Mao Zedong’s Interest in the Hakka


Original Chinese Language Article By:

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

A study of ‘Mao Zedong’s Collected Works’ reveals his interest in the Hakka people of Jiangxi province.  This is not an isolated case, and other similar indepth studies and reports exist such as his November 25th, 1928 text entitled ‘The Struggle’, as within it, Mao Zedong makes a special mention of the Hakka:

‘There is an acknowledged issue involving the Hakka people occupying land in various areas, but being from other places.  Many counties have Hakka populations from elsewhere, and this causes resentment and inter-communal tension between the Hakka and those people who have lived in the area for a long time.  The Hakka people are referred to as permanent “Guests” rather than as being indigenous, because they migrated into these areas hundreds of years ago (and the local people have never forgot this fact).  This has led to considerable resentment from the indigenous populations, and this, in turn, has led to quite often intense bitterness and violence between the two groups.’

In May, 1930, Mao Zedong researched the Hakka populations that lived in the Guangdong and Jiangxi mountainous border area, known as of Xun Wu County.  This was part of an indepth Communist Party of China official study of the area in all its demographic, economic, and geographical detail.  This was a general fact-finding mission that lasted over ten days, and which was directed by the local CPC Secretary Gu Bai (古柏).  Mao Zedong took a special interest in this study, and even accompanied the CPC officials to the farming fields and personally observed the ploughing and planting procedures, etc.  In early January, 1931, the ‘Encirclement and Suppression’ war finished, and Mao Zedong and Gu Bai were able to correlate the findings of the survey into an 80,000 word report of five chapters and 39 sections – concerning the Xun Wu area.  One section recorded Hakka populations and gender role with regards to labour division.  The report states:

‘In the Xun Wu County area – Hakka men and women are ‘equal’ with regard to labour, and division of labour.  However, within agricultural labour, Hakka women are far more important than men…  Hakka women in Gannan, for instance, work very hard (and are often very tired as result).  It can be said that sometimes Hakka men can be viewed as lazy in comparison…!’

The report further stated that:

‘As the Hakka women work harder than the men, they have amassed considerable cultural power and status.’

Due to the understanding gained from these Hakka studies, Mao Zedong established the Peasant Soviet in the Jinggang Mountain area, bordering both Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.  This is a well-known Hakka area, and there were many issues surrounding Hakka culture and tradition.  As the Hakka people had been fighting for their own survival in Southern China for many years, they were highly militarised and often aggressive to any incursion onto their lands.  Here, Mao reorganised his forces, consolidating them initially into the 1st Regiment, 1st Division, of the First Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolutionary Army (and then other units).  As he needed assistance negotiating with the Hakka population of the southern Jiangxi area, he asked for Wang Xinya (王新亚) – the head of the 2nd Regiment situated in Jinggang County – for his advice negotiating with the Gannan and Ganxi Hakka, living in the southern Jiangxi area.  This was part of Mao Zedong’s policy of making alliances with the ordinary people, and creating peace and security in the area.  The chosen approach was one of:

‘The policy should be one of gathering food (to feed the people), and from this build strong revolutionary forces.’

Together with Yuan Wencai (袁文才) – a leader of the Hakka peasant self-defence force of Ninggang), peaceful and harmonious relations with the Jinggang Mountain Hakka was established based upon mutual respect and co-operation.  This removed cultural barriers, and enabled Mao Zedong – with Hakka assistance – to re-build the peasant and workers’ revolutionary army in the area.  These events followed Mao Zedong’s resolute Autumn Harvest Uprising that saw a small Communist force enter Hunan and attack the Kuomingtang forces operating there.  Despite desperate fighting, the Communist force was defeated and had to withdraw to the Jinggang Mountain area – where Mao Zedong eventually formed the Chinese Red Army that would later become the People’s Liberation Army.  He was extensively assisted in this endeavour by the local Hakka people – many of whom joined his revolutionary forces.  This Hakka assistance is a historically significant event in the history of the Chinese Communist movement.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:




由于有了上述认识,毛泽东在上井冈山前夕,便特意征求了工农革命军第一军第一师第二团团长王新亚对宁冈、井冈山一带群众基础的看法,认为赣南、赣西的客家地区是“积草囤粮、聚集革命力量的好地方”。加之当时袁文才(宁冈农民自卫军首领,客家人)在党的领导下,已在井冈山一带融洽了土客籍人民之间的关系,初步扫平了工农革命军安家井冈山的种种障碍。所以,毛泽东就毅然决然率领秋收起义的队伍上井冈山,能在当地站稳脚跟,与此地有相当数量的客家人这个群众基础,还与这支部队的主要战士和当地人同属客家人,双方没有多少语言障碍是有一定关系的。后来红军往赣南发展,也与这些因素有一定关联。 (张自中)


  1. Thank you my friend! There are rumours in China that Mao Zedong was from a Hakka ethnic background and this might explain his interest. In the past the Hakka have been thought of as ‘foreign’ and not particularly welcome in South China – but after 1949 Mao had them registered as ‘Han’ Chinese as part of the Communist drive to eradicate racism from China.

    1. In modern days foreigners actually control China. Mao, Deng and possibly Xi are Hakka peoples. The Hakka’s would definitely helps and supports each other to maintain controlling China similar to what they did previously when they initially arrive in Guangdong Provinces as Guest Peoples grabbing and occupying lands in stages and gradually all over China as a result of inter marriage with Han Chinese as Hakka’s women was purportedly the best as wife be it at home or in the field working.
      Japanese and Russian historians mentioned the Chinese looking Hakka peoples are Siberian. They tired to settle in Northern Manchuria after escaping from the Sink Hole catastrophes in their homeland, but was driven away by Manchus. They then migrated down southward mainly into Guangdong Province while some settled along the coastal area of China including Taiwan and further south into Indochinese countries.

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