Heritage and Lifestyles in Yim Tin Tsai

Yim Tin Tsai – Hakka Village and Catholicism

Yim Tin Tsai is a small island not far away from Sai Kung. In the 19th century, the Hakka Chan clan moved from Guan Lan in Shen Zhen to Yim Tin Tsai and started to cultivate six acres of salty field, thus creating a Hakka village. In 1866, Fr. G. Origo administered baptism to seven villagers. During Christmas of the same year, Fr. S. Volonteri baptized another 33 villagers. This is the first village in which members of three generations were baptized with evidence. St. Joseph Church was built on the island. After renovation by the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, this historical village with a hundred-year-long history was granted an award for protecting cultural heritage in Asia-Pacific Region by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO). Yim Tin Tsai became an important historical site in Hong Kong. This research project received sponsorship by the Lord Wilson Trust Heritage Fund in December 2007. Through oral history, field study and textual analysis, this project will explore:

  1. the culture, architecture and characteristics of lifestyle of the Chan clan in Yim Tin Tsai;
  2. impact of the mode of production and economic development on the development and fading of the village;

harmony and conflict between Hakka culture and Catholic religion in Yim Tin Tsai as a 19th century Catholic village.