The Chinese characters for Hakka (客家) literally means "guest families". The Hakka's ancestors were often said to have arrived from what is today's central China centuries ago and north China a thousand years ago. The Hakkas are thought to originate from the lands bordering the Huang River (Yellow River) or Shanxi, Henan, and Hubei provinces of northern China of today. In a series of migrations, the Hakkas moved, settled in their present locations in southern China, and then often migrated overseas to various countries throughout the world. The worldwide population of Hakkas is about 80 million, though the number of Hakka language speakers is fewer. Hakka people have had a significant influence on the course of Chinese and world history: in particular, they have been a source of many revolutionary, government, and military leaders.
It is commonly held that the Hakka are a subgroup of the Han Chinese that originated in northern China. To trace their origins, three accepted theories so far have been brought forth among anthropologists, linguists, and historians: firstly, the Hakka are Han Chinese originating solely from the Central Plain in China containing today's Shanxi and Henan provinces; secondly, the Hakka are Han Chinese from the Central Plain, with some inflow of those already in the south; or thirdly, the majority of the Hakka are Han Chinese from the south, with portions coming from those in the north. The latter two are the most likely and are together supported by multiple scientific studies. Clyde Kiang stated that the Hakka's origins may also be linked with the Han's ancient neighbors, the Dongyi and Xiongnu people. This is disputed, however, by many scholars and Kiang's theories are considered controversial. Hakka-Chinese scientist and researcher Dr. Siu-Leung Lee states in the book by Chung Yoon-Ngan The Hakka Chinese: Their Origin, Folk Songs And Nursery Rhymes, which takes on the subject with a more mediatory approach, avoiding polarizing political and racial claims and insinuations, explains that the potential Hakka origins from the northern Han and Xiongnu, and that of the indigenous southern She (畬族) and Yue (越族) tribes, "are all correct, yet none alone explain the origin of the Hakka"; pointing out that the problem with "DNA typing" on limited numbers of people within population pools cannot correctly ascertain who are really the southern Chinese, because many southern Chinese are also from northern Asia; Hakka or non-Hakka. It is known that the earliest major waves of Hakka migration began due to the attacks of the two afore-mentioned tribes during the Jin Dynasty (265–420).
Since the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC), the ancestors of the Hakka have migrated southwards several times because of social unrest, upheaval and invasions. Subsequent migrations also occurred at the end of the Tang Dynasty in the 10th century and during the end of the Northern Song Dynasty in 1125, the last of which saw a massive flood of refugees fleeing southward when the Jurchens captured the northern Song capital of Bianliang in the Jingkang Incident of the Jin–Song wars.. The precise movements of the Hakka people remain unclear during the 14th century when the Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan and subsequently fell to the Manchus who formed the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century. Hakka have suffered persecution and discrimination ever since they started migrating to southern parts of China.
During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1654–1722) in the Qing Dynasty, the coastal regions were evacuated by imperial edict for almost a decade, due to the dangers posed by the remnants of the Ming court who had fled to the island of Taiwan. When the threat was eliminated, the Kangxi Emperor issued an edict to re-populate the coastal regions. To aid the move, each family was given monetary incentives to begin their new lives; newcomers were registered as "Guest Households" (客戶, kèhù).
The existing Cantonese speaking inhabitants (Punti or 本地, indigenous or "original land") of these areas were protective of their own more fertile lands, and the newcomers were pushed to the outer fringes of fertile plains, despite having migrated legitimately, or they settled in more mountainous regions to eke out a living. Conflict between the two groups grew and it is thought that "Hakka" became a term of derision used by the Punti aimed at the newcomers. Eventually, the tension between the two groups (the Hakkas had by then been settled for several hundred years and could not be regarded as migrants in any sense) would lead to a series of 19th-century skirmishes in the Pearl River Delta known as the Punti–Hakka Clan Wars (土客械鬥). The problem was not that the two groups spoke a different tongue. In fact, the "locals" comprised different peoples speaking several mutually unintelligible tongues, as was typical of the Chinese countryside all over southern China, but they would regard each other as "locals" or Puntis, but exclude the Hakka from such designation.
The term "Punti" is not synonymous with "Cantonese", as a Cantonese in any other part of China, Beijing for example, would not be able to call himself a "Punti", as the Punti of that area would be the Beijing or Hebei people.
Over time, the newcomers adopted the term "Hakka" to refer to themselves, not least due to the migratory tendencies inherent in their own culture. However, because the term also covers Hakka language-speakers, (in the same way that Punti covered several people speaking different tongues) and because the Han Chinese registered as Guest Families who migrated may not have been Hakka language-speakers, and because of intermarriages among Hakka and Punti members (which showed that relation between the two were very good at times), identification as Hakka was largely a matter of self-selection. Through studies of both Cantonese and Hakka genealogies, some Hakka and Punti people with the same surnames claim the same ancestors, although their descendants strongly identify with one group to the exclusion of the other.
The Hakka ancestors are but one of many groups that migrated to other parts of southern China, retaining cultural similarities yet picking up linguistic features of the areas where they settled. Outside of Guangdong, Hakka people live in the southern Chinese provinces, including south-western Fujian, southern Jiangxi, southern Hunan, Guangxi, southern Guizhou, south-eastern Sichuan, and on Hainan and Taiwan islands, where there are television news-broadcasts in the Hakka language. The Hakka dialects across these regions differ phonologically, but Meixian (Meizhou) Hakka is considered to be the prestige dialect by linguists.
Although different in some social customs and culture (e.g. linguistic differences) from the surrounding population, they belong to the Han Chinese majority. Historical sources shown in census statistics relate only to the general population, irrespective of particular districts, provinces, or regions. These census counts were made during imperial times. They did not distinguish what language the population spoke. Therefore they do not directly document Hakka migrations. The study by Luo Xianglin, K'o-chia Yen-chiu Tao-Liu / An Introduction to the Study of the Hakkas (Hsin-Ning & Singapore, 1933) used genealogical sources of family clans from various southern counties.
According to the 2009 studies published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Hakka genes are slightly tilted towards northern Han people compared with other southern Han people. Nevertheless, the study has also shown a strong common genetic relationship between all Han Chinese with only a small difference of 0.32%. Lingnan Hakka place names indicate a long history of the Hakka being culturally Han Chinese.
Hakka culture is an important part of Southern Chinese culture. Taiwan's Hakka Affairs Council declared February 20 "Hakka Day".
Due to their agrarian lifestyle, Hakka have a unique architecture based on defense and communal living (see Hakka architecture), and a hearty savory cuisine based on an equal balance between texturised meat and vegetables, and fresh vegetables (see the Food section below).
When Hakka expanded into areas with pre-existing populations, there was often little agricultural land left for them to farm. As a result, many Hakka men turned towards careers in the military or in public service. Consequently, the Hakka culturally emphasized education.
The Hakka people have a marked cuisine and style of Chinese cooking which is little known outside the Hakka home. It concentrates on the texture of food – the hallmark of Hakka cuisine. Whereas preserved meats feature in Hakka delicacy, stewed, braised, roast meats – 'texturized' contributions to the Hakka palate – have a central place in their repertoire. In fact, the raw materials for Hakka food are no different from raw materials for any other type of regional Chinese cuisine: what you cook depends on what is available in the market. Hakka cuisine may be described as outwardly simple but tasty. The skill in Hakka cuisine lies in the ability to cook meat thoroughly without hardening it, and to naturally bring out the proteinous flavour (umami taste) of meat.
The Hakka who settled in the harbour and port areas of Hong Kong placed great emphasis on seafood cuisine. Hakka cuisine in Hong Kong is less dominated by expensive meats; instead, emphasis is placed on an abundance of vegetables. Pragmatic and simple, Hakka cuisine is garnished lightly with sparse or little flavouring. Modern Hakka cooking in Hong Kong favours offal, an example being Deep-Fried Intestines (炸大腸 or Zha Da Chang). Others include tofu with preservatives, along with their signature dish Salt Baked Chicken (鹽焗雞 or Ham Guk Gai). Another specialty is the Poon Choi (盆菜). While it may be difficult to prove these were the actual diets of the old Hakka community, it is at present a commonly accepted view. The above dishes and their variations are in fact found and consumed throughout China including Guangdong, and are not particularly unique or confined to the Hakka Chinese population.
Hakka who live in Guangdong comprise about 60% of the total Hakka population. Worldwide, over 95% of the overseas-descended Hakka came from this Guangdong region, usually from Meizhou and Heyuan: Hakka there live mostly in the northeast part of the province, particularly in the so-called Xing-Mei (Xingning-Meixian) area. Jiangxi contains the second largest Hakka community. Unlike their kin in Fujian, Hakka in the Xingning and Meixian area developed a non-fortress-like unique architectural style, most notably the weilongwu (Chinese: 圍龍屋, wéilóngwū or Hakka: Wui Lung Wuk) and sijiaolou (Chinese: 四角樓, sìjǐaolóu or Hakka: Si Kok Liu).
Tradition states that the early Hakka ancestors traveling from north China entered Fujian first, then by way of the Tingjiang River they traveled to Guangdong and other parts of China, as well as overseas. Thus, the Tingjiang River is also regarded as the Hakka Mother River.
The Hakka who settled in the mountainous region of south-western Fujian province developed a unique form of architecture known as tu lou (土樓), literally meaning earthen structures. The tu lou are round or square and were designed as a combined large fortress and multi-apartment building complex. The structures typically had only one entrance-way, with no windows at ground level. Each floor served a different function: the first floor contained a well and livestock, the second food storage, and the third and higher floors living spaces. Tu-lou were built to withstand attack from bandits and marauders.
Nearly all of southern Jiangxi province is Hakka, especially in Ganzhou. In the Song Dynasty, a large number of Han Chinese migrated to the delta area as the Court moved southward because invasion of northern minority. They lived in Jiangxi and intermixed with the She and Yao minorities. Ganzhou was the place that the Hakka have settled before migrating to western Fujian and eastern Guangdong. During the early Qing Dynasty, a massive depopulation in Gannan due to the ravage of pestilence and war. However, while western Fujian and eastern Guangdong suffered population explosion at that time. Some edicts were issued to block the coastal areas, ordering coastal residents to move to the inland. The population pressure and the sharp contradiction of the land redistribution drove a few residents to leave. Some of them moved back to Gannan, integrating with other Hakka people who lived there already for generations. Thus, the modern Gannan Hakka community was finally formed.
The Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722), after a tour of the land, decided the province of Sichuan had to be repopulated after the devastation caused by Zhang Xianzhong. Seeing the Hakka were living in poverty in the coastal regions in Guangdong province, the emperor encouraged the Hakka in the south to emigrate to Sichuan province. He offered financial assistance to those willing to resettle in Sichuan: eight ounces of silver per man and four ounces per woman or child.
As with those in Sichuan, many Hakka emigrated to Xinyang prefecture (in southern Henan province), where Li Zicheng carried out a massacre in Guangzhou (now in Huangchuan) on Jan. 17th, 1636.
In the latter half of the 20th century, a stronger emphasis has been placed on Hakka preservation through folk art and customs. A Hakka language dictionary has also been completed auspiciously in 1997 by Dr. C.F. Lau [ISBN Reference: ISBN 962-201-750-9], a devoted contributor to the preservation of the Hakka language in Hong Kong.
During the late Ming and Qing Dynasties, Hong Kong was in the imperial district of Xin-An (now Shenzhen) County. The 1819 gazetteer lists 570 Punti and 270 Hakka contemporary settlements in the whole district. However, the area covered by Xin-An county is greater than what was to become the British imperial enclave of Hong Kong by 1899. Although there had been settlers originating from the mainland proper even before the Tang Dynasty, historical records of those people are non-extant, only evidence of settlement from archaeological sources can be found. The New Territories lowland areas had been settled originally by several clan lineages in Kam Tin, Sheung Shui, Fanling, Yuen Long, Lin Ma Hang and Tai Po, and hence termed the Punti before the arrival of the Hakka, and fishing families of the Tanka and Hoklo groups to the area. Since the prime farming land had already been farmed, the Hakka land dwellers settled in the less accessible and more hilly areas. Hakka settlements can be found widely distributed around the Punti areas, but in smaller communities. Many are found on coastal areas in inlets and bays surrounded by hills.
Hakka dialect speaking communities are thought to have arrived in the Hong Kong area after the rescinding of the coastal evacuation order in 1688, such as the Hakka speaking Lee clan lineage of Wo Hang, one of whose ancestors is recorded as arriving in the area in 1688.
As the strong Punti lineages dominated most of the north western New Territories, Hakka communities began to organise local alliances of lineage communities such as the Sha Tau KokAlliance of Ten or Shap Yeuk as Patrick Hase writes. Hakka villages from Wo Hang to the west and Yantian to the east of Sha Tau Kok came to use it as a local market town and it became the center of Hakka dominance. Further, the Shap Yeuk's land reclamation project transforming marshland to arable farmland with the creation of dykes and levees to prevent storm flooding during the early 19th century shows an example of how local cooperation and the growing affluence of the landed lineages in the Alliance of Ten provided the strong cultural, socioeconomic Hakka influence on the area.
Farming and cultivation has been the traditional occupations of Hakka families from imperial times up until the 1970s. Farming was mostly done by Hakka women while their menfolk sought labouring jobs in the towns and cities. Many men entered indentured labour abroad as was common from the end of the 19th century to Second World War. Post war, males took the opportunity to seek work in Britain and other countries later to send for their families to join them once they sent enough money back to cover travel costs.
As post war education became available to all children in Hong Kong, a new educated class of Hakka became more mobile in their careers. Many moved to the government planned new towns which sprung up from the 1960s. The rural Hakka population began to decline as people moved abroad, and away to work in the urban areas. By the end of the 1970s, agriculture was firmly in the decline in Hakka villages. Today, there are still Hakka villages around Hong Kong, but being remote, many of their inhabitants have moved to the post war new towns like Sheung Shui, Tai Po, Sha Tin and further afield.
Due to the influence of Cantonese, there are few Hakka people who speak Hakka Chinese for daily conversations in Hong Kong.
There used to be a sizable Hakka community at Tangra in Kolkata, the capital of the West Bengal, but most have migrated to Canada, the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Austria and Sweden.
It should be noted that during the time he held office in Calcutta until the late 2000s, Yap Kon Chung, an ambassador for The Republic of China (Taiwan), protected and helped the Chinese residents in India. Specifically, during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962, oppression of Sino-Indian residents was escalated. Mr. Yap then made appeals to Prime Minister Nehru to bridge a bond between the Indian and Chinese people. During his office, he was also a principal at a highly regarded school as well as a political facilitator who helped many families migrate to other countries such as Canada, the United States and parts of Europe until he himself migrated to Toronto, Canada to join his family.
Migration of Hakka people to Indonesia happened in several waves. The first wave landed in Riau Islands such as in Bangka Island and Belitung as tin miners in the 18th century. The second group of colonies were established along the Kapuas River in Borneo in the 19th century, predecessor to early Singapore residents. In the early 20th century, new arrivals joined their compatriots as traders, merchants and labourers in major cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, etc.
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Hakka people are sometimes known as Khek, from the Hokkien (Minnan) pronunciation kheh of 客 (Hakka: hak). However, the use of the word 'Khek' is limited mainly to areas where the local Chinese population is mainly of Hokkien origin. In places where other Chinese subgroups predominate, the term 'Hakka' is still the more commonly used.
Hakka also live in Indonesia's largest tin producer islands of Bangka Belitung province. They are the second majority ethnic group after Malay. The Hakka population in the province is also the second largest in Indonesia after West Kalimantan's and one of the highest percentages of Chinese living in Indonesia.
The first group of Hakka in Bangka and Belitung reached the islands in the 18th century from Guangdong. Many of them worked as tin mining labourers. Since then, they have remained on the island along with the native Malay. Their situation was much different from those of Chinese and native populations of other regions, where legal cultural conflicts were prevalent since the 1960s until 1999, by which Indonesian Chinese had finally regained their cultural freedoms. Here they lived together peacefully and still practiced their customs and cultural festivals, while in other regions they were strictly banned by government legislation prior to 1999. Hakka on the island of Bangka spoke Hopo dialect mixed with Malay, especially in younger generations. Hakka spoken in Belinyu area in Bangka is considered to be standard.
Hakka people in Pontianak live alongside with Teochew speaking Chinese. While the Teochews are dominant in the centre of Pontianak, the Hakka are more dominant in small towns along the Kapuas River in the regencies of Sanggau, Sekadau and Sintang. Their Hakka dialect is originally Hopo which influenced by Teochew dialect and also has vocabulary from the local Malay and Dayak tribes.
The Hakka in this region are descendants of gold prospectors who migrated from China in the late 19th century.
The Hakka in Singkawang and the surrounding regencies of Sambas, Bengkayang, Ketapang and Landak speak a different standard of Hakka dialect to the Hakkas along the Kapuas River. Originally West Borneo has diverse Hakka origin but during the 19th century, a large people came from Jiexi so more Hakkas in the region speak Hopo mixed with Wuhua and Huilai accents that eventually formed the dialect of Singkawang Hakka.
Hakka people in Jakarta mainly have Meizhou origin who came in the 19th century. Secondary migration of the Hakkas from other provinces like Bangka Belitung and West Borneo came later.
There was already a relatively large and vibrant Hakka community in East Timor before the 1975 Indonesian invasion. According to an estimate by the local Chinese Timorese association, the Hakka population of Portuguese Timor in 1975 was estimated to be around 25,000 (including a small minority of other Chinese ethnicities from Macau, which like East Timor was a Portuguese colony). According to a book source, an estimated 700 Hakka were killed within the first week of invasion in Dili alone. No clear numbers had been recorded since many Hakka had already escaped to neighbouring Australia. The recent re-establishment of Hakka associations in the country registered approximately 2,400 Hakka remaining, organised into some 400 families, including part-Timorese ones.
The Timorese Hakka diaspora can currently be found in Darwin, and is spread-out in major cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; in Portugal; Macau SAR and smaller numbers in other parts of the world. They often are highly educated, and many continue their education in either Taiwan or the People's Republic of China, while a majority of the younger generation prefer to study in Australia. The Australian government took some years to assess their claims to be genuine refugees and not illegal immigrants, as partially related to the political situation in East Timor at the time. As Asian countries were neither willing to accept them as residents nor grant them political asylum to the Timorese in general, they were forced to live as stateless persons for some time. Despite this condition, many Hakka had become successful, establishing restaurant chains, shops, supermarkets, and import operations in Australia. Since the independence of East Timor in 2000, some Hakka families had returned and invested in businesses in the newborn nation.
Hakka form the second largest subgroup of the ethnic Chinese population of Malaysia. During this time, Chung Keng Quee, "Captain China" of Perak and Penang was founder of Taiping, leader of the Hai San, a millionaire philanthropist, an innovator in the mining of tin and was respected by both Chinese and European communities in the early colonial settlement. A well known Hakka man was Yap Ah Loy, a Kapitan Cina in Kuala Lumpur from 1868 to 1885, where he brought significant economic contributions, founded Kuala Lumpur and also was an influential figure among the ethnic Chinese. There are also less significant numbers of Hakka people in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, particularly in the town of Miri where there is a notable population of Hakka people who speak the "Ho Poh" variant of Hakka. In the district of Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, Hakka people make up more than 90% of the Chinese subgroup and the dialect itself acts as a lingua franca there. This has contributed greatly to the fact that the place is commonly known among Hakka Chinese as "Hakka Village".
The greatest concentration of Hakkas in northern peninsular Malaysia is in Ipoh, Perak and in Kuala Lumpur and its satellite cities in Selangor; however, even in areas of Hakka majority amongst the Chinese in these areas, Cantonese tends to be used as a lingua franca when conducting business or eating out whereas the Hakka language is generally only spoken locally or at home. Concentrations of Hakka people in Ipoh and surrounding areas are particularly high.
In the Bornean state of Sabah, most of the ethnic Chinese are of Hakka descent. According to the 1991 census, there were 113000 Hakkas in the state. This constituted 57% of the total ethnic Chinese population in Sabah. The second largest Chinese subgroup were the Cantonese with only 28000 persons. This shows that Sabah is one of very few regions in the world where Hakkas clearly outnumber other Chinese subgroups. Most of the Hakkas in Sabah speak with the Huiyang accent (Hakka: Fuiyong, 惠陽). Hakka is the lingua franca among the Chinese in Sabah to such an extent that Chinese of other subgroups who migrate to Sabah from other states in Malaysia and elsewhere usually learn the Hakka dialect, with varying degrees of fluency.
In 1882 the North Borneo Chartered Company opted to bring in Hakka labourers from Longchuan County, Guangdong. The first batch of 96 Hakkas brought to Sabah landed in Kudat on April 4, 1883 under the leadership of Luo Tai Feng (Hakka: Lo Tai Fung). In the following decades Hakka immigrants settled throughout the state, with their main population centres in Kota Kinabalu (then known as Jesselton), Sandakan (mainly ex-Taiping revolutionists), Tawau and Kudat. The British felt the development of North Borneo was too slow and in 1920 they decided to encourage Hakka immigration into Sabah. In 1901, the total Chinese population in Sabah was 13897; by 1911, it had risen 100% to 27801. Hakka immigration began to taper off during World War 2 and declined to a negligible level in the late 1940s.
Most Chinese Jamaicans are Hakka; they have a long history in Jamaica. Between 1845 and 1884, nearly 5000 Hakka arrived in Jamaica in three major voyages. Most came to Jamaica under contract as indentured servants. The terms of the contracts made free return-passage available for any Hakka who wanted to return to China. Most of them did. In 1854, 205 Chinese workers who had been working on the Panama canal arrived in Jamaica. They had demanded re-settlement due to the threat of yellow fever in Panama. Many were ill upon arrival in Jamaica and were immediately hospitalized in Kingston. Fewer than 50 of these immigrants survived - the rest died of yellow fever.
Chin Pa-kung (a.k.a. Jackson Chin), opened a wholesale business in Kingston where the Desnoes and Geddes building now stands. Chang Si-Pah and Lyn Sam opened groceries nearby. These gentlemen provided guidance for other Chinese immigrants to Jamaica.
During the 1960s and 1970s substantial migration of Hakka Jamaican Chinese to the USA and Canada occurred.
The vast majority of Mauritian Chinese are Hakkas. Most of the Mauritian Hakkas emigrated to Mauritius in the mid-1940s came from the Guangdong province, especially from the Meizhou or Meixian region.
As of 2008, the total population of Sino-Mauritian, consisting of Hakka and Cantonese, is around 35,000.
Approximately half of the population of Hakka in Taiwan also speaks Taiwanese Hokkien, and it is highly likely[original research?] that many Taiwanese-speaking households descend from Hakka families.
There are no records as to when Hakka descendants arrived in Thailand. In 1901, Mr. Yu Cipeng, a Hakka member of The League Society of China came to visit Thailand and found that the establishment of many varied organizations among the Hakka was not good for unity. So, he tried to bring the two parties together and persuaded them to dissolve the associations in order to set up a new united one. In 1909 "The Hakka Society of Siam" was established, and Chao Phraya Yommarat, then Interior Minister, was invited to preside over the opening ceremony for the establishment of the society's nameplate, located in front of the Chinese shrine "Lee Tee Biao". Mr. Yang Liqing was its first President.
Hakka from all over the world have also migrated to the USA. One group is the New England Hakka Association, which reminds its members to not forget their roots. One example is this blog by Ying Han Brach: "Searching for My Hakka Roots". Another is the Hakka Association of New York, which aims to promote Hakka culture across the five boroughs of New York City. In the mid 1970s the Hakka Benevolent Association in San Francisco was founded by Mr. Tu Chung. The association has strong ties with the San Francisco community and offers scholarships to their young members.
The population of the Hakka people was estimated to be some 30 million Hakka worldwide in the early 1990s.
At a 1994 seminar of the World Hakka Association held in Meixian, statistics showed that there were 6,562,429 Hakkas living abroad. The countries that were represented included Malaysia, with the largest number of Hakka numbering 125,000. The second was Thailand, which had a Hakka population of 55,000. The rest were America (28,400), Singapore (20,000), Peru (20,000), Britain (15,200), Vietnam (15,000), Jamaica (10,000), Canada (8,000), Burma (5,500), Australia (4,300), Mauritius (3,500), France (3,000), India (2,500), South Africa (2,500), and Korea (2,000)
In 2000 the worldwide population of Hakka was estimated at 36,059,500 and in 2010 it was estimated at 40,745,200.
Another estimate is that approximately 36 million Hakka people are scattered throughout the world. More than 31 million inhabit over 200 cities and counties spread throughout seven provinces of China: Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Fujian, Hong Kong, Hunan. An additional two million Hakka live in Taiwan, 1.4 million in Malaysia and 170,000 in Singapore.
World Hakka Congress
Main article: World Hakka Conference
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The Hakkas have had a significant influence, disproportionate to their smaller total numbers, on the course of Chinese and overseas Chinese history, particularly as a source of revolutionary, political and military leaders.
Hakkas started and formed the backbone of the Taiping Rebellion, the largest uprising in the modern history of China. The uprising, also known as Jintian Uprising, originated at the Hakka village of Jintian in Guiping, Guangxi. It was led by the failed Qing scholar, Hong Xiuquan, who was influenced by Protestant missionaries. Hong's charisma tapped into a consciousness of national dissent which identified with his personal interpretations of the Christian message. His following, who were initially Hakka peasants from Guangxi, grew across the southern provinces. The hugely disciplined Taiping army, which included women in their ranks, captured stoutly defended towns and cities from the Qing defenders. In 1851, less than a year after the uprising, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was established. It had, at one stage, occupied one-third of China, and almost toppled the Qing Dynasty. The kingdom lasted for thirteen years from 1851 to 1864.
Hakkas continued to play prominent roles during the revolutionary and republican years of the Kuomintang. When Sun Yatsen was small, together with other children in his village, he used to listen to an old Taiping soldier telling them stories about the heroics of the Taipings. This influenced Sun and he proclaimed that he shall be the second Hong Qiuquan. 34 of the 72 martyrs of Huang Hua Gang (黄花岗) and 3 of the 4 martyrs of Hong Hua Gang (红花岗) are Hakkas. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, many of the leaders on both sides were Hakkas.
Note: The Hakka pronunciation of each name listed below is included unless the vernacular name is itself based on Hakka pronunciation. However, as this is a work in progress, some vernacular names are still without their Hakka pronunciations. This will be rectified as soon as possible.
Revolutionary, political and military leaders
Sun Yat-sen 孫中山/孙中山 (1886-1925; Zhongshan, Guangdong; Hakka pronunciation: Soon Tsung San), Founding father of modern China
Charlie Soong 宋嘉樹/宋嘉树 (1863-1918; Wenchang, Hainan; Hakka pronunciation: Soong Ka Su): Main financier in the early days of Kuomintang; Father of the Soong Sisters, who along with their husbands, were the most influential figures of China in the 20th century
Soong Ai-ling 宋藹齡/宋蔼龄 (1890-1973; Wenchang, Hainan; born in Shanghai: Hakka pronunciation: Soong Oi Lin), Eldest of the Soong Sisters; Wife of H H Kung, the richest man in China in the 1930s and 1940s
Zhang Fakui 張發奎/张发奎 (1896-1980; Shixing, Guangdong): Commander-in-Chief during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Xie Jinyuan 謝晉元/谢晋元 (1905-1941; Jiaoling, Guangdong): Commander, Defence of Sihang Warehouse; Heroism of the defenders of the warehouse, known as the Eight Hundred Heroes 八百壯士, was made into a movie of the same name
Deng Xiaoping 鄧小平/邓小平 (1904-1997; Guang An, Sichuan; Hakka pronunciation: Thien Siau Phin), a prominent Chinese revolutionary, politician, pragmatist and reformer, as well as the late leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990s.
Marshal Ye Jianying 葉劍英/叶剑英 (1897-1986; Meixian, Guangdong, Hakka pronunciation: Yap Kiam Yin), Leader and general; War hero. Chairman, National People's Congress, 1978–1983; President, People's Republic of China, 1978–1983; Governor of Guangdong, 1949–1953
Liao Chengzhi 廖承志 (1908-1983; Huiyang, Guangdong; born in Japan; Hakka pronunciation: Liau Sin Chee), Well-respected politician; died a week before he was expected to be elected Vice-President, People's Republic of China
Ye Ting 葉挺/叶挺 (1896-1946; Huiyang, Guangdong), Commander-In-Chief, New Fourth Army, one of the two main Chinese communist forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Lee Teng-hui 李登辉 (1923-; ancestral Yongding, Fujian; born in Sanzhi, New Taipei, Taiwan), President of the Republic of China, 1988–2000; First ethnically Taiwanese president of the Republic of China; First freely elected president of an ethnically Han Chinese society
Annette Lu 呂秀蓮/吕秀莲 (1944-; ancestral Nanjing, Fujian; born in Taoyuan, Taiwan), Vice-President, Republic of China, 2000–2008
Wu Po-hsiung 吳伯雄/吴伯雄 (1939-; ancestral Yongding, Fujian; born in Zhongli, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Ng Pak Hiung), Chairman, Kuomintang, 2007-2009; Mayor, Taipei, 1988–1990
Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 (1956-; born in Taipei, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Chai Yin Vun), Present and first female Chairperson, Democratic Progressive Party, 2008-; Vice-premier, Republic of China, 2006–2007
Yeh Chu-lan 葉菊蘭/叶菊兰 (1949-; born in Tonglo, Miaoli, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Yap Kiuk Lan), Vice-premier, Republic of China, 2004–2005; Acting mayor, Kaohsiung, 2005–2006
Yu Shyi-kun 游錫堃, (1948; ancestral Zhao'an, Fujian; born in Yilan, Taiwan): Former chairman of the DPP and premier of the ROC
Lee Ying-yuan 李應元/李应元 (1953; ancestral Zhao'an, Fujian; born in Lunbei, Yunlin, Taiwan), Secretary-General, Executive Yuan, 2005; Secretary-General, Democratic Progressive Party, 2008; Ran and lost to Ma Ying-jeou, Taipei Mayor Elections, 2002
Martin Lee 李柱銘/李柱铭 (1938-; Huiyang, Guangdong; born in Hong Kong), founding chairman, Democratic Party, 1994–2002; Leading figure of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong; father of democracy in Hong Kong
Lee Wing Tat 李永達/李永达 (1955-; Huiyang, Guangdong; born in Hong Kong; Hakka pronunciation: Lee Yun Tat), Chairman, Democratic Party (Hong Kong), 2004–2006
Lau Wong-fat 劉皇發/刘皇发 (1936-; born in Hong Kong), Chairman, Heung Yee Kuk, 1980-; Billionaire land-owner and political heavyweight in pro-China camp; Known as "Land Emperor of the New Territories" (新界土皇帝)
Yap Kwan Seng 葉觀盛/叶观盛 (1846-1902; Chixi, Guangdong; born in China; Hakka pronunciation: Yap Kon Sin), last Kapitan Cina, Kuala Lumpur, 1889-1902. A major road, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng in Kuala Lumpur takes its name from him.
Chung Thye Phin 鄭大平/郑大平 (1879-1935; Zengcheng, Guangdong; born in Malaysia), last Kapitan Cina, Perak
Datuk Seri Lau Pak Khuan 劉伯群/刘伯群 (1894-1971; Zengcheng, Guangdong; born in China; Hakka pronunciation: Liew Pak Khiun), founding member of the Malaysian Chinese Association; first Chinese to receive the "Datuk Seri" title from a Malaysian Sultan. Led the unsuccessful bid for Chinese equal citizenship-rights and official language status during the drafting of Malaysia's constitution.
Teresa Kok 郭素沁 (1964-; Huizhou, Guangdong; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Kok Su Sim), Member of Parliament, 1999-; Won by the highest majority among 200 seats contested in the 2008 Malaysian General Elections
Cheong Fatt Tze 張弼士 (1840–1916; Dabu, Guangdong) Appointed the Chinese Consul (based in Penang) in 1890. Minister for agriculture, industries, roads and mines for the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong for the Qing Dynasty government in 1899, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of China (1912)
Philip Lee Tau Sang 李道生 (died 1959), Member of the Advisory Council of North Borneo (now the state of Sabah, 1947–1950), Legislative Council of North Borneo (1950–1958) and Executive Council of North Borneo (1950–1953, 1956–1957)
Sir Moilin Jean Ah-Chuen 朱梅麟 (1909-1991; Meixian, Guangdong; born in Mauritius; Hakka pronunciation: Chu Moi Lin), first Chinese member, Legislative Council, 1949; first Chinese minister, Minister of Local Government, 1967–1976; second Hakka after Sun Yatsen to have his portrait printed on the bills of a country's currency
Noel Lee Cheong Lem 李國華/李国华 (1951-; Meixian, Guangdong; born in Mauritius; Hakka pronunciation: Lee Ket Fah), Minister of Tourism, 1993–1995
Joseph Tsang Mang Kin 曾繁興/曾繁兴 (1938-; Meixian, Guangdong; born in Mauritius), Minister of Art and Culture, 1995–2000
Emmanuel Jean Leung Shing 陳念汀/陈念汀 (1944-; Meixian, Guangdong; born in Mauritius), Minister of Justice and Human Rights, 2000–2005
Sylvio Tang Wah Hing 鄧學升/邓学升 (Meixian, Guangdong; born in Mauritius; Hakka pronunciation: Thien Hock Sin), Minister of Youth and Sports, 2005–2008, Minister For Consumer Protection And Citizens' Charter, Sep 2008 - May 2010
Michael Yeung Sik Yuen: Minister of Tourism and Leisure
Robert Wan 温惠仁 (Guangdong; born in Tahiti, French Polynesia; Hakka pronunciation: Vun Fui Yin), Pearl producer (See Robert Wan Pearl Museum)
Michael Lee-Chin (born in Jamaica), born to mix race black parents of Jamaican-Chinese Hakka ancestry, Chairman and CEO, AIC Limited, one of Canada's largest mutual fund companies
Literary figures, artists, academics and scientists
Huang Zunxian 黃遵憲/黄遵宪 (1848-1905; Meixian, Guangdong), Poet, writer and diplomat
Lo Hsiang-lin 羅香林/罗香林 (1906-1978, Xingning, Guangdong; Hakka pronunciation: Lo Heong Lim), Scholar on Hakka culture and language
Li Guohao 李國豪/李国豪 (1913-2005; Meixian, Guangdong; Hakka pronunciation: Lee Ket Hau), One of the top bridge experts in the world
Han Suyin 韓素音/韩素音 (1917-2012; Xinyang, Henan), Famous novelist and author of books on modern China
Chung Li-ho 鐘理和/钟理和 (1915-1960; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Tsung Lee Foh), Famous Taiwanese novelist, stayed in Manchuria before WWII ends
Teng Yu-hsien 鄧雨賢/邓雨贤 (1906-1944; born in Qionglin, Hsinchu, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Thien Yee Hen), Taiwanese composer
Lin Haiyin 林海音 (1918-2001; ancestral Jiaoling, Guangdong; family came from Toufen, Miaoli, Taiwan; born in Japan; Hakka pronunciation: Lim Hoi Yim), Taiwanese novelist whose memoirs, 城南旧事 (My Memories of Old Beijing), was made into a movie of the same name
Yong Mun Sen (Yong Yen Lang) 楊曼生/杨曼生 (1896-1962; Dabu, Guangdong; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Yong Man Sang); Pioneer artist and the father of Malaysian painting
Lo Ta-yu 羅大佑/罗大佑 (1954-; ancestral Meixian, Guangdong; born in Miaoli, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Lo Tai Rhiu), Influential singer-songwriter who revolutionized Chinese pop and rock music in the 1980s
Hebe Tien 田馥甄 (1983-; Xinfeng, Hsinchu, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Tian Fuk Zhin), Member of S.H.E, Taiwanese female pop group
Ella Chen 陳嘉樺 (1981-; Linluo, Pingtung, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Chin Ga Fa), Member of S.H.E, Taiwanese female pop group
Joe Zhang Shu Wei 張書偉 (1980-; Miaoli, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Zhong Su Vui), Members of ENERGY, Male pop group
Joe Chen 陳喬恩/陈乔恩 (1979-; Hsinchu, Taiwan; Hakka pronunciation: Chin Kiau En), Leading actress of Taiwan idol dramas, co-leader of 7 Flowers, Taiwanese female pop group
Xie Shaoguang 謝韶光/谢韶光 (1960-; born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Cia Sheu Guong), Actor; Best Actor, Asian Television Awards, 1998; Five-time winner of Singapore's best television actor award
Felicia Chin 陳靚瑄/陈靓瑄 (1984-; born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Chin Ciang Sian), Actress; Female winner, Star Search, 2003; Member of the Singapore national softball team at the age of 15
Wong Lilin 黃麗玲/黄丽玲 (born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Vong Li Len), Actress
Michelle Chong 莊米雪/庄米雪 (1977-; born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Zong Mi Siat), Actress/compere
Maggie Teng 鄧妙華/邓妙华 (born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Ten Miao Fa), Singer; First Singaporean to break into Taiwan pop music industry in the 1980s
Lee Wei Song 李偉菘/李伟菘 (1966-; born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Li Vui Siung) and Lee Shih Shiong 李偲菘 (1966-; born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Li Sih Siung), Well-known songwriters
Ho Yeow Sun 何耀珊 (born in Singapore; Hakka pronunciation: Ho Rheu San), Singer; First and only Asian singer to top the US Billboard Dance Chart and the UK MusicWeek Chart; Performed the Olympic Hymn, which was sung in Mandarin for the first time, accompanied by a choir of Overseas Chinese from 16 different nationalities for 2008 Beijing Olympics
Eric Moo 巫啟賢/巫启贤 (1963-; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Muu Ki Hien), Award winning singer/composer/producer
Michael Wong 王光良 (1970-; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Vong Guong Liong) and Victor Wong 黄品冠 (1972-; Jieyang, Guangdong; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Vong Pin Guan), Singer-songwriters of "Guang Liang Pin Guan" 光良品冠 / "Wu Yin Liang Pin" 无印良品 fame
Penny Tai ; 戴佩妮 (1978-; Haifeng, Guangdong; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Dai Pui Nee), Singer-songwriter; Best Composer, Golden Melody Awards, 2006
Z-Chen 張智成/张智成 (1973-; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Zhong Zhi Shin), Singer; Known as "The Little Prince of R&B"
Gary Chaw 曹格 (1979-; born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Co Get), Singer; Winner, Best Male Mandarin Singer, Golden Melody Awards, 2008
Wong Sze Zen (born in Malaysia), Miss Malaysia/World, 2003
Lim Pey Yeng 林佩盈 (born in Malaysia; Hakka pronunciation: Lim Pui Rhin), First Runner Up, Miss Astro Chinese International Pegeant 2000, Famous TV / Event Host
Sebastian Wong Kin Yuan 1979-; born in Malaysia, Kampar, Perak; Hakka pronunciation: Wong Kam Yuan), Vulgar specialist
Wendy Setiawan (1973-; born in Indonesia), Cover Girl first winner, 1989, Mode Magazine
Xie Yuxin 謝育新/谢育新 (1968-; Xingning, Guangdong; Hakka pronunciation: Chia Yuk Sin), National footballer, 1987–1996; First Chinese to play professional football overseas, 1987; Was the youngest footballer and youngest scorer, China national football team
Sun Caiyun 孫彩雲/孙彩云 (1973-; Shenzhen, Guangdong; Hakka pronunciation: Soon Choi Yun), World record-holder, Pole Vault, 1992–1995
^Erbaugh, Mary S. (December 1992). "The Secret History of the Hakkas: The Chinese Revolution as a Hakka Enterprise". The China Quarterly (Cambridge University Press) (132): 937–968. JSTOR654189.
^Constable, Nichole. Guest People: Hakka Identity in China and Abroad. University of Washington Press, 2005, p. 9
^ abHu, SP; Luan, JA; Li, B; Chen, JX; Cai, KL; Huang, LQ; Xu, XY (January 2007). "Genetic link between Chaoshan and other Chinese Han populations: Evidence from HLA-A and HLA-B allele frequency distribution.". American Journal of Physical Anthropology132 (1): 140–50. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20460. PMID16883565.
^ abcdeWang, WZ; Wang, CY; Cheng, YT; Xu, AL; Zhu, CL; Wu, SF; Kong, QP; Zhang, YP (January 2010). "Tracing the origins of Hakka and Chaoshanese by mitochondrial DNA analysis.". American Journal of Physical Anthropology141 (1): 124–30. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21124. PMID19591216.
^Cheung, Sidney C.H. (1998). On the south China track: Perspectives on anthropological research and teaching. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong. p. 160. ISBN978-962-441-540-7.
^Choon, Yoon Ngan (2005). The Hakka Chinese: Their Origin, Folk Songs And Nursery Rhymes. BURLEIGH MDC QLD. 4220, AUSTRALIA: Poseidon Books. ISBN1-921005-50-5.
^Lee, Khoon Choy (2006). Pioneers of modern China : understanding the inscrutable Chinese. River Edge, NJ: World Scientific Publishing. p. 62. ISBN978-981-256-618-8.
^Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Jul 23, 2011Herold Jacob Wiens (1967). Han Chinese expansion in South China (reprint ed.). Shoe String Press. p. 270. Retrieved March 1, 2012. "taste which alone are sufficient to demonstrate that the ancestors of the Hakka had long been in the ranks of the Han-Chinese civilization. In the Hakka region more than elsewhere in Ling-nan are such excellent old names as Fu-yung-chang (Hibiscus Range), Chin-p'ing Shan (Brocade-screen Mountains), Sung-yuan-ch'i (Pine-springs"
^Dictionary of the Politics of the People's Republic of China, edited by Colin Mackerras, professor and head of the School of Asian and International Studies, Donald H. McMillen and Andrew Watson, Royal Society research professor at the University of East Anglia