Dynasty, the Hakkas ancestors again, to avoid the war disasters, migrated to the southeastern Jiangxi Province and the western Fujian Province, some even entering the faraway Guangdong Province.

A third migration was at the end of the Song Dynasty, when the Mongolian cavalries swept to the south, the timid emperor fled in panic to Fujian and Guangdong provinces, and some Hakkas settling down in Jiangxi and Fujian provinces also moved to the south into the eastern and northern Guangdong Province at the time. A fourth migration was at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, when the Hakkas’ economy revived and the population mulitiplied on the boundary of Fujian, Jianxi and Guangdong provinces. The fact of scarce farmland made the government implement the immigration policy, forcing the Hakkas to go to the south and west, into the middle, eastern, and western Guangdong Province, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, and Taiwan provinces. A fifth migration started from the middle and late 19th century, when the Hakkas population in the western Guangdong Province increased sharply and the conflict with the indigenerous resident deepened day by day, finally leading to large-scale fights. The government once more forced part of the Hakkas to move to the faraway mountainous area in the western Guangdong Province, Leizhou peninsula, Hainan Island, and Guangxi Province. More and more Hakkas started to cross the oceans to make a living outside.

The five great migrations make the Hakkas distribute extremely broadly nowadays, but they always have their relative compact communities. At present, there are approximately more than 280 Hakkas counties in 19 provinces and autonomous regions, with Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Fujian mostly centralized. The total Hakkas population is 58.1 million, incluing approximately 49.2 million in the mainland, 6.8 million in Taiwan, 2 million in Hong Kong, and 100 thousand in Maccao.In addition, there are about five million Hakkas living the Southeast Asia.

Since the main body of the Hakkas is made up of the Han people moving from the Yellow River valley, the Hakkas culture has carried on the Central Planins culture. However, the Hakkas ancisters also absorb many forms of ancient Yue culture and Yao culture when they live together with different indigenous nationalities in the south. As a result, there has developed the distinct Hakkas culture, which defers from either the Central Plains culture or the aboriginal culture. As one of the eight major Chinese dialects, the Hakkas dialect develops on the basis of the ancient common language of the Han nationality of Central Plains-Heluoya language and later successively combines the Wu and Chu dialects as well as the ancient Yue, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Fujian dialects.

The construction forms of the Hakkas residential buildings vary a lot. The southern Jiangxi squre storied building, the western Fujian round storied building, and the Meizhou encircled house have exceptional features and can be a wonder in both the Chinese and world architecture history.

The Hakkas like singing folk songs, saying: “a-hundred-kilogramme burden on the shoulder will become lighter as long as people sing a song when climbing the hills,” “everybody have something to worry about, but they will be happy once they start to sing the folk songs.”The Hakkas inhabitted areas enjoy the fame of “hometown of the folk song.” A folk song goes like this: “the songs fill the river, where the fishermen are fishing; the songs spread all over the slopes, where the herdsman is herding his cows; the songs flow in the mountains as the woodman is walking on the mountain roads.

The history that the Hakkas ancestors unceasingly move to the south in order to avoid the chaos caused by the wars and undertakes great difficulties to do pioneering work in the remote places, has trained and accomplishd the Hakkas’ spirit of enterprising, patriotic, arduously struggling and valuing the education.

This kind of spirit becomes the fountain of energy of generations of Hakkas’ children. Since the ancient times, the Hakkas with outstanding abilities and achievements have come forth in great number. They are: the well-known prime minister Zhang Jiuling in the Tang Dynasty, the renowed Neo-confucianist Zhu Xi in the Song Dynasty, the national hero Wen Tianxiang in the Southern Song Dynasty, the patriotic military officer Yuan Chonghuan in the Ming Dynasty, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom leader Hong Xiuchuan, the great national democratic revolution leader Sun Yat-Sen, the revolutionary martyr Liao Zhongkai, the great proletariat revolutionists, statesman, and strategist Commander-in-Chief Zhu De and marshal Ye Jianying, vice-chariman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dingcheng, Liao Chengzhi, Chen Pixian, the renowned military officer Zhang Fa Kui, Ye Ting, Liu Yalou, Xiao Hua, Xue Yue, Yang Chengwu, the historian and poet Guo Moruo, the chemist Lu Jiaxi, the mathematician Qiu Chengtong, the industrialists Zhang Bishi, Zhang Rongxuan, Zhang Yaoxuan, Hu Wenhu, Tian Jiabing, Zeng Xianzi, the Singapore state head Lee Kuan Yew, and so on.