Hakka Revolutionaries of Mainland China!


Original Chinese Language Article By: http://www.sohu.com/a/147989943_366506

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

A Japanese scholar once commented that:

‘There could not be any successful Revolution in China without the participation of the Hakka Chinese people.’

Although this remark is exaggerated, it is undeniable that all major Revolutions in modern China have substantively involved Hakka people who have played a highly important and irreplaceable role.


Father of the Nation – Sun Yat-Sen (国父孙中山 – Guo Fu Sun Zhong Shan)

After the mid-19th century, the Hakka people began to change the tide of history in China. From Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) of the Taiping Divine Kingdom (太平天国 – Tai Ping Tian Guo) to Sun Yat-Sen and the 1911 Revolution, the Hakka often played a major role within Chinese Revolutionary uprisings. It can be said that after the Taiping Divine Kingdom, the ‘community’ of nationally important Hakka historical figures began to take shape. This list includes, Ding Richang (丁日昌), He Ruzhang (何如璋), Huang Zunxian (黄遵宪) Qiu Fengjia (丘逢甲) and Wen Zhonghe (温仲和)… who are not only famous people in the Hakka community, but also considered great people of the Chinese nation in that era.


Qiu Fengjia (丘逢甲)

The Hakka community developed a cultural climate within the land of ancient China, which involved an enhanced sense of self-awareness and progressive attitudes. There are also many scholars in the world, such as the Japanese scholar Yamashita Kiyoshi (山下清 – Shan Xia Qing), who hold the Hakka people in high esteem. He has stated:

‘The Hakka people are the best example of the Chinese Han nationality. They are confident and proud. Their patriotism is strong. In modern Chinese history, no political change has happened without the support of the Hakka people. The most striking example is that of the anti-imperialist ‘Taping Divine Kingdom’  Revolution headed by Hong Xiuquan, who was supported by the most ablest of generals, most of whom were Hakka people. The second is the anti-imperalist Revolution that overthrew the Manchu rule of China – which was led by the Hakka Dr. Sun Yat-Sen – who was also assisted by many other talented Hakka people.’


Hong Qiuquan (洪秀全)

Hong Qiuquan was the founder and leader of the ‘Taiping Divine Kingdom’ movement that nearly toppled the Manchu Imperialist Dynasty and was close to uniting a China free of the Western imperialist presence. He was assisted by three other very talented Hakka people named Hong Renxuan (洪仁轩), Feng Yunshan (冯云山), and Li Jingfang (李敬芳).

Professor Zhong Wendian (钟文典) has stated:

‘The originators of the Taiping Divine Kingdom were entirely Hakka, and the Hakka language was used in all official Taiping texts. Even in the (legal) rules and regulations that governed the Taiping Divine Kingdom, including land distribution and management system (天朝田亩制度 – Tian Chao Tian Mu Zhi Du), the shadow of Hakka tradition and culture is evident. This is why the Taipng Divine Kingdom can be said to have been a strong masterpiece of Hakka ingenuity and organisation.’


Ding Richang (丁日昌)

After the defeat of the Taiping Divine Kingdom, other Hakka historical figures of note included Ding Richang, He Ruzhang, Huang Zunxian, Qiu Fengjia, and Wen Zhonghe … These outstanding people are not only famous Hakka people, but are also considered outstanding Chinese people of that era.


Taiwan Anti-Japanese War

Hakka Black Flag Army General Liu Yongfu (刘永福)

Following Imperial China’s defeat at the end of the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed, and Taiwan was ceded to Japan. However, many of the Hakkas in Taiwan did not accept the Japanese take-over without a fight. These Hakkas were indomitable and organized volunteer troops to fight against the Japanese invaders under the leadership of Xu Xiang (徐骧), Wu Tangxing (吴汤兴), Jiang Shaozu (姜绍祖 ) and Liu Yongfu, all of whom were Hakka fighters. Many Taiwanese Hakka people remained loyal to China and preferred to die fighting than live under Japanese tyranny.


Kang (康) and Liang (梁) – Master and Disciple

Two prominent Hakka members of the Reform Movement were Kang Youwei (康有为) and Liang Qichao (梁启超).


He Tianjiong (何天炯)

Apart from Sun Yat-Sen who was a Hakka, there were many other Revolutionary Hakkas such as Xie Yiqiao (谢逸桥), Xie Liangmu (谢良牧), He Tianjiong and He Tianhan (何天翰), all of whom studied in Japan, and all joined the League. Many of these Hakka people held important posts. Although Sun Yat-Sen was Prime Minister of the League, 46% of all the inner core posts were also held by Hakka people.

Chinese Soviet Movement

The Chinese Red Army operated out of the Jinggangshan base and when travelling up to the Central Soviet Area, the soldiers passed through the jurisdiction of Gannan, West Fujian, Eastern Guangdong, Northern Guangdong and another 21 counties, all of which were Hakka areas of cultural influence. The Hakka people assisted the Chinese Red Army with supplies and resources, helped it traverse the terrain and assisted in its evasion of the enemy. Many Hakka people joined the Chinese Red Army when the Socialist principles it stood for were explained.


Zhu De (朱德)

Zhu De and Mao Zedong (毛泽东) were brilliant military strategists who struggled for a total of seven years after leaving the Jinggangshan base area, during the Long March northward. Mao Zedong was impressed with the Hakka peasants and workers, and often made detailed notes about their resilliance, hard-work and fighting ability. Mao Zedong wrote at least 10 military poems containing references to Hakka culture. Interestingly, Mao Zedong appeared to prefer Hakka cultural tendencies and wrote extensively upon their nature and manifestation. Often, it is clear that what Mao Zedong refers to as ‘Chinese’ in his notes and observations, is in fact ‘Hakka’.

The Second Revolutionary struggle in the Central Soviet Area can also be described as a Revolutionary struggle featuring mainly Hakka people. This is because the central area of Revolution covered precisely the enclave of Chinese Hakka people, whilst the youth of the Hakka people constituted the main body of officers and soldiers within the Chinese Red Army.


General Ye Ting (叶挺)

The Hakka ethnicity is a Revolutionary tradition formed through the experience of crisis. The Central Plains is what Confucius described as the ‘place of killing’. Historically, the Central Plains were the places which the military strategists contested. In the wars to facilitate dynastic change, each time a large number of people were reluctant to become prisoners (even though they were defeated), they uprooted their communities and headed southward. This is the origin of modern Hakka people living within Southern China today.

Hakka people living in South China occupy remote or hilly areas that are tough to live in. This demands that the Hakka are strong and self-sufficient whilst always looking for methods of progressive change (to make life better). Hakka people, being warriors have very well developed systems of martial arts, and live close to the cycles of nature. However, being tough is only one part of being Hakka, as threats of attacks from other groups has meant that the Hakka must also retain a very strong fighting spirit.


Great Man Deng Xiaoping (邓小平)

On the other hand:

‘Due to the Hakkas ingrained sense of ‘Datong’ (大同), as an ethnicity, they continuously strive for collective rights and collective social and cultural improvement. Although the Hakka have had violence historically aimed at them, and have developed renowned systems of self-defence, the Hakka people themselves prefer to work for peace and security within the community. They do this through expert scholarship and strict discipline.’

The formation of Hakka culture happened during periods of social turmoil. This led to the Hakka being surrounded on all sides, often suffering the worst excesses of imperialism and siege. This is the origin of the Hakka struggle for self-defense. This is a manifestation of the Hakka solidarity, advocacy of armed forces and Revolutionary traditions.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2018.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:











钟文典教授曾经指出:太平天国的 发起者是客家人,太平天国的文书中使用的也是客家话,甚至在包括《天朝田亩制度》在内的太平天国的条规制度中,也可以找到客家风俗习惯的影子。也许,我们可以这样说:太平天国革命本身,就是客家人的一项发明创造,一项得意杰作吧!因为在太平天国的种种所作所为中,几乎无不凸显出客家的强烈影响。































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