UNIVERSAL VALUES

Kinmen is an archipelago situated off the southeastern coast of Fujian Province in Mainland China. In the past, it has been called “Wu Zhou”(Wu Delta Island)”, “Xian Zhou” (Fairy Island), “Wu Jiang” (Wu River) and “Wu Dao” (Literally, Wu Island). In the year 1388 (20th year of the Emperor Hongwu, Ming Dynasty), a "Thousand Household Defense Division" was established here. Because of its key role in defending the ports of Zhangzhou and Xiamen on the mainland as well as the Penghu archipelago further out at sea, it was renamed Kinmen, meaning "Golden Gate" (abbreviation of two Chinese phrases: “a metal fortress surrounded by a moat filled with boiling water," and "an imposing gateway to the sea.”)

Kinmen's traditions been maintained for over sixteen hundred years. Kinmen's abundance of cultural assets such as Southern Fujian architecture, traditional settlements, lifestyle, seasonal festivals and ceremonies, and its dialect are evidence of the purity and sustainability of Southern Fujian culture in Kinmen. Compared with other areas of the world where Chinese people reside, although Kinmen has been subject to foreign cultural influence, Southern Fujian culture still represents the mainstream.      

Over the past 1600 years, Kinmen has been a haven for immigrants escaping from the turmoil of war, and in recent years, it has also been a site of military confrontation. Constantly living in the shadow of war, the population of Kinmen has fluctuated, but the common people's longing for peace and stability has never wavered. Although clan members are spread all over the world, visible and invisible ancestral ties have helped them maintain unity. An area of only 150 square kilometers boasts of over 170 ancestral shrines and more than 280 temples and places honoring successful candidates in the imperial examinations, scholar-officials in various dynasties. The Wind Lion deities and various talismans also serve as manifestations of the people's longing for peace and stability.

Although they have suffered through countless wars, Kinmen’s common people have shown an unshakable determination to live in peace. Their traditional values have provided a solid foundation for the preservation of Southern Min culture. Kinmen's early pioneers have left a rich legacy: the mixing of local traditions, emigrant culture, and military heritage serve as a testimony to the cultural distinctiveness of Kinmen.

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