Since there are no satisfactory introduction to the Teochew and Hokkien people, or the Hoklo people. We decide to create an Encyclopedia style page by ourselves.
Our government only claims the territory of Teochew and Hokkien homeland on the west coast of the Taiwan Straight, which is only a 43% of world Hoklo people. However, this introduction is about the ethnic group, including tens of millions Hoklo people oversea. If you need to know more about our country and government itself, please refer to “our country” page.
We also have a similar article “Teochew-Hokkien is an Independent Nation“. But that article is translated from Mandarin and mainly comparing the difference between the Hoklo and the Chinese. The current article is written with the assumption that the readers have no or little knowledge about what Hoklo people are.
You can treat this as a superior version of Wikipedia page for Hoklo people, without hostile Chinese vandalization or time consuming but useless citations. 1
Hoklo is an East Asian ethnic groups native to Teochew and Hokkien regions, in the west coast of Taiwan Straight.
The Hoklo speak Hoklo language, one of the Sinic languages. The Hoklo and other Min languages diverged from all other Sinic languages in the 4th century. Therefore, the Hoklo language is very different from all other Sinic languages (including Mandarin) and completely mutually intelligible.
The Hoklo as we know today were formed in the 4th century as a result of the integration between the Austronesian speaking ancient Minyue (閩越) people 2 and the freedom-loving Han Chinese immigrants who don’t want to be enslaved by the barbarians. From the 4th century to the 14th century, as the China proper torn apart by wars and tyrannic rules, the Hokkien and later Teochew region emerged and become one of the most technologically advanced and wealthy region world wide. The Choachew City, more commonly known as Zayton by Marco Polo and other foreigners, were one of the most populous and wealthy cities in the world from 11th to 14th century. Merchants from tens, if not hundreds of countries, have been visiting or residing in Zayton City.
From 15th to the World War II, the Hoklo are mostly ruled by Chinese-lead Ming Dynasty and Manchurian-lead Qing Dynasty from Beijing. Both of them imposed the tyrannical “sea ban” policies on Hoklo people. All foreign trades were illegal and oversea exploration, colonization, and trading with foreign countries became capital crimes. However, the tyrannic laws never really stopped the Hoklo people from exploration and colonization. During the time, especially during the 17th century when the Ming rule collapsed and during the century prior to the WWII when Qing rule collapse, a huge number of Hoklo people have built colonies and migrant to every coastal countries in the Southeast Asia. The Hoklo diaspora lead to the creation of two Hoklo-majority countries, Taiwan and Singapore.
After the WWII, due to the lack of a strong national identity and a Hoklo-lead country, the Hoklo have suffered greatly by most countries. Genocides against Hoklo people occurred everywhere throughout almost every Hoklo communities. Sarcastically, enemy governments used completely different reasons to justify their genocide against Hoklo people. The Hoklo were called capitalists, communists, and axis at the same time. In Taiwan, the Republic of China committed genocide against Taiwanese Hokkien because the Hokkien were “evil subjects of the Japanese emperor”. 3 In the Teochew and Hokkien regions, the People’s Republic of China committed genocide against the Hoklo people under the name of purging capitalists. Similar genocide occurred in Chinese supported Khmer Rouge and Viet Cong but in much larger scale in terms of percentage. Many of them have fled from the two countries and became of primary source of Hoklo French and Hoklo American. In Indonesia and Malaysia, the Sunni Muslim supported by the West have committed genocide against Hoklo people under the name of purging communists. These crimes have not yet been recognized by the West. 4 After more than 70 years of separation and lack of communication, the Hoklo communities throughout the world have diverged from each other and developed their different cultures today. However, nearly all of them are still struggling against racial discrimination in their countries, and more fundamentally, struggling with their self-identities.
Despite the racial discrimination against Hoklo people in many countries, the Hoklo remain very successful disproportionate to their population. Among 7 developed Asian countries countries without oil money (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Israel), two of them have Hoklo majorities (Taiwan and Singapore), and two of them have Cantonese majorities with significant Hoklo minorities (Hong Kong and Macau). According to 2015 Forbes Billionaire list, the richest person in Asia, and 7 or 28% of the 25 richest person in Asia are Hoklo5, despite the fact that the Hoklo are less than 2% of the Asian population.
Total: c. 82 million 6, not counting enormous number of partial Hoklo in Thailand, Philippines, and other countries.
Republic of Teochew and Hokkien: 35 million, under illegal Chinese occupation currently.
Taiwan: 17 million, about 75% of Taiwan’s population, which is one of two current Hoklo majority countries.
Singapore: 1,858,497, 56% of Singapore’s population, which is one of two current Hoklo majority countries.
Hainan Island and Leizhou Peninsular: 8 million.
Thailand: 7 million, to 26 million for partial Hoklo.
Malaysia: 5 million.
Indonesia: 3 million.
Philippine: 2 million, up to 23 million for mestizos (partial Hoklo).
Hong Kong: 1 million.
Southern Zhejiang: 570,000.
United States: 300,000, mostly from former French Indochina fleeing from Khmer Rouge and Viet Cong.
France: 150,000, mostly from former French Indochina fleeing from Khmer Rouge and Viet Cong.
Hoklo Language, including Hokkien and Teochew dialects. Many Hoklo also use the predominant language of their country.
Mostly Hokism (Hoklo tradition religion). Also significant presence of Buddhism, Protestantism, Roman Catholic, and irreligion.
Related Ethnic Groups
Ethnically: Hainanese 7, Putian People, Foochowese, and other Min peoples.
Historically and Geographically: Hakka and Cantonese.
In Taiwan and Republic of Teochew and Hokkien, the most common names are banlam (literally “Southern Min”) for Hokkien people and Teoswa (short form for “Teochew City- Swatow City”) for Teochew people.
In Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, the most common name is Hokkien and Teochew. Since Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Straight Colonies (Singapore, Penang, and Malaca) are former British colonies, these names were adopted and became the most widely used English names for Hoklo people. All four words are from Hoklo language referring to the name of their hometown originally.
Hoklo was a pejorative term originally from Hakka and Cantonese, referring to both Hokkien and Teochew. The original literal meaning of Hoklo is probably “foreigners from Fujian”. “Lo” is a pejorative Cantonese or Hakka word referring to foreigners, which can also be found in Gweilo or Gwai lo (“ghost foreigners”), a pejorative Cantonese term referring to white people of European origin. Among Hoklo people, the word is at first widely adopted by Hailiokhong Hoklo to call themselves because their territories are close to Hakka and Cantonese people. During the Taiwan democratic and independence movement in 1980s, the word was also adopted by some Taiwanese Hoklo, especially by those who support Taiwan independence.
We prefer using the word Hoklo for three reasons: (1) Hoklo refers to both Teochew and Hokkien. (2) Hoklo is a term referring to the ethnic group, not the name of the historical province or prefecture. The historical and contemporary administrative boundary does not adhere to ethnic boundaries. Moreover, thousands of Chinese immigrants and bureaucrats and pouring in though our border. If we use a term originally from geographic meaning, it is easy for the Chinese to reinterpret and steal the word from us. (3) In Hoklo language, Hoklo is a loan word from Cantonese and Hakka. As far as I know, most people in Hailiokhong or Taiwan don’t understand the original meaning of the word in Cantonese or Hakka, or how to write down the word in Chinese characters. Therefore it is difficult for the Chinese to reinterpret the word.
The Hoklo (Teochew and Hokkien) share the same origin as other Min Peoples. As many other ethnic groups in the world, the racial origin of Min people come from various groups.
One predominant origin of Min people are the native people from ancient Minyue Kingdom, a Iron Age kingdom in modern day Fujian (including Hokkien) and Teochew region. The racial composition of the people in the ancient Mingyue Kingdom is under debate. But many believe these people speak Austronesian languages and related to the Taiwan aboriginals, especially the low land aboriginals. This theory matches the most popular out-of-Taiwan theory of the origin of Austronesian people. However, this doesn’t necessary mean the ancient Minyue people are more “Austronesian” than East Asian because modern day Austronesian (Malays, Pacific Islanders, Maori, Malagasy) are heavily mixed with various groups of native people in respective places, including Negritos and Blacks.
Another predominant origin of Min people are the Han Chinese immigrants during Eastern Jin Dynasty in the 4th century. These people are freedom-loving Han Chinese people who don’t want to be ruled by the barbarians during the uprising of the 5 barbarians and seek refuge in the south. These immigrants are mostly organized in a form of educated, wealthy and militarized extended families with their servants, workers, and tenants. These immigrants are called Yiguan Nandu in Chinese history books, which means “the well dressed crossed the river and move south” literally. The family names of four of these families Tan, Lim, Ng, Teh remain the most common surnames across all Min peoples except Hainanese. However, it is hard to tell whether people with these surnames are from these powerful families due to the fact that non-Chinese tend to adopt surnames from powerful Chinese families when converted to Chinese culture. 8 Because of the history of Chinese immigration, traditionally Hoklo people have a very strong feeling of superiority towards the modern day Chinese, thinking they are either rape babies or children of people who were willing to give up their freedom and enslaved by the barbarians.
Since Hoklo people are the southernmost Min peoples, they live approximate to Tai-Kadai peoples (including Chinese-ized Cantonese) and Hmong-Mien peoples (including Chinese-ized Hakka). The interchange and mixing is always slowly ongoing throughout the history.
In Choachew, there were a huge Middle Eastern community from 12 to 14 century. These people are predominantly Persian, but also some Arabs, Christians and Jews. After the Ispah rebellion and the collapse of Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty, the Middle Easterners were assimilated and become part of Hoklo people.
- Treating citations seriously are stupid because Wikipedia accepts Chinese news outlets or Pravda as trustworthy sources but not the Weibo accounts whose owners were imprisoned for telling the truth. Everything I wrote here are true. If you can prove you are not Chinese and are not hostile, you may contact us for citations for a particular topic you are interested.
- The linguistic and ethnic background of Minyue people is under debate. Austronesian is the most popular theory.
- Since the Republic of China was an ally of the allies, the genocide against Taiwanese Hokkien has never been recognized as a genocide internationally. It is still called “228 incidents” by many. Even though it was a well planned genocide against Taiwanese Hokkien, especially Hokkien elites.
- Considering the US governments are still protecting Sunni Saudi Arabia even after the 9/11 attack. Probably we shouldn’t feel too much surprise or anger.
- This number was 9 in the 1996 list. The decrease is mostly due to the Chinese appearance in the list. Even though 2.7% of the Chinese population is Hoklo, slightly higher than the percentage of Hoklo population in Asia, only one Hoklo (Ma Huateng) in China made into the list because many successful Hoklo businessmen were persecuted by the Chinese governments.
For example, Huang Guangyu, a Teochew businessman in retail business, who was the richest person in China from 2004 to 2008, were put into jail by the Chinese governments in 2008. Another example is Lai Changxing, a Hokkien businessman in trading business, who were the richest person in Fujian Province. He was wanted by the Chinese governments from 1999. Then he fled to Canada seeking political asylum. However, his claim was rejected by the Canadian governments eventually and he was returned to the Chinese government in 2011.
We think Lai lost his asylum case mainly because he hired a bad lawyer. His lawyer tried to claim asylum based on the fact that the Chinese don’t treat criminals humanely, which was a very weak claim. However, if he could point out that the Chinese accusation lacked legal ground and completely based on racial discrimination, it would be much easier for him to win the case. Unluckily Lai was not even graduated from elementary school in communist China and can only speak Hoklo and Mandarin, it’s hard for him to find someone like us to help him.
- Since SIL International, ISO, and many other sources classify Hainanese as a dialect of Hoklo Language even though they are not mutually intelligible, it’s much easier for me to find accurate data including Hainanese. Thus all the population data include Hainanese population.
- Some people classify Hainanese as part of Hoklo people. Racially Hainanese have much more Tai-Kadai speaking Li people (黎族) blood and look much closer to Cantonese people. However due to cultural and language similarity many Hainanese are very friendly and integrated with Teochew and Hokkien people in Southeast Asia.
- We can find similar examples of adopting Chinese surnames in modern day Korean, Manchurian, Vietnamese, and Hakka. There are more examples in historic ethnic groups, like Tangut people and Xianbei people.